A piano isn’t just a piece of the art of music, it is a masterpiece in itself. The machine is, to a great degree, complex and has a large number of moving parts. The piano is additionally one of only a handful of instruments out there that has stood the test of time. It has a gorgeous framework and a soundboard supporting string tension, all concealed by gorgeous finished cabinetry. The piano isn’t as delicate as different instruments, however it is subject to weakening over time. The felt wears, strings break, wooden structures weaken and split, and the exterior loses its finish. Given that a piano can mean a great deal to a family, these circumstances will lead the owner to question what to do next. Their well-loved piano is in need of some TLC to bring it back to its original glory!
When discussuing how to restore a piano, our piano technicians at Artisan Piano Services usually refer to two terms: reconditioning and rebuilding.
Reconditioning Pianos in Seattle
Reconditioning a piano is a much less obtrusive service and is much easier than Rebuilding a piano. Reconditioning includes cleaning, adjusting, repairing and replacing worn parts. This service focuses on only the damaged or worn areas.
Rebuilding Pianos in Seattle
Reconditioning usually includes a complete disassemble of the piano — repairing parts that need to be repaired, including the replacement of any parts that show signs of being worn, damaged or deterioration. Rebuilding focuses on the whole structure, including the soundboard, bridge, pinblock, and strings, and in addition the action, ivory keys, and case restoring. Rebuilding involves a complete facelift for the piano, totally converting it to its original state, or better!
Do you need to recondition or rebuild your piano?
Most pianos can go years without needing to be reconditioned or repaired, although the quality of the tone, touch, and outer appearance of the piano will continue to decline with age. This can be really agitating to someone trying to learn the piano, as the sound may not be at its best. But ultimately, when regular maintenance that you perform on your piano (such as cleaning, regulating voicing, and tuning) can no longer provide a satisfactory performance, then it might be time for your piano to be reconditioned or rebuilt.
Now, whether your piano is in need of a little reconditioning or a total overhaul or rebuilding depends on its original quality, its surrounding climate, and its usage and performance requirements. One piano may need rebuilding after 20 years of use, but another may last over 50 years. Maybe the most important factor to some will be whether or not the piano has sentimental and personal value. If the instrument has historical value, this can be a key factor in deciding whether a piano should be rebuilt or repaired.
If you are interested in learning more about Reconditioning Pianos in Seattle or Rebuilding Pianos in Seattle, please contact Artisan Piano Services in our Seattle office (425) 974-4100
Josh Mayfield, our lead technician in our Bellevue, Washington location, had a unique opportunity this week. While doing a cruise ship tuning on board the Zaandam, one of Holland America’s luxury cruise ships, a King 5 Seattle news crew came aboard to do a news story on what the cruise industry does for the local economy and small business like ours at Artisan Piano Services.
Josh explained, “As chance would have it they caught me tuning one of several pianos on board the ship and asked if they could get a few shots of me tuning and ask some questions. I was bit caught off guard but had a great time with them.”
[See Josh starting at about 2:15 minutes]
Josh has been providing tuning and piano repair services on cruise ships almost every week for a number of years in Seattle. With all of the constant movement, changing atmospheric conditions and the amount of use the pianos get, Josh needs to regularly be using his years of expertise to keep them playing and sounding their best.
Whether it’s at home, in a church, a school or on a massive cruise ship, Artisan Piano Service has you covered in both the great Seattle, Washington and Portland, Oregon areas. Let us know if you need your piano tuned or other services! We even do complete piano restoration.
Angie’s List Press Release
Portland, Oregon and Bellevue, Washington, January 1, 2018 – Artisan Piano Services is proud to announce that it has earned the home service industry’s coveted Angie’s List Super Service Award (SSA). This award honors service professionals who have maintained exceptional service ratings and reviews on Angie’s List in 2017.
“The service providers that receive our Angie’s List Super Service Award demonstrate the level of excellence that members have come to expect,” said Angie’s List Founder Angie Hicks. “These pros are top-notch and absolutely deserve recognition for the trustworthy and exemplary customer service they exhibited in the past year and overall.”
