Erard Piano Restorers

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rovikered
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Erard Piano Restorers

Post by rovikered » 28 Feb 2013, 16:53

I own a 1903 Erard Grand Piano and would like some restoration work done on it.
Can anyone suggest a restorer who has experience and expertise in such work on Erards?
I should be grateful for any useful information.
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Colin Nicholson
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Re: Erard Piano Restorers

Post by Colin Nicholson » 01 Mar 2013, 02:08

There are several piano restorers on this site, including myself, but it depends on where you live?

Do you live in the UK?

If you contact someone local to you - ask them to show you their work; either displayed on a website, or better still, arrange a restorer to contact a previous customer (on your behalf) - and they sometimes give permission to show their piano to a prospective customer. I've done that before. Also, make sure you see a grand piano that has been restored - not an upright - or visit their workshop etc.

Piano restorations/ refurbishments come in various shapes & sizes - and a full restoration is expensive. A restorer may need to view your piano first (despite it being an Erard, its very OLD!) - and some may refuse to work on it if there are major problems with, say, the wrest plank/ broken or brittle parts.

Various restorations include options like: Mechanism work; strings & dampers (if the piano is re-strung, it needs new dampers); pedals; keyboard; casework - re-polish.
Some restorers however only offer a "all or nothing" service, depending on the condition of the instrument. Also - get about 3 quotes from separate companies - but many quotes are just estimated, so its best to make an appointment for an assessment of your piano in-person.

Hope that helps....
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rovikered
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Re: Erard Piano Restorers

Post by rovikered » 01 Mar 2013, 11:48

Thank you very much for your reply which gives much useful information and advice.
I do live in the U.K. and I am aware of a number of antique piano restorers who specialise in Steinways, Bechsteins, Bosendorfers and Bluthners, but I know of none who claims to have restored an Erard.
I would like to find someone who has experience and expertise in Erards and who can demonstrate evidence of his/her work.
Thank you, once again, for your sound advice which I accept. I may take the opportunity of contacting you personally, later, when I have had time to make further enquiries.
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Re: Erard Piano Restorers

Post by Withindale » 01 Mar 2013, 22:52

Please see PM.

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Re: Erard Piano Restorers

Post by Colin Nicholson » 02 Mar 2013, 02:15

That's no problem about trying to seek a Erard specialist - I wasn't trying to win your custom by the way - just offering some general advice. At the moment, I'm restoring a Bechstein upright piano.... but it doesn't make me a "bechstein specialist" . I have tuned, repaired and partly refurbished an Erard grand several years ago, but to be honest - (maybe like others) - it didn't go down in my 'history portfolio' book, because the customer only selected various parts of a refurb - not a whole restoration.

It might be worth mentioning that many potential customers looking for someone to restore their old piano (grand or upright) - tend to 'bracket' their search along the lines as if you were to have your car serviced/ restored etc. For example - if you owned a BMW, an owner might prefer to take their car to a "BMW specialist" (and pay the top price!) .... however, I dont think that pianos work in the same way. You are probably best to seek out someone who has restored a variety of different makes of piano.... and in fact, Erard grands & their mechanism work almost in the same way as any other grand.... the 'workings' are very similar in principle to uprights aswell. Finding a specialist in Erard is like looking for someone who ONLY specifically restores those pianos....?? .... it won't happen! - and I doubt if you would find anyone with "Erard Specialist" on their front door.

Erard are of course decent quality - but a 1903 grand may be riddled with problems - no different to Steinway and the other names you mention - the working parts are almost identical, and like your "back street garage" - the average car mechanic is likely to be able to repair any car.

Some pianos have different damper mechanism assemblies, but on the whole, mechanism/strings/damper/keyboard & pedal formations are all very similar on all grands.

If you have owned a piano for many years, and had it tuned, serviced and regulated - you may already know this. It would be interesting also to find out (from anyone here aswell) if there is any special or unique skills required in restoring these pianos, or if any special training is required .... would be good to know. You may also find out that someone has restored an Erard.... but then just moved onto the next piano. There may also be some form of contact in France or London - depending on where your piano was made? (Not all Erards were made in France).

