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43. Lyre repair on Grand Pianos

We offer new lyres for Grand Pianos if yours is gone or too broken to repair.
We also have lyres for very old grands, including squares.

Honestly-- a Lyre in My Piano?

The lyre of a grand piano holds the pedals at the bottom and carries the pedal movement upward into the piano through two or three rods. The pedal lyre is the most fragile part of a grand piano, with the exception possibly of the desk.

The first thing a lyre will do with age is loosen where it connects to the under side of the piano. I found one piano where some helpful Henry tried to "repair" the lyre the hard way. He found that the three rods were too short, so he sawed an inch off of the top of the lyre. He didn't know there was an adjustment at the top of the rods. Let's see if we can do it right.

Swinging Lyre


Crawl underneath the piano, and see if the lyre is loose. DO NOT adjust anything until you do this. If it is loose, tighten the two big screws on either side of the top of the lyre. See A in the illustration. The screw holes may be stripped out. If so, remove the lyre and HALF fill the two holes with thin wood pieces and Elmer's carpenter's glue. Make sure the wood is bottomed into the hole and none sticking out of the hole.

Then replace the lyre and two screws, and let the lyre dry for 24 hours before doing additional tasks on it. You will learn that there are two braces which stabilize the lyre as the pedals are pushed. These braces are easy to put back as you lift the lyre up into place and replace the screws-- all at the same time, Simply use all four of your hands to do this job, and you will get it right :-)



Braces are Gone

The braces, B in the illustration, are gone, right? And the lyre gently swings back and forth in the breeze as you push the pedals. You MUST get a brace arrangement at once, or serious damage will result to the lyre. You have two choices for the braces. Either get two wood dowels at the hardware store, or order the brass braces from our Online Catalog. There are two lengths available. Be sure to determine the length which is nearest to yours by measuring from holes to holes.

When you receive the new braces from us, the holes will not line up. There is no way to provide braces that have an exact match to your piano's configuration. You must simply drill new small guide holes in the lyre, and underneath the piano frame, and mount the new braces at about a 45 degree angle. If the frame underneath the key beg area will not allow your a 45 degree angle, simply make the things fit any way you can, and try to make sure they are both mounted perfectly the same so they don't look weird from a distance.

If you bought wood dowels, stain them to match the piano. Now, measure from the bottom of the brace mounting holes in the underside of the piano down to the bottom of the holes in the pedal box. Then cut the rods slightly longer than your measurement. Try to fit the rods in place. You will most likely have to back the two upper mounting screws out to make the rods fit. If they are too long, shorten them.

Pedals Have The shakes

Are the pedals, C in the illustration, loose? If so, take the whole lyre off of the piano. Turn it upside down, and see how the pedal box comes off. Remove the cover on the bottom, which is the most common way they come apart. Whatever you do, get into the thing. The pedals will be mounted inside one of several ways. Usually, they are mounted to the bottom cover, but can be mounted in carved out area in the box. Meditate on the thing. Call in uncle Harry to examine it too. You will soon see that there is a reason for the pedals being loose. If there is an adjustment, take up on it. Some have a clamp fulcrum that the pedal rocks on, and the nubs on the inside of the fulcrum wear off.   We sell these in our Online Catalog, along with other fulcrum options. Screw in the fulcrum points, and reset the set screws.

If the pedal pin is bent or broken, we sell pins at the above link. Also, some older pianos have the fulcrums which have the pointed fixture which screws into the holes in the pedal. The pedals may wear to the point that they are ruined. We sell Grand Piano Pedals. Do not waste a lot of time trying to save bad pedals which also are worn or corroded and look bad anyway. Buy new ones and get a fresh start.

Last Lyre Problem

There is slop in the pedal movement up and down and the dampers hardly lift off of the wires at all. (You will notice that I use some technical terms like "slop." This is so that all of us dummies can feel real comfortable with these instructions.) So, to get the "slop" out of the pedals, crawl around behind the pedal box, and look at the three rods going up to the bottom of the piano.

Most grands have a nut arrangement you can find at the top of the rods. Loosen the nut and unscrew the rod out of the fitting at the top until the rod is snug. Tighten the nut. Some grands have no nut or rod adjustment. You will have to add bits of leather, shoe sole, or inner tube rubber material to the levers under the piano to take up the slack space where the rods meet the levers. Sorry, it sounds silly, but it works. Be sure to glue your bits of junk in place so that they stay put.

If the rod terminates above in some sort of recess in metal, you may have to glue the added material to the other end of the wooden lever attached to the under side of the piano. If there is slop in the quite lever, which is always iron, you will need to add some spacer to the end of the lever, or you may be able to add a fiber or leather washer to the top of the rod in some cases.

After you have the lyre all back together, slip a copy of Homer Rodeheaver's old hymn book under the pedal box so that it is real tight. This will take the downward pedal push out of the lyre structure and make it last a lot longer. Do you think it looks weird? Fine, let it hang there and come loose again. I'll be happy to come and fix it for you next time. I try to convince folks to put the hymn book under there even on a brand new Steinway. It's just makes good sense.

  On to task 44