tl:dr: Key presses “bottoming out” on percussive playing - replace front rail punching(s)?
I am not a tuner or repair person (apologies), though I do occasional work on my instrument and vigilantly maintain the Dampp-Chaser system, but have a technical question I can’t answer, so am posting here.
My Yamaha C6 was manufactured 2002 and I’ve played it vigorously for nearly 20 years now, but recently it developed a problem and I’m stumped. When I hit a key hard it feels like it’s “bottoming out”—as if you had a water bed with too shallow a frame, and elbows hit the frame floor, that kind of thing. I have never experienced this with any piano (I’ve been playing almost 60 years), but I do know my C6 intimately, so when a few keys started doing this a month ago, I freaked and was puzzled. It doesn’t happen on every key (yet?). So is it just the front rail punchings wearing out over time? Is that the sort of thing that would cause the normal "cushioned landing" sensation that every key press is supposed to have to start to vanish on certain keys? Or something more complicated involving the hammers and/or action?
I will probably pull the action tomorrow and swap a few punchings from the top or bottom (keys I never hit hard) into the middle to see if that fixes the worst keys (a few right above Middle C, especially E and E-flat). If that immediately solves the problem, then I just order a new set of punchings, right? I’m thinking Wurzen, or the ones that Howard Piano sells, or perhaps even Yamaha if I can afford it. (There's one kind that's only round on one side, with a straight edge on the other side; that's too spooky.) Runs about $1500, right? I’m not trying to stiff my tuner or anything; I would probably bring him in afterward to regulate everything. But he had a death in his circle recently and I don’t want to contact him just yet.
I am pretty sure it’s not a problem with the user’s brain, that being me (neurological or arthritic), as I went to a Yamaha dealer today, played almost everything they had, and didn’t experience the problem with any instrument there.
But I'm going nuts and have to get this fixed asap. Playing is not enjoyable anymore.
Thanks for any help!
One main owner
Owner (me) has played 60 years