22 June 2011

Mice

The piano tuner came last week.  After spending an hour tuning my sister's piano, he turned up at my house and left again after only 10 minutes.  Trouble.

My main problem had been 'sticky keys' - where the little hammers don't return to their places after hitting the strings, meaning that next time you hit the key, the hammer can't get enough of a wind-up to hit the string again.  Usually this is caused by damp weather, but this time I wasn't so sure. 

The problem had started well before our wet summer, and it hasn't improved at all since it's become drier.  This time, the problem was so bad that more than two-thirds of the keys were suffering.  After playing a few bars, only random notes were able to sound and on lifting the lid and looking inside the piano, I could see up to 20 hammers sitting too far forward, not in their correct positions.  I was curious to see what the tuner could do.

The piano tuner had a quick look inside and said those lovely words: "You've had a mouse."

This blog post would be much more interesting if I'd got my camera out and taken some photos at that point.

To identify a mouse problem inside a piano, the Average Joe would probably look for mouse droppings.  The gifted piano tuner notices that the little tapes on most of the 88 keys that provide part of the tension needed to help the hammers return to their places were bitten clean off and had completely disappeared.

He took the guts of my piano away in his car with a promise that when he returned to place the fixed piano guts back inside the piano, we'd probably find all the little tapes made into a nest in the bottom of the keybed.  Which, of course, we did.

Again, that story would have been so much better if I'd got my camera out and taken a photo.

11 comments:

Caitlin said...

Look forward to seeing the photo. That reminds me that I need to get my piano tuned. I wouldn't even know if I had sticky keys it's been that long since I played. Quite tragic. (The kids give the keyboard a pounding every now and again...)

John Ross said...

Oh man! Well, 1st off you seem to be handling that whole situation with much more aplomb than I would have been able to.

2nd - If you've a cat - fire it! If you don't have ... Oh who are we kidding cats are generally much better at looking cute, annoying the dog, hairing up the furniture and basically anything but anything remotely as helpful as catching mice.

I'm obviously also no help at all, but did really enjoy hearing of someone else's problems for awhile.

sorry I haven't been much in evidence of. Stuff happens.

Good luck with that.

john

Swift Jan said...

BLAH!!! I hate Mice!!!!! And rats for that matter!!
Talon is what the pest control man recommended for us.. and it worked a treat!

I hope it dodn't cost you too much to have it repaired!

Crazy Sister said...

Of all the nesting material in your entire house, they had to choose working piano parts...

I'd advise against the Talon, Swift Jan. I've had a dead mouse in the back of my piano before. That's a very not good situation.

CraftyMummy said...

Noooooo! I have heard of mice nibbling on the felts but that sounds much worse. I might just go and have a good look inside mine...

Hippomanic Jen said...

At least when they get into the linen cupboard it doesn't actually cost me, save for the hours of washing. I hope their little family enjoyed the luxury of the most expensive mouse nest in suburbia.

Tracy P. said...

BOO for the mice! But interesting he could take the guts away in his car--I had no idea pianos came apart like that. Hope you don't get another chance to take a photo.

Emily Sue said...

That sounds like an extremely pricey problem...

B said...

Eeek! Mice! Nooooo - I hope you get to banging out some tunes and some mice really soon.....

Hairline Fracture said...

I hope the mice are gone soon!

Cath said...

Amazing! Aren't they clever little things, those mice. I think a little nest inside a piano would be a lovely warm place to live - though perhaps a little loud at times... Sad that it's at your expense though - literally and figuratively!