Repairs and Restorations

Piano Repair and Restoration

Whether you have a sticky key, a broken string, or a pedal that doesn’t work we have the experience to fix the problem and get you back on the musical road. Most minor problems can be fixed right in the home. If you’re having a problem with a particular note, make a note of which note! Some problems are intermittent and it’s common to forget which note is the culprit.

We also offer a number of standard repair procedures including:

  • Piano key recovering and rebushing
  • Ivory chip repair and replacement of missing ivory
  • Restringing
  • Soundboard and bridge repair
  • Hammer replacement
  • Repair of broken pedals
Jean Sowers Assists with installing the new bass strings on a 9′ Steinway Concert grand at the Puyallup High School Theater

What is Piano Rebuilding?

Rebuilding refers to putting a piano into factory new condition. This would include restringing the piano, replacing the pinblock, replacing the soundboard, replacing all the action parts, and refinishing the piano. If all this has not been done than it can only be called a “partial rebuild”.

A good partial rebuild could include new strings, hammers, keybushings, soundboard repair, and complete regulation of the action.

Complete high-end rebuilding of a grand piano usually costs about the same as a new mid-quality piano of the same size. For example: To rebuild an early 20th century Baldwin 6 foot grand would cost about the same as a new Yamaha C3, or a Kawai Rx-3. As of 2018 these pianos sell new for between $40,000 and $50,000.

One may ask “ If I can buy a new piano for the same price why would I choose to rebuild?” Here are four important reasons:

  • The piano has high sentimental value
  • If the piano is a Steinway, Mason & Hamlin, Bosendorfer or other high-quality brand.
  • If the rebuilt piano can out-perform the equivilent cost new piano (which is often the case!)
  • Support of your local economy.

    A good discussion about piano repair, vs. rebuilding, vs reconditioning read this article from Larry Fine’s Acoustic Piano Buyer. 


When choosing to rebuild, don’t shop around for the “best deal”.

I have seen  “rebuilt” pianos that were basically unplayable and untunable! Rebuilding pianos requires a lot of tedious and challenging work over hundreds of hours.  It is usually an advantage to work with two or more specialists.

 

A case study

Our last high end rebuild involved sending a client’s heirloom Steinway to the factory for a new soundboard, having a new set of legal pre-ban ivory keys made by Roseland Piano in Portland, building a customized action in our Olympia workshop, and finally contracting a top piano refinisher to make it gorgeous. The price tag was half of a brand new piano of the same make and model. The new piano would have had plastic keys, and lacked the customized touch and finish. Our rebuild also included a inaugural house concert! 

A properly rebuilt piano will likely sound and play significantly better than when it was new. 

First Steps

If you are interested in exploring a rebuild of your piano, the first step is to schedule an evaluation and consultation. Sometimes a piano can be vastly improved by just catching up on the maintenance. Other times many parts may need to be replaced to get good results. We charge $145 for a consultation.

Not a sales pitch.

My goal is to give you the best advice I can deliver without any sales hype, or pressure. If there are inexpensive options I will let you know. If the piano is not worth it, I will let you know. Communication is key when determining the proper direction for a restoration project.

Yamaha Piano Repair
Some work can be done on site. Other times it will have to come into the shop