If you are a piano lover and have been playing the piano for some time, you might have noticed some erratic vibrating sounds from your instrument at times. Well, it is concerning for musicians to get this addressed as it might affect the overall piano sound and melody during a performance session or recording.
The vibration and awkward sound often heard is called as Buzzing. Piano is an acoustic instrument and buzzing sounds do happen sometimes due to multiple reasons. Mostly foreign objects getting clogged or deposited on the mechanical parts of the piano, poor maintenance or loose parts are the culprit for these sounds.
In this write-up, we shall discuss about how to detect the buzzing sounds, and the reasons behind them. We shall also cover up on how to take care of your piano, prevent buzzing and when to consult a piano expert for servicing of your piano.
Why does my Piano buzz?
The buzzing sound of a piano can be due to multiple reasons. Here are the key reasons on why this problem could occur to your upright, grand or acoustic pianos:
Foreign Objects Inside Mechanical Parts
- Many a times, small objects such as pins, needles, clips, hard paper pieces or other smaller decorative objects are unknowingly kept on the piano lid or the body of the piano.
- Younger kids learning piano might keep pens, pencils or pieces of paper which might eventually fall into the piano strings or get clogged in the action portion of the piano.
- In such cases, such foreign objects interfere with the vibrations of the strings, hammers or the soundboard thereby causing a Buzzing effect on the piano sound.
Loose Parts of Your Piano
- Sometimes, the piano strings are not tight enough and they might have loose ends.
- Consequently, the sound of the piano notes are de-tuned and the player gets a buzzing effect while playing those notes.
- Among the other parts, soundboard screws, action screws or even the pedal board hinges could be loose causing excess vibrations and thereby creating the similar buzzing effect on the sound.
Ageing Effects on Older Pianos
- Older acoustic, grand or upright pianos are prone to cracks, termite attacks or rusting due to prolonged exposure to heat, moisture or rodents/insects.
- Many times, we don’t take notice of these due to lack of frequent checks and servicing for your piano.
- Due to cracks on the soundboard, rusting of steel strings or the action or pedal board hinges, the buzzing sound is often heard from your piano.
Room Objects Resonance and Vibrations:
- Sometimes the various objects placed in the piano room vibrate when a piano is played.
- Any loose items such as hangings, rings, artificial shelves etc. are prone to vibration and resonance in the same way as the piano strings vibrate during a playing session
- These are therefore sources of external buzzing sounds not directly related to piano.
Now in the next section, we would discuss about the remedial steps, what needs to be done if you hear the buzzing sounds from your piano.
How to take care of your Piano to prevent buzzing sounds?
Detection & Solution
- To detect any buzzing sounds from your piano, you need to find out the source of the sound first.
- You can use a small long torch or flashlight from your phone to lighten up and inspect the internal parts of your piano such as the string assembly, pedal board, sound boards or the action hinges.
- For parts that are not directly visible to you, you can use a small reflector such as plain mirror to visualize the buzzing sources from your piano.
- For foreign objects if found, simply remove them carefully, without any damage to the internal delicate parts of the piano and your buzzing would be gone instantly.
- For loose screws, hinges, use a piano screwdriver to tighten the loose parts to solve the buzzing issues
- For cracks in soundboard, rusty strings or any other major mechanical issues, you must consult a piano technician for inspection of your piano to take the corrective actions as soon as possible.
Prevention is always better than cure as we all know. Hence here are the few steps that will help you to keep the buzzing issues away from your piano for all times:
- Close your piano lid when not in use, keep your piano covered so that foreign objects, dust and moisture does not accumulate when not used frequently.
- Make sure to remove all small and loose objects from your piano room that have potential chance of vibrations or resonance without your piano sound.
- Use a piano humidifier to prevent rusting of strings due to moisture imbalance for your piano room. For more details, check out our article on Piano Humidifiers here. <link>
- We also suggest to periodically inspect your piano – mainly the soundboard, action, string assembly, pedal board and hooks and hinges for any loose ends. Use piano screwdrivers to tighten loose parts even if there is no buzzing sound.
- You need to handle the internal parts of your piano with care and check for cracks, fissures and rusted elements in your piano frequently.
- Incase the buzzing sounds do not go away after fixing the above issues, please consult a trained piano technician only for inspecting and fixing the issue.
- Piano technician will plan a house visit for inspection of your piano and then plan for remediation of the damaged parts of your piano.
- You are advised to check the past track record, customer reviews and verify their genuineness before planning for getting your piano serviced by them.
In the next section, we are precisely going to talk about when to plan for a consultation and inspection service from a Piano Technician for your Piano.
When to consult a Piano Technician for your Piano Servicing?
These are the most common issues with respect to Piano Buzzing sounds, that would require a skilled piano technician visit for inspection at your place:
- Rusted Piano strings and considerable damage to the string assembly
- Broken or cracked soundboard
- Missing screws, broken hinges of pedal board, string assembly or soundboard
- Foreign object getting stuck in delicate parts such as string assembly that cannot be removed easily.
- Any unexplained buzzing sound issue which you cannot detect after self-inspection
Before the problem further aggravates and causes more damage to the mechanical parts of your piano, please consider reaching out for skilled professional piano services for the remediation.
Frequently Asked Questions
1) How do I know where the buzzing sound arises from my piano?
Use your ears to trace the location of the buzzing sound. For visual checks, you can use a reflective mirror and a long neck torch or flashlight to inspect the source of the buzzing.
2) Do I need to remove the foreign objects from my piano, if they get stuck inside the string-hammer area of my piano?
It depends on the area where the objects get stuck. You should not attempt to remove objects forcefully if they get stuck in the delicate parts such between strings or deep inside the pedal assembly. Seek professional help for such cases.
3) Can I use any lubricant material to grease the hinges and screws of my piano?
Only dry graphite based lubricants are used mostly for tuning piano strings and greasing the loosened hinges and screws of your piano.
4) How much does a Piano technician company usually charges for an inspection?
Usually for every inspection, the piano technician would be charging between 50 – 80 USD foe every visit. For repairs and part replacements, it depends on the nature of the defect with your piano.
5) I want to go for a piano which does not have buzzing issues. What are the options that I can choose from?
It would be a smart move to choose a digital piano or an electronic synthesizer keyboard as against the acoustic or grand pianos. You get the same quality sounds on a digital format with no risk of buzzing sounds at all.
Piano is definitely one of the most crafted instruments with a great sound that pleases everyone ears! As a musician, you must take care of your piano and inspect the instrument regularly for foreign objects, loose strings and screws, dirt and rust to prevent buzzing sounds. With proper care and maintenance, your piano would be always a great sounding one!!
For more articles on piano servicing, repairs and maintenance, please visit the PIANO Section of our website www.musicdetailed.com