TAKE CAUTION WITH REBUILT STEINWAYS

Rebuilt Steinway Pianos

WHAT TO KNOW

Before purchasing a rebuilt Steinway or having your Steinway rebuilt

It disheartens us to receive calls from Steinway owners seeking help in mending their pianos that had been poorly rebuilt by others.  Problems include cracked soundboards, weak pinblocks, poorly responsive actions and deteriorating finishes.

Can you tell if a piano has been properly restored? 

Unfortunately, it’s difficult for a non-expert to determine the weaknesses in a poorly restored piano as most of these are not visible or audible to the untrained eye or ear.  Examples of poor piano restoration work are below.

PianoSoundboard

Soundboard Poorly Installed

Soundboards must fit perfectly tight to the piano’s rim, while the underlying ribs must fit tightly into the rib notches.  This tightness helps maintain the soundboard’s crown (its roundness).  Without an ample crown the soundboard doesn’t have adequate power so the sound it projects is weak and of limited tone.  Poorly seasoned, crafted and installed soundboards are also more prone to developing cracks.
Cracked_Soundboard
Restored_Soundboard

Steinway Piano Pinblock

Pinblock Poorly Installed

Poorly installed pinblocks diminish the structural integrity of the case, which can lead to reduced pressure on the edges of the soundboard, which, in turn, can cause the soundboard’s crown to flatten.
Poorly installed pinblocks also cause tuning instability, where the piano tends to go out of tune more often and different notes tend to go out of tune at different times.

Steinway Piano Pinblock

Piano Pinblock

Pinblock Holes Drilled Improperly

Pinblock holes drilled incorrectly cause the tuning pins to sit at imprecise angles and with excessive or insufficient tightness.  The result is tuning instability.  In the more extreme cases, notes can’t be tuned at all and strings break when tuning is attempted.

Piano Bridge Pins

(click to enlarge)

Bridge Pins Set Improperly

Bridge pin holes that are drilled imperfectly cause the bridge pins to sit at imprecise depths and angles in the bridge cap and with insufficient tightness.  Incorrectly drilled bridge pin holes thus result in poor terminations of the strings, which cause impurities in the sound (i.e., the sound is not as clean and crisp as it should be).  In the more extreme cases, the strings will buzz.

Piano Bridge Pins Great

(click to enlarge)

NewPianoAction

Improper Action

Steinways manufactured in different eras have slightly varying front end configurations; accordingly, the action part geometries vary from era to era.  So simply installing a new action in a Steinway often does not provide a top result.  To achieve the best possible touch, action parts must be chosen that are the best possible fit for the piano.  Otherwise, the touch will be less responsive and less fluid than it should be.  The ideal touch provides the control that a player needs in order to be able to create with ease the widest possible range of expression in the music.

Piano Voicing

Poor Voicing

Poor voicing can turn an otherwise great piano into one that is disappointing.  Conversely, beautiful voicing can turn an otherwise average sounding piano into one that sounds pleasing.  Voicing a piano involves adjusting the hardness of each hammer-felt, the left-right placement of each string, and the twist of each hammer-shank so as to produce the most even and pleasing tone possible across the entire musical range of the piano.  There is no way to see if a piano has been well voiced but a player with even some musical training can easily hear the difference between a well, and poorly voiced piano.

Cheap Refinishing

A high-quality piano finish looks great and this look doesn’t diminish for many years.  Lower quality (less costly) finishes don’t look impressive initially and they generally diminish as time goes by.  A high-quality finish is expensive- it requires (i) extensive preparatory repairs to the structural elements of the piano and to the veneers (ii) perfect spraying of the base coat and multiple coats of lacquer, (iii) hand-sanding of each coat, (iv) three months of drying, and finally, (v) one week of intensive hand-rubbing.
Note: it’s not hard to notice if a finish is lower quality.  And a lower-quality finish is a leading indicator of mediocre quality in the rest of the rebuilding job.
Rebuilt Steinways

Low Quality Finish

(click to enlarge)

Rebuilt Steinway Pianos

High Quality Finish

(click to enlarge)

Rebuilt Steinways

Low Quality Finish

(click to enlarge)

Rebuilt Steinway Pianos

High Quality Finish

(click to enlarge)

Many piano rebuilders have snazzy websites and fancy photos and videos of their pianos; however, this is no indication of the quality of their restoration work.

Cutting corners when rebuilding a piano can produce a piano that looks nice but problems invariably will arise with time.

America`s Largest Independent Steinway Rebuilder

GoogleMapFaustHarrison
Yamaha Digital
Piano Sale
google reviews
message us