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Re: Steinway D--to rebuild or not to rebuild [Re: master88er] #2716134
02/21/18 03:25 PM
02/21/18 03:25 PM
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New York City
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Originally Posted by master88er
Is it really valid to compare sustain in these videos?

1. Professional pianist vs amateur playing poorly
2. A piece that continually uses the sustain pedal
3. Professional recording vs. non pro recording
4. Steingraeber very well prepped vs. who knows what prep for the Steinway

I would compare the Steingraeber recording to another professional playing the piece and a professional recording.

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Re: Steinway D--to rebuild or not to rebuild [Re: pianoloverus] #2716166
02/21/18 05:26 PM
02/21/18 05:26 PM
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 1,043
San Francisco Bay Area
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by master88er
Is it really valid to compare sustain in these videos?

1. Professional pianist vs amateur playing poorly
2. A piece that continually uses the sustain pedal
3. Professional recording vs. non pro recording
4. Steingraeber very well prepped vs. who knows what prep for the Steinway

I would compare the Steingraeber recording to another professional playing the piece and a professional recording.



Okay..... found at minute 11:22 Claudio Arrau Arrau - Claire de Lune

So, now you'll say that "oh, well its a CD vs. a live recording" or "its a male pianist vs. a female", or "it might be a Hamburg instead of NY". Ah... New Yorkers! cry

But thanks for the compliment on the prep. whistle


Russell I. Kassman
R.KASSMAN, Purveyor of Fine Pianos
Berkeley, CA

FORMER US Rep.for C.Bechstein

SF Area Dealer: Steingraeber•Grotrian•Sauter•Estonia•Kayserburg•Baldwin•Brodmann•Ritmüller
www.rkassman.com
russell@rkassman.com
510.558.0765
Re: Steinway D--to rebuild or not to rebuild [Re: SMA55] #2716251
02/21/18 10:36 PM
02/21/18 10:36 PM
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Dear SMA,
Yours is really an economic question.
You paid a certain amount for this piano.

It is now up to you with the aid of a qualified technician and/or re-builder to decide what level of repair or restoration is appropriate and what the cost of such work will be.

The re-builder returns to you with his/her estimate.
You must then determine whether or not it is better to spend the money to rebuild or to trade in your present instrument for something better which will come in below or equal to the total of the money you spent to buy the piano and then rebuild it.

In my very, very, humble opinion, it seems to me that having a Steinway Model D in one's house is quite something and should be well worth the money spent to restore it.
But your decision is, what will give you the biggest bang for the buck?
Good luck!
Joe


Proud owner of a Kawai KU-5D 52 inch professional upright.
Re: Steinway D--to rebuild or not to rebuild [Re: SMA55] #2716292
02/22/18 02:13 AM
02/22/18 02:13 AM
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I am still of the opinion that it is a matter of voicing. Most people do not want to give us enough time to properly voice a piano, especially when it may need lacquering. Still, though, it is the owners piano, and if he wants to spend money on it, it is his prerogative to decide what he wants to spend it on.


Semipro Tech
Re: Steinway D--to rebuild or not to rebuild [Re: BDB] #2716390
02/22/18 12:29 PM
02/22/18 12:29 PM
Joined: Dec 2012
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Seattle, WA USA
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Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
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Lacquering is a "quick" fix. It is better to reduce hammer mass if the tone is not brilliant enough. Lighter hammers are brighter, and if still not bright enough--you will need less lacquer to gain it, and not need it below C52. The higher in the compass a note is, the more significant the tone improves with less hammer weight.

Shaping hammers takes time though and can also require reducing the amount of front leads in the keys.


In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible.
According to NASA, 93% of the earth like planets possible in the known universe have yet to be formed.
Contact: Ed@LightHammerpiano.com
Re: Steinway D--to rebuild or not to rebuild [Re: SMA55] #2716432
02/22/18 03:04 PM
02/22/18 03:04 PM
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Originally Posted by SMA55
Originally Posted by Dave Ferris
What about a rebuild at the Steinway factory in NY ? I'd be curious as to what they'd charge. Depending on where you're located, I guess the moving/shipping could run the cost up as well.

