How To Restore an Old Piano for Modern-Day Use

How To Restore an Old Piano for Modern-Day Use

No modern keyboard can match the power and range of the classic grand piano. Constructed with only the finest materials of the time and the size to generate unique and rich tones, these models may be old, but they pack a punch. However, like all older instruments, pianos can deteriorate with time and improper upkeep—leaving them unplayable in some sad cases. Fortunately, even when in the most haggard shape, these instruments can be restored to their former glory with a bit of time and hard work. This is how to restore an old piano and bring its performance capabilities back to life.

Replace Damaged Interior Components

When an acoustic piano goes unused for several years, the environmental conditions it’s exposed to in storage can begin wearing down the internal parts. Whether it’s the hammers, strings, pins, or pedals, all of these components can rust, stiffen, and bend over this time. This is what ultimately ruins the instrument’s ability to create music. As such, the first key step to reviving this device is to open it up and replace all the parts that have been damaged. What you need to fix may vary, but tracking down all problems and responding to them accordingly is the key to success.

Properly Space Hammers and Pins

Once you have the replacement parts in order, you need to ensure that they’re placed correctly. Component positioning is vital to how they’ll respond to the key being pressed. Typically, the key will send a signal to the hammer, the hammer will strike the string, and the sound that the string produces correlates to how it’s strung around the pin. This process requires that there be both a hammer and a pin that are properly aligned with each individual string. Should either be a bit off, the key won’t produce a sound.

Tune the Strings and Test the Sound

Next, it’s time to tune the new strings and test your work. This allows you to pinpoint any additional issues you could have missed with the piano’s inner mechanics and fix them before you go to the effort of closing it up. For this step to be successful, it’s crucial that you have an understanding of how the tuning process works and can identify sour notes. But should you be new to the world of music, you can also hire a professional service to take a look at it.

Fill Gouges in the Wood and Restain

After getting your instrument playing properly again, the last step to effectively restoring an old piano is to give the exterior body a much-needed makeover. Sitting idle for long periods of time can leave a once gorgeous grand piano with plenty of nicks, gouges, scratches, and chips. As such, if you want it to look as it once did, you’ll need to fill these blemishes with wood putty, sand the filled blemishes, and restain the material. This process can hide previously made marks without needing to replace the entire exterior—leaving you with the most authentic results.


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