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What are key bushings?

Key bushings are felt parts at the inside end of a piano’s keys that keep the keysticks from rattling against the keypins.

Key Bushing

Think of key bushings like piston rings in an engine. Without piston rings, the pistons would clang against the inside of the engine. Key bushings keep the wooden parts of the action from clacking together while the piano is being played.

Why do key bushings go bad?

Like other felt parts on your piano’s action, time and repeated use take a toll on key bushings. The felt hardens, which hurts its performance. The bushings are glued on, and sometimes they become loose or simply fall off after many years of wear.

How can you tell when key bushings go bad?

The most common complaint that comes with bad key bushings is a “wobbly” or “old piano” feel when playing the instrument. Without the bushings, the keys are free to wobble back and forth. You end up with inconsistent play.

How is this problem solved?

The solution to bad key bushings is to replace them. As with many repairs that involve the keyboard and action, we recommend replacing all of the bushings at once rather than having to take apart the piano every time another one goes bad. This is ultimately cheaper for you and easier for us, so everybody wins.

How are key bushings replaced?

First, we’ll remove the old key bushings using steam to separate the glue from the wood. Some stubborn bushings are removed using consistent moisture and a little pressure.

Next we must find a replacement felt that fits the exact thickness of the old bushings. Finding that right thickness is necessary to providing the right amount of snugness, which will ultimately give you good play quality.

The new felt is cut and glued into place, and it’s held there by a tool called a “sizing caul” until the bushings are set.

Noticing some poor play in your piano?

Replacing key bushings are one of the many repairs that Bruce Piano performs regularly on pianos of all types. Call us at 405-749-3540 to get help improving the play of your piano today!