The key to maintaining a piano is servicing its parts routinely. However, since there are so many mechanisms within a piano, they will inevitably wear down over time, creating more frequent problems.
Eventually, there comes a point at which the defects in your piano make it less enjoyable to play. Finer tweaks and fixes stop being effective, and more significant repairs must take place. That’s when rebuilding a piano might be an option. In this article, we will answer your questions regarding piano rebuilding and whether it is right for you.
When do you need to Rebuild a Piano?
First, if you notice that most of your instrument’s parts are out of shape, then it is time for a rebuild. The rebuilding process can cover all of the parts of a piano, unlike more specific processes like action regulation.
If you would like to preserve the value of your piano, then it is necessary to rebuild it. A piano will always deteriorate over time, and keeping it fit for playing will retain its value as well.
If a piano is of a valuable brand, it makes even more sense to keep it in shape. Certain models of pianos can rise in value. As long as you have done your research in determining if your model is sought after, then keeping it in shape now can become very useful in the future when a potential sale may come along.
What Parts Usually Get Rebuilt?
Put simply, the action of a piano is the mechanism of the hammers striking the strings after a key is pressed. After years of wear, the parts that make up a piano’s action begin to break down, causing sound and playability issues. Additionally, constant seasonal temperature and humidity changes will, over time, cause increased wear on the action of your piano.
If your piano’s action is damaged, yet all other parts are working, then consider rebuilding only that specific region. If you would like to look further into the action of a piano, we have another article that you should check out.
The cabinet of a piano is the housing in which its mechanisms are located. A fully rebuilt cabinet can get very expensive as the wood must be either refinished or replaced. Many small piano shops also often have their cabinets painted elsewhere, adding onto the time this process takes. Despite these downsides, an investment into a rebuilt cabinet definitely pays off. A cabinet with brand new wood or finish is downright beautiful and will both add to the resale value and your enjoyment of your instrument.
Another commonly rebuilt portion of the piano is the soundbox, which is the region consisting of the piano’s soundboard, ribs, bridges, strings, etc. All of these components make up the quality of the piano’s sound.
Over time, these parts can get easily damaged due to the pressure put on them by the strings and by environmental changes (temperature and humidity). A rebuilt soundbox will revive the sound of the piano, allowing it to have a fuller and richer tone.
Cons of Piano Rebuilding
If you’re looking to rebuild your piano, you will definitely have to consider several factors before making the big decision:
First, the cost. Piano rebuilding can get very expensive as it is a very large task. Premium brand pianos can cost up to $40,000 to rebuild. If you are willing to make the investment, be prepared to pay the price.
Additionally, piano rebuilding is a very lengthy process. Since the entirety of the piano’s mechanisms are being rebuilt, months can be taken at a time. If you are rebuilding to make a profit, which we will discuss in a bit, then do not expect to make a quick buck by having your piano rebuilt. You must put great consideration and planning into your decision before making it.
The Pros of Piano Rebuilding
However, rebuilding your piano can have several benefits as well.
Most obviously, the sound and playability of the piano will improve. The process will convert the piano into a beautifully playing instrument. If you choose the right piano shop, the degree of work that can be done to improve your piano is simply amazing.
An Heirloom for Years to Come
Additionally, if you have had a piano in your family across generations, rebuilding it will revitalize it, allowing you to keep it for years to come. For many people, their family’s piano is a prized possession; investing in a rebuilding is an investment in their family itself. A rebuilt piano will be able to last another generation of playing, if not more.
Resale Value Increase
Lastly, rebuilding your piano typically yields increased resale value. If you are
planning on selling your piano, rebuilding it (as long as the new resale price will exceed the cost of rebuilding) will provide you with a greater profit. However, as we’ll talk about in our next section, you have to be careful with choosing to rebuild. If you think you will have difficulties selling your piano after rebuilding, then it would be wiser to not do it in the first place.
Is Rebuilding Worth it?
In short, it really depends on the type of piano you own and how long you are willing to keep it. Since rebuilding the entire instrument can become very expensive, you will have to consider whether it will be a good investment.
For instance, a cheaper piano or one of lesser quality is typically not a good candidate for rebuilding. Even after rebuilding, its resale value will still remain lower than the cost of the process itself.
You can speak with a knowledgeable technician to find out whether it will make sense to rebuild a piano. They will be able to guide you through the best solution.
Another factor that you should consider is the length that you will own the piano after rebuilding it. Oftentimes, as a private seller, it is difficult to make a profit from a newly rebuilt piano. If you are not willing to sell through a store, It makes more sense to invest in a rebuilding in order to enjoy the piano for years on end.
This brings us to the next point: rebuilt pianos in retail stores are often considered to be like-new, whereas pianos from private sellers are perceived as used. It may be wise to look into selling your piano to a shop, where in turn you will make a greater profit on the rebuilding.
If your piano is showing significant signs of wear across its parts, then you should consider a rebuilding. If this is the case, you should confirm that other processes like tuning or action regulation will not be able to restore the full playability of the piano. Having decided on a rebuilding, you’ll have to consider a few things first:
The financial side of the rebuilding process is much more important than simply maintaining the piano. Rebuilding is expensive. So, you need to consider if rebuilding your piano is worth the money. Will you keep it or will you sell it? If you are choosing the latter option, then making sure that you will profit from the rebuilding is crucial. Sometimes, it may be even wiser to not rebuild it at all. If you have a cheaper piano, rebuilding it before selling will lose you money.
If you decide to keep the piano, though, then investing in a rebuilding has no downsides. A rebuilt piano will provide you with enjoyment until the end of its life cycle or until it needs to be rebuilt again.
Since rebuilding your piano is a large decision to make, some guidance can certainly be helpful. If you would like to speak with a piano technician to appraise your piano or speak about rebuilding, visit us or give us a call!