I've never played anyone's rebuilt pianos here that made me feel I'd want, or trust them to work on mine if and when that time came. At almost 12 years out, mine is still sounding/playing good.

I did speak with Steinway’s Restoration Center. I was told by them that they prefer to do complete rebuilds including refinishing. The price for a D? A mere $70,000 plus transportation costs. Ummm, yes, might as well buy a new one at that price, unless—as JohnSprung said—it’s a family heirloom or something.


I can't add to the merits of whether you should re-build or not, but as a person who has engaged Steinway Restoration Center to restore my Model O, I would like add some clarity to your comments.

Regarding shipping, this should be a non-issue. If you pursue re-building, you are going to have to ship it somewhere, and you are going to incur a cost. But, this cost will be 1-2% of the total cost, in other words, I'd spend my time worrying about the other 98%. Steinway charged me $900 for the roundtrip from St Louis MO to NYC; it cost $600 roundtrip when I sent it to the local Steinway dealer a half mile away for a different project.

Steinway did not say to me they prefer and/or require refinishing. Rebuilding the belly and refinishing the case are separate services. In fact, they even suggested to NOT refinish my case, if I wanted to save 1/3 of the cost and I could live with the piano's then-current appearance. Since your D is only 20 years old, is its appearance so bad that it needs refinishing?

John


1922 Steinway Model O, restored by Steinway Restoration Center, 2016. PianoDisc, installed 2017.
Re: Steinway D--to rebuild or not to rebuild [Re: jcgee88] #2716444
02/22/18 03:46 PM
02/22/18 03:46 PM
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SMA55 Online content OP
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Originally Posted by jcgee88
I can't add to the merits of whether you should re-build or not, but as a person who has engaged Steinway Restoration Center to restore my Model O, I would like add some clarity to your comments.

Regarding shipping, this should be a non-issue. If you pursue re-building, you are going to have to ship it somewhere, and you are going to incur a cost. But, this cost will be 1-2% of the total cost, in other words, I'd spend my time worrying about the other 98%. Steinway charged me $900 for the roundtrip from St Louis MO to NYC; it cost $600 roundtrip when I sent it to the local Steinway dealer a half mile away for a different project.

Steinway did not say to me they prefer and/or require refinishing. Rebuilding the belly and refinishing the case are separate services. In fact, they even suggested to NOT refinish my case, if I wanted to save 1/3 of the cost and I could live with the piano's then-current appearance. Since your D is only 20 years old, is its appearance so bad that it needs refinishing?

John

Hi, John. Thanks for your reply. I erroneously lumped the refinishing part with the rebuilding part. Sorry for my miswording. I was quoted a price for rebuilding alone, too, and that was $55,000. And you are correct, my model D does not require refinishing. So I could have Steinway do a full rebuild for me. But at $55,000, that’s still way above the going rate of some reputable rebuilders I know. Although I am AMAZED that Steinway only charged you $900 round trip for transporting your piano. Round trip transportation will likely cost me $3000-$4500 for my model D, depending upon where in the US I have it rebuilt. I presume your cost was low, because they are already routinely delivering pianos to the local Steinway dealer here in St Louis, so perhaps it didn’t require a separate trip. But still surprising, because Steinway doesn’t do anything for cheap.
So tell me something—how does the tone of your piano sound now that it’s been rebuilt? Does your new soundboard have a tone similar to the old one?

