2017 was our 20th year online!

Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 3 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments.
Over 100,000 members from around the world.
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

Shop our online store for music lovers
SEARCH
Piano Forums & Piano World
(ad) SWEETWATER Cyber Week Deals
(ad)
Best of Piano Buyer
 Best of Piano Buyer
(ad)
Faust Harrison Pianos
Faust Harrison 100+ Steinway pianos
(ad)
Wessell Nickel & Gross
PianoForAll
Who's Online Now
75 members (An Old Square, 36251, Bellicapelli, bobrunyan, Abdol, b4xter, 23 invisible), 695 guests, and 470 robots.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
(ad)
Estonia Pianos
Estonia Pianos
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Hop To
Page 1 of 2 1 2
Joined: Sep 2021
Posts: 3
P
Junior Member
OP Offline
Junior Member
P
Joined: Sep 2021
Posts: 3
For years I've heard rebuilders and RPT's with many decades of work experience wonder why and how it could be that pianists stretch their fingers out while playing and somehow put so many vertical scratches into the fallboard. I've heard that in conservatory practice rooms there are sometimes gouges through the finish into the wood, and that the best and most experienced piano technicians are at a loss to explain why a pianist would do such a thing, and how, and why there are so many unsightly scratches on so many fallboards...

For those assiduous, dedicated piano craftsmen who too often have fallen into restless, troubled sleep wondering about who is doing it, and how, I hereby report my discovery of the gremlin who places all those scratches on flat fallboards, especially on rebuilt grands before one buys them! It's not the family cat (especially since not everyone has one), though it may be the 9 year old child taking piano lessons. More likely it is the mother who plays with long, beautiful fingernails, or the father whose nails are just a bit longer than optimal for performing surgery or Scarlatti...

Here's how I identified the culprit(s): I opened our big, heavy, beautifully smooth Steinway D lid from the side, being careful as usual not to scrape it with fingernails or belt buckle, and then I walked around to the front to play. I kept standing to pull its music stand toward me for sight reading, and while still standing I reached down and lifted the fallboard to open it. As I lifted it just with my fingertips, as usual, my grasp became a little precarious and almost slipped, so I reached under it with both hands and lifted the rest of the way.

Suddenly I realized that my fingernails now were touching the wood, and with the natural action and speed of lifting, they softly scraped upwards along the finished surface of the wood over the Steinway logo, not just one or two, but 3 or 4 fingers on each hand in a mostly vertical direction.

Eureka!

I immediately closed the fallboard and opened it again while standing, holding my breath with excitement at the moment of discovery. Again I started as usual to lift just with my fingertips on account of the edge between the fallboard and the front of the piano being very fine and narrow. Most readers will already know that it's necessary to insert the points of soft fingertips without pushing in too hard and bending the wood, and then to flex (bend) one's fingers to start the lift.

Voila! Halfway up it felt as if it were starting to fall away from my fingertips, and the natural (and necessary) reaction was to reach under the fallboard to catch it and then to lift it the rest of the way. At that point one's fingers are curved (flexed), and one's nails start to touch and can dig into the finish. Everywhere scratches appear in the middle of the fallboard is where a person lifts it while standing in front of it!

So, that's it. The fallboard scratches happen when pianists lift it while standing up, not sitting down. Players start to lift with fingertips, but then there's not a good enough grip or proper "action geometry" to keep holding it with soft fingertips all the way up. About halfway up it's necessary to slip one's hands around its front and under a flat fallboard to lift the rest of the way. At that point the fingernails are angled forty-five degrees into it, and unless someone has just cut his or her nails, they touch the wood surface. The natural action of lifting from there on is to stroke (scratch) upwards by flexing one's fingers against the fallboard, and unless one specifically tries to be slow and gentle and pull one's fingertips back, the nails can scratch the fallboard.

Picture a weightlifter curling a small barbell but sticking his fingers out and scratching a wall in front of him as he gets the weights halfway up. Picture a traffic cop motioning you to "come on" past him, scratching the air in front of him as he flexes his wrist and fingers upwards.

Mystery solved! Pets and Santa Clause no longer need be falsely accused and can once again silently creep around at night without undue piano liability! It's not the pianists who roll their eyes and heads, flap their jaws, and throw their hands and arms up and out, nor is it careless piano movers. Small children may, however, suffer additional reprimands in the future...

Piano refinishers and technicians also can rest easily: people don't always stand up to open their piano fallboards, but they most assuredly will continue to do so sometimes, especially for grands after they've already stood to open the lid or grab some music or adjust something on the top (Yes, tristis dicere, some people do put things on top of their grand pianos...): that's when they'll be most likely to open the fallboard before sitting down. Piano refinishers thus can once again peacefully drift into gentle slumber, secure in the happy expectation to enjoy the same refinishing business for as long as there are pianos and fallboards, despite the mechanism of injury having been discovered and published here.

