By Marcela De Vivo
Pianos are one of the loveliest instruments one can own, and make some of the most loyal companions. Pianos aren't to be taken lightly and you should care for them as you would any other expensive item. For pianos, care is especially important as the more you take care of them, the better they become.
Pianos, like some pets, are bought and loved, then slowly forgotten. They become dusty and out of tune, sitting and waiting until someone decides they want to play again fifteen years later. But what happened? It's out of tune, dirty and doesn't sound like it used to. Do you throw it away? You could, but there are better options, like piano restoration.
Piano restoration can make any old instrument come alive again and work as well or better than it once did. Imagine that gorgeous old baby grand, cleaned up and in tune, ready to be played again. A good piano technician can make your old piano sound better than it ever did, even when it was brand new.
Like any other instrument, pianos have limited lifespan. However, different parts on pianos also have different life spans, and this is one of the main reasons piano restoration can be so effective/ For example, on an instrument that saw heavy use over its life, the hammers might be worn while the soundboard could be alive and kicking, so to speak, for decades more.
Thus, having a piano technician look at your instrument every couple years and replace worn parts can eliminate the need for deeper, more intensive restoration later on. Though piano restoration is a very good thing, it should only be done on expensive pianos or on pianos with sentimental value, because it is also relatively expensive.
Its cost lies in the tediousness and the time involved in rebuilding or restoring a badly damaged or decrepit piano. For example, imagine a piano where some of the action parts, like the hammers, ribs and strings, are still in good condition, but the body is worn and cracked in areas, and the bridges are about to go out.
A good piano restorer could rebuild and replace the worn parts and tweak the okay parts so they are better than before. A good rule of thumb is that, when a piano technician assesses your piano and says repair, the cost will be mild to medium depending on the repair. Maintenance is in the same bracket, but restoration is a clue that it is getting more expensive, and rebuilding is even more intensive.
So while restoration can be an excellent venture if you love your piano immensely, if it holds sentimental or historical value or if it is valuable enough to justify the expense, don't do it if you have only lukewarm feelings about the piano and don't use it much. You will be better off selling your piano to a technician who will rebuild and resell it, and buying a newer one with part of the money from the sale.
David Anderson Pianos is a full-service piano business offering complete restoration and maintenance services for pianos in the Los Angeles area. For more information, please visit Davidandersenpianos.com
About the Author
Marcela De Vivo writes for the Davidandersenpianos.com
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