Sometimes, people want to know if they should restore an older piano. There is no single answer to that question. Many vintage pianos are hand-built, unlike most of today’s production-line instruments, and would have a whole new musical life in them, post-restoration. The “golden age” of American piano production was from roughly 1900 to the 1930’s, employing highly skilled craftsmen, most of whom were European immigrants. A grand piano is an amazing instrument, with hundreds of parts and complex inner workings.
In our shop, we do various levels of restoration, from a simple refinishing of the cabinet to complete restoration of the piano inside and out. Like the question of whether to restore an older piano, there is no simple answer to another question, “How much do you charge to rebuild a piano?”
There are three “phases” of a piano restoration: the cabinet (refinishing), the “belly” (string area), and the action (all moving parts of the keyboard, inside and out). Cost depends on the degree of work performed. Our staff is able to evaluate your piano, and help you to determine whether your piano is the caliber of instrument worth restoring.
We specialize in restoring fine grand and baby grand pianos, especially American-built instruments. Vintage uprights, such as 55” tall upright grands, are most often prohibitively expensive to restore, compared to their subsequent value. We usually advise against spending the money, although there are exceptions to this general rule.
What’s Involved When Restoring A Piano?
If you have a vintage grand or baby grand that is showing its age, you may want to consider restoring it to its former splendor. A complete restoration can include cabinet refinishing; stripping, repairing and refinishing the soundboard; re-bronzing the plate; repairing the bridge and replacing the bridge pins; new agraffes; new pin block, pins, wire and bass strings; replacing damper felts; new backchecks, let-offs, key/keybed felts; replacing key bushings and key tops; cleaning, polishing and buffing (or replating) the hardware; replacing the fallboard decal and reapplying the serial number. (You see what we mean when we say grand pianos are amazing and complex!)
We use the finest parts in our restoration, made by the finest quality suppliers we can find. Grand piano action parts are from Renner USA. (These action parts are used on new Mason & Hamlin, Baldwin concert grands, Bechstein, and most new German brands.)
Renner hammers are used on all grand restorations, unless otherwise specified.
All piano treble strings are Roslau top-quality, best-tone, German piano wire.
All bass strings are from American maker Mapes Piano String Company, who have made, and still make, the original strings on many of the finest quality pianos.
Why Buy A Restored Piano?
Because the old adage is true: They just don’t make pianos the way they used to. Today, most affordable pianos are manufactured by machine. Our restored pianos, originally hand-built, are rebuilt and/or refinished by our master craftsmen, many of whom learned their skills by apprenticing in Europe. Our rebuilt vintage pianos are made of the finest materials. All of our restored pianos have been re-crafted in order to bring back to life their former quality of tone and touch – they are just waiting for a new home.