What’s that sound? Your piano key is stuck! It can be a real bummer when you try to play the perfect piece of music and hit one note, only for it not to produce any sound. This sticky situation just got even worse because now your entire performance has been compromised. You might think this would happen more often with older pianos, but in fact, they do tend to occur on newer instruments as well, especially if keys have seen some excessive wear-and-tear or haven’t been adequately maintained. In this article, we’ll explain why the keys stick and ways to prevent the issue from happening to begin with.

Identify A Sticky Piano Key

A piano key may start sticking for various reasons, which means that it can be tricky to identify the cause. It is necessary to understand how your piano works to identify the problem. It would also help to find out when the keys started sticking in the first place? This will help you find out any apparent cause for the same.

Hire A Piano Technician or Not?

The best option for resolving sticky keys is to get a certified piano technician to diagnose the issue. Technicians can also help you prevent these issues from happening in the future.

Before calling on a piano technician, it’s always advisable to check that the problem isn’t due to your own negligence first. A qualified and trained technician would be able to fix the issue or prevent it from happening again. In case of excessive wear and tear, they would also recommend ways to restore the piano keys to their original glory.

This problem can occur on any piano but is more likely to happen on older pianos. Apart from age, other issues could result from lousy maintenance and damage due to the spillage of drinks or food on the keys. Also, note that a technician may not be able to solve a sticky key issue if it is caused by damage repair or unnecessary modification performed by amateur technicians in the past.

See also: How to Get Rid of an Old Piano

Do-It-Yourself Or Not

You should only consider trying an at-home fix if the issue is minor. However, it is essential that you don’t try to repair or replace any of the piano parts yourself, as doing so can make things even worse! Never attempt a significant Piano Key Repair without first consulting an expert, and never use any tools which are not for repairing pianos.

Most Common Reasons Piano Keys Stick

Now that you know how to identify a sticky piano key, it’s time to find out why they stick and what you can do about them.

Fix The Key Slip

When the keys are housed in a key slip, keeping them clean and protected from dust is important. If you have ever leaned against one of these slips during your piano maintenance or when simply resting up on top, then sometimes they can get jammed with all that extra pressure.

The key slip should be kept clean and protected from dust. Too much pressure might cause the keys to stick, but jamming is most likely when one or several of them start sticking because they are all connected by a long piece of wood that will impact every single key with equal force.

Fixing the problem with a sticky keyboard may not seem difficult at first glance; however, there are some things to look out for when removing and reinstalling your new piano part-the Key Slip! To remove it from its place under your instrument, unscrew two screws on either side of where you want to pull up from beneath. Check for dust or any other objects before putting them back into place as needed by twisting the screws.

Cleaning out Trash and Debris

How often do you consider the possibility that there might be objects or trash inside your piano? You would think most people are cautious not to let anything fall in, but sometimes things get overlooked. If a pianist leaves their instrument unattended for long periods, it’s common to find pencil shavings and sheet music inside them as well. Most musicians experience this problem from time to time due largely in part to our busy schedules, which make us rush through practice sessions with little thought given on how we carelessly leave our instruments open.

To clean out the trash from your instrument, first, locate where you’ll be able to access that area. To do this, gently lift up on the fallboard and wiggle it off of its hinges so as not to bump or disturb any moving parts in there. Once removed, inside will become clear for inspection – see if anything is stuck inside or needs blowing out with a small vacuum cleaner!

Lubricate The Dirty Rail Pins

The more a piano is played, the dirtier it gets. But even pianos with high-quality sound can be diminished by poor maintenance habits. One of these simple mistakes that often go unnoticed is dirty rail pins; one might not notice this problem until playing becomes noticeably slower or individual keys become stuck in place during use. The piano’s front rail pin has a bushing attached to act as an anchor for all of its little metal bars — each one holding up different notes when pressed down by your fingers while you’re playing music.

Clean the rust off your keys with a soft cloth to un-stick them after you remove any debris, check-in between each key, and make sure that no more dirt or other particles are clogging up its pins too. You might also need to clean out the balance rail located at either end of every wooden extension on your piano keyboard.

Put a few drops of the lubricant down the rail and balance pins. This should not take long. Try to move the keys after you put in some of the lubricants. If they are still too stiff, put more lubricant on them.

Check for Broken Hammer

Over time, things in pianos start to get loose. Sometimes they might bend or break. You need to check the hammers inside the piano if you have a key that is sticking. If you take off the fallboard, you can usually see what is happening with those hammers and find out why your keys are sticking.

If you can look at the hammer butt and flange, then the cause of your problems is likely there. The pins in the flange can be too tight or too loose.

Don’t touch things that have hammers or very delicate parts of the piano. If you break them, they will be expensive to fix and if you are unable, put them back together. When you suspect something is wrong with one of those parts, call a piano technician.

Effects of Humidity

One contributor to piano keys sticking is the atmospheric moisture. Pianos don’t just change with their resonance to humid air, but they can also swell in size.

When this happens, the keys can start to get out of place. Swollen keys happen most often when there are extreme changes, like sudden drops in temperature or humidity, which likely will be the culprit for your sticking key. You can fix the piano without buying new keys. Put something between the key and its seat. You may need to use a coin or screwdriver. Be careful not to chip the piano by being gentle when you wiggle it back into place.

Piano humidifier systems are a good idea if your piano is in a hot place. It will keep the temperature of the piano down, which will make it last longer. If you live in Florida or another southern state, this is important because the air is arid, and there’s no rain a lot of times.

See also: How Does the Weather Affect Your Piano?


It is common for piano keys to stick. The fix is usually quick if you use a piano technician, but it might cost more if they need to replace entire instrument sections or carry some other items with them. It can cost less than $25, and it will be taken care of in just one visit as long as you ask them to do everything for you.