Registered Piano Technician

To close or not to close your fallboard; that is the question.

Posted on by tuner

Covering the keys with what is known as the fallboard will protect them from various kinds of damage.  On a recent job I was called out to remove broken glass from the keys of a spinet piano which was caused by a E3 tornado passing through Glen Heights, Texas  on Decumber 26, 2015.   The house was still intact with some roof damage; didn’t look  at the entire house.  The front glass door was shattered at the bottom.  The 2 windows in their piano room were blown out with pieces of glass still on the white carpet and the piano keys were out of level with the glass easily visible.  The window frames were now temporarily covered with wood.    Here are 2 pics of one section of keys.  I lifted about 6 or 7 keys at a time and vacuumed under them and also on the tops and sides.  The initial problem is that the glass is wedged between the keys. When lifting the keys the pieces of glass will mostly fall underneath them. I could have taken them all out at once except that I didn’t want to have any problems with the rubber grommets that connect the keys to the action. Grommets can be brittle and crack when disconnected or reconnected.  Also cleaned the keytops.  She wasn’t concerned about some brown stains which weren’t coming off readily. With more time I could have gotten that off.  That wasn’t from the tornado. Some glass was hiding in back of the music rack and in various tight places.  I also vacuumed out the bottom area, but didn’t find any glass there.  My customer also gave me the ok to get rid of some clicking when the keys were played and released.  The hammer flange screws were a little loose, but were causing a major annoyance.  The hammers were easily moved latterly which is not a good thing.  I could access those screws from above the keyboard since this piano was a little different from a typical spinet.  The screwdriver had to be angled downward at about a 40 degree angle.  That made it more difficult to get hold of them, but possible.  I also removed quite a bit of lost motion from the keys.  I couldn’t remove it all since the dampers were lifting early.  She thought the piano played and sounded better than before the tornado.  Of course in some tornado situations the piano would be long gone. The piano is 1/4 step flat which is a lot.  She will call me later for the tuning.  The insurance company was just paying only for the glass related problem. She is going to be really happy when I tune it at A440.glass1glass2

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Yonley's Piano Tuning and Repair
1201 Eastside Dr.
Mesquite , Tx , 75149