Restoring YOUR Piano
A vintage, quality piano many times is a cherished family heirloom. But after decades of use and musical enjoyment, these vintage ‘golden age’ pianos can become worn and simply will not be playing at their full potential. The expert piano technicians and rebuilders here at Chupp’s Pianos are here to help!
Founded in 1975 by Master Piano Technician Dennis Chupp, Chupp’s Piano Service is proud to specialize in the art of premium piano restoration. Our premium restored Steinway & Sons grand pianos grace the stages of fine concert venues, universities and the homes of pianists across the globe. Our expert piano rebuilders are ready to assist you in restoring your prized instrument to top concert quality. Our gorgeous rebuilt pianos are not simply refinished and sent out the door. These are true, concert level instruments that are finely regulated and are sure to please any concert pianist.
It Takes More Than “Changing Parts”
Why should you choose Chupp’s Pianos?
Rebuilding your prized piano or selecting and purchasing a piano is a big decision. You need to choose a rebuilder who has the experience, education, and dedication to get the job done right. What a lot of other piano technicians call rebuilding, we call simply ‘changing parts.’ A piano is a complex and beautiful instrument. There is a lot more to the piano rebuilding process than simply buying parts and installing them. Going beyond the basics is where the true art of piano restoration comes into play.
Choosing the RIGHT piano parts and components when rebuilding a piano is essential. It takes a specialist to understand the nuances and features of each brand and style of parts. This is important in order to create the tone and touch that is desired by you. For example, we always complete a full action analysis to determine which parts match the action and the tone you have requested. Each component is selected with care and we source our parts from the finest suppliers in the piano business today. We spend many extra hours beyond the industry norm regulating the action and performing expert tone regulation to craft the instrument that is tailor-fit to your tonal and playing preferences.
Expert Action Rebuilding & Regulation
Our technicians are ready to install the action parts that you desire. Our premium restored Steinway & Sons instruments utilize the finest parts available today. With almost all of the thousands of moving parts inside a piano held inside the piano action, this is a vital and complex step. Thousands of individual components work in unison to transfer the energy of a keystroke into the note you hear resonating from the piano. We will install genuine Steinway & Sons, German Renner or any other quality action parts of your choosing. After the correct action parts are selected, inspected and installed, Chupp’s Piano technicians spend hours regulating and adjusting your action to ensure it meets your specific playing preferences. Whether you are looking for a bright, brilliant tone or a warm sound we can and will craft the tone you desire while ensuring optimum responsiveness. Your piano can only perform at the level you deserve if this process is done with care and precision. It truly is art you can feel.
The Soundboard Repair or Replacement Process
When rebuilding a piano we inspect the soundboard and if at all possible retain the original soundboard through the restoration process. Utilizing our advanced repair techniques, this option is often a very viable one. Unlike many other piano rebuilders, we do not use the shim method when repairing a vintage soundboard. The shim method forces two ages of types of wood together which we have found leads to future defects and more soundboard cracks. After repairing any cracks the board is sealed to the ribs and the board is sanded smooth and refinished.
If you choose to replace your piano’s soundboard, we utilize the very finest solid Sitka Spruce soundboards available. Utilizing our expertise and time-honored techniques these beautiful pieces of wood are expertly dried and cured for the very best stability and tone. These boards are carefully custom fitted to the piano’s case and installed with the same care as they were in the golden age of piano manufacturing.
Soundboard Bridges & Strings
When restoring a vintage upright or grand piano we use fine, premium music wire. Again, choosing the correct parts is an important part of the restoration process, but it is not the end. We analyze the down and side bearing that the strings place upon the bridges. (The bridge is the vertical portion of the soundboard where the strings cross and rest.) It is important to set the bearing correctly, as insufficient or excessive down bearing will distress the crown of the soundboard, inhibiting your piano’s full potential of tone. When restringing a piano, utilizing the correct strings and coiling the strings correctly around the tuning pins are all important aspects of the piano rebuilding process.
Refinishing & Cosmetic Repair
Refinishing your piano’s cabinet is one of the most visible parts of a full piano restoration. Our premium restored pianos feature closed pore, hand-rubbed lacquer finishes in the sheen you request. This exacting refinishing process results in a completely smooth and clear finish for optimum clarity and repair-ability.
Unlike some other cheaper refinishers, we utilize only the finest methods and materials to ensure a repairable and clear cabinet finish. We do not use a ‘spray only’ method, which will obscure the wood grain and result in a cabinet finish that cannot be fully repaired. Click here to read more about our piano refinishing process.
A standard grand piano today features 88 keys. These keys are divided between the ‘ivories’ and the sharps. Many vintage ‘golden age’ pianos feature the original ivory keytops and fronts. We are experts in original ivory key restoration and we can also replace extremely damaged or unwanted ivory with a premium synthetic keytop material. Our premium restored Steinway & Sons pianos feature either original restored ivory or select German Kluge style keytops.
The Hardware and the Cast Iron Plate
All of the dozens of screws, duplexes and other pieces of hardware are cleaned and nickel hardware is re-plated and brass hardware is restored.
The massive cast iron plate is one of the most visible and eye striking components of a grand piano. This beautiful piece is not simply cosmetic, it has to support thousands of pounds of tension and is the structural backbone of any piano. This plate (or as some call it, the harp) is carefully cleaned and re-gilded to a brilliant golden shine. This process requires careful cleaning, sanding and the spraying of multiple coats to result in a silky smooth finish. The raised plate lettering is then carefully hand-detailed.
“We do not simply change parts – our restored pianos are truly rebuilt and each step is taken with care.” – Dennis Chupp
The Final Touch – The Chupp’s Piano Difference
As each of our restoration projects comes to a close, we go over each piano with care and precision. Each piano undergoes a full inspection by Master Technician Dennis Chupp and the rest of the team. Final action regulation work is completed and tone regulation is finalized. A final concert tuning is done and the piano is played by our technicians and pianists in an end evaluation. With over 12,000 individual parts inside of a standard Steinway & Sons Grand Piano, it takes decades of experience, training and a firm dedication to properly restore such a complex and beautiful instrument.
There are dozens of more steps in the piano rebuilding process that simply cannot be fully explained and discussed here. If you are interested in what we do and are interested in restoring your prized instrument, contact us today for a private tour of our Northern Indiana piano rebuilding facility and showroom. We have an uncommonly large selection of fully restored Steinway grand pianos for you to play and choose from in stock today.
We have training from the Steinway & Sons factory and continue to collaborate with fellow Master Piano Technicians. This is combined with decades of hands-on experience in properly rebuilding and repairing numerous quality brands of pianos. Chupp’s Piano Service is ready to help you restore your personal piano.
Want to know more about the premium piano rebuilding process?
Send us an email or call us at 574-831-5820 and the piano experts here at Chupp’s Pianos will be happy to help!
We look forward to serving you!