As your Piano Tuner Wilmington DE , I am frequently asked about the cause of sticking piano keys. One follow-up question often is, “Can I fix it myself?” There are several possible causes of a sticking piano key. Our previous two posts covered some of the causes that are easier to explain. This post will cover one of the causes that is a little more difficult to explain, and this will conclude the series of posts on causes of sticking keys.

Some background on piano action design is required for this explanation. It is relatively difficult, mechanically, for a piano hammer to strike a string, then rebound allowing the string to vibrate freely, and then return quickly to its rest position so that the note can be played again. Each piano key has a series of levers that pivot at an “action center.” An action center can be imagined as similar to the hinge on a door, except that surrounding the hinge pin is a felt bushing that is carefully adjusted so that there is a specific amount of resistance for the movement of the door. These action centers must be carefully made in the piano factory, so that they function properly for the life of the piano. There are 488 of these action centers in a typical piano, each that require significant time to construct properly.

Some piano manufacturers have discovered that they can significantly reduce the cost of manufacturing each piano if they take a short cut, rather than make these action centers properly. The result is a piano that has action centers that may work for a few years, but then they may start moving sluggishly or not at all. When they stop working as they should, the keys will stick down rather than returning properly. These will require a professional to re-pin the sluggish action centers, so that they function properly.

If you have any questions about pianos, please let us know. We are your Wilmington DE piano tuning experts.