My 'New" 1927 Bechstein

Posted by: Sam S

My 'New" 1927 Bechstein - 10/18/12 07:17 AM



It took me almost a year, but this is my rebuilt 1927 Bechstein Model 'L'.

It all started back in 1979, when for a couple of years I worked as a piano technician, trying to learn the craft, before I thought better of it, went back to school, and followed a totally different career path. A lot of pianos were saved by that decision! Fast forward 30+ years.

I am that guy in your neighborhood who builds a sailboat bigger than his house in his backyard. Or the guy building the hot rod in his garage who is up all night welding and banging away. Or the crazy guy building a replica of Devil's Tower out of mud in his living room. No, I'm not that guy, I hope!

So I bought an old piano from a local technician. It was unplayable, and had been stored for a few years awaiting restoration. A previous unknown technician had ruined it with a bad rebuild. The pinblock had failed. (The pinblock on the Bechstein is open face and mortised into the case - woodworking experience is a real plus). So I bought it without playing it or hearing it, although I did look at it...

Then I spent 10 months rebuilding it. I removed the old soundboard and sent it to Bolduc to be duplicated, and have new bridge caps made. I put in a new pinblock and restrung it. I did a bunch of action work, rebushing and adding new felt and new dampers. I put in new hammers and shanks with new knuckles and rebushed the keys. I didn't refinish it, but repaired some damage, cleaned it up and added a topcoat of black shellac. I managed to do it all without making too many mistakes.

So finally it is playable and I am having a great time with it. I enjoy playing it even more since I rebuilt it myself. There is still some voicing to be done, but I am fine-tuning things slowly. It really sounds good. A dark tone, with an edge to the treble. It's a nice size piano for the room, which is an ordinary living room.

If you are interested, here's an album of 164 photos from the rebuild job:
1927 Bechstein photos

And a few more finished photos - don't look too close, you'll see my mistakes!







Sam
Posted by: wouter79

Re: My 'New" 1927 Bechstein - 10/18/12 07:49 AM

Congratulations Sam on pulling off your own restoration project with good results! Thanks also for the pics and the history. Looks all nice. We're going to hear it in the next ABF recital?
Posted by: Annitenth

Re: My 'New" 1927 Bechstein - 10/18/12 08:22 AM

It looks gorgeous! Congratulations.
Posted by: lilylady

Re: My 'New" 1927 Bechstein - 10/18/12 08:28 AM

I bet you are happy to now have it sitting in your living room all bright and shiny and ready to play!

Congrats. Will look at your photo album later today.

LL
Posted by: Sam S

Re: My 'New" 1927 Bechstein - 10/18/12 08:36 AM

Originally Posted By: wouter79
Congratulations Sam on pulling off your own restoration project with good results! Thanks also for the pics and the history. Looks all nice. We're going to hear it in the next ABF recital?


Yes, the next ABF recital, it will make it's "debut".

Sam
Posted by: Rickster

Re: My 'New" 1927 Bechstein - 10/18/12 09:49 AM

Wow, that is great Sam! Congratulations on completing your project!!

Just for the record, Sam is a fellow Georgian... And, he is likely my closest Piano World neighbor… smile

I hope to get to play that freshly rebuilt C Bechstein in a few weeks. smile

A great post, Sam, and a great blog and photos! Congratulations again!

Rick
Posted by: BeccaBb

Re: My 'New" 1927 Bechstein - 10/18/12 11:16 AM

Congrats Sam! That is very beautiful and I like your music corner! I hope you enjoy many hours of practice and play with her. smile
Posted by: Rich D.

Re: My 'New" 1927 Bechstein - 10/18/12 11:34 AM

Congratulations on your rebuild. I bet it sounds as great as it looks.

Rich
Posted by: acortot

Re: My 'New" 1927 Bechstein - 10/18/12 11:46 AM

I would have re-ribbed the soundboard personally because of the difference in wood quality if it wasn't completely shot (don't know)

Otherwise good job!
Posted by: Plowboy

Re: My 'New" 1927 Bechstein - 10/18/12 11:49 AM

Wow! Great job, Sam.
Posted by: FarmGirl

Re: My 'New" 1927 Bechstein - 10/18/12 11:59 AM

Omg! You are truly amazing. Do you have any plan to relocate to AZ? I wanna be your very best friend.
Posted by: MaryBee

Re: My 'New" 1927 Bechstein - 10/18/12 12:44 PM

Wow, what a project, Sam! You must be very proud of that beautiful job. Can't wait to hear it next month.
Posted by: Sam S

Re: My 'New" 1927 Bechstein - 10/18/12 01:56 PM

Thanks everyone for your kind words - I get a lot of enjoyment out of projects like this.

Originally Posted By: Rickster
Wow, that is great Sam! Congratulations on completing your project!!

Just for the record, Sam is a fellow Georgian... And, he is likely my closest Piano World neighbor… smile

I hope to get to play that freshly rebuilt C Bechstein in a few weeks. smile

A great post, Sam, and a great blog and photos! Congratulations again!

Rick


We're looking forward to it Rick - can't wait to hear you play in person! Bring your banjo too, a couple of my old bluegrass buddies will be there...

Sam
Posted by: Pianolance

Re: My 'New" 1927 Bechstein - 10/18/12 03:41 PM

Well, I didn't know what an ABF recital was so I googled it and found out it is a term from the Piano World website and stands for Adult Beginners Forum. Yet another google search that brings up Piano World.
Posted by: pianonewb

Re: My 'New" 1927 Bechstein - 10/18/12 04:02 PM

Lovely piano, and you should be proud of the job you did. I hope you enjoy many years with your "new" piano. Can't wait to hear it at recital.
Oh, and I like the banjo, dulcimer and violin, also. I hear Bluegrass, lol.
Posted by: Sam S

Re: My 'New" 1927 Bechstein - 10/18/12 07:18 PM

Originally Posted By: Pianolance
Well, I didn't know what an ABF recital was so I googled it and found out it is a term from the Piano World website and stands for Adult Beginners Forum. Yet another google search that brings up Piano World.


You've never heard of the ABF recitals? Where've you been? Four times a year the best Adult beginners in the world at Piano World give an online recital. The next one goes live November 15th.

Sam
Posted by: jdw

Re: My 'New" 1927 Bechstein - 10/18/12 07:26 PM

How lovely! Congratulations! it's wonderful to see a great old piano restored to life!
Posted by: custard apple

Re: My 'New" 1927 Bechstein - 10/18/12 07:50 PM

Congrats Sam on finding a great piano and making it even more beautiful.
Posted by: Amaruk

Re: My 'New" 1927 Bechstein - 10/19/12 04:48 PM

Fantastic job Sam! I can't wait to hear it in the next recital!
Posted by: RickG1

Re: My 'New" 1927 Bechstein - 10/19/12 06:59 PM

That looks terrific. Congrats!!