The 3 Rs of Piano Restoration

The 3 Rs of Piano Restoration

“Wisdom doesn’t necessarily come with age. Sometimes age just shows up all by itself.” ~Tom Wilson

When it comes to pianos, unfortunately age isn’t always the best of friends. Even under the best of conditions, as a piano ages, things begin to wear. And once something passes the point of no return, the only way to move forward is to have it fixed.

In the world of pianos, a piano may need one of 3 Rs: repair, reconditioning or rebuilding.The 3 Rs of Piano Restoration


A piano is typically in need of repair if it has an isolated broken part, such as a broken string or an improperly working pedal. The key is isolated – usually one problem exists and it’s a relatively easy fix to get it back into working order. It doesn’t need work in upgrading the condition as a whole, instead it usually involves one part.


When a piano is in need of reconditioning, it usually has multiple problems and in general needs upgrading of the whole piano. The key with reconditioning is the piano is usually in a fairly good shape, the parts are still in working order, possibly with problems or defects. Reconditioning involves taking the current piano and making it better, typically by overhauling the existing parts. For instance, an upright piano may need resurfacing of the hammers and twisting the strings for better sound. It may involve a thorough cleaning, regulating the action and tuning of the entire piano. While reconditioning a piano, a few broken parts may be found and repaired, but overall reconditioning is the process of keeping what’s there intact, and making it better.


Rebuilding is the most complex of the 3 Rs. A piano rebuild is a complete renovation of an existing piano. It may include restringing the piano, replacing the pinblock, or replacing the soundboard. It may include replacing the hammer heads, damper felts or the key bushings. It may include replacing parts of the piano case.

Ideally, rebuilding means putting the piano back into factory new condition, using as many new parts as necessary to return it to original condition. However, the rebuilding process is always a unique process depending on the individual piano itself. If a piano needs restringing, its classified as a rebuild.

To find out exactly what your piano needs to get it into top working order, give us a call today.

Piano Restoration, Rebuilding and Reconditioning: Know What You Are Getting

Piano Restoration, Rebuilding and Reconditioning: Know What You Are Getting

Maybe your piano hasn’t been serviced in years. Maybe you’ve inherited your piano from a friend and you simply don’t know what condition its in. Is it worth saving? Is it worth investing the time and money necessary to bring it back to good working condition?

Piano Restoration, Rebuilding and Reconditioning: Know What You Are GettingIn the piano restoration world, the term “restoration” means a lot of things to different people. And just like every industry, “reputable” isn’t always in a persons vocabulary either, even though they are promoting themselves as a piano servicing company.

The best way to get what you paid for is to learn what you can before you hire someone, and ask as many questions along the way to ensure you piano received the treatment it needs.


The term reconditioning when it comes to a piano means improving what is already there. A piano that has moderate wear or one in the medium price range can almost always benefit from a reconditioning.

With a reconditioning, the piano is cleaned, repaired, and adjusted for best performance, and will only have parts replaced when absolutely necessary. It is not designed to improve the life span of an older piano, and will not improve overall sound quality above what the piano was capable of in the first place.


With a piano rebuild, the piano will be disassembled, inspected and repaired as necessary. All worn, damaged or deteriorated parts will be replaced. The piano is then rebuilt, tested and adjusted to the same or similar tolerances as a new piano.

A complete rebuild includes the entire piano’s structure, including soundboard, bridges, pinblock and strings, as well as the keyboard, action and case refinishing.

A partial rebuild includes only one or two of these areas: for example, it may include rebuilding the structure and the action, but not the refinishing.


Restoration is the catchall phrase many restores use within the industry. In most cases, restoration can include all of the above. Which is why it is important to talk with the person you are considering hiring, and make sure you understand exactly the service you will receive.

A reputable piano dealer and restoration service will welcome your questions and provide you with as much detail as you need to feel comfortable with the process.