Just some helpful tips! :)
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Tuition ~ Accompaniment ~ Weddings
http://www.pianotime1964.com
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Re: Erard Piano Restorers

Post by Withindale » 02 Mar 2013, 07:38

... like your "back street garage" - the average car mechanic is likely to be able to repair any car
If you go to an average car mechanic you are likely to get an average repair but that will depend on the work to be done. Replacing light bulbs is one thing (and not always as simple as one may think) but re-balancing and tuning an engine is another.

Colin' gives excellent advice in his post. There are no doubt many restorers who will be able to exceed your expectations and you need to find one of those.

I asked the technician who restored the 1905 piano I bought recently what he had done. For instance he had had the hammers re-felted to match their original characteristics. Not everyone agrees with that approach but, as he said, it would have been all to easy to buy new ones that would have made the instrument sound like a Yamaha.

Deciding what to do and what not to do is important.

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Re: Erard Piano Restorers

Post by bridgetcrofts » 18 May 2013, 20:15

I too am looking for an Erard restorer as we have a grand, serial number 95672. How can I find out how old it is?

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Re: Erard Piano Restorers

Post by NewAge » 19 May 2013, 17:25

bridgetcrofts wrote:I too am looking for an Erard restorer as we have a grand, serial number 95672. How can I find out how old it is?
Between 1901- 1910 according to Besbrodepianos reference chart.
I was playing the piano in a zoo, when the elephant burst into tears. I said, "Don't you recognize the tune?" He replied, "No, I recognize the ivories!"

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Re: Erard Piano Restorers

Post by vernon » 19 May 2013, 22:11

Any competent restore will be able to give a quote. There is nothing mysterious about Erards.
Our mission in life is to tune customers--not pianos.

Any fool can make a piano-- it needs a tuner to put the music in it

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Re: Erard Piano Restorers

Post by Barrie Heaton » 22 May 2013, 20:02

vernon wrote:Any competent restore will be able to give a quote. There is nothing mysterious about Erards.
I would agree with vernon Erard Piano after 1900 are very similar to other makes of the time nothing over compacted if it under 5:11 then hammer weight can be a problem as modern hammers are a tad on the heavy side . However, if it was pre 1900 and had say fork shanks then yes, care is needs to be taken as they tend to be a labour of love than profit as they are fiddly have done two with forks in my lifetime

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Re: Erard Piano Restorers

Post by Colin Nicholson » 22 May 2013, 21:38

bridgetcrofts wrote:I too am looking for an Erard restorer as we have a grand, serial number 95672. How can I find out how old it is?
Erard have 2 sets of serial numbers; one set for Paris, the other for London.

If your piano is Erard of Paris, it is dated 1909 - however Erard had 2 sets of serial numbers; one set for pianos manufactured in Paris (45-47 rue la Boetie] numbers between #1640 [from 1800 year] and #136260 [to 1988] and only a small amount of serial numbers made in London between 1861 - 1878.

Somewhere on the piano will be displayed the origin.

As we have said before you will not find now an exclusive "Erard restorer" - ie one who predominantly or only restores Erard pianos - all piano restorers cover a wide range of pianos and different names. Before the year 1988, yes.... and it depends also on the level of restoration and how much you want to pay?
AA Piano Tuners UK

Colin Nicholson Dip. Mus. CMIT CLCM PTLLS
Piano tuning & repairs. Full UK restoration service
http://www.aatuners.com
Tuition ~ Accompaniment ~ Weddings
http://www.pianotime1964.com
Member of The Guild of Master Craftsmen

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Re: Erard Piano Restorers

Post by vernon » 22 May 2013, 22:43

With the horrifying forked shanks, supreme care is needed before proceeding with any repairs.
Our mission in life is to tune customers--not pianos.

Any fool can make a piano-- it needs a tuner to put the music in it

www.lochnesspianos.co.uk

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