"All's well that ends well."

Respectfully Submitted,

PianistSurgeon

P.S. I hope to receive some academic credit for the above posting, if ever I should enroll in training to become a piano technician, or at least an honorable mention for my discovery in any RPT Hall of Fame.

Joined: Apr 2021
Posts: 964
500 Post Club Member
Offline
500 Post Club Member
Joined: Apr 2021
Posts: 964
I need to remember this when I open the fallboard of my D282 CBechstein. 😊 I have been blaming my ladies maid! She does insist on working with those long purple fingernails.

Joined: May 2001
Posts: 25,477
Gold Subscriber
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Gold Subscriber
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 25,477
So, one person's experiment with the particular way he opens the fall board on his piano is now considered definitive proof of how scratches are produced on piano fall boards?

Moreover, the scratches I have seen on some piano fall boards are at or slightly above key level, an area hardly touched by one opening the fall board. Why do you assume that all who open a fall board do so from a standing position? Further, pianos in school/conservatory practice rooms rarely have the fall boards closed, so the opening of them is a somewhat rare occurrence and is hardly evidentiary proof of your "theory."

"Academic credit" is rarely conferred on the results of a single, personal example.

Regards,


BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 25,477
Gold Subscriber
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Gold Subscriber
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 25,477
One last thought, since it's too late to edit my previous post, if we're recounting how "we" open the fall board. I always do it from a sitting position at the piano. The pads of my thumbs go under the lip of the fall board with my fingers draped over what becomes the "back" of the fall board when it is opened, so no finger nails touch any of the surfaces of the fall board.

I don't think you can assume that everyone carries out this operation exactly as you do.

Regards,


BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 31,314
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Online Content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 31,314
Many people leave the fallboard open as this is often recommended but I bet they still have some scratches. I think scratches appear mostly from playing and mostly from those with longer fingernails. I like keeping my nails very short and have only a few mostly superficial scratches on the fallboard of my 15 year old M&H BB.

Joined: Feb 2011
Posts: 3,539
W
3000 Post Club Member
Offline
3000 Post Club Member
W
Joined: Feb 2011
Posts: 3,539
I do not have a Steinway D. The "lip" of my fallboard hinges back when open. No scratches. The hinges sometimes rattle when the lip is pushed back too far. There is perhaps a risk a clumsy pianist with long fingernails might damage the fallboard when adjusting it!


Ian Russell
Schiedmayer & Soehne, 1925 Model 14, 140cm
Ibach, 1905 F-IV, 235cm
Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 776
C
500 Post Club Member
Online Content
500 Post Club Member
C
Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 776
I have seen Youtube videos of cats walking on the keyboard


A rising tide lifts all the boats
Joined: Aug 2019
Posts: 1,008
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Joined: Aug 2019
Posts: 1,008


Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something. (falsely attributed to Plato)
Vlad,
Adult beginner
Joined: Jan 2015
Posts: 1,960
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Joined: Jan 2015
Posts: 1,960
That's a Blues song; so intense and emotional. Nobody knows the troubles he's bow wow wow known ...

Originally Posted by VladK


We are the music makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams.
Joined: Feb 2011
Posts: 3,539
W
3000 Post Club Member
Offline
3000 Post Club Member
W
Joined: Feb 2011
Posts: 3,539
"Groove On", a secret fallboard scratcher?


Ian Russell
Schiedmayer & Soehne, 1925 Model 14, 140cm
Ibach, 1905 F-IV, 235cm
Joined: Jan 2020
Posts: 855
M
500 Post Club Member
Offline
500 Post Club Member
M
Joined: Jan 2020
Posts: 855
Originally Posted by cygnusdei
I have seen Youtube videos of cats walking on the keyboard


I think Jerry is the one you really have to worry about.


Joined: May 2013
Posts: 3,020
Bronze Subscriber
3000 Post Club Member
Offline
Bronze Subscriber
3000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2013
Posts: 3,020
I note the OP is at the cutting edge of piano grin
Ian


I'm all keyed up
2016 Blüthner Model A
Joined: May 2006
Posts: 6,899
6000 Post Club Member
Offline
6000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2006
Posts: 6,899
Rings.


Pianist, teacher, apprentice technician, internet addict.
Piano Review Editor - Acoustic and Digital Piano Buyer
Joined: Apr 2021
Posts: 964
500 Post Club Member
Offline
500 Post Club Member
Joined: Apr 2021
Posts: 964
Originally Posted by terminaldegree
Rings.
I knew it! Helena my maid is wearing my jewelry and playing my Bechstein when I go shopping.


