Is It Worthwhile to Restore an Old Piano?

Is It Worthwhile to Restore an Old Piano?


When you look at the classified ads for musical instruments in any community, you’ll find lots of old pianos offered for free. Most families Get to a point where they need to decide whether to keep a family heirloom, restore it, or give it away. 

Unless your old piano has significant damage, it is almost always cheaper to pay for restoration than to buy a handmade instrument of comparable value. When you hire a professional to do this work, it adds up to 70 years of new life to the playing experience. 

Here are some of the points to consider if you are thinking about restoring an older piano that you have at home today.

The Origin, Use, and Location Dictate the Process

Pianos receive exposure to several environmental factors that can cause wear and tear on the instrument over the years. Where it lives, how it gets played, and similar influences dictate whether restoration is possible. 

Suppose a piano gets played daily for an hour because you are offering piano lessons. In that case, it has a different environment than an instrument staying in the foyer that only plays during the holidays.

Some Pianos Aren’t Worth Restoring

If you have a handmade piano at home, it is probably worth restoring. When your instrument is a mass-produced product, the work might not provide enough value for the price you’d pay to complete the job. You can tell by looking at the instrument’s primary piece and researching the brand to see if a restoration makes financial sense.

When it isn’t worthwhile to restore a piano, you can keep it as-is or dispose of it. You might need to hire a professional agency to move it, and there could be additional fees to pay since the instrument is likely headed to the local landfill.

It Can Take a Few Months

The time it takes to complete a restoration effort on an old piano depends on the amount of work that needs to be completed. It is not unusual for a project to last for up to six months. If you have a rare model with handmade features that require repair, some companies will quote a turnaround time of up to 36 months.

Your cost depends on the detail work, tuning, and general restoration efforts necessary to restore the piano to its former glory. Unless you have a mass-produced unit, the quote is often in the range of $10,000 to $50,000 to replace the handmade items. 

If you have an assembly line piano, the restoration could be in the $2,000 to $5,000 range.

That’s why it isn’t always cost-effective to restore an old piano. You can purchase some generalized instruments today for under $1,000, especially if you want a small upright or a mid-range electronic keyboard.

It can be tough to say goodbye to a beloved piano when it outlives its useful life. If you have a handmade instrument, it might make sense to restore it. Ultimately, this decision lands with you. If the sentimental value is high enough, any instrument deserves restoration. 

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