My piano key problem?
2008-12-27 10:00:29 UTC
I spilled water on my upright grand piano and the KEYS GOT WET (eek)!!!! Now I find that 4 keys that I spilled water on are STICKING!!!! WhenI play those 4 keys, the 1st time is OK but then they stay pressed down and I have to take time to get them right. THEY ARE NOT WORKING!!!!!!!
Help!! I've got this piano exam in late a cure for my sticky piano keys would be appreciated!!!
Five answers:
I. Jones
2008-12-27 22:52:07 UTC
Where the water spilled is going to be the issue here. Obviously the first thing to do is to wick away any residual water that is visible. I wouldn't mind an owner removing the keyslip (the wood piece that hides the bottom of the front of the keys to wipe up spillage here.)

It doesn't sound like it was in the front of the keyboard. The front of the keys only have key-guides and paper and felt punchings, and key bushings. The bushings are inside the key and the water is unlikely to have spilled "up", the punchings are below the keys and shouldn't affect too much except the key dip.

Further back on the keys is the balance rail. Again, pins poking through the wood of the keys. Water dropped here, might swell the bushings causing sluggishness ... but not dead keys. Back even further is the action. Typically an upright/console action is "out of the way" inside the cabinet unless you've got the front of the piano removed. Or on a grand, tipping water "inward" past the tuning pins (tell me you didn't get them wet) would spill water into the action and cause more havoc since the action is made up of dozens of small parts, pins, felts, machined wood parts, and springs. (Any water on or near the tuning pins needs to be wiped up too.)

If all you've spilled is water, time will dry it out, though regulation may be a little bit off ... probably not enough to worry about. If it's coffee, soda, fruit juice, milk, wine, or something else it's likely that the works are going to be gummed up and will require a technician to examine and regulate the affected parts.

... about the only thing less damaging than a bit of water would be (pure) alcohol. Which may be why Lounge Lizard Pianists keep a brandy snifter on their piano for tips. :--)
2008-12-27 13:18:46 UTC
First off, either you have a grand piano OR an upright piano, (but for this issue it shouldn't make a difference)

What probably happened is that you got some felts and bushings wet.

when felt gets wet it retains water and expands, this expansion causes extra friction is probably the cause of the stickiness. Felt retains water very well so it may be a few days before the insides of your piano are completely dry.

waiting won't exacerbate the problem, so wait 2-3 more days to see if drying out solves the problem. If it doesn't call your piano tuner and tell them what happened.

hopefully the water did not get into the key bushings or into the wippens as that's a more time consuming and expensive fix. most of the glue used in pianos is water soluble so if there was a lot of water your key bushings may have come unglued.

If the key bushings got wet, then your piano tech will need to take the affected keys with him, replace the bushing, ease the keys and put them back on the piano. unfortunately you have to take apart a lot of the insides of the piano to take off individual keys to do a very simple repair.

the best solution may be to find another piano to practice on until you have your piano exam.
2016-09-16 15:27:02 UTC
Open up the piano and dry it with a blow dryer for a few minutes, wait for 15 minutes and the problem should be solved. When the felt gets wet it expands.
Meg C
2008-12-27 10:35:16 UTC
Any kind of contact cleaner (canned air) should help with the sticking. I've had similar problems in the past (though it was juice not water) and contact cleaner seems to do the trick.

hope it helped :)
2016-03-16 02:40:48 UTC

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