How Long Does it Take to Rebuild a Piano?

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Hi, I’m Robert Estrin. This is The question today is, “How Long Does it Take to Rebuild a Piano?”

There’s a very wide range of time, and there are many aspects to this question. Let’s say you have a piano you want to have rebuilt. Perhaps you have a Steinway, you want to have restored and you decide to send it to Steinway to rebuild. You’re probably going to wait over a year to get your piano back. It can take that long! Now, does that mean they’re taking the entire year to rebuild it? Well, yes and no. They might do parts of different pianos simultaneously. However:

It takes at least months to rebuild a piano.

Now, the other aspect of this question is, what does it mean to rebuild a piano? There are different parts of a piano that can be rebuilt. For example, are you replacing the sound board or repairing the old one? Are you creating a new key set, or are you staying with the original keys? There are different parts of a piano that can be utilized in rebuilding in most instances. Unless you have a piano that’s a complete disaster, you’re going to utilize a lot of the existing parts, so it can take different amounts of time depending upon how much work is required.

Let’s say, for example, you have an unusual piano from the late 1800s with a pre-modern action and it’s an art-case with beautiful scroll work, and some of the scroll work is missing. Perhaps other parts of the piano are destroyed as well, such as the music rack or one of the legs. It could take a very long time to match the woods, to hand-carve the beautiful intricate parts to make the piano match the way it was originally manufactured.

It could take longer than a year.

But I would say that any kind of even the most basic rebuilding that keeps the original action and replaces only some action parts, replaces strings, perhaps pin block, refinish the case, re-guild the plate, has got to take an absolute minimum of two to three months, if that’s all they’re working on. It is a big job. Not only that, you don’t want to rush through it because a piano needs to settle in, and a great part of the work of rebuilding a piano comes after the rebuilding in adjusting everything to play on a high level. On top of that, it’s important to make sure everything is stable.

If a piano has just been rebuilt and hasn’t had fine work performed, it will sound horrendous!

It takes tremendous refinement to get a rebuilt piano to play on a high level. It’s best to let the piano sit, play it, and have technicians work on it, and, of course, even over the next year or two, a rebuilt piano, just like a brand-new piano, is not going to be really settled in and stable for at least a year or two. You must play the piano and have it serviced on a very regular basis until it becomes stable.

So it’s all part of the process. I hope this has been helpful for you. If you have a piano you’re thinking of rebuilding and you want any advice, you’re welcome to contact us here at Thanks again. I’m Robert Estrin. We’ll see you next time.