Most of us have come across an old, neglected upright piano in a school, church, or someone’s home.

Usually, several notes don’t work and it’s way out of tune.

The finish is worn, faded and has scratches accumulated over decades of time.

Should these sorry old instruments be relegated to the scrap pile?

Or are they, in fact, diamonds in the rough?

It is my belief that the “golden era” uprights (approximately 1890-1930) yield the most pleasantly surprising results.

If someone is considering restoring a grand piano, there are places they can go to see a newer piano to make a comparison (piano dealers, private parties, etc.). Grand pianos are still made in all of the traditional sizes. They have some frame of reference.

1898 Harrington Upright Piano
Restored Upright Piano

However, with uprights, it’s different story. Many of the “golden era” uprights made a century ago were considerably taller than today’s pianos. They are also of a much higher quality in terms of materials and craftsmanship. There is nothing out there to compare them with, apples to apples. The result is, when a fully restored, our clients receive an antique upright piano that far exceeds their expectations.

This comes from the combination of two primary factors:

  1. The beautiful character of the carved case
  2. The full sound of the piano by virtue of its size (usually taller than most pianos made today)

Over the years, we have collected testimonial after testimonial of clients being shocked by the transformation of their “old antique upright.”

Before you think of giving up on your faded, out-of-tune upright, please contact Grand American Piano. With a few quick questions, we can help you determine if your heirloom upright is worth restoring. You just might be in for a big surprise.