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Technical Consultancy - Most Frequent Defects


We will introduce the most common problems to be found in grand & upright pianos. What criteria should be checked before buying an older instrument and what are the possible remedies of the below mentioned defects.

Soundboard

soundboard

A cracked soundboard is a defect, which relates to the instrument age and appears especially as a result of ambient condition changes (temperature or humidity changes, etc.). If it is a small extent defect, it can have no effect. However, if the cracks are longer and there are many of them, a soundboard crown deformation appears, which causes lower acoustic quality to the instrument. The ribs may even become unglued. It is then necessary to completely restore such a soundboard, including the strings downbearing adjustment. This is a quite common defect in older instruments.


Bridge

piano bridge

A bridge is one of the most important instrument parts. It enables a transfer of string vibration on the soundboard. Wood selection for its production, its shape and the quality of manufacturing have a critical impact on the correct diapason and string downbearing adjustment. A well manufactured bridge contributes to the development of instrument sound quality and the tuning stability. Each damage, even small cracks or loose pins, will always make the instrument less valuable. Bridge repairs are one of the most difficult to complete.


Tuning pins and strings

tuning pins and strings

Loose tuning pins fundamentally affect the tuning stability. If they are not too loose, the defect can be temporarily solved by pushing in the pins. However, most of the time it is necessary to exchange the pins. We also exchange the whole string coating within the tuning pin replacement.


Hammers

kladívka

As the instrument is used, the action, especially the hammers, get worn. The fully worn hammers deteriorate the instrument sound, cacophonous sound and intonationally unbalanced sound appears. Also the axis on action parts are stressed. As soon as the wear reaches a certain level, it is necessary to resharpen or exchange them. An exchange becomes necessary, if there is not enough hammertop felt, especially in discant part.


Knuckles

action knuckles

Knuckles also belong to the very stressed action part. If they are flattened, or if they even have a damaged surface, it is necessary to exchange them. High quality knuckles contribute to the precise action regulation, which helps with correct and smooth running.


Action part axis

axis of action parts

The axis in action become loose due to wear. The parts, which move on the loose axis, even after tightening the screws, can cause issues, especially to the hammers. It is required to exchange the axis then. A loose movement of the action parts is very sensitive to ambient temperature and humidity changes. It is sometimes impossible to guarantee approximately the same temperature and humidity values in different seasons throughout the year, it is necessary to check the action within the regular maintenance then and to exchange the possible loose or stuck axis.


Keyboard

klávesnice

The keyboard is a very important instrument part. The pianist perceives the instrument mainly through it. Key top unevenness, chipped keys, loose or on the contrary tight encasement, all these issues can deteriorate the instrument and the quality of the sound. A keyboard repair is a common piano work.


Instrument finishing

instrument finishing

The same rules apply to grand pianos and upright pianos as practised in the furniture industry, but with twice as much care. The main purpose of the finishing is to provide protection against the ambient humidity and to provide increased aesthetical value to the instrument. A finish repair is a big technological challenge. Especially the repair of chipped off or nipped off part edges or so called "diluted" lacquer. A good finishing significantly increases the instrument value and it is the most important factor when buying a piano in many cases.


Damage caused by moles and wood-worm

damage caused by moles and wood-worm

The same rules apply to grand pianos and upright pianos as practised in the furniture industry, but with twice as much care. The main purpose of the finishing is to provide protection against the ambient humidity and to provide increased aesthetical value to the instrument. A finish repair is a big technological challenge. Especially the repair of chipped off or nipped off part edges or so called "diluted" lacquer. A good finishing significantly increases the instrument value and it is the most important factor when buying a piano in many cases.


Summary

shrnutí

The best possible result will be reached by the complete restoration of the instrument, individual defects and their repairs should all be completed. Repairs to each item relate to one another, they are all connected. Wherever possible, we should avoid component repairs, which may only solve part of a more complex problem. It is always better to restore the instrument completely, including the finish.



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