The Artisan team of highly trained technicians and customer relations staff have been providing outstanding piano tuning, repair, cleaning & appraisals, and even complete piano refinishing and restoration throughout the greater Portland and Seattle areas.
Award reflects company’s consistently high level of customer service
Angie’s List Super Service Award 2017 winners have met strict eligibility requirements, which include maintaining an “A” rating in overall grade, recent grade and review period grade. The SSA winners must be in good standing with Angie’s List, pass a background check, record a current trade license attestation and abide by Angie’s List operational guidelines.
“We are just thrilled to be recognized as a Super Service Award winner every year we have been listed with Angie’s list,” said David Hayes, the owner of Artisan Piano Services. “Our teams in both Portland and Bellevue have done a marvelous job of focusing on the expectations of our customers and tailoring our technical expertise to the needs they have. We are grateful for all the support and excellent feedback we receive from our customers.”
Artisan Piano Services has been listed on Angie’s List since 2011 in Portland, Oregon and 2014 in Bellevue, Washington. This is the 7th consecutive that year Artisan Piano Services has received this honor.
Service company ratings are updated continually on Angie’s List as new, verified consumer reviews are submitted. Companies are graded on an A through F scale in multiple fields ranging from price to professionalism to punctuality.
For over two decades Angie’s List has been a trusted name for connecting consumers to top-rated service professionals. Angie’s List provides unique tools and support designed to improve the local service experience for both consumers and service professionals.
For over two decades, Angie’s List has provided trusted reviews and information to help millions of consumers make smart hiring decisions. Angie’s List offers more than 10 million verified reviews in over 700 service categories, providing its members a credible resource for researching and comparing local service providers. Angie’s List is based in Indianapolis, Indiana and is an operating business of ANGI Homeservices (NASDAQ:ANGI).
According to the Piano Technicians Guild, piano tuning varies according to manufacturers:
“While pianos generally fall into vertical and grand model categories, each manufacturer selects its own materials and utilizes its own unique scale and furniture designs. Every piano requires a different level of maintenance, depending upon the quality of materials used and the design and level of craftsmanship. Manufacturers can provide general advice on tuning frequency but your technician can give specific recommendations based upon your usage and locale.”
Here’s what some of the major piano manufacturers recommend:
Baldwin Piano Company (also Chickering, Wurlitzer)
Professional service is the key. In the first year, the National Piano Manufacturers Association recommends that you have your piano tuned four times. This is a period of environmental adjustment for a new instrument, and proper attention is important.
After the first year, the piano should be tuned at least twice each year, depending upon the frequency of use and atmospheric conditions. Contact Artisan Piano Services to schedule an appointment with our professional technicians to perform this service.
Artisan Piano Services has recently have been given the rare opportunity to do some restoration work on a truly classic instrument: an 1840’s Boisselot et fils piano. This period instrument is very rare, and it is an uncommon thing to be able to see one of these pianos, let alone work on one. Restoring this piano is a great thrill!
We will be doing a partial rebuild of the ACTION, including: recondition the action parts to proper working condition, possible re-pinning, replacing key-bushings and key-bed felt as necessary, surfacing the hammers, lubricating the knuckles, and doing a touch-up regulation and voicing. Included is new damper felt and damper regulation.
Artisan has also been commissioned to provide a full restoration of the BELLY: replacing the strings, tuning pins, and pinblock. We will repair and recondition soundboard and bridges, as well as refinish plate and replace the plate felt and recondition plate hardware.
Importantly, our technicians will provide numerous in-shop tunings before the project is completed, and another one when the piano is delivered to our customer.
Finally, to preserve the original beauty and integrity of the cabinet finish, we will simply touch up the case and re-install some loose decorative brass trim pieces.
