There are fewer things more enjoyable than performing on an acoustic piano. The feel of the weighted key, the dynamic sounds of the strings – there is nothing quite comparable to playing on a quality acoustic piano.
However, despite their unrivalled quality, acoustic pianos are not free from problems. Perhaps one of the most daunting issues to deal with is when one of the keys starts to stick. It may start of subtle, not appearing like much of an issue. Then it becomes more stuck, maybe even spreading to other keys along the piano.
Nothing is worse than trying to play music only to be stopped by a stuck key ruining your performance! It’s something most acoustic piano owners experience, and thankfully something that can be fixed at home.
Let’s take a closer look at how to fix stuck piano keys!
Why Do Piano Keys Stick?
Before we get into fixing stuck piano keys, it helps to understand what causes the problem in the first place. There are few reasons why your piano keys are stuck, so k knowing what these means you’ll know the best options for fixing them.
The leading cause of stuck piano keys is humidity. The inside of a piano features countless intricate components, most of which are manufactured from wood. When these wooden components are exposed to humidity, they start to expand and contract.
This swelling is the leading cause of stuck keys, with the expansion and contraction making certain keys stick when pressed.
While we don’t get the best weather here in the UK, summers do get hot and humid, meaning your piano could be at risk. Any time the keys on my acoustic piano stuck, it’s been during the summer months, with humidity being the main culprit!
Of course, many of you live in much warmer, humid climates, meaning the risk of stuck piano keys becomes even higher. It’s often a good idea to consider the humidity of a room before placing a piano there!
You won’t find any judgement here for occasionally getting your piano keys dirty! We’ve all had moments where we rush through lunch at our piano or have a family member that plays around with the keys without properly cleaning up after themselves.
Spillages, crumbs, and other debris can all cause piano keys to stick. It may be more common if you have young children playing with the piano.
Small Objects and Debris
It doesn’t even need to be food or drink falling between keys and causing them to stick – it could be small objects like a coin or jewellery. Any foreign object that falls between the piano keys may cause sticking, so it’s important to know how to fix this issue!
Can I Fix My Stuck Piano Keys?
In many cases it is possible to fix a piano with stuck keys at home, although certain issues may require professional repairs.
For example, if its swelling or debris that’s causing the issue, then you can most likely fix the problem with relative ease. If the issue is something more mechanical, such as the bushings being too tight or problems with the keys and key slip, then professional repair is needed to avoid any damage.
Of course, you may not realise the problem, so consider trying our quick fixes below, and if that doesn’t work then you can contact a technician to repair it for you.
How to Fix Stuck Piano Keys Due to Humidity
While it may not be ideal, the main method for fixing stuck keys due to humidity is to simply wait for it to subside. This does require some patience and may not be possible in places that are humid throughout the year.
However, it is the safest method for avoiding any damage to the piano components. Otherwise, you may cause more problems than you fix.
If you can’t wait for the humidity to pass, then you’ll want to start by finding the key that is sticking. Press down the key and any surrounding keys to make sure that you’ve identified the one that is actually sticking down.
Using a thin object like a narrow screwdriver or knife, gently separate the keys that are sticking. Be very careful here, using an object that is thin enough to fit between the keys without damaging them.
If you’re too rough, you risk damaging the keys!
Should this problem persist, it may be worth your while investing in a piano dehumidifier. This is a device that reduces the excess humidity, creating the perfect temperature-controlled environment for the piano.
While they are expensive, it’s a worthwhile investment for the long-term health of your piano. It also saves the hassle of constantly trying to fix those stuck keys!
How to Fix Stuck Piano Keys Caused by Objects
If your keys are stuck because something fell below them, there is an easy fix. It may seem scary but you’re going to need to remove the piano keys to gain access below.
Of course, you may want to avoid this in case you damage something, in which case you can hire a professional to do it safely.
However, having removed keys from an upright acoustic piano many times, it’s not as hard as you might think. Simply remove the large section behind the desk and then the fallboard that covers the keys.
Gently remove the keys to reveal what’s underneath, removing any foreign objects you find. This is a good time to vacuum any loose debris if you notice a lot of mess below the keys!
How to Fix Stuck Piano Keys Caused by Food and Drink
If the keys are stuck because of spilled food or drink, fixing the problem is very easy – you need to clean the keys!
Piano keys are usually made from wood with plastic coating, so cleaning them is quick, easy, and safe. Ivory keys are more delicate but can be cleaned with the same method, just take extra care to avoid damaging them.
To clean sticky keys, use a damp (not wet) cloth and small amount of liquid soap. don’t overdo it -less is more to avoid soaking the keys! Clean each key one a time, drying it off with a separate cloth or paper towel.
Consider regularly cleaning your keys to avoid future sticking! Routine maintenance ensure that your piano has fewer issues down the line.