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#1247913 - 08/12/09 11:16 AM Advice on "clicking" keys please!  
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jagshrink Offline
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Hi all you technicians out there. I recently bought an 11 year old Charles Walter 1520 from a reputable dealer in my town. The dealer gave me an additional 10 year warranty on the piano. For better or for worse, my technician is the head technician at this store. I believe them both to be honest and honorable. The piano is lovely, although I think “high mileage”, having been used for teaching by the previous owner. Here is the issue. 5 keys “click” when returning to the rest position. The keys are B below middle C to F above middle C, the “most often” used keys for beginners (me). My technician traced the sound to the little pin that returns to the little hole under the key. The little hole is lined with felt, and the felt is more worn on these keys than the others. The other keys don’t click, the keys on the new Walters in the store don’t click, the keys on a Yamaha grand in the store click like crazy. I’m not sure whether this is normal, what is normal wear and tear, or what is abnormal wear and tear. I’m not sure if it should be repaired by the store under warranty (which they are not inclined to do), repaired at my cost because it’s driving my crazy, or if I should “get used to it” as my technician and the salesman recommended. My technician said once I am playing faster, I won’t notice it as much, but as a beginner, it will be a while before I am playing faster. Sorry for the lengthy post. Thanks in advance for your advice and recommendations.

jagshrink

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#1247918 - 08/12/09 11:31 AM Re: Advice on "clicking" keys please! [Re: jagshrink]  
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jagshrink,
The fact that they would tell you to "just get used to it" concerns me. What's up with that? Is that what they deem excellent customer service? What you are describing is called the front rail bushing of the key. It's a simple, inexpensive, fix for a tech to do, if, indeed, that's what is causing the clicking. The keys just need the old bushing felt removed and fresh new felt glued in using a caul to form it properly.


Piano Technician/Tuner
#1247919 - 08/12/09 11:33 AM Re: Advice on "clicking" keys please! [Re: jagshrink]  
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It sounds like your keys need rebushing, and possible the balance holes need to be sized.

On a piano that old you may be able to revive the bushings by pushing a needle into the felt where it comes into contact with the pin. It would take about 5 minutes to do the keys in question, and MIGHT solve your problem.

There are so many things that cause clicks in pianos! Loose pinning, loose glue joints in action parts, loose keytops, hard bridle tapes, foreign objects in the action, loose screws, and more!

If it's only 5 notes this should not be a big deal. Is the technician a registered guild member? If not, you might try finding a local RPT with a good reputation to check it out for you.


Ryan Sowers,
Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA
www.pianova.net
#1247920 - 08/12/09 11:34 AM Re: Advice on "clicking" keys please! [Re: jagshrink]  
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How convenient for the salesman and tech to tell you to get used to it. It seems to me, assuming for the moment that the clicking you describe is not normal, that it's their way of pretending to give you a warranty, but then when a problem arises, not addressing it. Are they honest and honorable? Well, maybe not.

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#1247936 - 08/12/09 12:03 PM Re: Advice on "clicking" keys please! [Re: Roy123]  
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OH--IO
Originally Posted by Roy123
How convenient for the salesman and tech to tell you to get used to it. It seems to me, assuming for the moment that the clicking you describe is not normal, that it's their way of pretending to give you a warranty, but then when a problem arises, not addressing it. Are they honest and honorable? Well, maybe not.


This is exactly my dilemma. If it's "normal", I've decided to pay for the repair myself. If it's NOT normal, I will either insist on a repair or pay for the repair myself, if not too expensive. Then I know something more about my technician and former dealer.

jagshrink

#1247937 - 08/12/09 12:04 PM Re: Advice on "clicking" keys please! [Re: rysowers]  
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Originally Posted by rysowers
It sounds like your keys need rebushing, and possible the balance holes need to be sized.

On a piano that old you may be able to revive the bushings by pushing a needle into the felt where it comes into contact with the pin. It would take about 5 minutes to do the keys in question, and MIGHT solve your problem.

There are so many things that cause clicks in pianos! Loose pinning, loose glue joints in action parts, loose keytops, hard bridle tapes, foreign objects in the action, loose screws, and more!

If it's only 5 notes this should not be a big deal. Is the technician a registered guild member? If not, you might try finding a local RPT with a good reputation to check it out for you.


This is what my technician did, and it worked for about a day. Then the click returned. Didn't solve the problem, but I think accurately diagnosed the problem.

#1247947 - 08/12/09 12:24 PM Re: Advice on "clicking" keys please! [Re: jagshrink]  
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Is your extended warranty a written warranty?

If so, what exactly is warrantied? Just the plate and soundboard? Or, is it warrantied against all defects?

