A lot of our customers believe these old German pianos are better than new ones, it is a belief that has been around for generations and the younger me back in the 1980s & 90s also felt it was justifiable to spend hundreds of hours and sometimes many thousands of pounds restoring them. I believed we were giving them another 50-100 years of life, making them a better option than buying a new piano, however, over the years I have gradually realised that this is not the case. Restoring a piano has many similarities to restoring an old car. The only reason you would restore an old car is because of its looks or sentimentality and certainly not for its reliability, durability, refinement, ease of use, consistency or economics. You wouldn’t restore a 1960s Jaguar car to its former glory and then use it on your daily commute to work, thrashing it up and down the motorway like you might a new car, It would spend most of its life being lovingly polished and maybe if the sun was shining go for a short run before going back in the garage to be polished again. The same applies to pianos. You shouldn’t expect a 100 year old piano to perform at the same level as a new one, and definitely not an un restored one. A piano could last for hundreds of years as a piece of furniture but as a musical instrument, whether or not its been restored, will be limited to lighter and lighter duty, just like the classic car.
The wooden structure of an old piano is held together with animal derived glues, these glues weaken as they dry out and they do dry out considerably in double glazed centrally heated modern homes. They still look like a piano and if tuned regularly could still make a reasonable sound, but, they are much more fragile than they look. The mechanism of a piano contains thousands of small components made of wood, felt, leather and tiny little springs and are easily broken if made to work too hard when they are old.
This Waldemar piano is approximately 120 years and is principally a wonderful piece of furniture, it looks fantastic in our showroom but it is also a working piano that will last for many more years if treated gently and not expected to perform to a high level. I have put it in our rental stock simply because if I sold it I do not know how to provide all the guarantees of longevity we would normally want to include. As a rental it will have to stay local and I can keep an eye on it as I will be tuning it regularly. If bits fall off I will be on hand to repair them or if it developed a terminal problem I would replace it with a different piano but if I had sold it, I would lose that connection.
However, if you wanted to buy it on the understanding that it is principally a stunning piece of furniture and the piano is not guaranteed, then I am open to any offers.
We include a piano stool and a tuning every 6 months with all our rental pianos, so you don’t have to worry about the maintenance.