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Are there a couple of keys on the family piano that aren’t working? If that piano is an old spinet, there’s a good chance that your problem is a broken elbow.

Elbows are an integral piece in the mechanics of a spinet piano. So why are elbows on old pianos prone to breaking? One word – plastics.

Many spinet pianos manufactured in the 1950s and 60s were built with plastic elbows. Plastics from that time aren’t as durable as today’s variety, so through the decades these pieces have become brittle.

After enough play and stress an elbow breaks and that note is useless.


We recommend that you replace a broken spinet elbow. And we recommend that you replace every one of them, even the unbroken ones. As is the case so often with action pieces, it makes more sense to fix all of the alike parts at the same time.

If one elbow broke because of brittle plastics, there’s a good chance that others will break, too. Rather than have the piano opened up and fixed with each break, nip those problems in the bud.


Very experienced owners might be able to fix this problem themselves, but it takes a very steady hand to do. There’s a good chance that you could do more harm than good when trying to replace the elbows. Here’s why:

The first step to replacing the plastic elbows is breaking them off near the pin that connects them to the wippen. If you apply just a bit too much pressure, you might break the wooden wings on either side of the slot in the wippen.

Fixing a broken wippen is a much more serious issue, and requires removal of the action from the piano. So if you’re thinking of DIY-ing this, know that you might wind up with either a lot more work or a bill to have a technician repair the wippens. Speaking of technicians…

If you have broken plastic elbows, call Bruce Piano.

Our technicians will bring the quiet notes of your family piano back to life. Give us a call at 405-749-3540 or schedule service online to set up a repair appointment today.