Refinished vs. Refurbished vs. Restored Pianos | What’s the Difference?
Question: “I am looking to purchase a piano. As I’ve gone through various websites I’ve noticed the terms ‘restored’, ‘refurbished’ and ‘refinished.’ What is the difference between these terms?”
With numerous individuals and businesses within the worldwide piano industry, the terms ‘restored’ or ‘refurbished’ gets thrown around quite a bit. This can lead to a bit of confusion over the actual condition of the piano in question and what each term actually means. We can’t speak for other businesses or piano technicians, however below you will find the definitions we use for these various terms.
Cosmetic Restoration: The refinishing of a piano is purely cosmetic. This is done to refresh the instrument and return a like new look and feel to the exterior of the piano cabinet. When we refinish a piano we utilize the finest materials and workmanship to ensure a premium, like new finish. We utilize closed pore, hand rubbed lacquer finishes over the quicker sprayed-only method. This ensures a finish with optimum clarity and one that is more easily repairable in the future.
[Read more about the piano refinishing process.]
Refinishing the piano cabinet is a normal part of our extensive piano restoration process. We may also refinish a piano that is in very good mechanical and interior condition but needs to be cosmetically refreshed to make it retail ready. Often refinishing will also be coupled with the refurbishing of a piano. Although it does not affect the actual mechanical function of the piano, obviously aesthetics count toward your overall enjoyment and the value of the piano.
Chupp’s Piano Service regularly gets the opportunity to work with top University music programs and faculty. We recently completed delivery of several premium, fully restored Steinway Grand Pianos to Cedarville University in Cedarville, Ohio. This included a rare Steinway Model C, a Steinway Model L and a concert level Steinway Model D Grand Piano for the University’s performance hall. [Which appropriately enough, features a soundboard made of unique Western Red Cedar.]
Dr. John Mortensen oversees the over 60 pianos utilized by the music department. An incredibly accomplished pianist, academic and overall musician, Dr. Mortensen is also an official International Steinway Artist. His writings appear in International Piano, Clavier, College Music Symposium, Piano Pedagogy Forum, and American Music Teacher. He was kind enough to write the following testimonial about his experience working with us to secure top quality instruments for the university.
The Steinway is the finest piano in the world, deserving not only elite artists to play it but also elite technicians to care for it. Dennis Chupp is just such a craftsman. A Master Technician trained at the Steinway Factory in New York, he received personal coaching from former Steinway head Service Technician Fred Drasche and has collaborated with the nation’s leaders in the field of piano technology. His company, Chupp’s Piano Service, specializes in re-manufacturing and repair of vintage pianos, bringing glorious new life to instruments which had fallen silent through the ravages of age, damage and neglect.
Vintage Mason & Hamlin Grand Piano Rebuilding Project | Delaminated Pinblock
As you can see in the photo, it is time for a new pinblock. The original pinblock inside of this Mason & Hamlin Model AA Grand Piano has definitely seen better days. The wood lamimations have begun to separate and crack which results in very loose tuning pins and a lack of stability. The tuning pin holes have become enlarged from decades of stress. At this point, a new pinblock is very much needed. When this part of the piano restoration process is required, we custom fit the new pinblock to the specific piano. This is essential for both the structual and tuning stability of the instrument. The good news is that the piano overall is in very good condition and we look forward to completing this fine, golden era instrument. [Vintage Mason AA Grands measure 6’2″ in length and are considered some of the finest pianos under 7′ that were ever built.]
Top 3 Reasons Why You Should Purchase a Restored Steinway Grand Piano
Question: “I have read a lot about vintage Steinways vs. new. Why should I consider purchasing a restored Steinway over a new one?”
Here at Chupp’s Pianos, we often receive questions related to the differences between new and restored Steinway & Sons Pianos. After talking to our clients about the benefits and drawbacks of each type of piano, these conversations often lead up to the ultimate question: “Should I buy a new Steinway, or a vintage restored Steinway piano?”
At the end of the day, we often find that finding a second home to a restored piano is the best way to go. Restored pianos are excellent musical investments that are often superior to brand new pianos. The workmanship during the ‘golden era’ of piano manufacturing was truly standard setting. Below you’ll find the top 3 reasons considering a restored Steinway & Sons piano might be in your best interest over a new one.