My piano's voice is my voice to the great unknown, out there..in other words a hymn.That is all but that is enough.

Just sold my old C2 and am thinking of replacing it with a CBechstein124, Schimmel K132 or a YUS5.
Joined: Oct 2012
Posts: 7,127

Platinum Supporter until Feb 18  2015
7000 Post Club Member
Offline

Platinum Supporter until Feb 18  2015
7000 Post Club Member
Joined: Oct 2012
Posts: 7,127


Dr. Bodine, is that you?



How to Upload Pictures
“If it sounds good, it IS good.” ― Duke Ellington!



Joined: Mar 2016
Posts: 125
D
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
D
Joined: Mar 2016
Posts: 125
[Linked Image] Here is the fallboard on my 1916 Weber (which will be refinished). Off hand it would appear these were due to playing to far in on the sharps near middle C.


Dave In Denver
1916 Weber FR 6' Duo Art
Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 107
P
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
P
Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 107
Dave: Time for a recondition or new piano. Ha..Ha..


C2XPEC
Joined: Apr 2021
Posts: 964
500 Post Club Member
Offline
500 Post Club Member
Joined: Apr 2021
Posts: 964
Originally Posted by VladK
That's funny! Thank heavens I have a tiny dog so no worries about that although he likes to sing occasionally as well.


My piano's voice is my voice to the great unknown, out there..in other words a hymn.That is all but that is enough.

Just sold my old C2 and am thinking of replacing it with a CBechstein124, Schimmel K132 or a YUS5.
Joined: Jun 2016
Posts: 443
D
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
D
Joined: Jun 2016
Posts: 443
Fallboard scratches are far more numerous on our Model A, in lacquer satin semi-gloss finish, than our Model B which is in high-gloss finish. I think the difference was mainly due to the hardness of difference finish, as there are also more scratches on the A elsewhere. Fortunately all of them were shallow.

On the other hand, all the fallboard scratches are closer to the keys, as BruceD mentioned above, and area that wouldn't be touched when opening the fallboard. I also kept fallboard open pretty much all the time.

So I don't think OP's observation applies to my own scenario.

I do keep my nails quite short, out of habit, and I took off my ring when I play the piano. I am pretty sure all the fallboard scratches our A has are from the fingernails during playing; they are far more concentrated in the midrange, than in the low bass or high treble, more or less consistent with how often each respective key is played.


1969 Hamburg Steinway B, rebuilt by PianoCraft in 2017
2013 New York Steinway A
Kawai MP11

Previously: 2005 Yamaha GB1, 1992 Yamaha C5
Joined: Oct 2012
Posts: 7,127

Platinum Supporter until Feb 18  2015
7000 Post Club Member
Offline

Platinum Supporter until Feb 18  2015
7000 Post Club Member
Joined: Oct 2012
Posts: 7,127
Originally Posted by tre corda
Originally Posted by VladK
That's funny! Thank heavens I have a tiny dog so no worries about that although he likes to sing occasionally as well.

At first I thought he was protesting, but I see that his tail is wagging, so he must be enjoying himself!


How to Upload Pictures
“If it sounds good, it IS good.” ― Duke Ellington!



Page 1 of 2 1 2

Moderated by  Ken Knapp, Piano World 

Link Copied to Clipboard
What's Hot!!
Pianos - Organs - & Keyboards, Oh My!
My first professionally recorded piece
---------------------
Visit Maine, Meet Mr. Piano World
---------------------
Posting Pictures on the Forums
-------------------
Forums RULES & HELP
-------------------
ADVERTISE on Piano World
(ad)
Pianoteq
Steinway Spiro Layering
(ad)
PianoDisc

PianoDisc
(ad)
Piano Life Saver - Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
(ad)
Mason & Hamlin Pianos
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Working while pregnant
by Elsbels - 12/07/21 07:41 AM
Improve sound of Casiotone CT-S1
by Charline - 12/07/21 07:28 AM
Which pedals are compatible with Yamaha P-515?
by Olie222 - 12/07/21 05:32 AM
Constant instrument hopping: the recorder
by meghdad - 12/07/21 04:39 AM
Es920 production stopped??
by playplayplay - 12/07/21 12:07 AM
Download Sheet Music
Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads
Forum Statistics
Forums42
Topics210,425
Posts3,151,166
Members103,545
Most Online15,252
Mar 21st, 2010
Please Support Our Advertisers

Faust Harrison 100+ Steinways

Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver

 Best of Piano Buyer

PianoTeq Bechstein
Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads



 
Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
| Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter | MapleStreetMusicShop.com - Our store in Cornish Maine


© copyright 1997 - 2021 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.5