How to Change a Piano Hammer

Changing piano hammers is necessary when the felt on them erodes and the piano loses its soft sound. This requires several tools and a certain degree of expertise to complete the process properly. If you must do more than simply replacing the hammers, such as drilling and creating the hammer on your own, it is better to hire a professional. Otherwise, simply replacing the hammer can be done by most people, with the right tools.

Step 1

Remove one of the hammers from the grid, by applying heat to the base of the hammer to loosen the glue. Bring it to your local music store, and ask them to measure it and order a set of replacement hammers. The hammer is measured with calipers, from one end to the other.

Step 2

Apply yellow carpenter's glue to the top of the old shank. Then place the new hammer on top of the old shank. Align the hammer so it hits the string evenly, then allow the hammer to sit overnight until the glue dries.

Step 3

Shape the hammer head, so the felt is flat and hits the strings evenly. You can shape the felt, and cut the edges to make this possible.


When changing piano hammer heads, replace all the connected parts as well, such as the shanks and flanges. This process requires special tools and training. Hire a professional piano tuner, or take an instrument repair class to learn how to do this properly.


Generally, replacing hammer heads should be done by a qualified professional. This process can cost up to several thousand dollars and is more art than science.


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