Is it parts and labor? Or, just parts?

I'm sorry, but I just don't know enough about the deal you made.







Joe Gumbosky
Piano Tuning & Repair
www.morethanpianos.com
(semi-retired)
#1247957 - 08/12/09 12:44 PM Re: Advice on "clicking" keys please! [Re: daniokeeper]  
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I just had a clicking key on a Steinway grand. It turned out to be a loose key lead. Clicks on newer pianos (less than 50 years old) are usually something loose, like loose screws, bad glue joints, or a loose piece of debris in the action.


Semipro Tech
#1247961 - 08/12/09 12:52 PM Re: Advice on "clicking" keys please! [Re: daniokeeper]  
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I doubt if the original warranty covered wear and tear, so the additional warranty cannot be expected to either. Key bushings do wear out with use, not just because they are defective.


Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?
#1248004 - 08/12/09 02:44 PM Re: Advice on "clicking" keys please! [Re: UnrightTooner]  
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OH--IO
Thanks UnrightTooner. I didn't have a good feel for the "wear and tear" aspect of the problem. I have NO experience on how a warranty on a used piano works--does it cover anything not right with the piano at the time I bought it (which is what I assumed) or just "defect" type things. Unfortunately, these are questions I should have asked BEFORE the deal was completed. It's still a great piano, and I will plan on this(hopefully) inexpensive repair on my own dime.

Thanks to all of you who responded. Much appreciated.

jagshrink

#1248012 - 08/12/09 02:59 PM Re: Advice on "clicking" keys please! [Re: daniokeeper]  
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Originally Posted by daniokeeper
Is your extended warranty a written warranty?

If so, what exactly is warrantied? Just the plate and soundboard? Or, is it warrantied against all defects?

Is it parts and labor? Or, just parts?

I'm sorry, but I just don't know enough about the deal you made.



Apparently I don't either--live and learn!

jagshrink





#1248161 - 08/12/09 08:37 PM Re: Advice on "clicking" keys please! [Re: jagshrink]  
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Originally Posted by jagshrink

Apparently I don't either--live and learn!
jagshrink


Not necessarily...

Is there anything on your invoice?

Was anyone with you when the warranty was discussed?

Could you call and ask them specifically what is warrantied? The worst that will happen is that they won't tell you. At least you'll know exactly where you stand.

Also, how long have you owned the piano?

Btw, the Charles R. Walter really is a very nice piano.

But, if the key bushing felt is so worn that it now clicks after only 11 years, this piano has high mileage.

Was the piano represented as reconditioned?

Were you told that the store techs went over the piano and gave it a clean bill of health?

Last edited by daniokeeper; 08/12/09 09:15 PM.

Joe Gumbosky
Piano Tuning & Repair
www.morethanpianos.com
(semi-retired)
#1248172 - 08/12/09 09:13 PM Re: Advice on "clicking" keys please! [Re: daniokeeper]  
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OH--IO
I took delivery on the piano July 2nd, and notified the dealer about the clicking keys the following week, explaining that I was more than willing to let it go for a month or so to see what "settled out". The technician came out the last week of July and diagnosed the issue. I was in the store this past weekend picking up the bench that they had refinished for me. As an aside, the bench had a couple of gouges in it that I didn't notice when I bought it because there was a cushion on it. They repaired it beautifully at no charge. While in the store I spoke to my original salesperson, tested the new Walters (no clicks), and a used Yamaha grand where all the keys clicked. So again, not sure what is "normal".

The receipt says "10 year parts/labor". Does this mean they should fix the clicking keys, rebushing, free of charge? While they are in their current state due to wear and tear as opposed to "defect", they were defective at the time I bought the piano, as evidenced by the clicking.

Further thoughts about what I should politely ask for or demand? Thanks.

#1248176 - 08/12/09 09:23 PM Re: Advice on "clicking" keys please! [Re: daniokeeper]  
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Enough with the "get used to it." Pay for it yourself--- and employ someone else who is better-qualified and will treat you better. It is a nice piano, eleven years is not so old, and they don't click. But, maybe your new tech could look it over more carefully for you and come up with some suggestions for addressing the wear. Maybe it needs a day or half-day of work; maybe some things can be done over time so it's not so expensive all at once. All pianos can benefit from this, once in awhile.

I feel more fortunate to have my tech, every time I hear one of these stories. Last time it was a pedal that squeaked like an angry mouse... and I thought maybe it was a mouse, until I remembered that the guy has a grand. His "tech" told him the same thing: get used to it.


Clef

#1248182 - 08/12/09 09:29 PM Re: Advice on "clicking" keys please! [Re: jagshrink]  
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I'm surprised that they are fighting you on this. Rebushing a few keys isn't a big deal, unless you live a great distance from the store.

