Piano lost its spunk?

Increasingly, I am running into a certain category of piano with repetition problems. This problem occurs in vertical pianos, usually 30+ years (although they can be younger), built in Asia with hammer return springs that are held in place by a fabric cord. With time, these cords have become stiff and brittle and are breaking, thus releasing the tension on the hammer return spring. This loss of spring tension reduces the touch-weight of the key and causes the hammer to function erratically reducing repetition and power in the piano. In most cases, this is a relatively easy fix involving replacing the action part on which these cords are mounted.

I recently ran across a Yamaha studio piano about 35 years old in which all 88 of these cords were broken. While the action was in the shop, I took a few pictures to show you just what is involved with this procedure.

Here you see the back side of the action sitting on the work bench.

Here is a row of old parts contrasted with a row of new parts. You can see how the old cords are broken.

Top hammer assembly shows the old, unbound spring while the bottom assembly has the new part with the spring at tension.

Here we see new parts installed on the action rail with everything ready to go back together and play again like new.

So if your thirty year old Asian vertical piano doesn’t have the spunk that it once did, you might want to have me take a look at those hammer return springs.

Stay Tuned,
Jim Faris

4 thoughts on “Piano lost its spunk?

  1. This is a fascinating article! I love explanations with photos! Keep up the great work!! I bet you have a weekly blog in you, Jim, not just monthly! Posting a link on Facebook is smart…. I’m going to share it on my FB page.

  2. Cool! So even 30+ish-year olds who feel like they have lost the youthful spring in their step have a chance to feel young again ;D? There *is* hope! And how nice that someone who knows nothing of the technical jargon of piano fixin’ can follow your insights! Some awesome pictures, too.

    The word on the street is that your adoring public would like at least one article a week. Please. Don’t shoot the messenger, I am only passing it along :).

    • Hi Lisa,
      That depends on what kind of piano you have and how much adjustment is needed once the new parts go in, but the cost usually runs $700 to $1000. I wouldn’t advise replacing less all 88.

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