Piano Care

How To Troubleshoot Major Piano & Keyboard Problems

Learn to recognise what are the major problems when they arise with either your keyboard or piano. Sometimes it is worth your while to fix them whereas on other occasions buying a new instrument is the best way to go.

There are times when the problems that arise with your keyboard are serious and need you to spend a great deal of money and take some strong decisions. Get the advice of at least two technicians before you decide to spend that money and whether it is worth salvaging your keyboard or not.

Sometimes the problem with a digital keyboard such as the burning out does not warrant the repairs. In case of acoustic pianos, there is seldom a problem that requires you to do away with the entire instrument. Of course, if the soundboard of your piano breaks, then the piano becomes almost worthless. These are some of the serious faults that can arise with your keyboard and how you can deal with them.

The soundboard of your panel breaks or cracks

The soundboard of a piano is a large polished board under or behind the strings. The soundboard is responsible for creating the resonance and amplifying the vibration from the strings that creates the signature piano sound.

This soundboard can break during a move performed by unqualified movers or it can break due to constant changes in humidity that causes the wood to swell and contract. The thing is that if the soundboard cracks or breaks, you might not notice the difference yourself. In fact you can continue playing the piano the way you have always. However, the resale value of your piano will be next to nothing. Have a piano technician check out the soundboard for you during each tune up.

You only hear a thump when you press an acoustic piano key.

There could be many reasons for this happening, some pointing to a simple fault where as another being a more serious one. Either the hammer, damper or both are not functioning properly. You may have to replace the mechanism for just one key or replace the entire set of keys and hammers. The first option is obviously much cheaper whereas the second one can raise quiet a bill from the piano technician. The simplest and easiest to fix fault could be a broken piano strings which can be usually fixed for under $15.

Your digital keyboard does not come on.

Once again, the reason why your keyboard is not switching on could be something very simple or something very expensive. First of all, check the electric connection to ensure that the electric outlet you are plugged into is working properly and not burnt out. You can do this by plugging something else into the same outlet and seeing if that functions. If there is nothing wrong with the power supply your keyboard may be dead. There may also be something wrong with the power transformer in your digital keyboard. One way to check it out is to put batteries in the keyboard if it is the kind that runs on battery power as well. If the keyboard switches on when you put batteries inside it, the problem may be relatively simple one that needs you to replace the power supply in your keyboard.

The LCD displays shows garbage.

If the words and letters on the front panel of your digital keyboard are a bunch of meaningless letters, some circuit inside may not be working probably. The keyboard still may continue to play or may not. Only a piano technician will be able to give you an estimate of the repairs required.

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You spill liquid over your digital keyboard.

This can cause the entire circuit inside a digital keyboard to short-circuit. Immediately switch off the keyboard if you spill anything on it. Do not attempt to switch it on again. To minimize the damage, let it dry out and call up technical help and a technician to come and have a look at it before turning on the power. The technicians will be able to open up your keyboard and dry it out properly before switching on the power which may allow you to salvage the circuits inside. If you are fast enough in cutting out the power of a digital keyboard, you may avoid excessive damage since the liquid takes time to seep into all the places inside the keyboard.

You spill liquid on your acoustic piano

While nothing is going to short-circuit inside your acoustic piano, the wood, strings, hammers and even the keys can get damaged. Quickly get a cloth or an extremely absorbent cloth material and start sopping up liquid.

Few of the mishaps that seem serious actually aren’t that serious at all. Pedals falling off, strings breaking, headphone jack snapping off inside the unit and even keys sticking together can be problematic but they are not serious problems. As long as you do not attempt to make the repairs yourself, you will not magnify the problem. Call for professional help always to fix your expensive digital keyboard and acoustic piano.

Humidity Woes

Digital keyboards do not need tuning like acoustic pianos. If you manage to keep the keyboard clean, dust free, moisture free and avoid instances like excessive jerks and shocks, your keyboard should work fine for a long time.

Excessive humidity is one of the biggest factors for component failure in digital pianos. The moisture can build up inside the digital units, on the IC boards, and short the whole thing. These are one of the most expensive units of a digital piano.

Even the acoustic ones have issues with the humidity but only if it fluctuates wildly. An acoustic piano is comfortable in humidity levels of 50% – 70% and most of the places stay thereabout. But exceptions can be places close to the coastal areas where it can get close to 100% humidity and stay like that for weeks.

Sea air causes more damage. The salt in it can corrode components over time. This, of course, doesn’t happen if the house happens to use an air-con for at least few hours a day. Air Cons running on cooling mode are excellent at draining excessive humidity from the room.

It is easier to maintain humidity with the air-conditioners running on a cooling mode.  But if there is heating and the piano is a closed room without air circulation, the humidity can rise. On the contrary some very cold places can get very dry in the winters and may need a humidifier working. Humidifiers for dry air isn’t just good for your piano but also for the people living there. Dry air doesn’t effect the digital counterparts of a piano though.

Register Your Device and Avoid Making DIY Repair

Even keyboards can develop faults. For this reason it is advisable to register your device with the company when you buy it. These days, the most common way of registering a device is to go on to the website of the manufacturer and fill out the registration form with the device serial number, usually found written somewhere on the body of the keyboard as well as on the receipt, along with your name, address, e-mail and phone number.

Registering your device allows you to access the technical support of the keyboard manufacturer and do things like speak with knowledgeable technical staff, send e-mails etc. Sometimes there is a registration card included with your keyboard which you can fill out and mail to the address provided.

Once you have registered your keyboard, whenever you have a problem you will find it easier to get in touch with the technical support which is usually free. Look for the technical support line for your instrument that has probably come with the manual or the registration card. There may be more than one support center listed. Choose the one that is closest to where you live.

Some of them faults are a result of normal wear and tear. For example, if a button or a knob does not seem to be working properly or appears to be stuck, do not try to fix it yourself with your own tools.

If your item is still under warranty, then the repairs will probably cost you nothing no matter how serious they are.

Never ever under any circumstances attempt to open the top of your keyboard. The most common reasons why many people do this is simply because they are impatient. If there is a problem, even though it seems like a simple one, opening your keyboard yourself will probably void your warranty automatically and more than likely damage your keyboard even further.