Average Repair & Restoration Costs
This is the get to the point page on what repairs and restorations cost on average so you can use this as a guide when piano shopping or when you discover an issue. Again these prices include parts and labor and are based on nationwide averages.
1) Restoration, Someone has told you that your piano is worth lets say 15 grand restored? It sits there currently un-restored, before you can get your 15 grand you have to spend 12 grand to have the restoration done and then you have to find a buyer. People that spend that type of money want it to sound like a 15 k dollar piano. You may not be able to tell, it's up to the buyers ear and you could be sitting on that investment a very long time. This is why we have restored pianos in our shop that someone spent 50K to restore and they could never sell them, they ran out of time or whatever. The moral is just because it costs 15k to restore a piano, there is no guarantee that you will get it back in todays market.
2) Tuning 80 - 100 dollars, This is the national average. Nashville TN seems to be higher in the 90 - 150.00 range
3) Pitch Raising, Low end 140 ( including 1st tune) and as high as 95.00 an hour. This is where most people run away, pitch raising on pianos not tuned in 20 + years can result in string breakage. Unsure about pitch? Don't know if you can detect whether a piano is close to pitch? ( A-440) You can get an Ap on your phone that will tell you. The Flatter the pitch, the more time consuming $$$$ it will be to get it back up. Bi - Annual tuning is important, Know the tuning history. **** Antique Pianos**** something to note here is that International pitch applied when these pianos were built which is not A440. Most of these will need major pitch raising if they have sat around not maintained.
4) Regulation : Regulation is basically the fine adjustments of the action relating to touch, feel and response of the keys. Varies from piano to piano, most old time/ old school tuners will say uprights really don't need major regulation but a Grand is a different story. Expect to pay at the low end 600.00 and high end 1600.00 for this service. enormously time consuming as in a full 8 hour process normally
5) New strings, complete including bass strings average around $3000.00, it doesn't matter about the size of the piano, string prices are about the same. Bass strings always or almost always have to be duplicated from the old strings. Be careful with universal bass strings, they are mostly made for a quick fix. Re-using old strings doesn't work. Bass Strings alone can be upwards of 1000.00 *** German Ties*** If a piano has factory German ties ( individual knots on the steel strings) you can expect to pay an additional 1500 to the above 3000 number.
6) Hammer replacement, easily 1000.00 depending on Bore angle and labor involved, Special setting and alignment tools are used to get these angles correct.
7) Elbow Replacement (spinet pianos) Seems to average out between 700 - 900 dollars. This would be where you open the lower harp cover door (above pedals) and see the elbows broken, yellow plastic hanging down, Some better spinets have wood elbows and this will not apply to those.
8) Pin Block Replacement, More expensive and probably not worthwhile on an upright as it has to be chopped out. On uprights it is a glued in part of the frame. On Grands it is removable, 1400.00 is normal, the parts are usually not too expensive but the labor is enormous, There is Zero room for error when duplicating a pinblock from a blank, if you are replacing a pinblock you will have to do the strings at the same time. 4500.00 is usually the cost for both. I've seen many pianos come in here that the former owners replaced strings but not the block too. if the strings are out and you don't know the piano, get the block done too. If you have to go to a number 4 tuning pin to hold pitch get the block done. Putting on new strings in an old block will fail quickly.
9) Action rebuilding, Varies depending on what parts, what brand and where the shop is. I have a grand piano here that had a 12K dollar action rebuild. So it depends on what work is being done. Lots of labor involved when rebuilding actions.
10) Damper Felt, Averages between 300 and 1200.00 depending on piano
11) Trap repairs : This would be the pedals and lever assemblies, usually done by the hour but new pedals average per set from 50.00 to 200 dollars just for the parts.
