Rebuilding and Repairs
Few aspects of piano service are as loosely defined as the word Rebuilding, which refers to major work on the piano. True rebuilding is the process of replacing or repairing every aspect of the piano to put it in like-new or better condition. Doing anything less, while it may be expensive and appropriate, would be considered reconditioning.
A completely rebuilt piano will have a new pinblock, all soundboard issues addressed through industry-standard soundboard repair or replacement, new strings and tuning pins, dampers, bushings of guide rails and keys, new hammers, new action parts, pedals rebuilt, anything else it may need, and all the attendant work and maintenance.
It is my policy in my facility to personally repair high quality soundboards on Steinway and other pianos. I do not remove original soundboards as a matter of routine. I believe that vintage Steinway soundboards should be preserved if possible. When a Steinway soundboard is beyond repair, I believe that the piano should go back to Steinway and Sons for a true Steinway soundboard. In the case of other fine pianos, highly trained private soundboard specialists may be used for new soundboard installation.
As opposed to rebuilding, pianos may be partially restored, or refurbished or reconditioned. Refinishing refers only to the external cabinet or “furniture” portion of the piano.
At Amy Marshall Piano Service LLC, we provide a full condition survey and detailed treatment proposal for your instrument.
One of the biggest problems Steinway owners face is deciding whom to hire when their valuable piano needs repairs or rebuilding. Steinway has very explicit and high standards, which sadly, many piano rebuilders do not meet. In my shop, I DO NOT replace soundboards. If a soundboard on a Steinway is in need of being replaced, I feel that Steinway is the only place where you can be sure that the soundboard is done the way it has always been done. Reproduction soundboards, no matter how well they are made, are not Steinway soundboards.
I have a high level of expertise at repairing soundboards. Many times, repairable authentic Steinway boards are ripped out by zealous rebuilders. I prefer, whenever possible, to keep an original board, which is beautiful and well seasoned, as long as it can be correctly repaired. Although there is controversy about this issue in the piano world, my policy is to save fine, original Steinway soundboards or send the piano to Steinway for replacement if it cannot be repaired. Care must be taken when contracting piano rebuilding to find out what EXACTLY will be done to your piano, and by whom.