Piano Restoration

The process of completely restoring a piano is nearly as labor intensive as the original construction of the piano. Some professionals dedicate their entire lives and businesses to the restoration process, and rightly so. From the outside case to the internal components of the instrument, pianos that are labelled "professionally restored", undergo a complete transformation. The restoration process is a complicated, precise art that results in a beautiful sounding and aesthetically pleasing product.

One of the most important elements in the piano restoration process is the materials and parts selected to complete the job. Sometimes, almost all of the parts inside a piano are replaced during restoration. In other cases, some of the original parts are re-used and others replaced. Experience and know-how are key. Regardless, since the vast majority of our work revolves around Steinway and Sons pianos, we, at The Piano Shoppe, are committed to using genuine Steinway action parts. For Steinways made in New York, New York parts are used; for German Steinways, parts are ordered from the factory in Hamburg.

Generally and briefly speaking, the following work is done on our pianos during the restoration process:
  • Action: these parts are almost always replaced. We specialize in voicing the New York Steinway hammer and are committed to using Steinway action parts for optimal tone and touch, the way the factory intended it.
  • Strings: are always replaced with the same quality strings the Steinway factory uses. We use the same suppliers.
  • Pin-block: is almost always replaced and original size 2-0 tuning pins are used for the right tuning pin torque.
  • Bridges: the bridge down-bearing is re-set.
  • Sound-board: for California pianos, the sound-board is usually repaired and successfully re-used. For instruments going inter-state (to different climate conditions), we may recommend replacing the board.
  • Plate: is always re-sprayed and brought back to the genuine Steinway color.
  • Key-tops: most of the time we are able to re-use and repair a set of ivories on our instruments. On more modern pianos, a new set of plastic key-tops are installed.
  • Finish: most of our instruments are refinished in hand-rubbed satin lacquer finish. Upon request, we also provide high polish polyester finish.
For more information, please contact us.

5 Strategies for Buying a Piano

Buying a piano can be an intimidating experience. Deciding among sizes of grand pianos that vary by mere inches, understanding the jargon that relates to digital options, and figuring out the differences and advantages between a used and a restored piano are all complicated issues to work with. With just a few strategies, however, buying a piano can be less intimidating, and even enjoyable.

Strategy Number 1: Make It Fun
This should go without saying, but buying an item that can provide such enjoyment as a piano does, should be fun. Don't shy away from asking questions and experiencing the instruments at a piano shop or showroom. Feeling a piano first hand is one of the best ways to make a mature connection with an instrument. Try out pianos that range from uprights to concert grand pianos, if possible. Even if the price is impossible to afford, just tasting what the world of pianos has to offer can help in decision-making.

Strategy Number 2: Ask for Advice
Yes, you could do countless hours of research in order to determine what piano option is most desirable. Even with years of individual shopping, however, you are likely missing a valuable component: the experience of an expert. Consulting with a piano professional at a shop or a showroom can save a vast amount of time and money. Discuss the needs of the space the piano will be placed in, the taste of the player in question, the amount the piano will be played, the quality/kind of tone desired, the climate the instrument will reside in, etc.

Strategy Number 3: Used vs Refinished
A piano that has been played before should not scare a buyer away. A used piano that is sold by an independent seller might be somewhat suspect, but a professionally restored piano is not the same cup of tea. In fact, some pianists prefer the sound and touch of older Steinways. Make sure you have this conversation with one of our experts.

Strategy Number 4: Price Comparison
Most potential buyers are quite surprised with the price differences of pianos in the market place. Shy away from impulsive buying. Consider all available options before a purchase.

Strategy Number 5: Have it Moved by Professionals
No matter what piano you end up purchasing, make sure the instrument is moved by professionals. Many showrooms and dealers provide a professional moving service, and this is often a selling point for buyers. If purchasing from an individual, seek out professional piano moving services, not just a generic merchandise moving firm.

The Piano Shoppe's Genuine Steinway Restoration

Pianos are beautiful instruments, but they are also quite fragile. Throughout years of heavy use, pianos experience wear and tear that negatively impacts both the quality of sound and the playability of the instrument. The Piano Shoppe offers restoration services which return instruments to their original glory. This is high-level restoration and is only possible with Piano Shoppe's dedication and decision to use genuine Steinway action parts.

The Nature of Steinway
Steinway & Sons has been in business for more than 150 years and Steinway piano action parts are sought after by thousands of musicians world-wide. Because of their superior quality in touch and tone, we, at The Piano Shoppe, selectively chooses genuine Steinway parts for our restoration projects. New York Steinways get the parts from the factory in New York, and German Steinways get the Hamburg Steinway action parts.

A Steinway Heart
One of the central component of the piano, the instrument's heart and soul, is the sound-board. The Piano Shoppe does its utmost to respect the integrity of a Steinway and re-use the factory installed sound-board. With years of experience, we have mastered the art of repairing boards the Steinway way, and making sure that the repairs last decades.

Hand-Crafted Tone
The Piano Shoppe's dedication to crafting a memorable sound in a restored piano does not stop at the sound-board. Working on the New York Steinway hammer for years means that we know how to get that "mellow, round, New York tone" out of a New York Steinway! This hammer is a low-tension hammer that requires special skill. Ask us for details.

Hand-Crafted Finish
The Piano Shoppe is committed to refinishing and restoring pianos with the same methodology by which they were originally made. Whether you enjoy hand-rubbed satin lacquer finish, or a more glossy, high- polish polyester finish, we are certain that our finished product will impress you.

What is the difference between tuning and voicing?

In a nutshell, tuning is a pitch adjustment, while voicing (or tone regulation) is a tone adjustment.

Tuning a piano is essential in keeping the right tension distribution inside the instrument. When a piano is tuned, all of its 200 or more strings are shifted to the proper frequency or pitch. This process uses intervals, octaves, thirds, fifths, etc., and results in a crispier sound.

In order to maintain a quality sound, however, a piano needs more than just a simple tuning.

Keeping the tonal quality of a piano is only possible with proper voicing services.

Ask us for more details.

Voicing (Tone Regulation)

A number of elements in a piano dictate what kind of tone that instrument will have. Chief among these elements are the hammers and sound-board. This is precisely why we, at The Piano Shoppe, pay such close attention to the type of hammer we use.

Low tension hammers are voiced a certain way, while high tension hammers are voiced using a completely a different set of techniques.

The difference is not only in the way, however. The end result is usually very different as well. The low-tension New York hammer will usually result in a rounder, mellower tone, while the high-tension hammer from Germany (or Asia) is typically made to have a brighter, more piercing kind of tone.

This is a long discussion. Feel free to reach out to us for more info.

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