How To Fix Sticky Piano Keys? 5 Reasons and 5 Ways How To Fix It

Have you ever encountered a sticky piano key while performing a beautiful piece of music? In fact, pianists frequently encounter this issue, especially when using older instruments. It’s considerably more difficult to cope with if you’re in the middle of a recital. Maybe a piano key is sticking right now, and you’re not sure how to fix it. Next, we’ll discuss why they stick, followed by suggestions for resolving the problem and avoiding it altogether.

How To Fix Sticky Piano Keys? 5 Reasons and 5 Ways How To Fix It

How to fix sticky piano keys? Let’s find 5 common reasons of piano keys sticking and different ways to solve all possible problems and get back to playing the piano.

Why Do Piano Keys Stick? Diagnosing A Sticky Key

Sticky piano keys can occur for a variety of reasons. As a result, you can simply spend a lot of time looking for what it might be. I’ve run into this before on my pianos and it’s cost me time too. You can quickly find the root of the problem if you understand how your piano works and cross a few items off your list.

Start by thinking back to the first time you got your piano keys stuck. By doing this, you can appreciate what has changed at that time. You may have noticed that your favorite pencil from the collection is missing. Perhaps you once leaned against the piano when the top cover was open or dropped some objects inside it? Perhaps the temperature in the room is suddenly hotter or colder than usual?

This is a great start when you’re trying to figure out what went wrong.

What causes sticky keys on a piano?

Humidity is one reason of piano keys sticking. Since wood can absorb moisture from the air, piano keys are composed of this material. The keys of the piano may expand and get sticky if it is kept in a room with a high humidity level.

The buildup of dust and dirt on the keys and in the mechanism that causes the keys to move are two more prevalent causes of sticky piano keys. Through gaps in the soundboard and action, for example, dust and other minute particles can enter the piano and gradually accumulate there. These are only the 2 most common reasons of this problem, but there may be others.

Below you will find a step-by-step guide on how to find the cause of sticky keys.

Step 1- Check The Sticky Key Slip

If the white key gets stuck, the first thing to check is the key slip. The black keys do not touch the key slip, so if a black key is stuck, you can immediately remove this problem from the possible options.

There is a key slip on the front of the piano, which can swell and deform from dampness. Sometimes the key slip moves close enough to the keys to touch them and create friction.

Check if the key slip is pressed on the front of the keys. There ought to be a tiny space between the key slip and the keys that you can see. You may also attempt to slightly pull the key slip in your direction before testing the key to see if it resolves the issue.

Step 1- Check The Sticky Key Slip

Step 2 – Check The Keysticks

Next, you should inspect the sticky key itself. The keysticks themselves can swell or distort, which makes them rub against one another. A keystick that is cracked or damaged is another option.

The keys may bulge and press against each other if the piano has been stored in a high humidity environment. The only piano keys that are prone to this problem are wooden ones.

Try carefully prying off the edges of the keys with a small flat screwdriver to see if it releases the key. In this case, the key may swell. Black keys should be handled with extreme care as they may break.

Step 3 – Check For Trash Or Debris

Many objects can get stuck between or underneath the keys. Pianos tend to accumulate items inside themselves. A stuck key can be caused by anything small enough to fit between the keys, including coins, paper clips, crumbs, and other objects or debris.

Is one key stuck or several? Try simultaneously pressing the keys that are next to the broken stuck key. Are two adjacent keys also stuck in the down position? This may mean that something is stuck between them.

Step 4 – Check The Key Bushing

Water in the key bushing is one of the more frequent causes of sticky keys. Two metal pins that protrude from the key bed are used to lift and lower keys. The front of the key also has a thicker guiding pin that prevents the key from swaying. A thin felt bushing cloth has been used to line both pins.

This bushing cloth will expand if it becomes too wet or humid, which will make the guide pins on the keys excessively tight. New pianos may experience this if the humidity has altered from the original level.

You might wish to contact a piano technician if you think the key bushing is the issue. They can take out the key and apply the right amount of pressure to the felt using a specialized instrument. Sometimes they will completely replace the felt bushings, in which case they will need to position the bushings correctly and use special adhesive.

Although professionals are often hired for this task, you can try it yourself by ironing the felt.

Step 5 – Check The Rail Pins

A rusted front rail pin or balance pin may be identified rather easily. In order to get to the rail pin and check it, it is necessary to remove the key slip and carefully remove the piano key. The pins are probably in good condition if they are smooth. But if they feel rough to the touch, there may be some corrosion present.

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How to Fix Sticky Piano Keys?

Have you been able to determine why the piano key is stuck? Amazing! Now it’s time to move on to practical advice on how to solve a particular problem.

Fixing The Key Slip

The key slip is relatively simple to fix. Key slip and two key blocks, located at the front side of the piano is held in place by a few screws underneath. You need to unscrew the screws. You might have to crouch down to view those screws because they are below the piano. Once the blocks are gone, gently pry the key out. Reinstall it after checking for any debris or dust there.

In case you were wondering, the blocks serve as a means of stabilizing the entire keyboard so that it doesn’t move. They can really squeeze the wood against the front of your key frame since they sit on both ends of the key slip, which results in slow, sticky keys. Making certain that those key blocks are not screwed in too firmly is essential for a successful installation.

