Should I have my piano rebuilt or buy a new one?

March 31, 2021

Should I have my piano rebuilt or buy a new one?

Should I have my piano rebuilt or buy a new one?
This is a question I get asked quite frequently and it is an easy one to answer.

Now remember we are talking about a full rebuild not a cosmetic restoration.

The difference between the two is vast and needs to be explained.

A full rebuild is a ground up restoration involving making the piano almost new again both inside and out.

This involves replacing most parts including the sound board and pin block and a full case restoration.

A cosmetic restoration is usually used to make a piano presentable on the outside with extraordinarily little done to the interior of the piano to make it a better instrument than it was before the work was done.

Full rebuilds should cost around $20,000 and up. Anything less would cause me to believe that inferior work or parts are involved.

Cosmetic restorations can cost $3,000 - $4,000, but remember you still have the same piano it only looks better but its usable life is not extended at all.

Having explained the differences between the two, lets answer the question at hand. In my opinion, and in the opinion of most of the reputable rebuilders working today, there are only a few pianos that are worth a full restoration.

  1. Major brand German-made pianos and a couple of U.S. branded instruments make the cut and are usually worth the price of the work and more and are still priced much less than a comparable new one.
  1. An off-brand piano with an incredibly unique case that you genuinely love. But just remember the final value of the piano will normally not be anywhere near the cost of the work.
  1. A family heirloom instrument that has reached the usable end of its life, but you just cannot bear to let it go.

There are a couple of serious caveats on this one.

First the value vs. cost factor is as stated above, and you must be aware of the unscrupulous tech that tells you that old no name piano you got from your aunt is a rare, superior instrument that is worth the cost of a rebuild. They are looking for the job. 99.9% of the time this is an easily debunked untruth.

A new high-quality piano with a good warranty from a reputable retailer is trouble-free and worth the money.

Those are the facts as I know them, make the best choice for you.

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