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#648033 - 03/09/03 06:07 PM Rebuild: Worth and Cost
kimdoan2 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/04/02
Posts: 41

I hope you technicians/rebuilders don't mind this question.

Today I went to see a Steinway, circa 1918, model M, 5'7 grand. The piano is in original condition. The case is walnut wood and perfect for its age; no dent or scratches except that the wood veneer on the left hand corner is kind of peel off. The sound board has one or two hair-lined cracks seeing from the top toward the right. I didn't see any visible cracks looking up from the underneath of the piano. The hammers look surprisingly full, not much tear and wear due to playing and voicing, I guess. The action is very light with no key stuck or anything like that. The ivory key top is however in bad shape becaused of cracks, but the keys are leveled. The strings are in bad shape; new set of string is definite required. The iron plate and everything is tarnished. The piano appears not to have played in years and badly out of tune.

There's no question that the piano needs to be rebuild. The owner is asking for $5,500. So, if I have the piano rebuild, what is the ball park figure for the rebuild effort? A range figure would be fine. And based on that, how much should I offer for this piano? I live in a city comparable to that of Austin, Texas. I know I need a rebuilder to take a look, but I want to get a feel for it first.


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#648034 - 03/09/03 07:11 PM Re: Rebuild: Worth and Cost
curry Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/02
Posts: 3770
Loc: Hamilton Twp, NJ
Kim,a full remanufacture,new board,new pin block,strings,complete action rebuild,and \:\) refinishing would run $12,000-20,000 depending on geographical location.The $5,500 price is good.
G.Fiore "aka-Curry". Tuner-Technician serving the central NJ, S.E. PA area. b214cm@aol.com Concert tuning, Regulation-voicing specialist.
Dampp-Chaser installations, piano appraisals. PTG S.Jersey Chapter 080.
Bösendorfer 214 # 47,299 214-358

#648035 - 03/09/03 08:46 PM Re: Rebuild: Worth and Cost
Rick Clark Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/04/03
Posts: 1810
Loc: North County San Diego CA
I agree with Curry's estimate. It may however be possible that a "reconditioning" rather than a "rebuilding" will make it a great instrument for a lot less. There are pros and cons to this approach, it depends on whether you demand it to be totally like new inside or out, or you just want something functioning well for another 10-20 years. There are a lot of judgement calls involved, no pat answers.

It is very important that you find very competent rebuilding/reconditioning people. My experience is there are more amateurs than pros out there. It is not unreasonable to expect to have to go outside one's own locale for competent people.

FWIW, there are a lot of rebuilders who would love to have a steady supply of $5K Steinway hulks to rebuild. The market prices are high. It's a good price. I'd buy one right now if there were any around here.


Rick Clark
Rick Clark

Piano tuner-technician

#648036 - 03/09/03 09:15 PM Re: Rebuild: Worth and Cost
Chris W1 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/26/01
Posts: 915
Loc: Boston

Considering rebuilds is in some respects like considering new pianos. You have to try lots of them to understand what you are getting into. Going the route of buying a rebuild candidate, or any piano that is in less than a finished state, whether its the action, strings, board, or anything else, is a formidable risk for the buyer who may have designs on the final result. If you can try a few M's (the 5'7') in the next few days before this opportunity expires, I'd do that first. You can save a lot of money taking advantage of an opportunity like this, but don't forget to fit that in with your standard for how you want this piano to sound.

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#648037 - 03/10/03 12:37 PM Re: Rebuild: Worth and Cost
reblder Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/21/01
Posts: 1237
Loc: Sherman Oaks, Calif.

Originally posted by Kimdoan2:
There's no question that the piano needs to be rebuild. The owner is asking for $5,500. So, if I have the piano rebuild, what is the ball park figure for the rebuild effort? A range figure would be fine[/b]
That's a fabulous price for that piano, certainly less than anything you'd find out our way(In L.A. that is). And our usual fee for a rebuild is about 10K, unless it needed a new soundboard which would kick it up(in a piano of that size)to around $14-15K. Still it's certainly less than a new one and if expertly done, would sound and play as good as or even better(and I say better since a new one's going to take at least a few years to sound better than its virginal condition).

Mark Mandell


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