Sticking hammer after tuning

General discussion about piano makes, problems with pianos, or just seeking advice.

Moderators: Feg, Gill the Piano, Melodytune

Post Reply
sgcastrejon
Junior Poster
Junior Poster
Posts: 9
Joined: 03 Feb 2012, 16:01

Sticking hammer after tuning

Post by sgcastrejon » 20 Mar 2012, 09:59

Hello everybody,

Yesterday I had my early 1920s piano tuned for the first time after I acquired it. The tuner was quite impressed with the condition of it and mentioned that it was just a bit flat tuning-wise. Among other things, he regulated the soft pedal. When I played it in the evening, I realized that one of the hammers (the one for sharp G below middle C) got stuck and didn't return (only when I used the soft pedal; that never happened before the pedal mechanism was regulated).
Before I contact my tuner about it, I wanted to see if anybody could give me some advice: I did vacuum the inside of the cabinet at the bottom after the tuner left (he taught me how to get the bottom from panel off: he never suggested I cleaned, only that I placed a container with water for the purposes of humidifying the instrument, but I could see spider cobs with dead spiders, plus lots of dust, etc., so I couldn't resist doing some 'tidying up'). Although I was extra careful, is it possible that I 'displaced' anything that affects the soft pedal, either with the vacuum cleaner, or when I put the panel back on? (I am no expert, but it did take some fiddling with, because the dowels are so little).

Many thanks in advance.

User avatar
Colin Nicholson
Executive Poster
Executive Poster
Posts: 1836
Joined: 04 Jul 2010, 19:15
Location: Morpeth, Northumberland
Contact:

Re: Sticking hammer after tuning

Post by Colin Nicholson » 20 Mar 2012, 14:36

Thanks for your query. I am assuming this is an upright piano?
If so....
First of all, we need to know what kind of soft pedal (left) mechanism your piano has.
It will either be one of the following:-

1. Celeste rail (older pianos)
2. Half-blow rail (more modern pianos)

Open the top lid & look inside (or remove the front top panel)

Either 1: When you press the left pedal, what happens inside? If no 1, then a thin wooden rail (just below the hammers) will rise with a long piece of cream coloured felt - so the sound is muffled, and the hammers strike the strings sandwiched by this felt. Common on over-damped pianos (looks like a bird cage) - look through the mechanism - right through till you see the strings (use a torch if needed) - the rail will be right at the back nearly touching the strings, and rise upwards. The vertical pedal rod will be at the BACK of the mechanism, near the soundboard.

OR 2: When you press the pedal, all the hammers move forward towards the strings, approx half their journey towards the strings (about 2cm). Look inside the top of the piano - either the whole hammer rail moved forward, or the 'inner' rail (pivotted on about 4 flanges) will move all the hammers forward. Also vertical pedal rod will be at the FRONT of the mechanism.

If no 1 design, its quite common for hammers to catch the felt on their return.

Please check, and get back to me ....

If you dont understand the jargon, remove the front music panel completely, (and remove the mechanism safely if you know how) - and send us a photo of the insides.

The most obvious thing to do is contact your tuner again; they shouldnt charge anything to come back out, especially since the pedal was adjusted & it was OK before.... so it may have been adjusted wrongly, depends on the above design though.

I had my boiler serviced the other day...... then it stopped working! - worked fine before he touched it. Rang him up, he was back out within an hour - job sorted!

Colin
AA Piano Tuners UK

Colin Nicholson Dip. Mus. CMIT CLCM PTLLS
Piano tuning & repairs. Full UK restoration service
http://www.aatuners.com
Tuition ~ Accompaniment ~ Weddings
http://www.pianotime1964.com
Member of The Guild of Master Craftsmen

User avatar
Barrie Heaton
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 3951
Joined: 30 May 2003, 20:42
Location: Lanc's
Contact:

Re: Sticking hammer after tuning

Post by Barrie Heaton » 20 Mar 2012, 17:11

sgcastrejon wrote:Yesterday I had my early 1920s piano tuned for the first time after I acquired it. The tuner was quite impressed with the condition of it and mentioned that it was just a bit flat tuning-wise. Among other things, he regulated the soft pedal. When I played it in the evening, I realized that one of the hammers (the one for sharp G below middle C) got stuck and didn't return (only when I used the soft pedal; that never happened before the pedal mechanism was regulated).
The reason the note starts to work after you use the soft pedal is because it is brings the note next to it up level. So this tell me that it could be a spacing issue this may have been caused by the tunes wedge, Just give your tuner a ring and tell him you have a problem and explain.

I hardly think that cleaning out the bottom of the piano will just make one note stick even if you did disturb the trap work .

As Colin has pointed out they should not charge you. They may not be happy if its a 100 mile round trip :oops:

Barrie

Barrie
Barrie Heaton
Web Master UK Piano Page

joe
Persistent Poster
Persistent Poster
Posts: 322
Joined: 24 Apr 2009, 08:40

Re: Sticking hammer after tuning

Post by joe » 20 Mar 2012, 17:33

Simple explanation maybe the nameboard felt may not be flush when your tuner put front-panel back on,no theories of relativity here,or better still long winded reply for a common complaint. :lol:

User avatar
Colin Nicholson
Executive Poster
Executive Poster
Posts: 1836
Joined: 04 Jul 2010, 19:15
Location: Morpeth, Northumberland
Contact:

Re: Sticking hammer after tuning

Post by Colin Nicholson » 20 Mar 2012, 18:01

Yes..... very simple!
Maybe also on most 1920's pianos, the key rail is separate to the front panel?
I'm sure though helpful tips & sarcasm combined dont mix.
AA Piano Tuners UK