HISTORY of the Boisselot & Fils
“Boisselot & Fils [i.e. & sons] was a French piano manufacturing company established in 1831 in Marseille, France, by Jean-Louis Boisselot and sons, Louis-Constantin and Xavier Boisselot. The rapid increase in the production capacity of the factory with 70 workers to 300 pianos per year from 1834 shows that father and son had prepared their plan carefully. The constant expansion led in 1848 with 150 workers for the production of about 400 pianos a year. Highlighting this success, he was awarded with a gold medal at the French Industrial Exposition of 1844 (the 10th Paris Industrial Exhibition). Among other innovations Boisselot presented for the first time at the exhibition a mechanism by which individual notes and sounds were identified as Tonhalte or sostenuto pedal today.” (Wikipedia for Boisselot & Fils)
According to Pianos Romantiques, “Marseille turned out to be a good choice for setting up a piano factory: salaries were lower than those of the Parisian rivals, cheap exotic wood was [close] to hand thanks to the importance of the town as a port, and there was easy access to important export markets: Italy, Spain, and the colonies via the Mediterranean.”
The famous pianist and composer Franz Liszt was a patron to the Boisselots. He owned and performed on a Boisselot Fils. According to Alan Walker, Liszt traveled in October-November 1844 in Spain with his lifelong friend, Louis Boisselot, for a series of concerts. “Liszt played on a Boisselot piano, a powerful instrument especially brought in from Marseille by Louis Boisselot, which accompanied him on his journey across the Iberian Peninsula.” (Franz Liszt: The virtuoso years, 1811-1847)
Finally – Enjoy a Chopin Nocturne performed on a 1842 Boisselot!
We just finished restoring a 100+ year old Hamburg Steinway & Sons model “O” piano. Fred Riley, of Classic Pianos, recorded this video of Ruby Hall playing Beethoven’s Sonata op.2 no.3 in our shop.
Artisan restored this piano for our partners,Classic Pianos, to showcase in their “Classic Collection.” The pianos that we restore for this collection are second to none in terms of quality of workmanship, materials and tone.
With a full piano restoration, we not only refinish the cabinet
…but also completely restore the belly, including new strings
…the keys and action are reconditioned
…and we even polish up and regulate the pedals!
Although we do all of our piano restoration work out of our Portland, Oregon location, we have had several come to us from the Seattle, Washington area, and from other parts of the United States and Britain.
We do shop tours daily, and would be delighted to show you around!
We were recently featured in a news segment on a local ABC news affiliate in Portland, Oregon. It highlighted our piano restoration and rebuilding efforts, and was entitled:
A labor of love: ‘Completely redoing a piano is kind of where my heart is’
We are thrilled to have had the opportunity to involve one of our customer’s family story in the feature, which really helped to illustrate how important it is to us to help our customers “Continue The Story” of music in their lives. “We’ve had this piano in our family for 91 years, and my mother is 91 years old coincidentally,” explained the owner of this beautiful piece of history. After all these year, the piano is being given to the original owner’s grandson as a wedding gift!
After weeks of refinishing, re-stringing, regulating the action, tuning and all manner of detailed attentions – we were privileged to have the whole family present for the unveiling. It was such a thrill to see how happy they are will their newly restored piano.
For more than 10 years we have serviced families, schools, students, teachers and professional musicians in telling their story of music in the world. In addition to our local piano tuning, repair, evaluation and appraisal work, we have a growing number of customers from all over the United States for piano rebuilding, refinishing and restoration. We just started work on a 115-year-old piano that was shipped to us from the United Kingdom!
A little over a year ago Artisan Piano Services unveiled its new “Restoration Center.”
We are now proud to show the world “The Piano Shop”
In the video you can see our hard working and talented technicians completely rebuilding pianos in our remodeled and refreshed Piano Shop. We provide full piano restoration services, as well as less involved piano reconditioning services, including action rebuilding, refinishing, cleaning and re-stringing.
Artisan Piano Services is pleased to provide support this year for Pianos In The Park. Our very own Josh Mayfield has gone to several of the locations to tune and repair some of the various pianos. Click here to see an video about the development of this exciting arts and culture project!
We are pleased to announce the release of our new promotional video.
Many thanks to Miwaza Jemimah of Miwaza Productions for her great work on it!