The bushings weren't defective when you bought the piano, they were worn out. The warranty made you feel safe, so you bought the piano thinking you'd be problem free. It probably cinched the deal.

My favorite line when arguing things like this is:
"So, you mean it's SUPPOSED to do this ?!"


Joe Gumbosky
Piano Tuning & Repair
www.morethanpianos.com
(semi-retired)
#1248188 - 08/12/09 09:52 PM Re: Advice on "clicking" keys please! [Re: daniokeeper]  
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OH--IO
Originally Posted by daniokeeper
Was the piano represented as reconditioned?
Were you told that the store techs went over the piano and gave it a clean bill of health?


No, not represented as reconditioned, and yes, told that the store tech (MY TECH, so I felt confident despite the divided loyalty) said it was in good condition.



#1248191 - 08/12/09 10:03 PM Re: Advice on "clicking" keys please! [Re: daniokeeper]  
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OH--IO
Originally Posted by daniokeeper
I'm surprised that they are fighting you on this. Rebushing a few keys isn't a big deal, unless you live a great distance from the store.

The bushings weren't defective when you bought the piano, they were worn out. The warranty made you feel safe, so you bought the piano thinking you'd be problem free. It probably cinched the deal.

My favorite line when arguing things like this is:
"So, you mean it's SUPPOSED to do this ?!"


I live 20 minutes from the store. That is specifically why I bought locally, despite paying a bit more than I would have had I driven to Elkhart Indiana, 5 hours away (which I wanted to do but had no one else in my household was up for the field trip)

It doesn't feel like they're fighting me exactly, just not jumping in and offering to do something they may not have to. Feels more like "the customer is always wrong (or crazy, demanding, ignorant, etc)" rather than the customer is always right. I feel like because I am an inexperienced player and inexperienced consumer, that they're trying to convince me this clicking is normal, to be expected, etc. I think if I called up and demanded it be fixed, with no regard for whether they thought I was being unreasonable, demanding, ignorant, etc that they would fix it.

Regarding your statement about my being reassured by the warranty and it CINCHING the deal, you are 100% correct.

Now I just need to have the gumption to call them up and get demanding. If they won't fix it, I pay my NEW technician to fix it. Does that sound about right?

Last edited by jagshrink; 08/12/09 11:15 PM.
#1248206 - 08/12/09 11:00 PM Re: Advice on "clicking" keys please! [Re: jagshrink]  
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Loose key leads are a definite possibility here. I've seen it on more than one Walter piano newer than years. It's not common, but not unheard of. If that's what it is, I believe it SHOULD be covered under the store warranty. As Ryan suggested, enlarged balance rail holes are a good possibility as well--wear and tear? Definite gray area here...



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#1248212 - 08/12/09 11:26 PM Re: Advice on "clicking" keys please! [Re: Dave Stahl]  
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The keys simply are not supposed to click. Playing faster or whatever they said is silly.

I'm terribly sorry you are having this problem.

Unfortunately, it seems like you are going to have stand your ground.





Joe Gumbosky
Piano Tuning & Repair
www.morethanpianos.com
(semi-retired)
#1248237 - 08/13/09 01:01 AM Re: Advice on "clicking" keys please! [Re: jagshrink]  
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Originally Posted by jagshrink
..."Here is the issue. 5 keys “click” when returning to the rest position.

The keys are B below middle C to F above middle C, the “most often” used keys for beginners (me).

My technician traced the sound to the little pin that returns to the little hole under the key


This post seems to have turned more into a discussion about the validity of
your warranty, rather than addressing your original question?

You say 5 keys 'click' on returning to rest position - and they're all adjacent.

Two things spring to mind immediately for me here - and it's nothing to do
with the key bushings.

They (key bushings) may make a noise of some sort, but it's not a 'click'.

1. A foreign object in that area - could be anything from a paper clip/business card

pencil/comb - anything really..... I've fished out all manner of things from inside

a piano action.

For this 'click' to be confined to one area, it would suggest a foreign object.

2. The other most common cause of a click on the hammer returning to rest position

is that the notch cushions are either badly damaged - maybe worn through,

a spillage possibly - causing the felts to harden, or they have fallen off completely.

9 times out of 10 this proves to be the cause of a click on the hammer return,

and is easily repairable.

My advice is to tell the supplier that you are going to bring in an independent,

competent, technician *at their expense* to diagnose, and fix, this problem.

That will probably make them take the matter more seriously than they appear to

have done thus far, so before long you should have this easy problem sorted out.

Good luck to you!


