Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 2 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

Gifts and supplies for the musician

SEARCH
the Forums & Piano World

This custom search works much better than the built in one and allows searching older posts.
(ad) Yamaha CP4 Rebate
Yamaha CP4 Rebate
(ad) Pianoteq
(ad) Pearl River
Pearl River Pianos
(ad) P B Guide
Acoustic & Digital Piano Guide
(ad) Lindeblad Piano
Lindeblad Piano Restoration
Who's Online
143 registered (accordeur, Alan Tripp, Albunea, 36251, Adreneline, 33 invisible), 1701 Guests and 13 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
(ad) Estonia Piano
Estonia Pianos
Quick Links to Useful Piano & Music Resources
Our Classified Ads
Find Piano Professionals-

*Piano Dealers - Piano Stores
*Piano Tuners
*Piano Teachers
*Piano Movers
*Piano Restorations
*Piano Manufacturers
*Organs

Quick Links:
*Advertise On Piano World
*Free Piano Newsletter
*Online Piano Recitals
*Piano Recitals Index
*Piano & Music Accessories
*Music School Listings
* Buying a Piano
*Buying A Acoustic Piano
*Buying a Digital Piano
*Pianos for Sale
*Sell Your Piano
*How Old is My Piano?
*Piano Books
*Piano Art, Pictures, & Posters
*Directory/Site Map
*Contest
*Links
*Virtual Piano
*Music Word Search
*Piano Screen Saver
*Piano Videos
*Virtual Piano Chords
Topic Options
#1984039 - 11/08/12 07:57 AM Suggested Approach for Piano "Rejuvenation"
MacDan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/26/06
Posts: 91
Loc: Tampa, FL
I recently acquired a piano that's a family heirloom.

Before everyone lets out a collective sigh, please hear me out....

The piano, a 1926 Kimball 5'7" baby grand, is in good condition considering its age. All of the major parts are in good shape, no cracked soundboard, pinblock, broken strings, etc. The case is in very good condition as are the key tops.

As you might expect, the piano is tired. With my limited knowledge I can see that it probably needs key bushings for sure. The action is sluggish in the center range, as one would expect for an instrument of this age. There is some grooving of the hammers, although to the untrained eye it doesn't appear to be bad.

I have a trusted tech coming in a week to tune it.

Because I have little or nothing invested in this piano, I am willing to spend some money to get it back in good working condition. Given that it appears to be complete and everything works, albeit not to original specs, I wondered what the collective wisdom of the list would be as far as a "plan of attack" to get it back in good playing condition.

I realize that without seeing it one might be reluctant to make suggestions, however, I would ask that opinions be offered as to what the best "bang for my buck" would be to concentrate on as far as value relative to typical work that might be required for an instrument of this age.

I would add that I expect this to be a collaboration, as I have very high level furniture building and technical skills, so whatever work might be performed by me to help keep costs down will come into play. For example, rebushing keys would be well within my skill set. Regulating actions or voicing would not.

I know my limitations and would expect the tech to deal with anything that involves not just skill but experience. I don't want this to be a hack job.

Again, I realize that this is an old piano and that just as an old car would be, there are lots of miles on it that anything short of a total restoration won't take away. I just want to have a nice playable instrument without investing an amount that is unrealistic based on the value. I don't expect it to be a late model Yamaha....

Thanks in advance to all,

Dan


Edited by MacDan (11/08/12 10:48 AM)

Top
(ad 568) PTG Convention 2015 Denver
PTG Convention July 15 to 18 Denver
#1984129 - 11/08/12 11:38 AM Re: Suggested Approach for Piano "Rejuvenation" [Re: MacDan]
TunerJeff Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/11
Posts: 515
Loc: Oregon Coast
Dear Dan,

At least 47 people have looked at the post, but the definite silence of no replies speaks for itself. We just can't make a call on anything without knowing more about the piano. I'll take a small swing at your question.

Given the age; you are most likely looking at needing to re-do darn near everything that an old piano has! Strings, hammers, re-finishing, etc.

