I bought a refurbished upright piano (Yamaha U1D). The keys feel a bit stiff, and sometimes if I hit a key softly it doesn't make any sound at all. It didn't have this problem when I tested it in the showroom, where it played well. The problem persists after tuning (I wish I asked the tuner more about it). I did ask the tuner about one particularly bad key, and he removed it and "cleaned" the felt area around the balance rail pin by sticking a rod in there and pushing it around. I have a dehumidifier rod inside it and a dehumidifier nearby (average humidity around it is 45-55).

Perhaps I just need to clean out those balance rail pins, but it's weird that it would suddenly become like this. I just tried it in the showroom days before and it was fine. Is humidity the only difference between the places? Or could the move have shifted something?

EDIT: Additional details: The showroom was pretty large, although with low ceilings. I think tile or wood floor? My room is large with a high ceiling and tile floors. I think it was moved by professionals, but I didn't get too many details on them. But they seemed like they moved many pianos before. It was only moved around 2-3 miles.

  • Four questions that might help toward an answer: What kind of flooring was the piano on in the showroom and in your home; how large were the respective rooms; was it moved by professional piano movers; and how far was it moved?
    – Aaron
    Commented Sep 16, 2021 at 4:21
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    Well, there goes every one of my theories. <g> But, just so it's clear why I asked: I piano can feel lighter or heavier depending on the sound, which can be significantly affected by say, wood vs. carpet, or a large vs. small room. And a long move and/or untrained movers would be more likely to jostle the action and lead to problems. However, having eliminated all of those factors, I don't have any more bright ideas.
    – Aaron
    Commented Sep 16, 2021 at 4:35
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    I wouldn't randomly decide you need a dehumidifier in or near it, unless someone from Yamaha has advised you what humidity & temperature range it requires. Pianos have some tolerance, but also are made for the specific weather expectations for the market into which they are sold.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Sep 16, 2021 at 7:30
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    Since you mentioned showroom I assume you bought this from a dealer. Why not just contact the dealer? Maybe they will send over a technician to take a look at it. Commented Sep 16, 2021 at 14:29
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    This is one of the questions that location plays a relevant part, and, as is often the case, we're left in ignorance...
    – Tim
    Commented Sep 16, 2021 at 16:36

1 Answer 1


If a key sticks, we might be able to blame a change of humidity. But beware of imitating your tuner - he wasn't 'cleaning' the pin holes, he was loosening them by compressing the felt.

When you depress a piano key very slowly it isn't MEANT to play a note. You have to impart enough velocity to 'throw' the hammer at the string. I suspect a more resonant room (and maybe more consciousness of neighbours!) is making you play more tentatively than in the shop.

Unless you're within an approval period and have decided to return the piano, I suggest you give it a bit longer to settle in then call the technician in again for a regulation.

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