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.
Piano RefinishingCosmetic 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.] Mason & Hamlin AA | Cracked Pinblock
A Look At The Steinway Piano Rebuilding ProcessA 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 OakThe 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 FavoriteThe 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.
Fully Rebuilt Steinway Model M | Fine Restored Pianos for SaleThe pre-WWII era of piano manufacturing saw the growing American industry reach its height in both size and quality. This golden age of piano manufacturing saw incredible quality and innovation become the standard as hundreds of makers competed for the hearts (and wallets) of a piano loving public. Into this era of craftsmanship Steinway Model M #250775 was born. Built in 1927 at the New York Steinway & Sons factory, this 5'7" instrument features an overstrung scale designed by Henry Ziegler. Scaled down from the larger Model O, this instrument was originally designed to give the public a smaller option in Steinway's lineup of grand pianos. Until the introduction of the 5'1" Model S, the Model M was the smallest grand piano that Steinway produced.
Chupp's Piano Service Restores Historic Baldwin Grand Piano
ELKHART - "A community is the sum of its shared history, so in an age when information is created, shared, has trended and is forgotten in a matter of minutes, museums represent something different.
“What makes local history important is that people who are living in the community today — that they understand what the roots of their community are all about, and it's very distinct from one community to the next,” Bill Firstenberger, executive director of Ruthmere Museums Campus, said in an interview. “We're a place that reminds the residents and visitors to our community what we’re all about: both good and bad, but hopefully mostly good.”
The Restoration of a Lane Cedar ChestEvery once in a while, it is good to complete a personal project for yourself. Kyle recently dug a vintage 1959 mid century modern Lane cedar chest out of a barn. Lane was America's leading manufacturer of cedar chests beginning in 1912. This chest is a style 1703-50 and features a walnut cabinet with light ash trim. The serial number of 951280 indicates a manufacturing date of 1959. Unfortunately, this cedar chest had seen better days. The old yellowed varnish was stripped and the loose veneer was repaired and then sanded. The entire piece was resprayed in a beautiful semi-gloss finish. Some of the ash trim pieces had fallen off and had become damaged over its years in the barn, so those pieces were carefully repaired and affixed back in place. Kyle and Tim decided to not stain the light trim pieces and leave them in their natural coloring. The original faux drawer pulls were either missing or in bad shape. In any case, they wouldn't do. New knobs were added that fit the modern styling of the cabinet much better than the originals. The chest lock was removed and decades of gunk and corrosion were polished away.
Model D #269017 | A Unique Steinway PianoIn the early 1980s, I had a long conversation with Fred Drasche the former head service technician at Steinway. As we discussed the history of Steinway and their instruments, he told me that around 1950, Steinway produced two Model D grand pianos with Western Red Cedar soundboards. The red cedar was used in place of the regular spruce soundboards. His words were "those were two of the best sounding Steinway Ds I ever heard." For many years, we here at Chupp's Pianos wanted to install a western red cedar soundboard. This goal was something which we were finally able to accomplish recently! Out of five pianos in which we installed western red cedar soundboards, Steinway Model D #269017 is the most powerful of them all. Some of the finest acoustic guitars incorporate western red cedar tops to obtain optimal tonal quality so utilizing this material in musical instruments is not uncommon. Attached is a link to more information about the piano and photos are embedded below.
Schools Need to Have Pianos Restored Too - Full Potential - Affordable PriceIt is common for music-based and regular schools alike to have pianos that need to be restored. Often times, schools have pianos that are not performing at their full potential. Pianos in schools are typically used regularly and are often neglected wherein the instruments gradually lose their sound quality. The consistent, frequent playing on these pianos results in wear that many home pianos never see. Playing music on a piano that needs to be restored is not a pleasant experience, as the piano simply will not produce the rich, full sound that it could. When a piano inside a school is working as it should, everyone using the instrument and listening to it will have a rewarding and enjoyable experience.
Cheyenne Civic Center's Piano Ready for Upcoming Shows:Recently Chupp's Pianos restored a Steinway & Sons Model D Concert Grand Piano for the Cheyenne Civic Center. The piano was carefully rebuilt and regulated by our expert piano technicians to bring back the iconic Steinway tone we all know and love. Tim Chupp recently traveled out to Cheyenne, Wyoming to make some finishing touches to the instrument in its new home. Attached below is a photo of the instrument sitting on the concert venue's beautiful stage.
A Full Steinway Grand Piano Restoration:We recently completed fully rebuilding this vintage Steinway & Sons Model A3 Grand Piano. Steinway Model A3 Grands measure 6' 4 1/2" in length, longer than 'normal' Model A Grands manufactured by Steinway today. Over the years the instrument had been painted black, covering up the stunning African Flame Mahogany cabinet underneath. We stripped the black paint off and the satin, closed pore refinishing process brought the piano back to looking its very best. (Take a look at the grain detail in the photos below!) But refinishing was only one part of the total rebuild. A new solid spruce soundboard and bridges were installed as were new German music wire, tuning pins and custom made bass strings. The damper back action was restored, the action was fully rebuilt and concert regulated, new keytops were installed and the cast iron Steinway plate was re-gilded and hand lettered. This long and exacting process is essential to truly restore a piano and bring it to its top potential. A true, quality piano restoration takes time and effort and we were very pleased with the end results.
What Makes a Steinway Upright Piano Different?
Steinway pianos are truly musical treasures. Properly restored, a Steinway upright piano grows more valued with time and becomes an integral part of your life and home.
Steinway is often what comes to mind when people think of the classic piano. For more than 150 years, Steinway has been the preferred instrument of those who know pianos. From piano teachers to famous musicians, Steinway is the piano of choice.
Over 90% of concert pianists perform on a Steinway
It is no accident accomplished musicians choose Steinway. The company is known for its craftsmanship and designs pianos that are essentially made by hand.…
One of our most recent projects was the restoration of a unique 1927 Steinway & Sons Walnut Art-Case. We received the piano in rough, original condition. The walnut grain of the case was obscured due to aging of the finish, the veneer was completely missing in areas of the piano, and the cabinet had suffered water damage.
To return this rare instrument to its original beauty, we repaired the damaged areas, replaced the missing veneer,stained the cabinet in a warm, walnut hue, and applied a fully filled, hand-rubbed lacquer finish.