Author Topic: Is this mould on my keys?  (Read 646 times)

Offline nonplus

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Is this mould on my keys?
« on: August 04, 2018, 07:38:50 AM »
Hello,

i've got a Rhodes Mark I. It plays really nice, but smells a bit musty, especially if the room gets warm.
Somewhere i read that the cause could be mould on/in the wood, so i took some photos of the keys, that look (most) suspicious to me (see attachments).

Could this be mould (or is it dirt)? And if so, is it bad for health? And how to get rid of it? Would Isopropyl alcohol help?

Thank you

Offline pianotuner steveo

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Re: Is this mould on my keys?
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2018, 08:00:11 AM »
No that's just normal grime. All old acoustic pianos have this too. I use Clorox wipes to clean the keytops but you can also clean the sides with them. Or you can remove the keys (number them first) and clean the sides with steel wool.
1960 Wurlitzer model 700 EP
1968 Gibson G101 Combo organ
1975 Rhodes Piano Bass
1979 Wurlitzer 206A EP
1980 Wurlitzer 200A EP
1980 Wurlitzer 270 Butterfly Grand
2000 Yamaha acoustic piano
2004 Hammond XK3
2009 73A Rhodes Mark 7
2009 Korg SV-1 73
....and a few guitars...

Offline nonplus

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Re: Is this mould on my keys?
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2018, 08:05:24 AM »
Thank you, I'll try that. But where can the smell then come from? It has a sweet wooden flavour. Maybe from the felts? Some of them are new (keys) and some might be very old. Do you think its worth to replace them, even if they look good? I cant localize where exactly the smell comes from.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2018, 08:50:21 AM by nonplus »

Offline pianotuner steveo

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Re: Is this mould on my keys?
« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2018, 07:00:31 AM »
Replace what- the keys? No, you don't want to do that. Where would you even get them from? Have you removed the keys and looked underneath? A bad smell can indicate that mice have been inside. Proceed with caution! Wear gloves and a mask. Mouse droppings can make you very sick!
« Last Edit: August 05, 2018, 10:39:56 AM by pianotuner steveo »
1960 Wurlitzer model 700 EP
1968 Gibson G101 Combo organ
1975 Rhodes Piano Bass
1979 Wurlitzer 206A EP
1980 Wurlitzer 200A EP
1980 Wurlitzer 270 Butterfly Grand
2000 Yamaha acoustic piano
2004 Hammond XK3
2009 73A Rhodes Mark 7
2009 Korg SV-1 73
....and a few guitars...

Offline nonplus

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Re: Is this mould on my keys?
« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2018, 09:24:18 AM »
No, the felts. I've looked under the keys, there was only a bit of dust.

Offline pianotuner steveo

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Re: Is this mould on my keys?
« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2018, 10:41:15 AM »
Don't replace the felts unless they are moth eaten or completely worn. Spray a little fabreeze on them to make them smell better.
1960 Wurlitzer model 700 EP
1968 Gibson G101 Combo organ
1975 Rhodes Piano Bass
1979 Wurlitzer 206A EP
1980 Wurlitzer 200A EP
1980 Wurlitzer 270 Butterfly Grand
2000 Yamaha acoustic piano
2004 Hammond XK3
2009 73A Rhodes Mark 7
2009 Korg SV-1 73
....and a few guitars...

Offline nonplus

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Re: Is this mould on my keys?
« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2018, 05:36:59 PM »
Ok, I'll try that. But one question: how could a mouse enter a Rhodes or any other Piano/Keyboard?
You normally have the lid closed (and if unused event the "outer case lid"), don't you?

Felts look like new, so i won't replace them.

Looked carefully for mouse droppings (took out all keys and lifted the harp etc.), but the only animal "things" i could find where
things that look like moth or fly cocoons. Also some wood and metal splints, so only things that don't smell.
I have placed the piano on my balcony (with ceiling/top) and set up a fan to "blow through" the piano over night. I hope this will help a bit.

