For several years, Christian Johnston has tuned and maintained my Steinway grand piano — a 6′ 2″ Model A, that was built by Steinway in New York in 1909. It is a beautiful old ebony black piano that has a restored case, the original genuine ivory white keys, and pedals and lift rods that previously had been re-plated and restored to like-new condition.
The piano was restored to look good, but unfortunately, the action was the original, and never had been restored in its life of over 100 years. Recently, Christian totally rebuilt the action for me using the same German action parts recommended and used by Steinway-Hamburg, with amazing results. The action is now rapid and responsive, the touch is restored to the light touch found in a good, new piano, and the tone of the piano is brilliant — sounding like a brand new Steinway and not like a tired, 100+ year old bar-room relic! I am totally delighted with the quality of work and the results that Chris has achieved.
Over several years, Chris had made every possible adjustment to improve the functioning of the action, but it’s touch had become heavy, the hammers were worn sufficiently so that it had lost its brilliant tone and some notes in the high registers were just weak “pings” with no musical resonance at all. Finally, repeated incidents occurred where various individual keys would no allow rapid-repeat and periodically some would not play at all. Chris was always able to restore some playability but finally, convinced me that while he could keep making emergency repairs, a total rebuilding of the action was the only way to really preserve the instrument as a satisfactory, playable piano. As the cost of rebuilding the action is a significant investment, I was concerned about the wisdom of spending the full price of may lesser pianos to rebuild the action on this one — and would it really make a difference on an instrument of this age.
Chris assured me that he had rebuilt and restored a number of instruments like this and that the basic quality and value of a 6′ Model A Steinway that otherwise was solid, justified the investment. After checking the typical market prices of similar Steinway grands, I decided that the price quoted would be a very wise investment for me to make. The results are wonderful and I heartily endorse the work of Mr. Johnston.
John Robinson, Raleigh, NC