Top of Page

Monday, 28 July 2014

Piano Repairs

Repairing a piano will involve considerable expense - some of the new parts are relatively inexpensive but, for example, if you wanted a set of new hammer-heads fitted, suddenly the price for the work soon begins to look like a serious amount of money. Sentimental reasons may push aside fears of overspending but the desire to spend whatever it takes to honour a memory will not meet with the desired end if, after parting with a whole load of cash, the piano is still an untuneful and uninspiring instrument.

Of course, opinions will vary from technician to technician, but here are some guidelines for the careful piano owner who wishes to avoid overspending on their piano:
  1. Assuming the piano to be repaired is an average, mid-range quality, regularly used and up to pitch. ...in this case there is scope for fairly extensive repair - some reflecting, replacing of springs etc. Unless it is a family heirloom, do not have it completely rebuilt.
  2. If the piano to be repaired is less than an average piano, straight-strung, overdamped, difficult to keep in tune, has numerous broken parts. ...In this case, spend money on upgrading the piano. If funds really don't stretch that far, find a tuner who will help you keep it going without charging you the earth. Any serious money spent on these pianos is money down the drain!
  3. If the piano to be repaired is a top quality, named piano, total rebuilding, though expensive is not out of place. If the existing condition of the piano is tired and worn out, sometimes rebuilding is the only way to restore its sparkle. However, on a personal note, the older the piano, take extra care. ...In my opinion, only this kind of piano stands as a sensible candidate for the cost of rebuilding!
Are there exceptions to the rule?  

As ever, yes! Occasionally I meet with a piano which does not neatly fit into the categories mentioned above, but for me has enough of that difficult-to-define piano charm to set it apart from the ordinary. The last such piano for me was a very fine old French piano. Rare, and well-preserved, it did not need a complete rebuild. New hammerheads, new damper felts, kept the original strings and the result? A considered, and good value-for-money option for the owners.

The Piano World

© Steve Burden 

Pianology