So, we couldn’t tune your piano… (Part 2)

by vkungs


Originally posted on 23/01/2013 19:23

As we mentioned in our previous entry, we often find underlying issues with some of the older pianos we’re called to tune. Here’s a quick look at some of the most common problems we come across. We should note though that prior to any mechanical issues being addressed, we first perform a quick check of the structural components, specifically looking for any major sound board cracks and bridge defects. A few tuning pins in each section are also checked to ensure they will hold the necessary torque.

Common mechanical issues:

1) Broken/brittle/worn and otherwise damaged bridle straps.

Most often age and humidity related. Bridle straps not only act as a back-up hammer return mechanism when hammer butt springs are damaged or out of position, they also keep action components firmly in place when action work is being performed. Missing bridle straps make removing and restoring a piano’s action safely much more diffucult, and as such, can lead to greater and far more expensive damage.
Cork straps are used only where unavoidable, and all hammer flange screws are unscrewed during the procedure, allowing for easier access to the area in question. In general, we estimate the cost for new bridle straps throughout (parts & labour ) at $ 295.00 CAD.

2)Broken hammer shanks.

Generally wear & tear/age realated. Repair cost (parts & labour): $30 dollars per shank

3) Mechanical clicking noises.

More often than not likely related to either loose front (hammer) flange screws, rear (whippen) flange screws or loose butt plate screws (depending on action design)

4)“Sticky” or slow returning keys.
This issue could be attributed to a number of factors, including: Overly tight balance rail holes, overly tight front key bushing or balance rail key bushings, excessively turned or improperly adjusted action frame pins


The problem could be centre pin related. This is checked by a quick/sudden forward push of the hammer rest rail. If hammers throughout return very slowly, both the hammer flange centre pins and and whipen flange centre pins require being replaced throughout ($ 350.00 each). This work will of course also require the hammers and whippens to be traveled/spaced to properly regulate the piano.