This is a very common question which has a somewhat complex answer. If I had to give a one-line answer to the question I would say the average is around $15,000 to restore a piano. In reality, restoring and rebuilding a piano can be a substantial project that varies tremendously based on each individual instrument. As we’ve discussed previously, there are literally thousands of parts on a piano and finding out what is needed on a particular piano to bring it back to a high level requires time and expertise.
There are essentially three components to a piano:
The Belly – is comprised of the soundboard, bridges, pinblock, strings, plate and other components.
The Furniture – This is the case and finish of the piano.
The Action – can be removed as a unit to work on separately. It is comprised of the keys, hammers, and thousands of other parts which must be adjusted to very stringent tolerances.
Any one, two or all of these components could require substantial work when restoring or rebuilding a piano. Just refinishing the case will cost thousands of dollars and require specialized work.
When it comes to rebuilding pianos, generally it concerns high end instruments. There is not much purpose in restoring cheap Asian production pianos because the cost of the restoration could exceed the value of the piano (unless it only needed minor work). A good candidate for restoring a piano is a classic American or European piano such as a: Steinway, Mason & Hamlin, Baldwin, Bluthner, Bosendorfer, Bechstein or other pianos which cost a substantial amount to replace. These pianos new can cost upwards of $80,000. So, it can be worth the cost to bring them back to life if the essential structure has not been compromised.
Obviously, restoring different parts of the piano will cost different amounts of money. Replacing the hammers or key tops will cost a lot less than replacing the soundboard on a piano. It really is a matter of what is required to get the piano to a desired level. Many times the soundboard on a piano can be restored to a high level with expert repair. However, if you need to replace a soundboard, you could be looking at a project in the tens of thousands of dollars with everything else that is entailed.
If you’re thinking about restoring a piano, you should contact someone reputable in your area to get an idea what the cost would be. The quality of the work is very important and varies widely. So, contacting someone with a good reputation is incredibly important.
Piano restoration is a very complicated process and it’s something that you shouldn’t embark upon alone. If you want advice on restoring a piano, please feel free to contact us at: Info@LivingPianos.com or call (949) 244-3729.