Removing Objects And Trash

Just grab a fall board and retaining board and move it aside to remove debris. Be careful not to hit the keys or sides of the instrument. You will be able to quickly find anything that has got into the piano (it can be anything from paper clips and screws to sheet music).

I start by wiping off all of the dust and stray papers with a dry towel. If necessary, a tiny hand vacuum is helpful for removing any lint and difficult-to-reach pieces of paper that may be present.

Actually, where the rail pins are beneath the keys is where other things may have slid down into. In this situation, think about taking off the key slip and using a flashlight to examine below it.

Lubricating Dirty Rail Pins

A piano will require more maintenance if it is played more frequently. A filthy rail pin is an often disregarded problem that slows down the motion and occasionally makes a key stuck.

If you notice any rust, wipe it off gently with dry cloth while clearing away any debris. You can also use metal polish to clean them better. Your keys will be instantaneously free to move easily up and down the pin by just doing so. A balancing rail pin can be found farther back on each wooden extension of the piano key. Check it as well.

After cleaning the guide pins, it’s time to lubricate them. There are many types of lubricants, one of the best options is Protek. This is a safe, odorless lubricant that does not damage the wood of the instrument, which is very important. The lubricant is also durable and does not evaporate quickly.

Each front pin and balance pin should have a few drops of lubrication down it. It could take around 10 minutes to complete this. Play on the keys a little to get a sense of how they respond. Consider adding additional lubrication and giving it some time to settle if it’s still a touch slow. I simply lubricate my keys whenever they begin to become stiff, and it works well.

In the end, if the rail pins are totally rusted and incapable of being cleaned or lubricated, you must replace them. A piano technician would be beneficial in this situation since I wouldn’t attempt to do it on my own.

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Fixing Broken Hammer Parts

It is not recommended to repair broken piano hammers yourself. These components can be quite expensive and break too easily. If your piano has a damaged hammers, repairing these delicate parts yourself can cause even more damage. Call a piano technician immediately if you think there may be a problem with the hammers.

Dealing With Moisture

The amount of moisture or sudden changes in humidity levels in the air can have a significant effect on your instrument. This includes both the performance of the instrument and how it sounds. The wood of your piano can expand as moisture levels rise.

When this happens, the elements start moving out of position on their own. The key may be stuck due to swelling of the keys, which can cause severe temperature changes.

However, you may attempt to solve this without purchasing new piano keys. You may wiggle the keys back into place and give them the right amount of room by applying a little pressure. In this way, both white keys and black ones can be fixed; just be delicate and careful not to damage them.

Humidity Control Packs or Piano Humidifier Replacement Pads are ideal when you require consistent temperature control. Such a system saves you the hassle of regularly tuning your piano, dealing with wood swelling and component failure, especially in a hot southern location like Florida. Humidity control is indispensable if the piano is in a room with insufficient ventilation or vice versa too close to a vent.

When to Call a Professional?

The piano has 88 keys and hundreds of internal connection points and delicate parts that work together to create the desired sound. You can fix some of these sensitive parts yourself, but if you are not 100% sure that you can handle this task, it is better to contact a professional. Problems such as replacement of broken parts, non-functioning sustain pedal, replacement of hammers are best left to professionals.

It will cost more to fix a sticky key if you damage any internal piano components than it would have to hire a professional in the first place. So, if in doubt, get in touch with an expert. Even better, frequent piano tunings will stop many of these problems before they start. I recommend that every acoustic piano owner have contacts of good piano technicians in their area.

When to Call a Professional?

How much does it cost to fix a sticky piano key?

A single sticky key can be fixed for $50 to $100, and if there are other keys involved, it may cost much more. If you do hire a piano repair professional, you might want to ask them to examine the instrument’s other components as well.

A professional piano tune-up typically costs roughly $200. It can cost just as much to mend a broken component or a stuck key. An whole piano’s key bushings can be repaired for up to $500 per rail. You can see why having your piano tuned and maintained on a regular basis is well worth the investment.

Preventing Sticky Keys

Many problems with your piano can be avoided if regular maintenance is not neglected. Keep your piano clean. Do not forget to properly clean the keyboard carefully using soft cloth, remove everything superfluous from the piano cover (pencils, pieces of paper, sheet music, etc.).

You can use compressed air to remove dust and small debris from under the keyboard and fall board and from inside your piano (upright pianos need to remove the retaining board for this).

The piano is made of natural materials, so it is very sensitive to temperature and humidity. Avoid direct sunlight, sudden changes in temperature andhigh levels of humidity indoors. If you saw some swollen keys or sticking keys try fix piano keys immediately.

Also do not forget that the piano needs to be tuned regularly. I recommend that you find a good piano tuner and invite him to check your instrument every six months.

Not only old musical instruments need care. If you’re buying a new piano, it’s also a good idea to have it checked and tuned by a piano technician.

Why Do Piano Keys Stick? Conclusion

And a few final thoughts at the end of our article. To keep our beloved pianos in working condition, we must give them love, care and attention.

I hope our article was useful to you and now it will be easier for you to find the causes of possible problems with your keyboard and how to solve them. Most importantly, don’t forget that any piano problem can be fixed and you can get back to playing your favorite music.

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