Kevin Vietmeier On His Golden Era Restored Steinway
Recently we were able to fully restore a golden era Steinway & Sons Model M Grand Piano for pianist Kevin Vietmeier. We were all very pleased with the tone and touch of the finished instrument. He was kind enough to leave a five star Google Review for us which we have reprinted below.
“After searching for a grand piano in Pennsylvania and Ohio (including official Steinway stores), I stumbled across Chupp’s and drove out to play a Model M they had on sale. The owner, Dennis, was extremely patient and walked me through his restoration facility explaining the entire process of restoring a vintage Steinway. After playing some of their fully restored pianos, I was greatly impressed and decided to purchase a 1923 Model M and have them do a complete restoration.
Dennis and Tim were both upfront and honest with me throughout the entire process, and in the end I got a beautifully restored Steinway with the gorgeous tone I was expecting and unfortunately not hearing when playing brand new Steinways at other stores. I have had two technicians play the piano, and both were astounded at the excellent workmanship put into this instrument.
August 2016 | Piano Video Highlights
As summer begins to wind down, here are some piano video highlights from the month of August. Enjoy!
Piano Technician Philip Balke playing part of Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 23 in F Minor, 3rd Movement on a fully restored Steinway & Sons Model C. This semi-concert grand piano came out beautifully and is a wonderful example of historic Steinway quality. This particular piano was rebuilt for a church in Dallas, Texas. The Steinway Model C is no longer produced at the New York Steinway Factory and is quite a rare find. Sitting in size between the Model B and the Model D, the 7’5″ Model C balances size with a full, warm tone.
3 Steinway Grand Pianos | Refurbished or Fully Restored
We have kept busy over the summer months! Here at Chupp’s Piano Service we have rebuilt a number of Steinway & Sons grand pianos for clients and several Steinways that we have chosen to place into our showroom. These Steinway pianos for sale range in size and price. Offering a number of options regardless of your budget is something that we do our best to accomplish. Here are three featured Steinway Grand Pianos we have recently added to inventory for sale that you may be interested in purchasing. Each of these pianos are currently ready to play and purchase at our Goshen piano showroom or our rebuilding facility.
This instrument could be the perfect piano if you are looking for a Steinway at an affordable price. The piano is in very good condition and our piano technicians have gone through it to ensure a good playing experience. If you are looking for a piano with an original soundboard, you are in luck! The original factory soundboard is in excellent condition with no visible cracks or separations from the ribs. The cabinet has been expertly refinished in a hand rubbed, closed pore satin ebony.
This refurbished piano is being offered with FREE delivery most anywhere east of Colorado for $15,900.00.
A Look At The Steinway Piano Rebuilding Process
A little over a year ago we released the short documentary “The Garage Piano: The Story of a Steinway.” Since then it has been viewed well over 10,000 times on Facebook and YouTube. This production details just some of the extensive work that goes into each one of our fully rebuilt Steinway pianos. If you haven’t seen it yet, be sure to take the time to learn a bit more about the piano rebuilding process.
This is the story of the restoration of a Steinway & Sons Grand Piano. This instrument was left alone and neglected in a garage for over 20 years. This short documentary follows the rebuilding process and tells the story of the piano’s full restoration and rebirth. From cosmetic details like replacing the keytops to extensively restoring the piano action and refinishing the satin ebony cabinet, this piano documentary shows the work that goes into returning a vintage New York Steinway to its former glory. The art of piano rebuilding is truly art you can feel!
Fully Rebuilt Steinway Model A3 Grand Piano | Very Rare Quarter Sawn Oak
The golden era of piano manufacturing saw high quality and continued innovation become the standard within the industry. Over 300 piano manufacturers in the United States alone competed to craft the best pianos possible. One of the most unique and well designed instruments during this period was the Steinway Model A-3 Grand Piano. These 6′ 4 1/2″ grand pianos are some of the finest pianos ever produced by the Steinway & Sons Company.
Steinway Model A3 #188826 was built in 1917, during the peak of the company’s golden era. This particular instrument is special not just for its amazingly well crafted scale design but for its rare cabinet woodwork as well. This piano features a very rare and unique quarter sawn oak cabinet. Used extensively in the past it is more labor intensive and expensive to produced. It is quite rare to find Steinway grand pianos with this desirable grain pattern.
