Question Hi, I just acquired a free old piano (the former owner simply wanted it moved from his apartment because he no longer had room for it). I really don't know anything about it except it says St. Regis Chicago, and the serial number is 74580. I'm wondering just how old the piano is, and how I know whether it's worth putting money into restoration or not. I had a piano tuner come tune it and he suggested it's not worth putting any money into (beyond it's initial tuning), and that I should just look for a different used piano to buy. I really do like the look of it though... Again, I would just like to know how old it is and how to really know it it's worth restoring.
Answer Hi Tracy,
Your St. Regis was manufactured in 1913 based on the serial number provided. Piano restorations for pianos of this vintage can be prohibitively expensive. I generally do not recommend this kind of work unless the instrument has sentimental value. Your tuner-technician has already seen the instrument and I would follow his recommendation: tune it but don't invest too much. You could easily spend thousands of dollars and have an instrument worth only a fraction of the cost after the work is done.
I would recommend a new piano if you are really looking for an instrument that will give you many years of trouble-free enjoyment.
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Thank you for your prompt response and advice. It is much appreciated!
I am a contracted piano technician for Steinway and Sons in New York handling warranty issues, prepping pianos for the showroom and delivery; I also serve the City University of NY as a piano technician. I am also self-employed in New York. I apprenticed (Manhattan School of Music)in 1982 and was factory (Steinway) trained in 1983. I have experience tuning, repairing, reconditioning, and appraisals. Please note that appraising an instrument involves a visual inspection and knowledge of the local market area. I am not an expert in player mechanisms, refinishing, electronic keyboards, midi, nor organs. I love the work of making an instrument sound concert quality.
I successfully apprenticed at the Manhattan School of Music under Alan Buchman and Peter Favant in 1982 (also received B.A. in music from same school) and employed by Steinway and Sons in 1983 as a tuner-technician. I also served as service manager for Steinway. Presently, I service pianos for CUNY and I handle warranty issues and tunings for Steinway.
Organizations The Piano Technicians Guild, New York Chapter
Education/Credentials Manhattan School of Music, BA;
American Management Association certificate (Steinway and Sons);
Queens College, CUNY, MA