By far the heaviest and cumbersome part of the restoration process is the removal and refitting of the frame in a grand piano. This Broadwood has various soundboard repairs including refitting of a detached bridge and the fitting of around 15 shims to properly fill the cracks that have opened up over the years. Restringing has now started and the next piano for stringing arrives shortly; a large and decorative Bluthner upright. The workshop doesn’t get much busier than this.
So how do you like it? Well, how you describe it is more to the point. What sounds bright to one ear may be heard as ‘Hard’ by another. What sounds soft to Mrs Smith could be described as ‘Mellow’ by Mr Jones. One thing is certain, nothing has a greater bearing on the tonal quality of a piano than the quality and type of hammer used. When we deal with an old piano that has had many years of play it is often possible (if not too worn) to reshape the hammers to remove the grooves and regain their original ‘pear-like’ profile. When executed carefully some of the original tonal qualities of an old instrument can be brought out. Reshaping improves consistency and enhances harmonic content. In this months show and tell picture I have shown the before and after condition of a few hammers from a c.1938 minipiano as it undergoes preparation for it’s new home. As usual we can’t wait to hear the finished article. (Also as usual – click the picture for a closer look)