Sticky Keys


Yamaha Clavinova sticking keys / sticky keys / stuck keys – problem with one or more white keys – key can be played but stays stuck down or only partly returns or returns very slowly – can be lifted up again but is reluctant to return by itself – key leans to left or key leans to right if viewed from the front.  In some cases the rear of the key has broken so much that it is loose and sits higher than adjacent keys.

If your piano is a model known to have this problem, it needs a complete new keyboard assembly.  This is the only way to fix the problem permanently.
Replacing sticking keys will NOT remove the problem.

If you are buying a used/second-hand/old Clavinova from ebay or anywhere it would be advisable to ask if it has any sticking keys.
The seller might know if the piano had this problem and then had a replacement keyboard assembly fitted.  If so, that’s very good news!
NOTE – don’t buy a keyboard assembly for a Yamaha piano from ebay or similar.
It is probably from a piano with the sticky key problem and is only fit for scrap!
Until very recently, when I did a keyboard swap I always wrecked the old keyboard assembly so there was no way it could be re-sold and give people problems!

Don’t buy so-called refurbished keys as these have more than likely come from a keyboard with sticky keys problems.  If so, they will eventually start sticking – possibly in a very short time.  New keys are not very expensive and, even if fitted in a piano with the sticky key problem, should last a few years before they eventually start sticking.

Before you ring to see if your Clavinova piano is one of those affected  look under the keyboard (where your knees go) and write down the Model number and the Serial number.
HINT – I find it easier to lie on my back on the floor to look up under the piano.

1 – the model number
2 – the serial number
3 – your name
4 – your landline telephone number and when I can ring you
5 – whereabouts in the country is the piano?  Town & County

Please do not waste your time (and mine) by telephoning without giving this info!


December 2013 update from Yamaha UK:
They have stopped supplying F.O.C. keyboard assemblies.
I can still order these but they are chargeable.
There may be a cheaper remedy – see  CHEAPER, TEMPORARY REMEDY  below.

September 2012 update from Yamaha UK: support still continues for some models.
Time is of the essence – support won’t continue forever for the remaining models.
The costs of labour and travelling are payable by the customer.

December 2010 update:  the models affected are now about 8 to 12 years old but amazingly Yamaha are continuing to supply the parts F.O.C. for the time being to a recognised service engineer or service centre such as myself.
The costs of labour and travelling are payable by the customer.

Please note that I live near Guildford in Surrey.
If that’s too far for you to come then ring Yamaha and not me!

WHAT TO DO IF YOUR PIANO IS ONE OF THOSE AFFECTED BUT NO LONGER SUPPORTED     Other than throwing away the piano, there is only one remedy.
The complete keyboard assembly must be replaced.
Not cheap, but cheaper than a new piano and end of sticky key problems.
Replacing sticky keys is only a temporary solution.  
More keys will start sticking.  Eventually the new keys will also start sticking.  
The problem has been known for a long time and all the proper repairers/engineers/technicians are well aware of this.  Unbelievably, for models where free keyboard assemblies were available, some unscrupulous repairers were replacing sticky keys and charging customers – often making several visits and charging each time – and even telling customers downright lies like “it must be the way you play it”!  
If you are paying to have a sticky key or keys replaced, it is worth bearing in mind that a few calls like this will end up costing more than having a new keyboard assembly fitted in the first place.

Not a permanent fix but should help to delay the time when you will either have to start replacing keys or buy a new keyboard assembly or throw away your piano (unthinkable!)
If your piano has so many sticking keys that it has become unplayable, I could change your keyboard assembly for an old one in better condition.  When Yamaha UK announced that support had ended for all affected models, I saved some of the old keyboard assemblies which had very few sticky keys.  This was with the intention of helping people with pianos whose keys did not start sticking until it was too late for a free replacement keyboard assembly.  I have very few of these keyboard assemblies as I scrapped all the previous ones so they could not cause problems by being resold.  These old keyboard assemblies are not for sale and must not ever be sold because they will continue to give problems.  I would prefer to make some money out of this so I won’t just give them away.  Instead, I would do the fitting and charge for my time.  The old keyboard assembly I would fit is obviously free of charge as it will be one of the affected ones.  I only saved about five or six of these so it’s first come, first served.  As they say in the adverts, “when they’re gone, they’re gone”

Not a permanent fix either but another way of keeping your piano going.
I could show you how to do the job so you can replace keys yourself when they need doing.
I can supply new keys for these when you need them.
You need to be good at mechanical things and you’d have to come here with the top of your piano.  Depending on where you live I could come to you but that would just add to your costs.


Info about INSURANCE CLAIMS on Home page.

Modern electronic pianos, keyboards etc. do NOT need servicing
Is your piano or keyboard playing ok? Then it does NOT need anything doing to it.
If anyone recommended servicing my electronic piano, as opposed to just repairing it,
I wouldn’t let them. I know these products only need attention when they go wrong.
It is a waste of money to have all your piano’s contacts cleaned or changed if it’s playing normally apart from a couple of notes.
It is standard practice for me to vacuum out the muck and fluff that accumulates inside.
It costs almost nothing to do and lessens the chance of more contact problems but it is not necessary to replace contacts or contact boards unless there is bad corrosion from a spillage.
It is wrong to charge people for something which doesn’t need doing.
As the saying goes “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it!”

Many of my customers have said that their music shop told them their piano or keyboard could not be repaired. Owners of Technics pianos usually get told this when trying to find an engineer or technician who repairs Technics.
Music shops who do not carry out repairs are not really able to advise on repairs.
You would be better advised by someone like myself who is only a repairer because,
unlike a shop, I won’t try to sell you a new one!

Goods here for repair are at your own risk entirely as they are not insured for any eventuality.
Goods here for repair will be sold or disposed of if there has been no word from the owner for 6 months.