Stuck or damaged keys are common issues that piano owners encounter — and they can be some of the trickiest to fix.
Repairing piano keys is sometimes a matter of giving the sticky key a slight wiggle to help everything fall back into place. But you could risk further damaging your piano by trying to mend a key yourself. The best course of action is to work with a professional who can identify and address the root of the problem.
Common Causes of Stuck Piano Keys
A sticky key makes playing the piano difficult, if not impossible. What causes a piano key to become stuck in the first place? Here are the most common culprits:
- Humidity: Changes in the moisture level can cause the keys or the front rail to expand, creating spacing and alignment issues. That’s why it’s critical to maintain a consistent climate for your instrument and avoid humidity and temperature fluctuations.
- Physical Blockage: Small obstructions like food particles often result in jammed keys.
- Tight Key Bushings: The balance pin and guiding pin of a piano key rest inside a felt-cushioned component. If the felt bushings are too tight or have swelled due to moisture, the pins cannot move freely and the key will stick.
Repairing vs. Replacing Piano Keys
When repairs are needed, you likely want to keep the piano as original as possible by fixing the existing keys. But sometimes piano keys can become damaged beyond repair due to time and improper maintenance.
Professional piano technicians — like our factory-trained, proven staff at Bradfield Piano — work to preserve the original keys whenever possible. Small physical obstructions or tight key bushings can often be repaired while keeping the keys intact.
If a key needs to be replaced, we use only genuine parts, including Steinway & Sons NY parts. Our expert technicians have the knowledge and experience to choose the correct part for your piano’s model and year.
When to Hire a Professional Piano Technician
When you encounter a stuck, dead or damaged key, always consult with a professional to minimize the risk of damage. It’s imperative to follow a professional’s recommendations to ensure a simple key repair does not become a larger issue.
At Bradfield Piano, our piano technicians are qualified to work on instruments from all manufacturers. We offer a wide range of services, including maintenance and repairs, Steinway restorations and piano refinishing. State-of-the-art technology, decades of experience and a love of music come together in a Bradfield Piano repair and restoration project.