Restoration FAQ

Will restoration change the character of the instrument from its former quality of tone & touch?

The ultimate aim of restoration is to return the piano to as close to its original style & character as possible. If the instrument is restored using the finest parts & materials, the original character should not be lost by restoration. (We cannot, for example, change an old Bechstein into a new Blüthner or Steinway).
Please note – The original character could well be lost if it is deliberately altered or if poor standards of workmanship or parts are used.

How long does it take to restore an average piano?

The usual time is around 4 months for an upright, and 5 months for a grand. However, if the work involves additional complex repairs or structural work, such as bridge or soundboard rebuilding, it can increase the time taken.

How can I be absolutely sure that I will like the piano once it has been restored, in advance of deciding to go ahead?

The answer is that you can’t. Having said that, this has never happened in 31 years, and we would not agree to take on the work unless the piano was of a high standard and structurally sound.

How long should I expect the restored piano to last?

We would be disappointed if the instrument failed to provide lasting enjoyment for 50 years, assuming it is maintained, and not abused or played excessively.

What is the cost of piano restoration?

No two instruments are alike therefore the cost of piano restoration can vary. There is no standard figure, but for an average upright piano in average condition, a ball-park figure is £4,000 to £4,500; for a baby grand, £6,000 to £6,500; for a boudoir grand £7,500 to £8,000; for a larger grand, from £9,000. (VAT and transportation costs are additional to the figures shown).

How accurate are your quotations?

As accurate as it is possible to make them, in the light of having restored many makes & models over nearly 30 years. However, there have been times when we have discovered items of work after the restoration has commenced that could not have been foreseen at the outset (such as soundboard splits hidden behind the iron frame). In such instances we always contact the client to discuss the matter further.

As part of the restoration, the piano will be restrung; are the new strings liable to settle – i.e. lose pitch – after a time?

The answer is Yes. However, as part of our work, we always stretch the new strings to reduce any potential loss in pitch as far as is possible.
Please note – We retune all pianos sharp of A-440 before being returned to their owners. This helps to create stability of tuning later on because over the first six months normal settling of the new strings will gradually lower the pitch to A-440.

Similarly, as many new felts and leatherwork will be fitted, is it possible that these new parts will also compress over time and might this affect the touch?

Possibly. Our advice is to get the touch regulation checked by ourselves or a piano tuner about a year later. The possible areas that may be affected are lost motion, alignment of hammers and depth of touch. Adjustments needed are usually minor.

So, having made the decision to proceed, I will be without my piano for many months, but need a working tuned piano in the meantime. Can you help?

In most cases we can supply a loaned instrument which would be delivered at the same time as your own piano is collected. We do not charge for the loan of the piano; however we might have to ask you to cover the cost of transporting the loaned instrument, if you live some distance from Oxford and we have to use external carriers.

Can I buy a restored piano from you?

Of course! At Courtney Pianos, as well as restoring pianos for piano owners, we also have a selection of restored pianos for sale. Take a look at our current pianos in stock or contact us directly.


H Burniston

I am delighted to have the piano back at home. It is superb, the tone and touch are superb and the case looks magnificent. I am very pleased to have such a good friend returned to such beautiful condition and am grateful for your efforts of craftsmanship and professionalism.

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Specialists in piano restoration since 1977

Call Courtney Pianos on

01865 790400

Showroom and workshop at 43 Botley Road, Oxford OX2 0BN