Re: Steinway D--to rebuild or not to rebuild [Re: SMA55] #2716529
02/22/18 09:52 PM
02/22/18 09:52 PM
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St Louis, MO
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Originally Posted by SMA55
Although I am AMAZED that Steinway only charged you $900 round trip for transporting your piano. Round trip transportation will likely cost me $3000-$4500 for my model D, depending upon where in the US I have it rebuilt. I presume the price was low, because they are already routinely delivering pianos to the local Steinway dealer here in St Louis, so it wouldn’t require a separate trip. But still surprising, because Steinway doesn’t do anything for cheap.


Steinway staged my piano to the local dealer using a local piano transport company, and from there they used the well known Walter Piano Transport Co to ship it to NYC. Perhaps you are right that they got a good deal on this since the Walter trucks normally might be heading back empty to NYC. In any case, you can call Walter directly and get an exact quote, so that you don't have to guess. By the way, the local company used for the staging charges the same for their services regardless of piano size, as I learned when I got quotes from them for moving my Model O and a much smaller upright that I also own.

Originally Posted by SMA55
So tell me something—how does the tone of your piano sound now that it’s been rebuilt? Does your new soundboard have a tone similar to the old one?


There is no comparison possible, because the old soundboard, being 95 years old, was acoustically dead. My expectation was that a piano that undergoes full restoration at Steinway will sound like its new equivalent, since they are basically installing a new piano into your original case. Both the admittedly biased Steinway tech and my own independent tech (who tunes a lot of Steinways) have told me that it feels and plays like a new piano.

John


1922 Steinway Model O, restored by Steinway Restoration Center, 2016. PianoDisc, installed 2017.
Re: Steinway D--to rebuild or not to rebuild [Re: jcgee88] #2716535
02/22/18 10:39 PM
02/22/18 10:39 PM
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Originally Posted by jcgee88
Originally Posted by SMA55
Although I am AMAZED that Steinway only charged you $900 round trip for transporting your piano. Round trip transportation will likely cost me $3000-$4500 for my model D, depending upon where in the US I have it rebuilt. I presume the price was low, because they are already routinely delivering pianos to the local Steinway dealer here in St Louis, so it wouldn’t require a separate trip. But still surprising, because Steinway doesn’t do anything for cheap.

Steinway staged my piano to the local dealer using a local piano transport company, and from there they used the well known Walter Piano Transport Co to ship it to NYC. Perhaps you are right that they got a good deal on this since the Walter trucks normally might be heading back empty to NYC. In any case, you can call Walter directly and get an exact quote, so that you don't have to guess. By the way, the local company used for the staging charges the same for their services regardless of piano size, as I learned when I got quotes from them for moving my Model O and a much smaller upright that I also own.

Yep, I previously called Walter to compare transport costs to NYC and several other US cities, and that's where my estimates of $3000-$4500 round trip come from. (These estimates all involved transporting a one way distance of 500 miles or more.) And all piano moving companies that I know of definitely have a higher fee for when they're moving a 9 foot concert grand. But you definitely got yourself a good deal at $900!

Originally Posted by jcgee88
Originally Posted by SMA55
So tell me something—how does the tone of your piano sound now that it’s been rebuilt? Does your new soundboard have a tone similar to the old one?

There is no comparison possible, because the old soundboard, being 95 years old, was acoustically dead. My expectation was that a piano that undergoes full restoration at Steinway will sound like its new equivalent, since they are basically installing a new piano into your original case. Both the admittedly biased Steinway tech and my own independent tech (who tunes a lot of Steinways) have told me that it feels and plays like a new piano.

