Tech letter for Teachers #5

What elements do we look for in a piano to determine if it is a candidate for rebuilding? Surprisingly, a famous piano brand name is often not the best choice. The higher purchase price diminishes the financial resource needed for the rebuilding work. A certain New York brand will often cost 10 times what a lesser known manufacture may run. Yet the end product is not worth that kind of multiple. We have all played pianos with a famous name which left us very disappointed in its performance.

While these famous names have many of the characteristics we look for in a rebuilding candidate such as massive rims, they often have a less than ideal rib and soundboard scale. If the rim is of a shape which makes the addition of struts more feasible, the rim is massive enough, and the key sticks are in good shape, nothing else really matters. In the course of rebuilding the soundboard can be and is usually replaced, the bridges are at the least recapped, if not redesigned, the action is replaced and rebalanced, and obviously the strings are replaced along with the pinblock.

Well, you might say, their isn’t much of the original piano left. Good! That is the idea behind rebuilding as opposed to reconditioning. We do our pianos one at a time, instead of hundreds or thousands every year, each one can be done right and done to very exacting standards simply not available in a factory setting.Many advances in piano design have been made in the past century which manufactures simply refuse to incorporate into their pianos because of tradition. With your consul-tation and approval these improvements can be incorporated into your piano.

Also we do not have the expense of building the cabinet or casting the plate, or a national marketing campaign (yes, you paid for that in your purchase price) so we can put a new piano inside an old frame for 1/3 to 2/3 the cost of new.