Best course is to have a qualified technician examine the piano and offer an opinion on what's in there. The soundboard may be intact, without obvious cracks or flaws, but does it have any crown? Is there downbearing across the bridges? We just can't give you a good guess from the other side of this screen.

You may get the best 'bang for the buck' by replacing the bass strings, re-shaping the hammers, and re-bushing the keys. But; we are probably all a little leery of the 'sluggish' action. That may require complete replacement of the action...a spendy job...as pianos don't tighten with age. More typically they get sloppy and loose. Poor repetition, or hammers that are sticking, points to corrosion of the pins or poor service somewhere in it's life...someone may have contaminated the flanges with something inappropriate. Again; we just can't make that call from here.

Get a qualified tech in there, preferably one with rebuilding experience, and see what options they might suggest.

Such a small grand, and that old, will require a labor of love rather than a financial decision.

Respectfully,
I am,
_________________________
Jeffrey T. Hickey, RPT
Oregon Coast Piano Services
TunerJeff440@aol.com

Top
#1984134 - 11/08/12 11:45 AM Re: Suggested Approach for Piano "Rejuvenation" [Re: MacDan]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 22353
Loc: Oakland
Kimball made a variety of pianos with a variety of quality levels. Some of the cheaper ones are not worth putting effort into. You really need someone to look at your piano and give you advice.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

Top
#1984140 - 11/08/12 12:02 PM Re: Suggested Approach for Piano "Rejuvenation" [Re: MacDan]
rysowers Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 2681
Loc: Olympia, WA
Jeff has given some good advice. I'll add a couple of thoughts.

Quote:
I would add that I expect this to be a collaboration, as I have very high level furniture building and technical skills, so whatever work might be performed by me to help keep costs down will come into play. For example, rebushing keys would be well within my skill set.


Collaborations are problematic. The idea sounds good, but it rarely has worked out for me very well in practice.

It's not that much of the work is very difficult per se, but it really takes a lot of practice to get some of these(what seem to be rudimentary) skills down.

You won't want to rebush keys to keep the cost down, because it is going to take you at least twice as long as an experienced tech. I figure a key bushing job is around 4-5 hours start to finish if you know what you are doing. Then there is the time invested in learning how to do it, getting the tools and supplies, and redoing your mistakes. You can easily be looking at 10-12 hours or more, and results that are less than satisfying.

You are much better off doing what you are good at: Fine furniture. For example, I could have probably fixed my squealing dryer the other day, but I was better off paying the service man his $100 fee, and taking the hour or two I would have spent messing with it (with probably less than professional results) and tuning a piano instead.

That being said, it may be worth while to attempt the key bushing repair. But not for "keeping the costs down" reasons. It is more for the "I really enjoy the challenge of figuring out how to do a new task". The reality is it is probably going to cost you more to do it yourself, than paying a professional, that is, if your furniture business is successful and busy.
_________________________
Ryan Sowers,
Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA
www.pianova.net

Top
#1984142 - 11/08/12 12:04 PM Re: Suggested Approach for Piano "Rejuvenation" [Re: TunerJeff]
MacDan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/26/06
Posts: 91
Loc: Tampa, FL
Jeff,

I appreciate your comments, and I was thinking much the same as I saw people reading my post but not commenting.

I fully understand what you are saying, and it's very possible that the "odometer" on this piano has turned over more than once, so to say.

I do have a PTG tech coming to tune it in a few weeks after it acclimates and I expect to have him go over it in detail at that time.

Hopefully, things aren't as bad as they might be.

Fortunately, none of the hammers or keys stick, however, the repetition on the middle range of keys is poor. I would have to go in and study my Reblitz book to fully understand what might or might not be occurring with the action, but I realize that there could very well be wear and age issues that would make it unrealistic to do major repairs.

Since my skill level is very high, I am hoping I can enlist the help of my technician to work with me in addressing whatever is needed to make it playable for now. At least that way I can justify the costs and effort.

Again, thanks!

Dan

Top
#1984150 - 11/08/12 12:17 PM Re: Suggested Approach for Piano "Rejuvenation" [Re: BDB]
MacDan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/26/06
Posts: 91
Loc: Tampa, FL
Originally Posted By: BDB
Kimball made a variety of pianos with a variety of quality levels. Some of the cheaper ones are not worth putting effort into. You really need someone to look at your piano and give you advice.