Congratulations, John. I'm sincerely happy that your restoration turned out so well! I hope mine does, as well, because that seems to be the path I'll likely take--except I definitely won't be having Steinway do it. I've narrowed down my list of rebuilders to a short list of just a few. By the way, given that you had a Steinway O rebuilt and that you're in St Louis (as am I), I thought I'd ask you: Did you happen to attend the National PTG convention this past July that was hosted here at Union Station? If you did go, you might have had an opportunity to try out a 1905 Steinway O that was restored by Piano Works in Atlanta. While I myself attended that convention, I wasn't in the market for a rebuild at the time, so I ignored Piano Works' exhibit booth. But I just returned from a trip down to Atlanta last week, where I was shown a few pianos in the community that Piano Works had recently rebuilt. That very same Steinway O was purchased by a customer, and I got to try it out in that hospitable customer's home. It was rebuilt with all Hamburg parts and hammers and with custom GC bass strings, and it was quite a beautiful piano! (Thanks again to the owner who let me play it, and you know who you are.) I mention this just to show that there are rebuilders out there besides Steinway who can transform an old dead piano into a truly beautiful sounding musical instrument.

Re: Steinway D--to rebuild or not to rebuild [Re: jcgee88] #2716536
02/22/18 10:40 PM
02/22/18 10:40 PM
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Posts: 2,108
Glendale, Ca.
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Great info John and thanks from another native St. Louisan. smile cool


https://soundcloud.com/dave-ferris

2005 NY Steinway D
Yamaha CP4, CP5, RCF TT08A speakers
Re: Steinway D--to rebuild or not to rebuild [Re: SMA55] #2716733
02/23/18 06:26 PM
02/23/18 06:26 PM
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SMA55. Have you considered Premier Piano Services for your rebuild? I am in St Louis also and have a 1929 M that I purchased from the Steinway dealer here in St Louis. The man that owns Premier is Tom Zasadny--he was the tech for the symphony here for many years, and they still have him come in to do some voicing for certain visiting artists. You might be able to play something he has rebuilt at the Steinway gallery in St. Louis. When you get his work (from them) you have a Steinway new piano guarantee. You can also see his work at the Baltimore Steinway gallery--same ownership as the St. Louis store. The sound and feel of my piano is just wonderful. Take a look at the Premier Piano Services website.

Re: Steinway D--to rebuild or not to rebuild [Re: nancyde] #2716736
02/23/18 06:43 PM
02/23/18 06:43 PM
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Originally Posted by nancyde
SMA55. Have you considered Premier Piano Services for your rebuild? I am in St Louis also and have a 1929 M that I purchased from the Steinway dealer here in St Louis. The man that owns Premier is Tom Zasadny--he was the tech for the symphony here for many years, and they still have him come in to do some voicing for certain visiting artists. You might be able to play something he has rebuilt at the Steinway gallery in St. Louis. When you get his work (from them) you have a Steinway new piano guarantee. You can also see his work at the Baltimore Steinway gallery--same ownership as the St. Louis store. The sound and feel of my piano is just wonderful. Take a look at the Premier Piano Services website.

Thanks for the referral, nancyde. I do know Tom Z. pretty well, and he's done work for me in the past. In fact, he was the first tech to take a look at my Steinway D. He was impressed by it and felt that it probably only needed some regulation and voicing to bring up the killer octave. He didn't actually do the work, however, because, as you know he lives in Iowa and only comes into town every now and then to work on the pianos at Powell Hall for their guest pianists. But I did contact him after another very competent tech did the regulation and voicing and still I wasn't happy. I let Tom know that I wanted him to rebuild my piano, for the reasons I've previously discussed in this thread. He was amenable to the idea, except he knows that I'm very particular, and so he candidly shared with me that he didn't think his own soundboard rebuilds were going to satisfy me. So that's when I began to look elsewhere to have it rebuilt. I'm glad that you love your piano though! Out of curiosity, did he replace its soundboard, or does it have its original one?

Re: Steinway D--to rebuild or not to rebuild [Re: SMA55] #2716750
02/23/18 07:48 PM
02/23/18 07:48 PM
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He did replace it.

Re: Steinway D--to rebuild or not to rebuild [Re: nancyde] #2716757
02/23/18 08:02 PM
02/23/18 08:02 PM
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Originally Posted by nancyde
He did replace it.
Great! I’m happy that you’re pleased with the outcome.

