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#1255587 - 08/25/09 01:23 AM Update - Steinway Model A
Deon van aswegen Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/09/08
Posts: 142
Loc: South Africa
Hi there all

Just an update on the unfortunate Steinway Model A that I purchased.

The instrument has now accessed and the work required to restore the insides has been determined.

Maybe you will remember that I had concerns over the transition section between tenor and bass. Well, we found a wedge stuck in between the soundboard and structural rib. Removed it and viola, the problem was resolved. That negated all fears of the instrument being deficient in some respects.

New hammer, strings, backchecks, rollers and centering pins is all that is needed to attend to the dynamics.

The soundboard has some cracks, which will be attended to. While this is being done, the harp will be resprayed and the inner casing sanded to reveal the mahogany inside rim.

We have found many strange little adjustments and inconsistencies in the stringing of the instrument. The strings used for the transition section between bass and tenor was of the incorrect diameter. String seating was all over the place, and not even or consistent.

During the previous rebuild of the instrument, some overspray occured underneath the piano, which will be rectified.

What I can report, is that the person or company that did undertake the rebuild previously should be shot. Backcheck leather was installed without giving any thought to the grain of the leather. The hammers were generic, and to soft. Rollers were not lubricated, and in general, seating pins were not installed correctly, causing play in the action. The case has been so badly laquered, that the job was probably done by an imbicel.

Good news is that the instrument is apparently a gem, in terms of potential, thus the monet spent on the restoration will be well worth it. Once the wedge was removed from underneath the piano, it siddenly flowered. Even in it's untuned state, the sound is round and warm, maybe even preferable to my Kawai RX6.

Having spent the last 10 years as a concert instrument, one can only have simpathy for the pianists that played on it. The action offers little or no control currently. The muffled sound in the bass, obviously induced by the wedge (to hide a buzz) must have made many pianists cringe, and maybe only play on it for the monerary gain.

So the rescue mission is on schedule, and I will report back again.



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#1255643 - 08/25/09 07:17 AM Re: Update - Steinway Model A [Re: Deon van aswegen]
lilylady Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/17/05
Posts: 4983
Loc: boston north
Sounds good. So how long will the rescue mission take and will it start immediately?

I hope that you will share before and after pictures!
"Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything."

#1256219 - 08/26/09 12:47 AM Re: Update - Steinway Model A [Re: lilylady]
Deon van aswegen Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/09/08
Posts: 142
Loc: South Africa
Hello L

it is going to take about 9 weeks for the work to be done. And yes, I will post before and after pictures.

I still need to specify the hammers to be used. Any suggestions anyone?



#1256484 - 08/26/09 12:50 PM Re: Update - Steinway Model A [Re: Deon van aswegen]
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012

Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17951
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
Thanks for the update, Deon. I look forward to seeing the photos and hearing about the progress of the restoration. It sounds like your piano is a prime example of the kind of shoddy work done in the past that pianobroker and others are always warning us about. You should feel good about undertaking a rescue! smile

p.s. Maybe ask on the tech forum for a hammer recommendation?
Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica

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#1256569 - 08/26/09 02:45 PM Re: Update - Steinway Model A [Re: Monica K.]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4551
Loc: San Jose, CA
I guess the former "work" kind of follows the chain and padlock that also afflicted the instrument. You're doing a great thing, Deon.

The hammers: now, that's a very good question and a very personal choice. I wonder if you could either (1) order an assortment of hammer specimens and try them out for the sound and feel, or (2) play comparable instruments that have your hammer candidates. Or maybe some of both, as opportunity allows.

Thanks for the follow-up.


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