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Good day all..

A client purchased an old, relatively tatterd Steinway at a charity auction and aesthetically and mechanically is in pretty rough shape. In spite of this the piano sounds very, very nice, but, it will be pushing their budget to rebuild the action. A glue treatment stabilized the tuning enough to hold acceptably - though just barely - so they'll be facing a repin before too much time passes.

They've made it clear what sort of budget they can allow and a complete restoration is not possible. Every part of the player system is missing and so it might warrant a new shorter keybed and shortening the front of the piano, but, that sort of money outlay is also not in the cards. So it comes down to rebuilding what is there.

Not having worked on the action of a DuoArt build, I am wondering if anyone has the specs for the action geometries and weights they can share, and perhaps any other helpful hints on the how rebuilding of one these differs from standard action?

Grateful thanks,
Josh

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Usually a Steinway player action will regulate with less blow than most "normal" Steinway's.

And getting nice close checking can be an issue if you leave the dip on the shallow side.


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The keys are several inches longer than on standard actions. It can be done but it will be challenging. There is also doubtlessly verdigris in the action...?

FWIW, in a phone conversation with David Kirkland at SS in N.Y. about one of these (within the last year or two) he told me point blank: "All Steinway players are worthless and junk". Now of course that is the opinion of someone who is involved in the sales (although he is head of the service dept) of new SS, nonetheless I was quite surprised to hear him say this as forthrightly as he did. Personally I avoid them as much as possible. They are a pain in the neck, esp when you want to pull the action, for which you need to remove the pedal lyre (at least on all the ones I've worked on...unless somehow modified otherwise). Tuning pins are somewhat difficult to get at. Leverages are weird.

Not fun. Typically people pick these things up because they are CHEAP (and there's a reason for that), thinking they are getting a bargain. Not in my book (as a rule...could be some exceptions). I hope things go well with yours.

Peter Grey Piano Doctor


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Josh,

Not a tech here, but someone with a Duo Art in restoration (including the player). You might want to go to Mechanical Music Digest (Google it) and post your question there. A lot of folks there who know the old reproducing pianos.


Dave In Denver
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Thank you Dave. I'll check it out. :))

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The pinblock sounds very sketchy. If it is delaminating, CA is not going to do much to help it. There are baked in compromises with the extra long keys, no matter who you talk to. Geometry is geometry.

Even a minimal and incomplete action rebuild will cost thousands of dollars. How well will you have served this customer if the pinblock fails 6 months after your job is completed?

Your client needs to understand up front the risks and limitations of what they are asking you to do. It is your job to provide them with that information. If they proceed anyway and the pinblock goes south, don't be surprised if they blame you for their bad decision..

I would decline this work if I were in your shoes. The odds are not in your favor.


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The pinblock sounds very sketchy. If it is delaminating, CA is not going to do much to help it. There are baked in compromises with the extra long keys, no matter who you talk to. Geometry is geometry.

Even a minimal and incomplete action rebuild will cost thousands of dollars. How well will you have served this customer if the pinblock fails 6 months after your job is completed?

Your client needs to understand up front the risks and limitations of what they are asking you to do. It is your job to provide them with that information. If they proceed anyway and the pinblock goes south, don't be surprised if they blame you for their bad decision..

I would decline this work if I were in your shoes. The odds are not in your favor.


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I have to agree with Will. Unless you put the potential risks into writing so that they fully understand the situation and you cannot be misconstrued later as to any advice you gave, I would respectfully decline the job.

Remember the DESIGN of these pianos...they were not intended to be played by humans. That aspect was secondary to the player function. It was huge technology in its day...long gone today.

Peter Grey Piano Doctor


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I suggest that you do not do anything beyond tuning and regulation at this point. The piano will not get appreciably worse before their budget recovers.

As far as I know, there is no difference in the regulation specs.


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