John Schofield. NTC Dip. , C.G.L.I.
Professional piano tuner/technician since 1982.
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#1248284 - 08/13/09 06:24 AM Re: Advice on "clicking" keys please! [Re: jpscoey]  
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Bob Offline
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I'd look for a click on the jack return under the hammer butt at the butt felt. Glue on the butt felt, missing felt, or miss-placed felt can cause a click on key return.

#1248287 - 08/13/09 06:35 AM Re: Advice on "clicking" keys please! [Re: jpscoey]  
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Along with the other mentioned possible causes, the keys can also click if the top of one key catches a slight overhand of another keys cover. Loose bushings can allow this to happen. On some recovering jobs these tiny overhangs are not filed flush with the key sides and the loose bushings let the keys rub by each other and click. I can't comment on the warranty but a recommendation to play faster pieces to avoid the problem is not very professional. Pianos are built to be played fast and slow and loud and soft and everything in between and as technicians we are trained to assess and recommend a fix. Reminds me of the patient telling the doctor "it hurts when I do that" and the doctor replying "don't do that".


Piano Technician
George Brown College /85
Niagara Region
#1248299 - 08/13/09 07:14 AM Re: Advice on "clicking" keys please! [Re: Emmery]  
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Originally Posted by Emmery
Reminds me of the patient telling the doctor "it hurts when I do that" and the doctor replying "don't do that".


That is a GREAT line. I'll be using it in my next discussion with the salesperson and technician. I thank you all for the contributions of your expertise. I am now convinced that this should not be happening, should be fairly easily fixable and at no great expense either with or without the warranty. But I am going to push harder for them to honor the warranty.

Thanks to all,
jagshrink

#1248300 - 08/13/09 07:16 AM Re: Advice on "clicking" keys please! [Re: daniokeeper]  
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OH--IO
Originally Posted by daniokeeper
The keys simply are not supposed to click. Playing faster or whatever they said is silly.



This is a basic piece of information that I absolutely needed to know before progressing to the next step. Thank you kindly.

jagshrink

#1248305 - 08/13/09 07:25 AM Re: Advice on "clicking" keys please! [Re: Emmery]  
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Originally Posted by Emmery
.....

Reminds me of the patient telling the doctor "it hurts when I do that" and the doctor replying "don't do that".


Or how about the female patient with a particular shade of hair being asked where it hurts. She touched various parts of her body saying here, here, here and here. The Doctor replied, “Oh, your finger is broken!”

And another patient said that he would get a stabbing pain in the left eye whenever he drank coffee. The Doctor said, "Well, take the spoon out of the cup."


Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?
#1248310 - 08/13/09 07:31 AM Re: Advice on "clicking" keys please! [Re: UnrightTooner]  
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'
Ok if we're going down that route.....

I went to see my Doctor.
He said "you've got hypochondria".
I said "Oh NO..... not that aswell".


John Schofield. NTC Dip. , C.G.L.I.
Professional piano tuner/technician since 1982.
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#1248336 - 08/13/09 08:20 AM Re: Advice on "clicking" keys please! [Re: jpscoey]  
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Everyone here has repaired your problem. Now Speak to the store owner about this issue rather than a sales person or a tech. Take a printout of these postings with you and insist the proper repairs be made by the store tech or a better trained tech.



Retired industry professional.
#1248341 - 08/13/09 08:33 AM Re: Advice on "clicking" keys please! [Re: wesquire]  
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Dave Stahl Offline
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...and do let us know the outcome: what happens with "warranty service," what the problem was, and how it is fixed (we hope it is!).

As long as we're tossing in old jokes, "How do you keep a turkey in suspense?"

"I'll tell you later."


Promote Harmony in the Universe...Tune your piano!

Dave Stahl, RPT
Piano Technician's Guild
San Jose, CA
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JAniw3m7L2I
http://dstahlpiano.net
#1248364 - 08/13/09 09:04 AM Re: Advice on "clicking" keys please! [Re: Bob]  
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Originally Posted by Bob
I'd look for a click on the jack return under the hammer butt at the butt felt.


Bob, just to clarify,

I'm sure what you call in the US as "butt felt" is what in the UK we call

"notch cushion" - so it's the same thing I was referring to.


John Schofield. NTC Dip. , C.G.L.I.
Professional piano tuner/technician since 1982.
myspace
#1249316 - 08/14/09 05:00 PM Re: Advice on "clicking" keys please! [Re: jpscoey]  
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Being born in the UK, I should know that. (disclaimer, I moved to America when I was 6 years old) Hee hee. Do you guys put actions in the boot, or tie them on top of the bonnet??? I'm going to have some Marmite now.......


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by Muhwu. 12/14/17 01:07 AM
slow play
by hendo. 12/14/17 01:00 AM
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