12) Soundboard Replacement : There are a few ways to go about this, 1 is the shim method which is the cheapest way. the cracks are routed then a shim is glued in the hole, then planed or hand scraped flush, usually a flat shop rate of probably 100 dollars an hour. Soundboard replacement which requires duplication and again the piano has to be completely apart for this so you would be getting new strings and pin block too. Some shops build their own soundboards, they are done with individual boards in a press on a 60 ft radius, soundboards are slightly arched. Expect to pay 1200 to 3500 for a new soundboard again depending on location. In Order to duplicate a soundboard the shop involved would be either replacing the old bridges or making new ones which is also a tedious and monumental task labor wise. These bridges are made by hand from 1/4 sawn hard maple then hand carved and pinned. $$$
13) Key Top Replacement, The parts involved went up 50% this last year. The white/off white key covers are plastic, almost all of them are produced in Germany. Normally you can expect to pay 150.00 to 300 dollars for this service, If on a budget there are other options such as if you have chipped key edges they can all be filed flush within about 40 minutes making them all look good again. Ivory is a whole different story, difficult to obtain, expensive and hard to install. 1500 - 2500 if buying new ivory with installation. You can use old ivory but it's hard to find straight, not soiled and intact. New ivory comes from pre-ban museum stockpiles ( supposedly) Personally I prefer not to use it due to creating demand for the harm of animals.
14) Refinishing : Depends on finish, Natural hand rubbed finishes average out at 500 - 1000.00 per foot That is not a misprint . One color refinishes as in painting can be flat rated depending on the shop. Any hand polishing or rubbing will add significantly to the price.
15) A few myths regarding Spinet Pianos : Harder to work on ? Depends on brand, Spinets have a drop action and if the tech has the right tools can remove a spinet action in about 10 minutes if it needs it. Exceptions would be George Steck spinets, any that have key forks that require extra effort, Elbow replacement can be done with the action still in the piano. Which is how we do it but your area tech may not be able to transport it to his shop etc.
16) Wet Moldy Pianos, You want to just avoid these all together, if they have been stored in a damp location, you are just asking for trouble, if you arent sure you can look around the bottom for wavy veneer, dry rot or insects. If you haven't had a Tuberculosis Vaccine you don't want to be anywhere near old wet moldy pianos. They are really considered Hazardous Materials by then and should be incinerated.
17) Moving again depends on the area. Average for an upright without stairs seems to be in the 300 - 400 range. With stairs it can easily reach 1200.00 Insurance companies have pretty much mandated these prices by needing more men at the job than really needed due to lift limit restrictions on people. Grand Pianos can average 350 - 1500 dollars depending on size and what is involved. There will always be the cheaper moving guy out there but beware of how cheap. If you have nice floors, trim woodwork or a valuable piano? Also remember to check their insurance out prior to getting moved.
**** Some Additional Tips for your nice floors and a piano***
1) Carpet, make sure the bottom of the piano is clean, while the movers have it on a dolly, clean the bottom and wheels, no one ever thinks of this until they have a large black stain on the carpet.
2) Tile, Just say no to hard black rubber dolly wheels, make sure they have grey soft rubber non marring wheels on the dollies, when going across tile especially on tile in frame built homes ( not on a slab) lay a moving blanket down and then Masonite. good movers will have masonite on the truck, its mainly used for crossing grass or dirt but can be used over tile. it spreads the load and wont crack your nice floors.
3) Don't lean on a piano on a dolly, it will flip over every time.
4) Caster cups, Get these for the piano, they can be put in when they deliver, normally rubber discs with the grey plastic slider material on the bottom about 2 inches in diameter.
5) Pledge furniture polish in the yellow can. Its been used for years by riggers that move heavy machinery on installs. Once the piano is on its sliders and make sure you check first, you can move it across the floor or to clean behind it. You have to spray the pledge in the direction you push it, slightly misting two tracks, don't slip in it yourself though, then you can just wipe up the excess with a towel.
6) Unless you have a Studio piano with wood floor friendly casters, never use the casters on any piano to move them, you will snap spinet legs / grand legs off. And your wood floor will be trashed. Cast iron casters are unforgiving when new and even worse when they are 100 years old, rusty or stuck.