Complete piano restoration
A complete piano restoration involves making major repairs to the piano. Most of the restoration that we do can take from a few hours to a few days to complete. When carrying out a complete restoration, the hammers, rollers, strings and shanks will be changed. The piano would need to go to the workshop for this.
Piano reconditioning work is not as extensive as a complete piano restoration. The piano normally does not go to the workshop while using what is already present on the piano rather than replacing parts. It works out to be cheaper because you eliminate the removal costs for the piano, labour and parts. However this option is subject to the condition of the piano.
This approach would only work if the frame work of the piano is still intact. The main elements of the frame work are ; soundboard, hammers, pin block, strings and the general mechanism of the action. Rather than replacing the hammers we would reface the existing ones. This process has the advantage of being able to retain the original tone of the piano. The emphasis in any restoration or reconditioning work is the tone and touch. The main contributing factor to improving the touch is fine regulation. process.
We also carry out an internal cleaning and lubrication process. This would extent to the strings, action, keys and sound board. This allows the piano to play smoothly and efficiently. There are many parts in the action mechanism, these generate a lot of friction which need lubrication. This simple but fine detail can be the determining factor in the desired outcome.
From minor piano repairs to major piano repairs, whatever your piano needs we will attend to it. We carry out intensive investigations into what the root problem is rather than offering a quick fix and dealing with the symptom. It can be a frustrating experience to keep having the same problem recurring. It is important to realize that piano problems are likely to happen and it is equally important to have permanent solutions when they occur. We offer these solutions.
Hammer refacing and alignment:
Before hammer refacing & alignment
After hammer refacing & alignment
The cost of completely restoring a piano can be quite expensive; however, the option is still available. For clients who are looking for an inexpensive yet effective way to improve the tone of the piano, we offer a reconditioning option. Part of this process includes hammer refacing. Hammer refacing involves reshaping flattened hammers rather than replacing the hammers. Flattened hammers affect the tone of the Piano. The shape of the hammer edge needs to be more pointed than a fist shape. The dynamics behind this is that; you want the least amount of felt to make contact with the strings. If you have a fist shape what is happening is that; the hammer is creating the sound and also stopping the sound, the dampers are the ones that should stop the sound. This effectively stops the piano from singing and resonating as it should.
Hammer misalignment causes a lot of problems with the tone and touch of the piano. Hammers will start to rub against each other causing sticky keys when playing. The tone is also affected because all the strings in each note will not be struck. This causes uneven tone, distortions and failure to properly tune the piano.
Cleaning the piano
When we are restoring the piano; we consider how the piano looked originally. We use specialist cleaning products; to improve the appearance of the piano. Pianos gather dust and dirt overtime; when the dirt settles, it affects the smooth playing of the piano. We also clean the strings as best as we can; without causing any damage.
Having a piano regulated can greatly improve the touch; making it more responsive especially when playing gently. Most times you will have a piano that is in tune; but not pleasurable to play. A piano that is well regulated will give you more control; because you can play different variations; while getting a response from the piano without having to press hard to get a response. There is a difference between; response and resistance when it comes to the touch on a piano. You need the necessary amount of resistance to give you the sense of pressing something; but this can be archived without compromising how well the piano responds.
In some cases you will have an uneven touch on the keyboard. This will be evident through some notes being heavier that the rest; and some responding more that others. This usually creates the frustration of missing certain notes when playing a piece; due to lack of repetition and response.
Regulation also goes a long in improving the tone of the piano. The hammers must hit the strings at the right distance and angle; while the hammers must get close to the strings before returning to playing position. The force needed to move the hammer; and other factors in the downward movement of the keys must be correct. It is therefore important; to have your piano regulated in order to get the best playing experience.
The decision to restore/recondition your piano or to buy a new one
The decision to restore/recondition your piano compared to buying a new piano can be very difficult. There are factors that we can discuss with you depending on the make and model of your old piano; and the extend of wear. Unfortunately it might not ultimately come down to one factor but a combination of different things.
The first question is usually what do you want to achieve? Do you want a piece of furniture?, do you want a musical instrument?, an investment?, or an inheritance to pass on to your family? Having established this the decision easier. The next question would be how much you want to spend on bringing your piano back to life?, and how much would you be willing to spend on a new piano? The crucial thing to establish at this point is, how much your piano will cost to restore / recondition? What the end value it would have after. It is important to get a comprehensive report on your piano from a piano tuner / technician. The report should contain expected results after restoring / reconditioning your piano. At this point it is almost clear what is more viable.