I have a Bechstein Model B, number 83353, manufactured in 1908 – the year my parents were born. I bought it in 1975. I went to Mrs Gordon’s warehouse in London and picked through some worn-out pianos. This one had a fine sound even in its dilapidated state. I chose it, and it was refurbished before delivery.
It got well hammered over the years and the action, which I never felt had been very well done, was getting totally worn with springs breaking, dealt with by my fixes. I realized it needed another refurbish and pondered doing it myself as in my youth I always fixed and tuned my pianos. I decided anyway that I needed to be able to practice quietly and bought a Yamaha Clavinova. The Bechstein remained forlorn as I procrastinated over how to get someone good enough that I could trust to do it. Then I met Joseph Taylor of Taylor Pianos and booked him for the job as I had played some pianos that he had tuned and tweaked. It took about a year before he could start on it, and then some months more. But, now it has a new action (improved, roller instead of spring & loop), and is even better than in 1975.
Here is the machine during repair in Joseph’s workshop –
Fine adjustments after I have given it some workout –
Adjusting the backstop
Voicing the hammers
Tuning the strings
and – the instrument back together