Of course, opinions will vary from technician to technician, but here are some guidelines for the careful piano owner who wishes to avoid overspending on their piano:
- Assuming the piano to be repaired is an average, mid-range quality, regularly used and up to pitch. ...in this case there is scope for fairly extensive repair - some refelting, replacing of springs etc. but unless it is a family heirloom, do not have it completely rebuilt.
- If the piano to be repaired is less than an average piano, straight-strung, overdamped, difficult to keep in tune, has numerous broken parts. ... in this case, spend any money upgrading the piano. If funds really don't stretch that far, find a tuner who will help you keep it going without charging you the earth. Any serious money spent on these pianos is money down the drain!
- If the piano to be repaired is a top quality, named piano, total rebuilding, though expensive is not out of place. If the existing condition of the piano is tired and worn out, sometimes rebuilding is the only way to restore its sparkle. However, on a personal note, the older the piano, take extra care. ...in my opinion, only this kind of piano stands as a sensible candidate for the cost of rebuilding!
Are there exceptions to the rule?
As ever, yes! Occasionally I meet with a piano which does not neatly fit into the categories mentioned above, but if it has enough of that difficult-to-define piano charm to set it apart from the ordinary, then go ahead. The last such piano for me was a very fine old French piano. Rare, and well-preserved, it did not need a complete rebuild. New hammerheads, new damper felts, kept the original strings and the result? All things considered, a good value-for-money option for the owners.
The Piano World
The Piano World
© Steve Burden