Old pianos are everywhere: in homes, institutions, churches and schools. Many of them are junk, but a fair number of them are marvelous instruments from the “Golden Age of the Piano (1890-1919) and are worthy of preservation. Old pianos can be purchased cheaply (compared to new pianos), and if you know what to look for, you can find one of these “diamonds in the rough.”
It’s easy to make a mistake when purchasing a piano, though. A particular piano may look good—and even sound good—but hidden inside may be problems that are expensive to fix. Unlike fine violins, guitars and other acoustic stringed instruments, pianos do not improve with age. Rather, they deteriorate. Pianos are mechanical; they are musical machines. Machines have moving parts that wear out and break. Pianos have more than 220 strings that pull across the frame and plate at a tension of more than 200 lbs. each. That’s more than 20 tons of tension pulling across a piano! Imagine what that much pressure can do to wood over the decades. Piano soundboards, bridges, tuning pin blocks and cast iron plates can (and often do) crack. Cracks in a piano may be expensive or impossible to repair. Read More
Originally posted 2013-12-13 13:13:00.