Rebuilding

There it sits.  Your mother’s grand piano used to entertain guests with her own concert stylings.  Or maybe it was the piano that provided so many wonderful hours of practice during your growth as a pianist.  Now it sits, silent and in disrepair.  We can rebuild your piano to the highest of artistic standards and give it a whole new life. With a keen eye towards esthetics and a sensitive ear to creating a pure piano tone, every aspect of the design and construction will be reviewed, including the soundboard, bridges, scale design, action, and other key areas.  After a thorough evaluation, a project plan will be constructed to address each part.  The result will be a piano that that responds to the musician, creates a clear and distinct tone, and has you loving it once again.

 

We also have piano cores available that can be rebuilt giving you a level one piano in beauty, performance, and tone.  Visit our Pianos page for a sample of what is available and begin to enjoy the advantages of a custom rebuilt piano.

 

Steinway B

 

Artistic Style. Campbell Piano Shop’s work is constantly evolving. Our services are of a unique and artistic nature and as such, the results may be different from other pianos we have rebuilt in the past.  In addressing a piano, we use our personal artistic judgment to create a result consistent with our vision.

 

 FAQs about Rebuilding

1.  What does it cost to rebuild a grand piano?

Rebuilding a grand piano is a labor-intensive process. We use high quality products and parts to insure consistent results and spend in excess of 500 hours on the typical rebuilding project, not including any refinishing. For comparison purposes, a new Steinway grand piano will range in price from thirty thousand dollars to over two hundred thirty thousand dollars depending on length, cabinet design and finish, and features. You can expect to pay approximately three-quarters of the cost of a new Steinway to have a grand piano rebuilt.  Each piano must be individually evaluated to determine the specific costs of a given project.

2.  Why do prices vary so widely for ‘rebuilding’ a grand piano?

This is a great question that strikes at the heart of the quality of a rebuilder’s work.

Take a set of blueprints for a new house to ten contractors you will likely get ten different estimates that vary greatly.  Most of the price differences cab be attributed to the quality of the materials and labor used to build your home.  Solid walnut kitchen cabinets made and installed by master craftsmen cost more than pressboard substitutes put up by a day crew.

Piano rebuilders gain a reputation by the work they produce.  For me, a rebuilt grand piano should exhibit the following characteristics:

  • A warm, clear piano tone that sings.
  • A precise and even touch that supports a musician’s technique.
  • A wide palate of tonal colors for full expression of a multitude of musical styles.
  • A fine regulation of the parts so they work smoothly and consistently together.
  • A case that is aesthetically pleasing and structurally sound.

This, and much more make for a successful rebuild project and therefore are a large part of the prices we charge for rebuilding a piano.

3.  How long does it take to rebuild a grand piano?

Once a piano enters the shop, it will typically take six to eight months to complete. However, schedules are not guaranteed. We will continue to work on a piano until we are completely satisfied the results meet or exceed the artistic goals for the project.  Each piano is an entity unto itself and will require differing amounts of effort to meet these goals.

 4.  Is a rebuilt piano as good as a new one?

Rebuilt pianos can have some advantages:

  • Customizable – A rebuilder can make strategic decisions that will make the piano sound and play more like you desire.
  • Modernization – With the proper selection of materials and methods, an instrument can not only look better, but sound and play better for many more years.
  • Cost savings – If executed well, a proper rebuild project can produce a higher quality instrument for less money than purchasing a new instrument of similar quality.

5.  Do you change the design of an instrument during a rebuild?

There are two polar schools of thought regarding the design of a piano with an almost infinite number of positions between them.  One school is that the original design is flawless and should be followed to the letter.  The opposite school is there is nothing sacred and everything needs to be replaced and updated.  My philosophy is somewhere between these two positions and is guided by the goals of the project.

I watch home improvement shows regularly and am often confused about the choices made when dealing with a historically significant house.  On the one hand, plumbing, electrical, sewer, heating, cooling, and many other household systems will not pass current building codes and would render the building uninhabitable if returned to their original condition.  To ignore the advances in efficiency and the material sciences to preserve the original design would be counter productive.  On the other hand, the very character of the house may be placed at risk if too much is changed without a great deal of thought and effort.

Piano manufacturers, even the most vaunted, have had issues with their designs, production lines, and/or quality control at one time or another resulting in instruments that could be better served by updating.  Add to this advances that have been made in physics and the materials sciences  and maintaining the original design may not be the best answer.  In addition, true restoration work is often quite expensive as materials used in the original piano design are no longer manufactured or now use different processes.  Many parts will have to be custom made increasing the overall cost of the project.  Each rebuilder will likely make different choices as to which items need attention, which systems need to be redesigned and/or replaced, and how all these systems will work together.  At Campbell Piano Shop we take an inventory of all the systems of the piano, determine which systems and their parts are currently available and what will need to be fabricated, and evaluate each change in the light of the artistic goals for a given project.  No ‘throwing the baby out with the water’ with a completely new design but, equally, no clinging to history because of the name on the fallboard.

Design and how it is derived is a very large subject.  The piano is an interactive instrument with parts and systems that depend on each other for function as well as tone.  Well crafted changes that work in harmony with the other systems of an instrument can, when appropriate, make significant improvements.