They may not seem it, but acoustic pianos are rather sensitive souls. Where acoustic pianos are concerned, even the slightest incorrect adjustment may cause a piano to ‘buzz’, whilst this is usually a quick and easy fix, it is typically where something is preventing the piano’s soundboard from vibrating freely as it should be.
There are no end of potential reasons that a piano may be buzzing, but today we will investigate just a few common issues that we see that may be the cause of the buzz. As always however, if you are not sure how to, make sure that you do not try to fix the instrument yourself. Acoustic pianos are easily damaged if tampered with and it is always best to seek the advice and help of a professional piano technician before trying to fix an instrument. Learn more about our piano technician’s work here.
No that’s out of the way, let’s jump straight into some possible causes of a piano buzzing.
Something Resting On The Soundboard.
Easily the most common issue that we see, this is typically when something small such a pencil, coin, or small object has dropped down into or behind the piano, this is easily done, but as the piano is played, the entire cabinet and surroundings will fill with vibration and so too will whatever is in the cabinet, which if this is touching or near the soundboard can cause an irritating buzzing throughout the piano.
Again, just to stress this, even if you have dropped something down the piano, we would always recommend speaking with a technician first, removing the front panel of an upright piano is easy, however needs to be done with care, do not go fishing around the piano with a long stick or utensil to try to hook or dislodge the item as this will almost definitely cause damage.
The same is actually also true of anything around the piano if you are hearing buzzing as the piano is being played in another area of the room. As the piano is played, it is incredibly common for different objects around it to vibrate at certain frequencies, this can be incredibly distracting to playing but there is little that can be done, glass or wooden surfaces in particular are common examples of this and it is often easier to remove the items that are vibrating and causing distraction, or to put a blanket or cloth underneath them rather than changing anything on the piano.
The Age Of The Instrument
This is often true of those who have purchased secondhand pianos online or not from a trusted piano dealer. This is covered in our guide to buying secondhand pianos, but this is why it is always essential to try a piano before buying it as well as knowing what to look out for, such as a cracked soundboard or broken hammers. A piano that is decades old and has not been serviced regularly is far more likely to have issues than one that has been well kept and cared for. If you would like further advice on finding the right piano for you our experts would be happy to help.
Loose Hinges Or Panels
Another common reason for buzzing is when there is perhaps a dirty, rusty or loose hinge on the piano, this may be on either the lid, fallboard or other part of the piano and is an easy fix via either lubricating, cleaning or replacing the pins in the hinge, but it i sone to note when cleaning your piano.
As mentioned, it is relatively easy to take the front panels off of an upright piano, however if they are not fitted back correctly and sealed in place, these panels can cause a buzz when the piano is played. Make sure to check the bottom and sides of the piano are securely placed as well as the back side to see if something is crooked or out of place.
The Bridges & Strings
Used in transmitting the vibrations from the strings into the soundboard, acoustic pianos typically have two bridges, one at the bass end and one at the treble end. These bridges are typically durable, however if they become detached or cracked perhaps from either varying temperatures or simply overtime, this will almost certainly cause an unwelcomed buzz throughout the piano.
Likewise, when it comes to the strings themselves, there are a number of factors that may cause a piano string to buzz and not ring correctly. For example the coils on the bottom of the strings, if these pick up debris, dust or even just become loose overtime, they can cause a buzzing noise. If you do fear it is the piano string coils or tension that has become loose, whilst not a big issue to fix, this is definitely a job for a piano technician.
Get A Technician’s Opinion
As mentioned, it is easy for a plethora of things to be causing your piano to buzz and to the untrained eye and ear, you can spend hours trying to diagnose something that a technician with the right training will be able to pick up on in mere moments. If in doubt, contact a piano technician! Book a tuning with our piano technicians today here.