Re: Steinway D--to rebuild or not to rebuild [Re: SMA55] #2716998
02/24/18 11:40 PM
02/24/18 11:40 PM
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Originally Posted by SMA55
Originally Posted by Fareham
What is a treble stabilizer ?

Sam Bennett of Piano Works in Atlanta wrote to me about this--actually called a "treble resonator" or "treble tone resonator". He says that they cost about $300 and that he's used them a few times in the past, and that he's heard a difference. Here is some info about it, including installation instructions (which I don't recommend for the layman).


The treble stabilizer is an amazing thing for my Steinway D. This is a massive bang for the buck enhancement.

I agree with you, no piano had everything I wanted and I went all over the country playing some of the best. In short, I wanted the feel of a Mason and Hamlin WNG carbon fiber action, the high end shimmer and pureness of the Fazioli and the complex rich sound of the Steinway in the mids and lows. While I am very happy with my piano - what I learned was that each brand design adds something that can not be added on easily to another piano. However, I did highly customize my Steinway D and it gets me as close as I can get to those goals I had.

I've read your posts, and I think you should do a belly rebuild. I think it would be a fun project for you. I also think it is likely, with the highly customized work of a good re-builder, you will get a great sounding piano. You will also have peace of mind you have mostly a new piano. You may as we'll put in a new pin block and new strings as well since the piano will be apart. Besides, it is a Steinway - and it is likely if on the small chance you really hate it in the end you will get most of your money back. However, I think you will love it.

You certainly have my blessing to go forth and spend! smile It's a piano and music - this is what life and spending your hard earned money is for! And you will be putting our highly skilled American craftsmen to work to do what they do best. smile

Last edited by SF10; 02/24/18 11:42 PM.
Re: Steinway D--to rebuild or not to rebuild [Re: SMA55] #2717016
02/25/18 01:36 AM
02/25/18 01:36 AM
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Seattle, WA USA
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Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
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If you want a truly finest in the world treble, you will install a Fully Tempered Duplex Scale, US Pat #9,117,421. I have now done about 35 pianos with this new technology, and if you combine it with superb bridge work and LightHammer Tone Regulation you will maximize the dynamic range, sustain, tone color and durability possible in a piano.

I just completed a Steinway D for a university here in Washington State. The sound is glorious.


In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible.
According to NASA, 93% of the earth like planets possible in the known universe have yet to be formed.
Contact: Ed@LightHammerpiano.com
Re: Steinway D--to rebuild or not to rebuild [Re: SMA55] #2717078
02/25/18 09:17 AM
02/25/18 09:17 AM
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To the OP, it seems like you are in a good situation. You have a Steinway D that you mostly like and bought for a great price. While there might be some aspects of the piano you don't like, and you might wonder if you should have gotten a different and/or new instrument, my guess is that no new piano would completely satisfy you either. Every piano has compromises and would probably have some aspect of the touch or tone that wasn't perfectly suited to your taste and would require modification. And you would have paid much more for a new instrument.

It may take some time and money to get the piano where you want it, but you got a good deal on it, and it seems likely that a solution is out there somewhere (either voicing, the treble resonator, a new soundboard, etc.). It will probably take some trial and error to find the solution, which may be frustrating and expensive. I would start with the least expensive/invasive thing first, but that's just me. Try to have fun with it - I have done a lot of work on my Mason & Hamlin model A that I bought used, and I have learned a lot in the process.

Re: Steinway D--to rebuild or not to rebuild [Re: SF10] #2717090
02/25/18 10:07 AM
02/25/18 10:07 AM
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Originally Posted by SF10

I agree with you, no piano had everything I wanted and I went all over the country playing some of the best. In short, I wanted the feel of a Mason and Hamlin WNG carbon fiber action, the high end shimmer and pureness of the Fazioli and the complex rich sound of the Steinway in the mids and lows. While I am very happy with my piano - what I learned was that each brand design adds something that can not be added on easily to another piano. However, I did highly customize my Steinway D and it gets me as close as I can get to those goals I had.

