Keyboard Glockenspiel/Celesta (Job No: 1182)


Yet another keyboard glockenspiel (or Celeste) for repair.  This is the fourth instrument I have worked on in the last couple of years, and again is totally different from the last.  I would call this a keyboard glock, but the owner was advised it is a table top Celeste/Celesta; there are no resonators, and the hammers are wooden as opposed to felt, but I haven’t seen a Mustel table top celesta or even an original sales leaflet.  In any case its splitting hairs.


The case is falling apart (as usual), and there is a missing note.  Half the notes don’t play, and it feels dreadful.

You can see from the picture above that the hammers are all over the place, which is why it doesn’t play.  They should look like below.  I found the missing hammer head in the bottom of the case.


Below the hammers is the mechanism.



And finally the keys.


These sit on a peg board the two rows visible above are the fulcrum points.


The pins at the front hold the keys in place. The felts at the front stop the keys from clunking on the board when pressed, but also determine the down position of the key, which is part of the set up. The felt at the back does the same job for when the note is released. The fulcrum points can be shimmed to increase the primary key action, but it also has other effects.


Anyway, I repaired the outside case with every sash cramp I could find. People love their gadgets like strap clamps, but I prefer to clamp specific points identified during the dry fit process, consequently I need loads of clamps.


The original base was too badly damaged to repair so a new board was fitted.

First everything is given a good clean, then work can begin…

All the felt throughout the instrument was moth eaten, so they were all replaced including the hammer mechanisms. These also needed some springs replacing, and some repairs.

And the hammers repaired.

A similar situation with these stoppers and rotten felt, but they also don’t adjust. They should screw down the threaded pins, but most are glued on. I had to change the pins, and re-thread the wooden barrels to enable them to be adjustable.

Now the rebuilding can begin. The first problem encountered is that the keys don’t sit nicely.

There are no adjustments for this on this instrument, which I had to rectify. However the lowest three keys are twisted. To repair this I built a steam chamber that I assembled around the key, and steam bent the note back to where it needed to be.

With the new adjusters at the rear of the keys, the height of the action can be calibrated across the instrument.


Then the mechanisms can be installed and calibrated, followed by the hammers.
Which then also need to be calibrated.

Then I tested the instrument with the notes on, and made a few tweaks away from the standardised set up, to achieve a better strike and sound on a note by note basis.

Finally the whole thing gets put into its refurbished box, and its ready for delivery.

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