Colin Nicholson Dip. Mus. CMIT CLCM PTLLS
Piano tuning & repairs. Full UK restoration service
http://www.aatuners.com
Tuition ~ Accompaniment ~ Weddings
http://www.pianotime1964.com
Member of The Guild of Master Craftsmen

joe
Persistent Poster
Persistent Poster
Posts: 322
Joined: 24 Apr 2009, 08:40

Re: Sticking hammer after tuning

Post by joe » 20 Mar 2012, 18:15

Colin Nicholson wrote:Yes..... very simple!
Maybe also on most 1920's pianos, the key rail is separate to the front panel?
I'm sure though helpful tips & sarcasm combined dont mix.
neither does PARANOIA,and making simple problems appear to be more difficult than they allude to be.

User avatar
Colin Nicholson
Executive Poster
Executive Poster
Posts: 1836
Joined: 04 Jul 2010, 19:15
Location: Morpeth, Northumberland
Contact:

Re: Sticking hammer after tuning

Post by Colin Nicholson » 20 Mar 2012, 18:28

So sorry Joe that my use of the English language is not simple enough for you.
Not really that difficult to understand,.... or is it? and most literate people can easily send a photo of the problem. Anyone else finding it difficult to understand my post?
AA Piano Tuners UK

Colin Nicholson Dip. Mus. CMIT CLCM PTLLS
Piano tuning & repairs. Full UK restoration service
http://www.aatuners.com
Tuition ~ Accompaniment ~ Weddings
http://www.pianotime1964.com
Member of The Guild of Master Craftsmen

User avatar
Johnkie
Persistent Poster
Persistent Poster
Posts: 248
Joined: 14 Jan 2011, 16:15
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne
Contact:

Re: Sticking hammer after tuning

Post by Johnkie » 20 Mar 2012, 18:59

The simple answer is that we just don't know what the problems is and how to sort it out without being there ! It is all guess work and may well be any one of a number of things causing the problem. However, just because Colin takes the time and trouble to post more than just about anyone else here, there is no need for others to be adversely critical of his suggestions, or to use this forum as a means to be impolite.
Concert Tuner & Technician for 45+ years - North East UK

sgcastrejon
Junior Poster
Junior Poster
Posts: 9
Joined: 03 Feb 2012, 16:01

Re: Sticking hammer after tuning

Post by sgcastrejon » 20 Mar 2012, 21:01

Hello, I do appreciate all the replies to my post. Regarding Colin Nicholson's reply: yes, it is an upright piano (overstrung), and the pedal mechanism is half-blow rail. When pressing the pedal, the 'inner' rail moves towards the strings. Yesterday the hammer got stuck all the time, but today it comes back, although more slowly than the others. I don't know if the problem will go away (that shows my flagrant ignorance), but if not, I shall contact my tuner. I am aware that an instrument of its age which is unrestored will need tlc.
Before I bought this piano I was hesitating between it and a 20-year old Kawai K2: any sensible person would have taken the second option, but I am afraid I have a compulsion to preserve antiques which are still usable but might disappear (a personality trait incompatible with serious music playing, no doubt!).

User avatar
Colin Nicholson
Executive Poster
Executive Poster
Posts: 1836
Joined: 04 Jul 2010, 19:15
Location: Morpeth, Northumberland
Contact:

Re: Sticking hammer after tuning

Post by Colin Nicholson » 20 Mar 2012, 21:45

sgcastrejon wrote: (only when I used the soft pedal; that never happened before the pedal mechanism was regulated).
Thanks for that Johnkie. Referring to sgcastrejon's wording above, I merely suggested something that could be related to the 'workings' of the soft pedal.... however we didn't expect the joker in the pack to pop up!! I certainly wouldn't be booking a piano tuner or technician you cant perform simple tasks like straightening up the nameboard felt..... so there we are.

Keeping it simple !!.... it could be as Barrie suggested, a neighbouring hammer rubbing against another in its mid-journey, or I suspect, if the hammer moves back alone, but very slowly on its own (without rubbing against another hammer), the hammer flange will need to be re-pinned. Not really part of a tuning, and sometimes these problems arise at any time. Not that expensive though to repin.

Give your tuner a ring - easily sorted, and a new pin & bridle strap will sort it.

Colin - the agony aunt!!
AA Piano Tuners UK

Colin Nicholson Dip. Mus. CMIT CLCM PTLLS
Piano tuning & repairs. Full UK restoration service
http://www.aatuners.com
Tuition ~ Accompaniment ~ Weddings
http://www.pianotime1964.com
Member of The Guild of Master Craftsmen

User avatar
MarkGoodwinPianos
Senior Poster
Senior Poster
Posts: 698
Joined: 04 Nov 2006, 05:28

Re: Sticking hammer after tuning

Post by MarkGoodwinPianos » 21 Mar 2012, 14:47

Don't take the bait Colin (easier said than done!)
Yamaha Pianos for sale (usually 50+ in stock)
email markgoodwinpianos@gmail.com with any Yamaha, Kawai, Bechstein or Steinway questions :)

sgcastrejon
Junior Poster
Junior Poster
Posts: 9
Joined: 03 Feb 2012, 16:01

Re: Sticking hammer after tuning

Post by sgcastrejon » 22 Mar 2012, 08:01

Dear Colin Nicholson,

I really appreciate your advice; it's great that you help people selflessly on this forum.

Post Reply