I've read your posts, and I think you should do a belly rebuild. I think it would be a fun project for you. I also think it is likely, with the highly customized work of a good re-builder, you will get a great sounding piano. You will also have peace of mind you have mostly a new piano. You may as we'll put in a new pin block and new strings as well since the piano will be apart. Besides, it is a Steinway - and it is likely if on the small chance you really hate it in the end you will get most of your money back. However, I think you will love it.

You certainly have my blessing to go forth and spend! smile It's a piano and music - this is what life and spending your hard earned money is for! And you will be putting our highly skilled American craftsmen to work to do what they do best. smile

Finally! When I first posted my question, I was hoping against hope that you, SF10, would give me the go ahead to rebuild my piano. And now you've done it--and so now I can do it! smile (Sorry, I couldn't resist.) Seriously, I have seen a variety of opinions--here in this thread and out in the real world-- as to what to do, including those of laypeople and piano techs/rebuilders alike. And while I had hoped to find hard facts rather than opinions, it seems that the answers I've gotten are more akin to religious dogma than to physical science. Given that a leap of faith seems to be required in order to move forward, a leap of faith is what I shall take; I've decided to go ahead and put my trust in a rebuilder to do what they feel it will take to turn my Steinway D into the world class instrument it should be. For anyone interested, once the rebuilding process has been completed and the piano returned to me--and that will be several months from now--I'll report my thoughts right back here.

Re: Steinway D--to rebuild or not to rebuild [Re: asb37] #2717096
02/25/18 10:22 AM
02/25/18 10:22 AM
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Originally Posted by asb37
To the OP, it seems like you are in a good situation. You have a Steinway D that you mostly like and bought for a great price. While there might be some aspects of the piano you don't like, and you might wonder if you should have gotten a different and/or new instrument, my guess is that no new piano would completely satisfy you either. Every piano has compromises and would probably have some aspect of the touch or tone that wasn't perfectly suited to your taste and would require modification. And you would have paid much more for a new instrument.

It may take some time and money to get the piano where you want it, but you got a good deal on it, and it seems likely that a solution is out there somewhere (either voicing, the treble resonator, a new soundboard, etc.). It will probably take some trial and error to find the solution, which may be frustrating and expensive. I would start with the least expensive/invasive thing first, but that's just me. Try to have fun with it - I have done a lot of work on my Mason & Hamlin model A that I bought used, and I have learned a lot in the process.

Yes, asb37, I'm mostly in agreement with you. However in the case of trying the least expensive/invasive thing first, that's just not going to be an option here. I already knew that some of the bridge pins on my piano were a bit loose. The quick (and possibly temporary) fix of using CA glue on them does not negate the fact that the bridge needs some work performed on it. The strings will also have to be replaced, and most rebuilders would recommend replacing the pin block at that time, as well. I'll then leave it up to the rebuilder to determine whether the soundboard, hammers, and repetitions should also be replaced. We shall see... And yes, I've already learned a lot in just preparing to have this work done.

Re: Steinway D--to rebuild or not to rebuild [Re: SMA55] #2717162
02/25/18 01:49 PM
02/25/18 01:49 PM
Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 5,237
Seattle, WA USA
E
Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
5000 Post Club Member
Ed McMorrow, RPT  Offline
5000 Post Club Member
E

Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 5,237
Seattle, WA USA
If you watch a video of the Steinway factory that shows them driving the bridge pins into place. You will see how few taps of the hammer it takes to get them in. The factory is drilling the holes one drill bit size too large for best pin fit. If your rebuilder uses the same method the result is a new bridge with loose pins.

Anyone having their piano rebuilt should also ascertain that your rebuilder is using the proper techniques to create the new bridge pin pattern to minimize the introduction of misalignment and to correct any factory errors. One doesn't want to duplicate factory errors.


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