Originally posted by dkeene:
I purchased a fairly recent Steinway Concert D. The harp seems to have been harmed by salty air near the sea. Has anyone ever replaced the harp with a new one from Steinway? Any thoughts on cost? I don't want to refinish it, as I don't think it will look perfect (fresh from the factory)! I don't know if Steinway would even sell a new harp of that size.
It is unlikely that the plate (your "harp") could possibly have been damaged by salt air enough to warrant replacing it.
Assuming a new plate could actually be purchased from Steinway (which is questionable) the task of replacing it would be a formidable one. It would probably also entail replacing the soundboard and bridges. At the least the bridges would have to be capped, drilled and notched and repinned. As well, the pinblock would have to be replaced. All told, I doubt any rebuilder who really knew what was involved would touch the job for less than $20,000 to $25,000. (The plate alone would probably run you somewhere in the $5,000 range, again, assuming Steinway would sell one. Were I the one making the decision I would say no.)
If you have cosmetic damage that bothers you refinishing the plate is really the only practical option. And that only if it can be removed from the piano.
Steinway does sell spray cans with their own plate gilding lacquer that will come pretty close to the original color. If you can find a good touch-up person to do the work you should be able to have the finish repaired to look reasonably nice.
Otherwise your best option is to replace the piano.