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I have a Yamaha U2 upright piano and it is quite difficult to play due to the keys feeling too heavy. I'm not sure what is typical for these types of pianos, but I measured that it takes 75g of weight for a key to begin to depress, and about 100g to bring the key down completely.

This seems too high, and I was thinking about drilling some leads into the keys to make it more comfortable for me. However, I'm worried about this affecting the resale value of the piano. Should I go ahead and attempt this, or am I going to devalue the piano?

I don't currently have a piano technician. Should I consider hiring one to evaluate the situation? I don't have a lot of money to spend right now so that would be a last resort for me, but I'm wondering if that's the safest route to go. While I feel confident that I can install the leads with no issues, I don't really have any understanding of the mechanics of a piano and I'm not sure if there is a better solution.

I'd really appreciate any advice as I'm very excited to play.

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Deejay,

Did you buy this piano new or used? Also, how old is it?

I seem to recall a thread we had here in virtually the same subject, however I'm thinking it was a Kawai...but same problem. Someone with more internet savvy than me might supply a link to this. Seems to be a common problem lately.

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If you add weights to the front of the key you mess with all sorts of ratios, you may well cause other problems.
I suggest you start with something much simpler.
Lift middle c a couple of mm at the front of the key.. Does it fall back down immediately when you release?
Try a few others. Maybe you have friction.
Look at your dampers as you slowly depress a key. At which point in the keydip does the damper start to lift?
Try these and report back before doing anything hasty.
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Yeah, you have to know first what's wrong before you drill the keys....
Do what Nick said and also downweight and upweight measurements for couple of keys with damper depressed! then report.

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Are you sure it is not key friction or tight key bushings causing the issue? I would rule these out first. This fix is much cheaper and could possibly be a DIY operation if you are so inclined.

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NO! Do not start drilling your keys and installing weights. It is not the safest route to go, unless you want to destroy your piano.


It might well be excess friction. Get a technician to look at it.

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Are you sure it is not key friction or tight key bushings causing the issue? I would rule these out first. This fix is much cheaper and could possibly be a DIY operation if you are so inclined.

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I bet it's friction at tight key bushings, and sluggish action centers. I don't think Yamaha ever manufactured a U2 to have the downweights you mention, and I would definitely not start messing around with adding weights to keys (shudder).

Carry out Nick's suggestions. Also, in the action, push some hammers to the strings, and see if they immediately fall back, with no hesitation.

Last edited by David Boyce; 03/27/22 03:47 AM.
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Originally Posted by David Boyce
I bet it's friction at tight key bushings, and sluggish action centers. I don't think Yamaha ever manufactured a U2 to have the downweights you mention, and I would definitely not start messing around with adding weights to keys (shudder).

Carry out Nick's suggestions. Also, in the action, push some hammers to the strings, and see if they immediately fall back, with no hesitation.

I was wondering how you can test if action centers are good or not. I have the opposite problem, the action is too light, so the action centers might be too loose.

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"A successful cure depends on an accurate diagnosis"...

"Putting water in the radiator won't work if the car's out of fuel"

I didn't make these up but they apply entirely.

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It is important that the measurement for downweight be taken with the damper pedal depressed. It is not clear to me from the description above whether this is how it was done.

If the excessive downweight specification remains when the damper pedal is depressed, friction is the first issue to look at, as outlined above. If there really is a key weighting issue, I would expect to see excessive leads present in the back of the key that need removing. I would consider this to be very unusual.

A common source of action heaviness is excessive tension in the damper springs. I have on occasion reduced the tension of damper springs, and ended up with a good result. I have a tool designed by Keith Bowman RPT that enables me to do this with precision.


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Cosmic,

Are you by any chance comparing this to an electronic keyboard feel? Or perhaps a little spinet or something like that? Also, has this piano changed environments significantly lately?

Friction and springs would be where I would look first, as has been adequately advised. In the final analysis though you will need the knowledge and expertise of a good piano technician. AND, it will take some time and cost some money. I do not believe any of us can relieve you of that requirement.

Peter Grey Piano Doctor

Last edited by P W Grey; 03/27/22 02:38 PM.

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Guys, I don't know who you talking to, those keys are already drilled laugh

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Thanks a lot for all the feedback! I'll do some tests as soon as I get home and likely have a professional look at it since it seems likely to be one of the issues mentioned.

I don't own an electronic keyboard, I'm comparing it to other pianos I have played on in the past (which all seemed to have relatively light action). I bought this one about 10 years back (used) but didn't play it very much as it was left at my parent's house. Sadly I didn't have the opportunity to maintain it so its difficult for me to tell if its an issue that developed since moving it in. I will admit that I know pretty well nothing about the kind of maintenance a piano requires aside from tuning.

I think it may have issues with friction as I recall the key bushings feeling rather tight. I'll also measure the downweight again with the damper pedal depressed as I forgot to do that. I don't think it makes a lot of difference though, as the keys are quite stiff regardless.

I really appreciate the help. Since there's so many possible issues, I will try to have a professional look at it if I can't figure out anything specific. I really appreciate that you've helped point me in the right direction, since I know absolutely nothing about this stuff.

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It needs tuning anyway so you better get a good one in on it! :-)

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Originally Posted by CosmicDeejay
I'll also measure the downweight again with the damper pedal depressed as I forgot to do that. I don't think it makes a lot of difference though, as the keys are quite stiff regardless.

As a comparison, I have a Yamaha U1 whose mechanism will be pretty similar to your U2. When I got it the key weights without the dampers (i.e. with the pedal down) were all around 55 to 60g. Lubing everything brought that down to 50 to 55g which I consider acceptable.

But without the pedal I had some keys that were about 100g and plenty in the 80s to 90s. Really hard to play. After advice from this forum I bent all the damper spoons back a bit ( to make the dampers lift later) and bent the damper springs a little (to weaken their force). This got all the keys into the 70s which made a huge difference to the feel.

So I think with lubing and damper adjustment there is a good chance you will be a lot happier. Adding weights to the keys would be a very last resort. Yamaha know what they are doing.


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Yes they do.

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