This is the third in a series of blog articles by your Piano Tuner Wilmington DE regarding the importance of choosing a quality instrument when you purchase a piano.  This article deals with problems that frequently occur in inexpensive pianos, but which are rare in quality instruments.

One of the more common problems in inexpensive pianos is the sudden failure of a piano key to function.  The usual cause is a shortcut that was taken in the factory to save time and money.  For you to understand the process, some explanation of the piano action is required.

Most piano keys in a piano have 6-7 action centers, places where movement occurs between various levers.  Each action center is a little like a hinge on a door.  In place of the hinge pin on the door, the action center has a “center pin.”  Each center pin should be held tightly at its center by a wooden flange.  The pin rotates at its ends in another wooden piece that has a wool cloth bushing circling the pin.  That bushing should be set to a particular tolerance, so that there is slight resistance to the rotation of the pin, but the pin can still move easily.  It takes a moderate amount of time and skill to correctly set the tolerance in those bushings.  Since there are 500 of them in a piano action, shortcuts can save considerable time.  The typical shortcut is often called “reverse pinning.”  The worker picks a narrower diameter pin that is not held firmly in the wood, as it should.  By doing that, the pin will have movement, even though the tolerance was never set on the bushing.  The pin will be held tightly by the bushing, when it should have had movement.

That shortcut will work for a while, but the new owner of the piano will find that repairs will be required every few months for the life of the piano.  The cost to the owner will far exceed the savings of buying the inexpensive piano.  Additionally, a child learning to play will find it  frustrating to practice when piano notes do not work, and the child will be much more likely to give up learning to play the instrument.  This is especially common when the parent does not play the piano, and does not realize the importance of proper key function.  Sometimes parents will let malfunctions go for months without fixing them, and the child is unable to practice piano properly.

If you have any questions on the purchase of a piano, please feel free to ask us.  We are happy to provide all the information that you need to choose a quality instrument.  We are your Wilmington DE Piano Tuning experts, and we are ready to serve you. We serve the Delaware area, as well as the Philadelphia, Southern New Jersey and Eastern Shore Maryland areas.