I was waiting for this... grin

From what I have gleaned from being on the forums for a number of years, Kimball has a less than stellar reputation.

That being said, it was my understanding that the pre-Depression era pianos were very good quality instruments. I realize that Kimball made more or less "commodity" pianos in the latter half of the last century, but that was when they started to focus more on furniture than pianos as I understood it.

Thaks for the input, and yes, I don't have unrealistic expectations - I have enlisted a PTG member technician to come and tune it in a few weeks.

I can build furniture, but I'm NOT a piano technician, nor do I want to pretend to be. When in doubt, always hire an expert!

Dan

Top
#1984196 - 11/08/12 02:17 PM Re: Suggested Approach for Piano "Rejuvenation" [Re: MacDan]
Steve Jackson Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/02/07
Posts: 673
Loc: Zichron Yaacov, Israel

This could be a decent piano. Some of the older Kimball's were quite decent.

If the piano is as you say, cleaning, regulation, tuning and voicing may be all that's needed for now.

Take care,

Steve
_________________________
International sales of vintage Piano and restoration.
Exclusive Live Performance Player Systems Dealer

http://stevejacksonpianos.com

Top
#1984199 - 11/08/12 02:20 PM Re: Suggested Approach for Piano "Rejuvenation" [Re: MacDan]
Supply Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 3919
Loc: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
Originally Posted By: MacDan
Since my skill level is very high, I am hoping I can enlist the help of my technician to work with me in addressing whatever is needed to make it playable for now.
versus
Originally Posted By: MacDan
I can build furniture, but I'm NOT a piano technician, nor do I want to pretend to be. When in doubt, always hire an expert!
Dan

Everyone has skills in their respective field of expertise, you state yours is making furniture. Furniture is one (lesser) aspect of pianos, but the musical instrument part is a completely different kettle of fish, requiring different skill sets and experience.
_________________________
Jurgen Goering
Piano Forte Supply
www.pianofortesupply.com

Piattino Caster Cups distributor

Top
#1984213 - 11/08/12 02:48 PM Re: Suggested Approach for Piano "Rejuvenation" [Re: Steve Jackson]
MacDan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/26/06
Posts: 91
Loc: Tampa, FL
Oooo, thanks Steve! laugh I feel better already! That is what I am hoping for. I don't have high expectations, I just want it to be a decent piano for me to practice on until I am better and am ready to buy something newer.

And - I want an acoustic piano to practice on instead of using the Casio digital piano I had been using....

Dan

Top
#1984274 - 11/08/12 05:30 PM Re: Suggested Approach for Piano "Rejuvenation" [Re: MacDan]
Withindale Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/09/11
Posts: 2240
Loc: Suffolk, England
Originally Posted By: Steve Jackson

This could be a decent piano. Some of the older Kimball's were quite decent.

If the piano is as you say, cleaning, regulation, tuning and voicing may be all that's needed for now.


Dan

If Steve has guessed right, and if you have time available, then you could have a go at regulating your piano, leaving tuning and voicing to the experts. Otherwise you'd better leave the whole thing to them as they advise.

In addition to reading Reblitz, and the threads in this forum, you could have a look at the Kawai GP regulation manual: http://www.kawaius-tsd.com/PDF/Regulation%20GP-English%201.5.pdf.

From experience with my 1925 upright piano I'd follow a sequence like this after cleaning and general assessment:

1. Tighten screws carefully, including the plate.
2. Set the strings.
3. Level the keys if necessary.
4. Basic action regulation.
5. Tuning.
6. Shape hammers.
7. Further regulation.
8. Voicing if necessary.

1 and 2 can make a huge difference but they must be done before tuning. I was able to avoid filing the hammers by manipulating the felts back into shape, but that is another story.

I'd suggest you publish some pictures showing the condition of the piano.

