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#618508 - 04/23/03 03:03 PM vintage steinway in kenya
rva piano Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/26/03
Posts: 2
Loc: kijabe, kenya
Our school has a 6 ft. steinway grand, vintage probably 20's. We've had all the hammers replaced, many strings, added some oversize pegs,the action adjusted, etc. However, it still has many problems and has to be touched up any time it's played. (more than once a week) I would appreciate any and all input speaking from relative ignorance. We had a Steinway artist visit here in February, and after our instrument repair man (Not a piano tech, but learning out of necessity) had spent tons of time preparing the piano, the artist commented that "this could be a pretty decent piano if you put $20,000 into it"...which we don't have!

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#618509 - 04/23/03 06:32 PM Re: vintage steinway in kenya
Mathilde Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/05/03
Posts: 309
Loc: Decatur, Illinois, USA
Disclaimer: IANA tech, so I don't know what's wrong with your piano.

But I do know that the biggest thing that can really mess up a piano is big changes in the ambient humidity and temperature. Is your piano next to a sunny window, or an air conditioner or furnace vent, or something like that?

What's the weather like in Kenya? The biggest challenge to pianos staying in tune in the States is the wild swings between "cold, dry winter" and "hot, humid summer".

#618510 - 04/23/03 09:25 PM Re: vintage steinway in kenya
Rick Clark Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/04/03
Posts: 1810
Loc: North County San Diego CA
Piano rebuilding is a highly specialized skill. Putting on new strings and adjusting the action does not come anywhere near a proper rebuild of a 1920's piano. And if you have the skills, there are still major expenses involved in terms of parts, woodworking, specialized tools, etc. In other words, you need a good physical facility in addition to a skilled rebuilder.

Since your repair man is a novice working with what is at hand, you can't expect the results of a good rebuilding shop. What can be said about the situation except you need the right person on the job? Sending it out to a proper first class rebuilding company is probably the only thing that will make it a first class piano again. And yes, $20,000 is about right, or often enough anyway. I know you don't have the money, I'm just letting you know the situation. I don't believe there are any magic wands that can be waved here.

And speaking in the theoretical, if supposing you could actually afford to send it out to be done properly, you would still need someone with the needed maintenance skills onhand afterward, to prepare the piano for concerts, etc. The piano goes out of adjustment. Again, not a slight art that a novice can expect to do well.

The most optimistic view I could offer is that if you imported a really good technician for a few days, he may be able to make the most of what you have. Since I haven't seen your piano I don't know how bad it is. Most of the time I see novice attempts at restringing it is pretty bad. But perhaps you could establish communication with such a tech, send him or her photos, etc, and perhaps this technician could come up with an approach that will give major improvements without rebuilding, in a few days time, on site. Perhaps you can go from bad to good, though not to great. Instead of spending $20,000 you spend $2,000 (perhaps).


Rick Clark
Rick Clark

Piano tuner-technician

#618511 - 04/23/03 09:39 PM Re: vintage steinway in kenya
Bob Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/01/01
Posts: 3992
the artist commented that "this could be a pretty decent piano if you put $20,000 into it"

This is artist speak for "your piano is so bad, I could hardly play it"

This piano probably needs a complete rebuild. The fact you have to touch up the tuning every week tells me the pins are loose. If you can't afford the cost of a rebuild, why not sell it or trade it to a store and buy a good new or used upright with the proceeds?

#618512 - 04/24/03 02:59 PM Re: vintage steinway in kenya
Brian Lawson, RPT Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/04/01
Posts: 647
Loc: South Africa
Hi, well you could ship it down to me here in South Africa and it will cost far less than US$20,000
Brian Lawson, RPT
South Africa


#618513 - 04/26/03 10:05 AM Re: vintage steinway in kenya
rva piano Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/26/03
Posts: 2
Loc: kijabe, kenya
Thanks for the input so far. I think getting hooked up to a technician who can give us an evaluation, either long distance or on site is what we need to do. What specific info do we need to get the process going?


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