2

I own Yamaha baby grand piano. And today, I forgot that I left it open after practising until I caught my cat treading on the strings. My cat isn't that heavy (he weighs 5kgs), but he plodded on the strings quite heavily that sound came out of the piano. He walked on the strings and the dampers. I am not sure if it can cause any damage but if it does, what kind of damage will I expect? I am also not all that sure if I should call piano tuner because the piano doesn't sound out of tune. But just for precautions, will the piano strings weaken and eventually snap after the fact?

  • 1
    Unless your cat starts peeing on the strings, they probably won't come to any harm - they are high quality steel and copper wire, after all. Cats tend to keep themselves clean (at least, until they get very old) so it's unlikely there is much dirt on the cat's feet. On the other hand the dampers are likely to be more fragile, so you really need to keep the cat out of the piano. That's why pianos have lids! – user19146 Aug 27 '17 at 5:32
  • Even if you do end up with a broken string, replacing it is a simple and fairly quick job for a piano technician. For an old piano, you might have trouble getting a replacement bass string "off the shelf" since they are made to the exact length and wire gauges to match the cast iron frame and the adjacent strings, but as a last resort your tech can send the old string back to a factory to use as a template and get a new one made to order. That shouldn't be a problem for a relatively new Yamaha, though. – user19146 Aug 27 '17 at 5:39
  • Hey thanks for the reply. My baby grand is relatively old. I've had it for seven years now, but it's still in good condition. Fortunately, my cat doesn't pee whenever he wants. As for dampers, is it worth my money to have piano tuner check on them? I tried playing quite a bit, using all three pedals to see if the mechanics are still working as they should be, but some of the keys become slightly unresponsive. I just hope it's not big an issue though. – ruteuhurhu Aug 27 '17 at 5:55
  • How long does your tuner spend tuning you piano? If it's only 15 or 20 minutes, you probably need a more professional tuner! If it's more like an hour, then he/she should notice if there are any other problems without being prompted, but it would do no harm to mention it next time he visits. If it's just a matter of a quick adjustment, that will probably get done "for free", but anything that requires replacement parts would most likely be a separate job, with a separate cost estimate. – user19146 Aug 27 '17 at 12:52
  • 1
    You could walk on the strings without breaking them. You'd throw them out of tune, tho' – Carl Witthoft Aug 28 '17 at 11:28
7

The hammers hitting the strings, particularly on sfortzando playing, will stress the strings far more than a cat gently pussyfooting around on the strings.

A bigger problem will occur when he finds the felted parts on the dampers are great to get his claws in, rather like a scratching post. He'll love it, you won't.

If it has to stay open, then I suggest you hold down the damper pedal, as walking on the strings then will cause vibration that may make the cat get off. But that's a desperate measure. Close lid, close door to room, or incarcerate cat !!

And - having a piano for seven years doesn't make it relatively old. A relatively old piano may be a hundred years old.

  • 3
    You're not fooling us, you just really wanted to use "pussyfooting" in an answer. – Richard Aug 27 '17 at 6:17
  • 3
    @Richard - it actually came to me in a flash as I was writing - honest! It was during a paws for thought... – Tim Aug 27 '17 at 6:29
  • Actually it's a secondhand piano. I've only had it for seven years. Not too sure when it was manufactured though. – ruteuhurhu Aug 27 '17 at 8:16
  • Yamaha have been making pianos for well over one hundred years. there should be a serial no. inside or underneath, which will tie in with year of manufacture. – Tim Aug 27 '17 at 11:01
  • The main point about the "old vs new" issue is that Yamaha are still making pianos, unlike many other companies. So there is likely to be somebody currently making strings to Yamaha's specifications (piano manufacturers don't make every part themselves!) and Yamaha will know the specification of any string, given the note and the piano serial number. For an old piano made by a small company that is no longer in business, that database of information may not exist any more. – user19146 Aug 27 '17 at 12:44
1

I agree with Tim however I will remind you that cats have extremely sharp claws and 5 kg might not damage the strings but maybe the tuning by really minute amounts every time. Also I suggest you just wipe the strings with a dry cloth. Dampers are really susceptible to cat's claws and therefore you better keep your cat away from it.

P.S. The piano is too heavy and large to be kept away from your cat.

  • Keep a dog inside the piano. That'll take care of the cat. – Carl Witthoft Aug 28 '17 at 11:29
  • I suspect this is the case with mine. One of my keys goes out of tune after I have done thorough testing. It makes that wobbly sound instead of pearly, piercing note. – ruteuhurhu Aug 31 '17 at 9:22
  • Definitely Keep your cat away. This is by no means a good sign. Get it tuned and inspected soon. Keep us updated on the results. – Tarun Sep 1 '17 at 17:34
0

Also check the model number. I am not sure where you can find it but I think maybe on the Lid of the piano. Old pianos are worth a lot of money in which case even frequent untuning by your cat can spoil it. I am sure many people here could tell you where to search for it or just ask your tuner to help you the next time you see him.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.