A Rare Favorite
The Steinway Model A-3 has long been a favorite scale design of piano technicians and professional musicians. Discontinued in 1945 due to the competition it created for the larger and pricier Steinway Model B, the Model A-3 is a rare instrument well deserving of the respect it receives. The Model A-3 has become one of our favorite Steinway scale designs and we are proud to feature several of these vintage instruments in our facilities today.
The Origin and History of the Steinway Model C Grand Piano
The Steinway Model B measures 6’11” in length while the Model D is 8’11”. But what about the piano that comes in between these two? The Steinway & Sons Model C Semi-Concert Grand Piano is an instrument that is often forgotten about – at least by some of us here in North America. Here is a quick history of the lineage of the Semi-Concert Model C.
The Steinway Model C’s Origin
The 7’2” Steinway and Sons Model C was first manufactured in 1878 with Steinway #38675 being the first in the series to be completed on 8/24/1878. These seven-octave, 85-note pianos were based upon the earlier Parlor Grands built by Steinway. The Model C, 85-note piano was also known as the Style 3 in catalogues. The scale design featured a 21 note bass section and was redesigned from the earlier parlor grand piano by C.F. Theodore Steinway. The Model C was introduced during a time of advancement for the Steinway Company. The early Model C was first produced with a sectional case design, and in 1880 production of Model Cs with a more modern style bent-rim case began. The 85-note Model C/Style 3 was in production until 1886.
Stephen Baker of Bethany Lutheran Church Selects Steinway Concert Grand
Recently Chupp’s Piano Service provided Bethany Lutheran Church of Spencer, Iowa with a pre-owned Steinway Model D 9′ Concert Grand Piano. Music Director Stephen Baker was kind enough to send in the following testimonial.
I searched all over the Midwest looking for a used concert grand for our church, and after playing dozens of pianos in Minneapolis, Iowa, and Michigan, I didn’t find a better piano or a better value than at Chupp’s in Indiana.
When the piano arrived, the word spread throughout town and people were so excited that a couple dozen people showed up just to watch the piano get unloaded and installed in the sanctuary. People who had never seen a 9′ Steinway were actually moved to tears at just the sight of it!
From 1854 to Today | Mason & Hamlin
The tale of the Mason & Hamlin’s rise to the top of the piano world is an interesting piece of history, dating back to the mid 19th century. Now normally, the first name to come to mind when thinking of premium pianos is probably the venerable Steinway & Sons company. Steinway has long enjoyed a spot at the top of American piano manufacturers in both artists’ use and public opinion. However it would be very remiss to ignore the contributions and the ongoing history of another leading piano maker, Mason & Hamlin. Created one year after the founding of Steinway & Sons in 1854, Mason & Hamlin quickly asserted themselves as a company dedicated to handcrafted quality and today is one of only two fully operational piano manufacturers in the United States today (with the other being their longtime competitor, Steinway).
Steinway Model M Grand Pianos | Their Past, Present, & Future
The Steinway Model M is a fantastic grand piano, and has been since its creation in 1911. But before we tell the tale of the Steinway Model M, we need to understand the historical context under which this Steinway piano was invented. Things had begun to shift and change during the early part of the 20th Century.
The piano had quickly become THE luxury item that every family yearned to own. Hundreds of thousands of grand and upright pianos were manufactured and sold yearly during this industry ‘golden age’ in the United States alone. This increasing popularity with the general public led companies to begin to look at crafting instruments that fit inside of smaller rooms and within slightly smaller budgets.
Limited Numbers | Chupp’s Pianos Goshen, Indiana Showroom
We are doing something that we do not do often. We are offering several high quality Kawai Digital Pianos for sale at extreme blowout prices. These prices are so low that we have been told by Kawai America that we cannot put the prices public on our website! We are looking to move these digital pianos quickly to make room for new stock and do not expect these deals to last for long. We have the following Kawai Digital Pianos for sale at our Goshen Piano Showroom today.
Over 160 Years of Fine Pianos | Quick Facts about Steinways
For over 160 years, the name “Steinway” has represented the finest quality in the piano industry. Founded by Henry E. Steinway, the company quickly became a leader in both craftsmanship and innovation. Over a century and a half later Steinway & Sons continues to expand and grow. With the slogan “The Instrument of the Immortals” Steinway pianos became the preferred choice of over 90% of professional concert pianists due to their unmistakable touch and tone. Scroll through the handy infographic to learn more about the rich history and work that goes into pianos bearing the name of Steinway.