Pianos by the Sea

Sitting at a grand piano, looking across the waters of Sydney Harbour. Amazing! If your piano lives by the sea, it’s also being affected by the salt air. Here are 6 things you can do today to keep your seaside piano singing.


There are 3 main areas where salt water and high humidity can have bad effects on your piano.

  but most piano owners aren’t aware of the changes taking place until major work needs to be done. If you own a piano by the sea, here are some things you can do to keep your piano in top shape.

while still enjoying the music and the view.Help protect your piano from corrosion,

Problem Area 1 – Strings Exposure to the salt air over time makes piano strings rust. This does 3 things:

  1. It negatively affects the sound
  2. Makes the piano tricky to tune
  3. Strings are more likely to break during a tuning


  • Prevention: close the piano lid (grand piano) when you aren’t at home to stop salty air settling on the strings
  • Get your technician to clean the strings regularly to remove as much rust as possible and stop it progressing
  • Restring the piano when the rust on the strings gets too bad
  • Don’t touch the strings
  • start being aware of the humidity
  • have a look at your piano & take some notes


Problem Area 2 – Wood: Swelling of wooden parts in the piano happens when there’s too much moisture in the air (this is mostly the case near the ocean). This can cause:

  1. Sticking notes or just general stiffness of the mechanism when playing
  2. Corrosion of lead weights in older pianos, which can cause problems
  3. Compression ridges in the soundboard (usually not too much of a problem – mainly cosmetic)


  • Prevention: Have a Dampp-chaser installed. This is a humidity control device fitted into the piano.
  • Have a technician lube the centre pins in the mechanism
  • Have a technician Ease the keys if they are tight


Problem Areas 3 – Frame & Brasswork:

Discolouration & rusting (Mainly cosmetic)


  • Polishing brass work regularly (or have someone else do it)
  • Have hinges and brass components replaced when they becomes too corroded.
  • Have the frame re-sprayed when restringing


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