A piano is indeed a marvelous invention. It is a complex machine with thousands of moving parts but, at the same time, elegant and timeless in its beauty. No matter how wonderful the piano is, however, it is still prone to wear and tear. It can deteriorate over time, especially if without proper care and maintenance. The wood structures can crack, the strings may break, and many other things can happen. Wear and tear happen gradually that you may not notice any deterioration until its too late.
The Three Rs in Piano Restoration
When talking about piano restoration, you will hear these three terms a lot:
- Repair – Repairing a piano entails fixing certain broken parts, such as a missing string, a broken hammer, or a pedal that is not working properly. It does not involve any upgrade on the condition of the piano in general.
- Reconditioning – This involves improving the performance of a piano as a whole, but with little to no replacement of parts involved. For example, instead of replacing hammers and strings, reconditioning will only resurface the hammers and twist the bass strings to improve their tone. Replacements take place only when absolutely necessary.
- Rebuilding – Piano rebuilding in Wisconsin involves complete replacement of all worn out or damaged parts. Steinway & Sons Madison says that the piano might even need to be completely disassembled while being fixed and adjusted to restore it to its former glory. Although many technicians would argue that unless the pin block needs replacement, it is not considered as a rebuilt instrument.
Why Does a Piano Need Restoration?
There are various reason why your piano would need restoration. As your piano ages:
- the leather and felt compact which affects the adjustment of the parts.
- the action becomes less responsive and uneven.
- the piano’s tone loses its dynamic range.
- action parts become severely worn, especially after heavy use.
- the leather and felt become thin after wear and tear.
- the piano strings break.
- the keys become loose.
- the bass strings’ copper windings start to lose resonance.
- the pin block, soundboard, and bridges go weak over time.
When to Consider Reconditioning or Rebuilding?
No matter how well-maintained your piano is, it will still continue to decline with age. When regular maintenance like cleaning, regulating, voicing, and tuning no longer work, then it’s time for a reconditioning or rebuilding. Do keep in mind that there is no exact date when a piano will need a complete rebuilding or reconditioning. Some pianos will require one after only twenty years, while others after 50 years.
When discussing restoration work with your technician, make sure that you are on the same page as the terms defined above may not always be the same with everyone. One person’s definition of rebuilding may be understood as reconditioning by another.