Keys sticking - What are some causes of keys sticking?

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Postby Stretto » Wed Jul 19, 2006 8:02 am

I've often wondered what are some of the causes of the keys on the piano sticking as in staying down after they are played? Does this happen more frequently when a piano is in need of tuning?
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Postby Dr. Bill Leland » Wed Jul 19, 2006 9:14 am

It has nothing to do with the tuning and everything to do with the action. Unfortunately there are a number of possible causes. I believe you have an upright, yes? The next time it happens, look inside the lid and see if the hammer has come all the way back or is hanging up somewhere beween its normal rest place and the strings. Also, does the tone continue to sound when the key sticks or not?

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Postby Stretto » Wed Jul 19, 2006 10:20 am

The tone doesn't continue to sound when it happens. I'll have to check next time on the hammer end of things. Once it happened immediately after my tech. left. I kind of panicked and called and said, "um, one key is sticking". He said just press the key down and while holding it down wiggle the key slightly from side to side and that should release it. It worked and I've been able to get the keys unstuck every time that's happened since. It is only occasional so not driving me or students continuously batty. Once my students saw me "fix" a key by wiggling it though, they insisted on saying, "here I'll fix it". One student pushed and pulled on the key so hard and wouldn't leave it when I asked them to stop and let me take care of it that I literally had no choice but to quickly take the students hand and move it off the key. So after that I always say I will take care of it. Of course, as I mentioned it's only a once in a while thing and not happening at every lesson or every time I practice. I don't believe it's always the same key.



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Postby Stretto » Wed Jul 19, 2006 12:06 pm

p.s. It's a Kawai CX-5H purchased new somewhere around the years 1993-1995. I can't remember the exact year. It's embarrasing to say because I had learned all the differences between uprights, consoles, spinets, grands, baby grands, sizes of grands when I was looking but now can't even remember whether my piano would be an upright or console! - Not a grand, that's for sure! :)



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Postby Stretto » Wed Jul 19, 2006 2:20 pm

p.s.s. I just thought to do a web search and typed in the name and brand of my piano and a whole bunch of different types of links came up. It is an upright in fact. :D Aren't computers great!
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Postby Dr. Bill Leland » Wed Jul 19, 2006 7:38 pm

Stretto:

Well, if you can relieve it by wiggling the key, then the felt bushings in the underside of the key are binding. Two questions:

1. Does it happen more often in damp weather?

2. Did the tuner turn the front rail pins in order to cut down the keys' side play? (You'll have to ask him.)

Bill.
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Postby Stretto » Wed Jul 19, 2006 9:22 pm

Dr. Bill Leland wrote:Stretto:

Well, if you can relieve it by wiggling the key, then the felt bushings in the underside of the key are binding. Two questions:

1. Does it happen more often in damp weather?

2. Did the tuner turn the front rail pins in order to cut down the keys' side play? (You'll have to ask him.)

Bill.

answers:

1. It's always damp weather here :laugh: ! It's possible it was happening more when the weather was changing from winter/spring to summer. It seems that keys were sticking more during that time. Would that be coincidence? I think keys were sticking more this spring and not as much since.

2. I'll have to ask my tech. next time he comes. When I first got the piano, it seemed too loud for the room and I recall he did something to make it less loud which I thought changed the feel a little and made it sound a little more muted. (I didn't like it as well that way but I guess I got used to it as I always forgot to ask him about changing it back). Would that be related to what you were talking about?

Well, I always blamed the keys sticking on when the piano was in need of tuning so at least now I know that's not the culprit.




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Postby 108-1121887355 » Fri Jul 21, 2006 12:15 pm

I have one or two notes that keep playing when released. It has been VERY muggy this summer, so I am blaming it on that. I don't have a tning in the summer in New England. I wsit until fall after the heat has been on a week or two.

I have only a few students this summer and my piano is better sounding than theirs, so I don't worry. We do note the problem. however.
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Postby Dr. Bill Leland » Sat Jul 22, 2006 4:47 pm

Stretto, what your technician did was soften the hammers by voicing them, so as to mellow the tone. But whenever you do this the player invariably thinks the action is heavier, even though you've done nothing at all to the action, because their hands are unconsciously working harder trying to produce the old, sharper sound that they are used to. Whenever I voiced a piano I always warned the customer ahead of time that this would happen.

The piano will tend to brighten up again as it is played, but you may find that it gets brighter in the middle where it's played the most, and less at the high treble and low bass.

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Postby Stretto » Tue Aug 29, 2006 10:53 pm

My piano keys still haven't been sticking at all. They only did for a while this spring and I haven't had a problem since. I haven't had any maintenance done on the piano either (which I do need to do :D ).
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Postby Tranquillo » Thu Sep 27, 2007 6:32 am

This is truly interesting. My keys did 'stick' lately. Got the piano tune since it was due for a tuning and it's stopped sticking!
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