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Joined: Apr 2014
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Duaner Offline OP
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What do you think of this? I'll try to explain. I tuned a piano today that had not been tuned in years. I was quite consistently steady at 120-140 cents flat all the way. Also, it had been moved twice (and never tuned ??? and both significant moves). A regular apartment size piano (50" high) I didn't catch the brand sorry, probably 1970's make, not real low grade either.

Anyway, I just went into bringing it up to pitch up to pitch as the strings "looked" stable and well after while I had it pretty good (but it was dropping fast seemed like...that's another issue). So, after I had it quite stable and I was ready to put the covers back on and leave thinking I'd have to come back in no-time (a few weeks) to bring it up to pitch again, I checked the pedals as I always do as a curtesy ("no-charge"...looks good on the invoice as a N/C item....you know what I mean).

So I did the check and really couldn't believe what I was seeing. when you pressed the damper pedal nothing really happened as the dampers never budged but noticed some of the hammers moved forward in octave 3 and 4....I thought that's odd. So I goes down and adjusted the pedal rod at the nut to give it the adjustment it was lacking. Went back up tramped on the pedal and all of the dampers on treble side down to about end of 3rd octave seemed to clear some but the hammers previously mentioned kind of "came forward" even more not hitting the strings or anything close but just moved out there.

So, of course, something is wrong so I took out the action and it was jammed in place. I literally had to pry the thing off the 4 holder rods. I thought I'll never get this back on and it was a struggle. When I had it off I didn't really notice anything significant wrong (but honestly I was tired and wanted out of the hot apartment). But something is wrong as hammers don't go forward when the damper pedal is pressed. I said it had been moved twice and the action coming out so difficultly....

After all this description I hope I've explained enough that some of you will take a stab at what could be wrong as I have to go back soon and make the thing playable. What do you think?


Duane Graves


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Sounds like the action rail has separated. When you depress the pedal it lifts the top portion of the rail instead of rotating the damper rod. It is sometimes not noticeable just looking at the action unless you push on the damper rod lever. You'll then see the separation. The rail needs to be screwed and glued. Can be a lot of work.


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Duaner Offline OP
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Exactly....that would explain several things including why the action bolts and the action brackets are not lining up with the brackets being considerably higher (at least 1/8" higher or more) when they are in a fixed position.

Thanks Bill but like you said this could be a big job to get it back in place securely and expensive to the customer, but there are instances that I "under-charge" just to get the job so I can learn from the experience. This might be one of those cases.

Last edited by Duaner; 11/11/20 10:57 AM.

Duane Graves


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Does anyone else want to help me solve this mystery of mine in terms of repair there of....every little piece of knowledge you want to share with me helps in some way, shape or form as far as I'm concerned. I'll be bringing the action to my work table for the repair job in a few days.


Duane Graves


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Bill's suggestion about the possibly separated action rail certainly makes sense.

I'm not sure about the 1/8th" height difference between the action brackets and the bolts, though. I wonder if the piano during a move might have fallen on its back or been dropped in some other way, with a sudden shock causing both a split in the action rail, and a shift somewhere else, causing the cups in which the base of the action brackets sit, to be too high? Such a shift would likely have affected the action regulation drastically, though.

I guess we have all encountered action brackets that are very tight against the undersides of the bolts, making the actions difficult to remove - but a difference of 1/8" seems suspicious.

Incidentally, I heard a suggestion years ago, though I haven't had to use it, of using a short length of copper pipe, a leftover from some plumbing job maybe, as a lever, to slip over action bolts and lever them up a little, if the action brackets are rather tight against them.

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Duaner Offline OP
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Thinking further on this problem and the reason that the action brackets and bolts are out of alignment so bad, it seems to me, is because the bed that the action sits in place on has been disturbed either lifted up slightly or broken. Certainly, the posts that stabilize the action ends (foot rests) are higher and after taking my own piano apart I surmise that the trouble is along the bottom rest which runs under all the keys also. Seems to me the piano must have fell over or fell hard one end when being moved and all this happened. I saw that many of the hammer return springs were crumpled too.

I'll bring the action home next week but before I leave I'll check the bed for damage by lifting all the keys out. If I can fix it I can tune it for the next number of years. This is the reasoning behind the effort plus the learning curve.

But in the end "there's more fish in the sea".....might have to let this one go....


Duane Graves


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Could also be a broken bracket. It’s happened to me once. JB weld fixed that one.

Good luck.


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Originally Posted by Duaner
Thinking further on this problem and the reason that the action brackets and bolts are out of alignment so bad, it seems to me, is because the bed that the action sits in place on has been disturbed either lifted up slightly or broken. Certainly, the posts that stabilize the action ends (foot rests) are higher and after taking my own piano apart I surmise that the trouble is along the bottom rest which runs under all the keys also. Seems to me the piano must have fell over or fell hard one end when being moved and all this happened. I saw that many of the hammer return springs were crumpled too.

I'll bring the action home next week but before I leave I'll check the bed for damage by lifting all the keys out. If I can fix it I can tune it for the next number of years. This is the reasoning behind the effort plus the learning curve.

But in the end "there's more fish in the sea".....might have to let this one go....

Yes, that's what I was getting at in my post above. With a discrepancy of 1/8" between brackets and bolts, it definitely sounds as something has shifted.

Is the 1/8" discrepancy much the same for all four action bolts? Jean's suggestion of a broken bracket is certainly worth checking, but if all four bolts are 1/8" too low in relation to the action brackets, it does suggest to me that there has been a fall or a drop that has caused something to move, around keybed level. But, was the regulation otherwise OK?


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