Frequent questions about piano restorations….and their answers. For any questions not addressed here, please contact us.
Think about sentimentality. Grandma’s piano that was passed down through a couple generations and has become a “family heirloom” may be very much worth restoring to you. Think of the family history…the piano that your grandparents played, your parents played–maybe even you played–the value is priceless.
This is by far our most commonly asked question. The answer is YES!! An antique, vintage piano from what we call the Golden Era of Piano Making is definitely worth restoring. We are passionate about pianos in general, but we do hold an even higher level of respect and passion for these Golden Era Pianos.
Pianos from this era are irreplaceable—that is, your treasured piano with family history and sentimentality attached to it cannot be replaced. It is priceless.
The piano as we know it today was perfected about 100 or so years ago. The Golden Era of Piano Making was the turn of the 20th Century—the piano was the centerpiece of the home. The children played, the parents played and the grandparents played. The public was more discerning about sound quality, and the pianos reflected that demand. Then, the stock market crashed, the depression hit and the World Wars followed. The subsequent generations played less and less piano. The morale of the piano industry never really recovered. The hand-built American pianos of the Golden Era are generally too old to be viable in original condition. But it is these pianos—fully restored—that are the best value in the piano industry.
In our minds, “piano restoration” refers not only to replacing—or refurbishing—the piano’s “critical” and essential components, but it also refers to a very broad range of solutions tailored to your piano’s needs—and your budget. Restoration can be done in stages, or all restoration items can be addressed and completed together at one time.
In a perfect and ideal world, “piano restoration” would include a new or refurbished soundboard, a brand new pin block, a complete re-stringing, new hammers, as well as action components, cabinet refinishing/rebuilding, complete restoration of the piano keyboard and key frame/bed, and even more!
Our ideas and theories about piano restoration do include all of the aforementioned. But, we also realize that some of these options may not easily fit the budgets of our clients.
We have completed countless piano restorations, and each of them has been customized for the client and the piano to maintain a balance between the client’s budget and the needs of the piano.
Consider having a restored and fully functional piano in your living room with piece of history behind it. Maybe your antique, vintage upright from the 1890s was a “saloon piano.” Think of the music of that era–try to imagine a turn-of-the-century piano player pounding out some ragtime tunes on your piano.
You could certainly do just that. There are some excellent makes of pianos available today in the new piano marketplace. There are also several used pianos that are viable options.
The real answer to this question will be different for everyone. Consider these questions:
- Do you have a sentimental attachment to a particular vintage piano?
- Do you normally prefer vintage or antiques to new?
- Has your vintage piano been in your family for generations?
If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, piano restoration is for you!
The value of an old, vintage piano in monetary terms is difficult to provide without some explanation. The fact is, that any piano that is older is going to need some sort of work done. Unlike a fine piece of antique furniture, pianos require more that simple age to express their full potential. The old chair that John Hancock sat in when he signed the Declaration of Independence might be worth a fortune exactly as it was on the very day he signed his name, but the old piano in the corner across from him is quite different.
A chair is a chair and it’s function is to provide a place to sit, while a piano is a collection of hundreds of moving parts that must work in tandem to provide the desired function.
The real question you should be asking yourself is: “How much is my piano worth to me?”.
If you moved into your home and found that the previous owners left a piano in the garage, piano restoration may not be for you. The piano left in the garage by “the other guy” is worth very litte, if anything, in its current condition. Remember: there is a reason is was left behind—it needs work.
On the other hand, if you rescued your great grandmother’s piano that she purchased new in 1912, and the piano is valuable to you, then it is impossible to put a price on it. and, to that end, unfortunately, unless great grandma purchased an extremely high-end piano back in 1912, the actual “street price” (what you might get when you try to sell it) will probably be very low.
It is for this reason that piano restoration makes sense if you are dealing with a vintage, family heirloom.
The fully restored value of a piano varies greatly. It depends on several factors: the original maker (name on the piano) and the type of piano (grand, baby grand, upright). We can provide this information on a case-by-case basis to our clients.
However, a word of caution is warranted here. Piano restoration, when done properly, is expensive and takes a great deal of time. We generally do not promote what we do as a means to “flip” your vintage piano. Yes, it is possible to restore the piano then turn around and sell it, but that is not what this is all about. There is not a huge line of potential buyers waiting to purchase a fully restored vintage piano. So, if you are considering piano restoration, be sure you are considering it for the right reasons. That is, to preserve and restore a family treasure for the enjoyment of your generation and beyond.
The time needed to properly—and we emphasize the word properly—restore a piano is somewhat variable; however, plan on the process taking several months to complete.
When your piano arrives at our shop, we are able to give you a time frame that is specific to your piano.
That being said, our piano restoration process is not rushed. We favor taking the time needed to provide the absolute best possible outcome for your piano.
Piano Restoration Tailored to You and Your Piano
With every restoration project, there are a wide range of options from everything to just one or a few things.
Call or contact us and we can setup a time to review your piano in person or discuss your needs via phone or email. We will provide a list of all the options. Then, it’s up to you to decide which ones or how much you want to have done. It’s that simple!
Feel free to email us photos of your piano or use the contact page to upload them to us. It will not replace an on site evaluation, but we may be able to discuss with you more thoroughly via phone or email.