Piano repairs and piano tuning have given me experience in just about all areas of piano service during my 30 years as a Certified Piano Technician.
In all cases, the quality of the instrument and the needs of the customer have been the key factors in determining what work was done. Upright pianos are rarely completely restored to original condition. The main reason for this is that the value of the instrument does not justify the expense. The two most significant exceptions are if the instrument is of exceptional quality or there is great sentimental attachment to the piano. Grand pianos, on the other hand, justify extensive rebuilding or restoration much more frequently because of their greater value.
Following are links to two sample projects. The first is a
Wormwith upright piano built in Kingston,
and the second is
a Mason and Risch grand
built in Toronto just after 1900.
Some of the work I have done includes:
- Replacing old worn hammers with new ones - This does much to restore the sound and tone to its origin quality.
- Remove and replace old and worn dampers - This will reduce or eliminate the sound that continues after you remove hands from the keys and foot from the sustain pedal.
- Removed old felt from key-bed, cleaned and replaced with new felt.
- Leveled keys and set the correct dip for the keys - This is extremely important as this is the players contact with the instrument.
- Repaired ivory keytops or replaced them with new plastic - This will give the keyboard a fresh, clean new look.
- Replaced tuning pins with larger ones - This repair can become necessary after many years of humidity swelling the wood during the summer and then the wood drying out during the winter months. Once there is not enough friction against the tuning pin the most effective repair is to put in slightly larger tuning-pins. Sometimes CA glue can delay the need for larger pins for many years.
- Occasionally, I have restrung an upright piano, particularly in the bass. Bass strings can become very dull due to rust and a collection of dust etc. Another reason that I have replaced strings is due to excessive breakage of strings during tuning or playing.
Other fairly common repairs that I have done include sound-board and bridge repairs. This will eliminate buzzes and loss of sound. These repairs can provide a significant improvement of sound.
Piano regulation is done after any replacement of parts. In addition, all pianos must be regulated periodically to compensate for compression of felt and leather, and wear.
These are the most common repairs I have done with upright pianos. There are often individual parts that get broken or worn and need to be replaced.
Grand pianos, because of their additional value, will often justify more extensive repairs. As a consequence of this, in addition to the the types of repairs that I have completed on upright pianos, I have done more extensive work on grands. I have replaced the pin-block on a number of grand pianos. This requires the old strings and the cast-iron plate to be removed. The pin-block is removed and duplicated and any other repairs to sound-board, bridges, etc are completed, and then the pin-block, and plate are reinstalled and the piano is restrung according to the original scale.
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