As Pianos Age...
People tell me all the time “it’s in excellent condition.” Invariably, they are speaking of the cabinet. I’m terms of evaluating the condition of antique pianos, the cabinet is of secondary concern. It’s the internal mechanical components that are most important because these are by far the most important to rebuild.
I’m the picture is a grand piano wippen. It is one of several assemblies that comprise the machine that operates each key. Notice how many “red and white bits” are in it. These are all felts. And felts degrade and turn to dust over time.
So, on old pianos, all of these felt parts degrade. This affects the geometry and playability of the instrument negatively.
And as you can imagine, replacing them is very time consuming and expensive. And with older pianos, oftentimes simply replacing the entire part isn’t an option because parts aren’t available anymore.
This is a major reason why it is difficult to make an old piano play as well as a new one.