• 1.  Yamaha with discolored keys

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 01-27-2023 20:21
    A customer has a Yamaha C3 grand with the textured keys that are discolored and grimy in the heavily played area.  The student is complaining about the texture (though there are several other complex issues involved).
    I can get a new set of keys from Yamaha or replace the existing key tops but this could get complex and expensive.
    Who has experience with these textured keys?
    Will a bleach/cleanser solution adequately remove the discoloration?
    Is there a treatment such as wax, shellac or laquer that would fill the pores and improve the touch?

    Blaine Hebert RPT
    Duarte CA
    (626) 795-5170

  • 2.  RE: Yamaha with discolored keys

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 01-27-2023 20:34
    You might contact Yamaha and ask them.  If some are coming loose, they might replace them under warranty.  One thing about Yamahas is that you won't need to spend a lot of time filing.  They usually fit pretty well.  If you need the set replaced, they have technicians who they have approved to recover the keys.  They might be able to disclose who the nearest person is to do that job if you think they need replacing.  They are careful to vet people who can do an excellent job, and yet not charge a huge amount to do warranty repairs on the keys.  A few months back I was able to send a set of keys to a lady in Riverside.  If you need the reference, let me know.

    Paul McCloud, RPT
    Accutone Piano Service

  • 3.  RE: Yamaha with discolored keys

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 01-28-2023 10:13
    Hi Blaine,
    Was that C3 from the 1980s or 1990s ? If it has "Ivorite" keytops, the issue is humorously called "Ivoritus". I was the Yamaha tech for the local dealer during that period, and Yamaha used to provide new keys and cover the labor for replacement. They don't do that anymore. I installed many of these replacement keysets, a few times twice on the same piano.

    You can sand and polish the keytops but that's a lot of work work well, and it won't last. The problem will just come back.  The problem is worse on piano teachers pianos or any Ivorite piano what has more than one player.

    Yamaha will provide a newer version of "Ivorite" keytops. The problem is the expert labor to remove and install properly. You could go with acrylic molded keytops, but for a "C" series Yamaha with discerning pianists, I'd recommend something better, Tharan or Ivocor which we install in our shop. Tharan is what's installed on Fazioli and other high end European pianos. These high end mineral plastics such as Ivocor or Tharan have a feel that duplicates the ivory feel that pianists like.

    Hope that helps,


    Dean Reyburn, RPT
    Reyburn Pianoworks
    Reyburn CyberTuner