But maybe the smell ist just "vintage smell".
« Last Edit: August 05, 2018, 06:52:10 PM by nonplus »

Offline conke

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Re: Is this mould on my keys?
« Reply #7 on: August 05, 2018, 08:49:23 PM »
If a number 2 pencil can fit, so can a mouse. The place where the legs screw in would be the likely place for mice to enter. Still not sure about what is smelly, could just be old.
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1977 Rhodes Mk I

Offline pianotuner steveo

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Re: Is this mould on my keys?
« Reply #8 on: August 06, 2018, 07:18:59 AM »
Mice are more common in Wurlitzers and in acoustic pianos. I think it just needs to air out and maybe use air freshener like I said earlier. Is it possible that a cat peed on it at some point?
1960 Wurlitzer model 700 EP
1968 Gibson G101 Combo organ
1975 Rhodes Piano Bass
1979 Wurlitzer 206A EP
1980 Wurlitzer 200A EP
1980 Wurlitzer 270 Butterfly Grand
2000 Yamaha acoustic piano
2004 Hammond XK3
2009 73A Rhodes Mark 7
2009 Korg SV-1 73
....and a few guitars...

Offline nonplus

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Re: Is this mould on my keys?
« Reply #9 on: August 07, 2018, 07:47:31 AM »
I don't know. But one question: the air temperature is about 34°C (93.2°F), is this too warm for the piano to "air out" on the balcony?
There is no direct sunlight shining on the piano.

Offline pianotuner steveo

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Re: Is this mould on my keys?
« Reply #10 on: August 07, 2018, 04:01:15 PM »
I'd be more concerned with it getting wet from rain than the temp.
1960 Wurlitzer model 700 EP
1968 Gibson G101 Combo organ
1975 Rhodes Piano Bass
1979 Wurlitzer 206A EP
1980 Wurlitzer 200A EP
1980 Wurlitzer 270 Butterfly Grand
2000 Yamaha acoustic piano
2004 Hammond XK3
2009 73A Rhodes Mark 7
2009 Korg SV-1 73
....and a few guitars...

Offline nonplus

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Re: Is this mould on my keys?
« Reply #11 on: August 07, 2018, 04:13:04 PM »
No it's a loggia (with windows), so there is no risk the piano gets wet from rain.

Offline Ben Bove

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Re: Is this mould on my keys?
« Reply #12 on: October 05, 2018, 11:57:37 AM »
The grime on the side of the keys is from hands dragging :) If you notice, it's only down far enough between the keys where a hand could touch it.  I'm sure you'll see that it's deepest towards the front of the key (furthest travel down), and trangularly gets smaller as it goes back.

Usually the smell from Rhodes comes from the tolex - give it a good smell up close.  It's a porous material, and everything else in the piano is mostly covered - by the harp lid, by plastic key caps, etc. which usually keeps the smell in.  So your best bet would be to clean the tolex with something like an orange cleaner or something that's not too harsh but has deodorizing properties.  You can always test on the inside of the case lid or some other area which isn't readily seen in case it does affect the material or color of the tolex.

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Offline pnoboy

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Re: Is this mould on my keys?
« Reply #13 on: October 08, 2018, 05:56:39 PM »
I've had good results cleaning Tolex by using a plastic-bristled scrub brush and a spray cleaner like Method.  Spray, scrub, wipe, rinse, dry.  It worked like a charm for me.

Offline synthetic

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Re: Is this mould on my keys?
« Reply #14 on: October 23, 2018, 11:19:53 PM »
https://instagram.com/p/BpR0hoZAtfq

Not sure if image link will work but I think I have mildew on my upper keys. I’ve tried sanding it and bleach solution. Small improvement so far. I might try second pass with bleach solution. I’m using a toothbrush because I’m worried about getting the keys too wet and warping them.
1978 Stage Eighty-Eight

Offline pnoboy

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Re: Is this mould on my keys?
« Reply #15 on: October 24, 2018, 06:41:00 AM »
Chlorine bleach is the standard method for mold and mildew removal.  Scrubbing it on with a toothbrush for about a minute, then wiping the key down with a micro-fiber cloth should work.  The darkened areas could be water stains, I suppose.  If so, and bleach doesn't work, oxalic acid is the go-to product.  I think you are being wise in not letting water sit on the keys for very long.

Offline synthetic

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Re: Is this mould on my keys?
« Reply #16 on: October 27, 2018, 04:00:00 PM »
White vinegar seems to be working for me on the mold.
1978 Stage Eighty-Eight

Offline Electrickey

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Re: Is this mould on my keys?
« Reply #17 on: November 16, 2018, 12:57:00 PM »
Yes some mold is not affected by bleach and some types even thrive. Ever open a shower head and find black mold in it even if the city water has bleach added?

Vinegar or even baking soda will also take care of mold.