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"Many grand old pianos still have a lot of life left in them, but only if a little love is lavished upon them. Piano restoration is the best example of that love, as even a hundred year old grand piano with loads of scratches and dead strings can be made to produce the awe-inspiring notes and tones that it once did when it was newly made.
But how exactly does this process of restoring the old beauty go about?
Like how a doctor diagnoses a patient before going ahead with treatment, so do specialists check the condition of a piano before focusing their efforts to specific parts that need the most attention?
The first step then of piano restoration involves taking the measurements of the piano, from string height to the original finish samples to serve as reference for the final process. These measurements will not only help in fixing up the problems of the piano, but will also serve to guide the restoration team in making the right decisions to restore the piano to its original grandeur.
2. The Belly
The belly of a piano is where the sound bounces around and reverberates to produce that special sound that only a good piano can make.
As such, piano restoration teams often refer to the belly as the 'soul' of the piano. Everything inside, from the strings to the iron frame to the piano soundboard and ribs, have a vital effect on the overall sound produced, and only trained professionals know the ins and outs of a belly's structure.
3. The Keys
The piano keys are what link a pianist to the piano, thus allowing him or her to create the music in the first place.
The wood, metal and felt all need to be in top-notch condition for a piano's keys to get the perfect 'feel' for a pianist's sensitive fingers. Specialists then look for signs of corrosion or deterioration in the keys and deal with them appropriately to make the keys function good as new.
4. The Action
If the keys link the pianist to the piano and the belly refines the sound produced into musical notes, then the action is the component of a piano that creates the sound in the first place.
Hammers, hammer shanks and flanges make up the action, and are another essential part of a piano's inner workings. Corrosion and deterioration are major problems that have to be dealt with, but so is the problem of adjustment. Both use and neglect can result in some loose pins here and there, and a specialist is trained to properly address these problems.
5. The Finish
Of course, a grand old piano can never be a true work of art without restoring its finish.
Piano restoration then not only addresses the functional problems of a piano, but also involves restoring the finish to bring back the life to a piano. From grain filling to lacquering to staining the wood to match a desired tone, this final step in the restoration process will not only bring life back to a piano, but will bring a sense of beaming pride to the piano owner.
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