The pin block in a grand piano is obviously an important component to both the stability of tone and structural integrity of the instrument. Logically, care must be taken during the manufacturing and re-manufacturing process to ensure a secure and tight fit between the pin block and the cast iron plate. Recently we have come across a number of pianos where care was NOT taken during the factory manufacturing process. We have begun/completed work on a number of Young Chang grand pianos where the fit between the plate and the pin block quite frankly was almost nonexistent as you can see in the photos below. Young Chang utilizes a very fine quality pinblock, so the bad fit is rather unfortunate.
To repair the gap between the plate and block, we utilize an advanced synthetic wood. This compound is dye-able, sand-able and is formulated to act and feel as much like wood as possible. It truly is the best solution we have discovered when completing repairs such as this. We added this compound to the gap. This particular repair took several softball sized balls of the compound to fully fill the large gap. The amount that we had to use was actually rather shocking to us. The alignment was checked repeatedly and the compound was sanded and adjusted to ensure a tight fit. After the alignment was snug, it was coated with a protective coating for additional durability and smoothness. After this process was completed, we then reinstalled the pinblock, re-seated the plate, re-strung the piano and re-installed any other parts that needed to be removed to reach the Young Chang pinblock.
We wrote an article that goes into more detail on how we repaired these instruments. To read the blog post, click here.
Today, the 6’11” Steinway & Sons Model B Grand Piano is commonly referred to as ‘the perfect piano’. However, before this legendary piano rose to prominence, there was another instrument that helped push Steinway pianos toward being the world-class instruments they are known as today. Designed by C.F. Theodore Steinway, the Style 1, commonly referred to as the ‘Monitor’ was first put into production in 1871. It bears a marked resemblance to a scale design he created prior to joining his family at Steinway & Sons.
When listing the makers of fine concert level grand pianos, the name “Everett” is normally not among them. Mainly known for their upright pianos built in New Haven, Michigan, Everett was later purchased by Yamaha in one of the Japanese company’s forays into the North American market. However, prior to this, Everett was a Boston based company that manufactured heavily built, premium quality upright and grand pianos. Unfortunately, much of the information regarding the early days of Everett have passed into history.
The Steinway & Sons Model D is the concert piano which all others are judged against. Number 51257 was the first Model D to be completed on January 31st, 1884. Steinway Model D #53671 was built a short time later and was among the first of these legendary pianos to be built. Completed on July 21st, 1885, this New York built Concert Grand is one of the finest examples of ‘golden age’ piano making that we have ever seen. According to Steinway New York Factory records, this piano was sold to its first owner in the fall of 1918, so we are assuming this instrument was utilized as an early Concert & Artists instrument during the intervening years.
Built at the New York Steinway Factory in 1917, this Steinway Model B is a wonderful example of historic Art Case piano design. The Model B has long been considered to be one of the world’s most ‘perfect pianos.’ Measuring just under seven feet, these semi-concert instruments are often chosen due to their wonderful balance of size and sound. Steinway Model B #180473 was crafted during the pre-WWII ‘golden era’ of Steinway Factory quality. The quality of workmanship and the materials available resulted in some of the finest grand pianos ever manufactured. As the development of the modern piano began to culminate, more and more work was put into turning the cabinet of the piano into a work of visual art.
In 1980, Ed Hendricks of Hendricks’ Keyboards in Downers Grove, IL invited Dennis Chupp and Walter L. Boshart up to the Chicago area to meet John Steinway. John joined Steinway & Sons in 1939 and worked his way through various positions, eventually serving as the company Chairman.
John Steinway is pictured signing the Steinway Service Manual for Dennis. Through the great assistance of the late Ed Hendricks, Dennis would later have the opportunity to train at the New York Steinway Factory in March of 1981.
Before the well known Steinway Model D Concert Grand ruled the concert stage, there were a number of ‘Early Scale’ grands which were amazing instruments in their own right. A few years ago we rebuilt an 1868 Steinway & Sons Style 4 (Fancy) Early Concert Scale grand piano for the Lodge & Spa at Three Fork’s Ranch in Wyoming. This Early Concert Scale design was the first Steinway 88-note grand piano scale and was designed by company founder and patriarch Henry E. Steinway and his son Henry Steinway Jr. This era of Style 4 Concert Grands measure 8’5″ in length and a ‘full’ 7 1/4 octaves.
Built in 1917, this golden era Model A-3 was manufactured at the New York Steinway & Sons Factory. Measuring 6′ 4 1/2″ in length, these ‘stretch A’ parlor grands boast a range of tone that exceeds what one would expect from a piano of its size. It is considered to be very on par with the 6′ 11″ Steinway Model B. These grand pianos feature a superbly crafted scale design and are considered to be some of the finest instruments ever produced by Steinway. We have fully rebuilt this premium piano and it a fine, concert level instrument. With a stunning cabinet and a rich tonal quality, this piano is a wonderful example of historic Steinway & Sons Factory quality.
Goshen College’s Sauder Concert Hall is incredibly respected and admired for its beautiful design and outstanding acoustic qualities. With a design inspired by the great concert halls in Europe, it seats 900 and is one of the leading performance venues in the Midwest today. A hall of this elegance and sound standard deserves the best pianos possible. Chupp’s Piano Service fully the vintage Steinway & Sons Model D-274 9′ Concert Grand Piano for Goshen College. These 9′ pianos are beautiful both visually and as musical instruments. The original soundboard was repaired and refinished, the actions were fully rebuilt, the pianos were refinished in a premium closed pore lacquer finish and much more.
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