Family

Piano Restoration – Part 1 鋼琴大翻新 (一)

Just as mentioned in my previous post, our Yamaha U1 piano was about 20 years old. It was used by my boy’s cousin for her piano learning and subsequently passed to him. It carried two wonder stories of learning and development in music. From random playing with their little fingers to achieving Grade 8 certification and if possible, we would like to have the stories be continued.

正如之前的一篇説過,家中的 Yamaha U1 鋼琴已有約二十年歷史,原本是兒子表姐自小的學習伙伴。一座漆黑的鋼琴盛載着兩個音樂成長故事;由只懂亂敲琴鍵,到取得八級資歷,如果可以的話,我很希望這故事能一直延續下去。


From the essential maintenance and fixing before leaving Hong Kong, to acclimatisation after delivery to UK, as well as the local tuning early this year, the piano has roughly returned to her working condition. Ready to accompany my boy’s to continue with his music journey.

從去年三月中離港赴運前調音師基本調整、修復,運抵後氣候環境的適應,以至年初的調音,這座鋼琴已回復工作狀態,再度與兒子為伴。

In late March this year, there were two musical shows performed by students of my boy’s school. He was the pianist of the musical and needed to prepare for the performance. One day, I asked him if his piano could cope with his practice. He gave me the following response:

There are 5 keys with notes out of tune,

Over 50 notes sounded significantly dampen as compared to other notes, and

The bottom keys sounded quite dull

I was terribly astonished. 50 out of the 88 keys had problems. Did this mean the entire piano was malfunctioning?

Being a layman like me, I needed to sought for professional advice. After discussion with of Mr. Fadi, Managing Director of A. Hanna & Sons Pianos, we would have the Yamaha U1 shipped back to their studio after my boy’s performance. Their professional service term would then arrange for more detailed inspection and identify the steps onward.

兒子學校三月尾舉行了兩場音樂劇,他專責劇中的所有鋼琴伴奏,需要加倍練習。早前問他家中鋼琴是否足以應附,他這樣回應:

5 個琴鍵的音符有走音情况

與其他音符相比,超過 50 個音符聽起來明顯減弱,並且

底部琴鍵的音符聽起來很沉悶

真的給他嚇一跳,88 個琴鍵當中超過 50 個有問題,那究竟是否等於整個鋼琴都出事呢?

對於我這門外漢,當然要找專家給意見,和 A. Hanna & Sons Pianos 的負責人 Mr. Fadi 相討後決定待兒子的表演完結後把鋼琴運回他們的 studio 作詳細檢查,再決定下一步行動。


Preliminary inspection by the technician revealed that serious oxidation occurred with most of the piano strings and tuning pins. The issue was quite uncommon for piano that was only 20+ years old and this would cause the tone to be dull and unclear.

經過修琴師初步檢查,發現鋼琴的絃線及 Tuning Pins 有大量的氧化情況,以一個 20 年的鋼琴來説並不常見,而問題亦會令鋼琴音色變得混濁。

Yamaha U1 Upright Piano
Oxidised Tuning Pins & Strings

Significant wear and tear were also shown with the felts on the hammer heads and damper head through repeated strike of the keys. This would not produce a clean blow and generating a harsh and unsatisfactory sound instead. Furthermore, similar issue and some loosening were also observed with most of the keyboard pins and, felts, rendering the keyboard even harder to control.

另外鋼琴的 hammer heads 及 damper heads 上的絨氈 (felts) 亦有很明顯的損耗,這也解釋了為何聲音不夠乾淨兼有點刺耳。至於琴鍵方面亦因經常使用,keyboard pins、felts 同樣也有損耗及鬆散的現象,令琴鍵難以控制。

Worn Hammers and Dampers
Loosen Keyboards pins and damaged felts

However, the most serious problem with the piano was the broken soundboard bridge and crack was developed across it. If this is not timely fixed, the piano strings and the soundboard might not be properly connected with the required tension maintained. This would led to unbalanced volume and notes out of tune.

不過最大的問題還是鋼琴的 Soundboard bridge 出現爆裂,如果不及時修復,長遠可能影響絃線的 tension 同 soundboard 間之聯繫,引至音量不平衡及走音。

Broken soundboard bridge

After thorough discussion, Mr. Fadi proposed a number of solutions to address the issues. From lower cost interim solution to full restoration. In order not to cause more serious problem in the near future, we decided to have a full restoration of the piano.

Just borrowed the words from Mr. Fadi:

This would restore the piano to an excellent condition.


In addition, as we had received some complaints from our neighbours regarding my boy’s piano playing, we would also install a silent module during the restoration works. My boy could continue his playing with the assistance of a pair of headphones.

深入探討後,Mr. Fadi 提出了數個解決方案,由較相宜的短期修復至全面翻新都有,與其將來有問題需要作更大的修復,我們最後選擇了全面翻新。

套用了 Mr. Fadi 的説法:

This would restore the piano to an excellent condition.


另外因曾經被鄰居投訴鋼琴噪音問題,今次大翻新亦會加入靜音模組,必要時可透過耳机繼續彈奏。

Silent Piano Module Upgrade

As the full restore requires almost every parts of the Yamaha U1 piano to be replaced, some of them needed to be imported from various Yamaha depots across the globe. In the extreme cases, some even have to be made to order in the Yamaha Japan factory. It was projected that the entire restoration might take more than seven months to complete and I will record and share with you on the progress.

因個別鋼琴配件須由不同的 Yamaha 倉庫運送,而部份則要從日本廠房預訂生產,整個翻新工程預計需時約七個月箱,往後我亦會把過程紀錄及和大家分享。

In the absence of the Yamaha U1, how will my son spend his days?

I believe a digital piano will help to continue his music exploration.

在沒有鋼琴於身傍的七個多月裡,兒子又怎樣渡過呢

相信這個數碼鋼琴亦可以暫時陪件他去繼續探索音樂。


In term of time and expenditure required, getting a new piano is far more cost effective than having a full restoration of the existing old piano. However, this Yamaha U1 has a very special sentimental value to us, we are more than willing to spend extra in order to bring it back to its glorious days.

Last but not least, we would like to thank Mr. Fadi for his professional advice and the kind arrangement for the restoration works.

如果以所需時間及金錢兩方面去衡量,購買一座全新鋼琴一定來得化算,但這座 Yamaha U1 對我一家存在著很大的情感意義,能把她全面翻新,回復昔日光彩,一切都是值得。

在此,我們亦要多謝 Mr. Fadi 的專業意見及安排。


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