Good luck.
_________________________
Ian Russell
Schiedmayer & Soehne, 1925 Model 14, 55" upright
Ibach, 1922 49" upright (project piano)

Top
#1984605 - 11/09/12 11:39 AM Re: Suggested Approach for Piano "Rejuvenation" [Re: Withindale]
MacDan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/26/06
Posts: 91
Loc: Tampa, FL
Thanks for the suggestions, Ian.

While I believe I may be skilled enough to handle some basic things, regulation would not be on my list.

When you say tighten the plate screws, I was wondering if there is any kind of recommendation of how tight? I realize that each piano is different, but I was hoping that there might be some sort of average torque value or something to that effect.

Your suggested list goes a long way in allowing me to discuss an approach with my tech that might allow me to render the piano serviceable with their assistance.

I am going to contact them today and make sure they know what to expect when they arrive. I had requested a tuning, but if an inspection would be more appropriate in order to come up with a plan on how to rejuvenate this piano, it might not be prudent to tune it at this point in the process.

At least that way they won't arrive and be surprised.

Again, thanks you! This was exactly the kind of information I was hoping for....

Dan


Edited by MacDan (11/09/12 11:40 AM)

Top
#1984617 - 11/09/12 12:14 PM Re: Suggested Approach for Piano "Rejuvenation" [Re: MacDan]
Withindale Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/09/11
Posts: 2240
Loc: Suffolk, England
Originally Posted By: MacDan
When you say tighten the plate screws, I was wondering if there is any kind of recommendation of how tight? I realize that each piano is different, but I was hoping that there might be some sort of average torque value or something to that effect.


Err on the side of caution. Tight enough for things to fit snugly but so not tight as to damage the wood or warp anything. See the first section of the Kawai manual.

The main thing is that screws are not loose. After 80 to 90 years many probably will be to the detriment of the sound.

_________________________
Ian Russell
Schiedmayer & Soehne, 1925 Model 14, 55" upright
Ibach, 1922 49" upright (project piano)

Top
#1985350 - 11/11/12 12:41 PM Re: Suggested Approach for Piano "Rejuvenation" [Re: MacDan]
MacDan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/26/06
Posts: 91
Loc: Tampa, FL
Thanks, Ian.

I went around the plate today and tightened the few screws that felt like they were loose. No "ten foot breaker bar" approach here, just a firm twist to the few that needed it. If I got a few degrees of rotation out of the loose ones that was a lot. The majority of them were tight.

My technician comes next week to tune, and at that time I'm going to have him give the piano the "once over" so that we can come up with a plan of what to attack on it.

As I become more familiar with it, everything appears to be working well, but there is some lost movement in the middle range, so I am sure action regulation is in the future....

Top

Moderator:  Piano World 
Shop our Store for Music Lovers!
PianoSupplies.com is Piano World's Online Store
Please visit our store today.
Composer Statuettes
(ad 125) Sweetwater - Digital Keyboards & Other Gear
Digital Pianos at Sweetwater
Ad (Seiler/Knabe)
Seiler Pianos
(125ad) Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
New Topics - Multiple Forums
At what price do digital piano's start sounding real
by TomRL
Today at 11:30 AM
CA 67 midi control
by mike2014
Today at 08:38 AM
"Golden Age"
by PhilipInChina
Today at 08:03 AM
Drama! 7 y.o. Student Doesn't want to do Recital this Year!
by pianoman9
Today at 05:20 AM
search someone with a U1 yamaha and PNOscan or other system
by Martyprod
Today at 04:48 AM
What's Hot!!
New Forum for Selling Your Products or Services
--------------------
Historic Piano Documents
--------------------
Posting Pictures on the Forums
-------------------
Forums Rules & Help
-------------------
ADVERTISE
on Piano World

The world's most popular piano web site.
-------------------
PIANO BOOKS
Forum Stats
79,049 Registered Members
44 Forums
163,550 Topics
2,399,905 Posts

Most users ever online: 15,252 @ 03/21/10 11:39 PM
Sheet Music Plus (125)
Sheet Music Plus Featured Sale

Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

 
Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
|
Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World | Donate | Link to Us | Classifieds |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter | Press Room |


copyright 1997 - 2015 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission