The Rebuilding of a Steinway Piano

What is the number one selling piano in America? The Steinway piano. For most people, if they are familiar at all with manufacturers of pianos, they have heard of the Steinway name.

Steinway began as a piano manufacturer in New York by German immigrants. Later they opened another location in Hamburg, Germany. Today they operate out of both locations, and are known throughout the world for their quality. If fact, here in the US, 5 out of every 8 pianos produced each year carries the Steinway name.

And because of the name, a Steinway piano is a good investment because it retains its value now and will continue to do so for many years to come. Steinway pianos have high demand because many people have their minds made up that they will only purchase a Steinway piano.

Yet the longer you own a piano – any piano – like anything, it will need maintenance, repair, and eventually even rebuilding. So the question becomes “if you rebuild a Steinway with anything but Steinway parts, is it still a Steinway?”

Like most questions, there are two sides to the thought.

Lets take the example of replacing the soundboard. The soundboard on a piano is responsible for the tone the piano produces. The soundboard is often thought of as the heart of the piano. If you remove the original Steinway soundboard and replace it with something else, in essence it no longer produces the same sound it was once capable of. And therefore in many eyes, its no longer a true Steinway piano.

And in addition to the soundboard, there are many other pieces to a piano: strings, hammers, felts. What if these need replacing? The more you replace, is it still a Steinway?

Steinway & Sons pianos aren’t in the business of selling used Steinways or in selling Steinway parts. They are in the business of selling new pianos. They are not a parts manufacturer.

So let’s say your family has A Steinway piano from the 1950s, and it is finally passed down to you. You want to rebuild it and put in on display in the center of your home.

If you call Steinway and ask for the parts you need, they may send you Steinway parts. But because they no longer build the Steinway in your home, they may not match what was used in the past. The weight could be off or the geometry may be wrong. Many things could have changed, meaning that the fit isn’t up to original standards, and the quality of the sound goes down.

If you deal with a reputable piano restoration company, they know to use reputable manufacturers that will only supply high quality parts that will match particular vintages of pianos better than what Steinway may have at the time. An exact match means the tone remains as high quality as possible.

So the question is often left to you, the customer and the piano player, to supply the answer. What is the most important aspect of having your Steinway in top quality condition? We can answer all of your questions, and help you make the right choice for you.