At Grand American Piano, we specialize in restoring antique pianos. We have the passion, patience, and skill to transform your grand, upright, or square piano back to new condition
With over 12,000 parts in a piano, obviously every piano will need varying degrees of work. There are, however, answers that can be given for general price ranges. The piano can be broken down into three basic areas of restoration — the case, the strings and the action.
Piano Restoration Process
The case restoration usually includes refinishing the case and bench. Structural repairs such as repairing or remanufacturing case parts, repairing veneer, etc. are included in the refinishing; and replating the piano hardware (hinges, pedals, screws, etc.). It can be done in either the original wood grain, or the case can be ebonized. The price depends on the extent of repairs, the size of the piano, the ornateness of the case parts, etc. After the lacquer is sprayed, a professional hand-rubbed satin finish is achieved. You can request other finishing options. However, most of our customers prefer the hand-rubbed satin finish, which brings out the full beauty of the case.
Restringing Your Piano
The strings are probably the least understood part of the piano. Usually people assume that all their piano needs is a “good tuning.”
When a piano is sitting in your living room it is under a tremendous amount of string tension. About 30,000 to 40,000 lbs! The tuning pins that hold the strings in tune have an average life of about 60-70 years. After that, they start to lose their grip in the pinblock. First, the piano needs to be tuned more than usual. After a while, however, the tension renders the piano untunable at all.
When your piano tuner tightens the pins with his tuning hammer, the pins just slip back out of tune again. The only remedy at that point is to replace the pinblock and re-string, or re-string with bigger pins (depending on the condition of the pinblock). When the tighter pins are driven into the pinblock the piano can be tuned for another 70 years or so. A fringe benefit of replacing the bass strings is a noticably fuller sound as well. If there are cracks in the soundboard they are repaired before the new strings are installed. It is generally a good idea to do the case and strings together because the soundboard and plate can be done along with the case. Restringing over a refinished plate and soundboard gives it a comprehensive professional look. The price for restringing depends on the extent of repair to the soundboard and pinblock.
Restoring the Piano Action
The action is like to motor of the piano. It transfers the energy from the player’s fingers to the strings. It literally connects the player with the instrument. As in the example of a classic automobile, if it was just a “sunday driver” all of its life, only minor repair to the engine will be needed.
On the contrary, if it was a daily driver, the engine needs major restoration or replacement. It’s the same thing with a piano. If it had minimal use in its lifetime, we could maintain the original parts, but if there were musicians in the family, chances are we will need to replace parts. The top of the action is where the hammers are. The hammers hit the strings and that’s what produces the sound.
The rest of the action (keys, shanks, wippens, bushings, felts, etc.) is critical to how the instrument feels to the touch. That is an often overlooked point of consideration. It is a combination of the sound and the feel that inspire (or don’t inspire) the player. There is nothing like the sound and feel of a new Renner action! The cost of the action can run from several hundred to thousands, again, depending on what’s replaced, the condition of the keyboard (ivories or plastics), etc.
Pricing and Quote Request
You have have three options to consider — full rebuild, reconditioning, or repair. We provide this as a general guideline. Cost varies by instrument type, size, and condition. Complete the quote request form to get pricing specific to your piano restoration.
Option A – Full Rebuild
- Full case restoration with hand-rubbed lacquer finish
- Replace pin block and repair sound board, as required
- Restring piano
- Full replacement of the piano action using best-in-industry Renner parts
Option B – Reconditioning
- Refinish case
- Restring piano
- Minor work on the original action to restore
- Playing ability of instrument
Option C – Repair
- Touch up case
- Restring piano
- Minor action regulation