Authentic Steinway restoration and rebuilding

Steinway has represented extreme excellence in the world of the piano for 165 years. These iconic instruments are built to a unique design, with unique methodology, and unless a Steinway is restored or rebuilt with the precise techniques and genuine materials used by Steinway themselves, the result is not an authentic Steinway.


Ian Burgess-Simpson has developed the capacity to restore and rebuild Steinways at this level over a period of 25 years and has built a company with the specialist expertise and infrastructure to produce a result that ranks internationally with that of Steinway themselves.


Four of our technicians have attended Advanced Training at Steinway in Hamburg. Ian himself has had both Steinway Factory Training and attended the prestigious Steinway Academy for Concert Technicians, where he received one-on-one training from Georges Ammann, Steinway’s Chief Concert Technician for Europe and Asia.


This blend of up to date knowledge of new Steinway production with decades of restoration of classic Steinways – the oldest Steinways we have restored date back to 1875 – makes us uniquely capable of bringing any Steinway piano up to its absolute optimum condition as a musical instrument, and value as an investment.


The Steinway methodology is far more than a process-it is a unique way of understanding and approaching the fundamentals of great piano touch and tone.


To date we have rebuilt more than 88 Steinway pianos, comprising 75 grands of which 20 are Model D full concert grands. Every one of these pianos has been personally finished by Ian.


Our Steinways – Tone and Touch


These are the tone and touch criteria we meet in our Steinway rebuilding and restoration:


  • Proper balance between the bass, middle and treble registers


  • A treble that sings, allowing a distinct and lyrical melodic lin

  • A rich tenor register with texture, colour and lots of body to underpin harmony

  • Power and excitement in the bass, with plenty of “bite” when required

  • Controllability at all dynamic levels, but especially in extremely soft playing

  • Clarity, focus, warmth

  • Impeccably adjusted mechanism with fine tolerances allowing for maximum control for the pianist

  • Even resistance, superb repetition, and fast key return spee

  • Impeccable damping and precision pedalling capacity


Ian Burgess-Simpson Pianos also rebuild upright pianos and grand pianos of any make. This may involve any combination of mechanical rebuilding, restringing and/or re-polishing the cabinet. Our total rebuild count to date stands at 129 pianos (and counting) over 21 years.

Pianos are sent to us from all over the country for rebuilding work and we provide an extensive warranty on all of our rebuilds.

The galleries below include just some of the pianos we have rebuilt over the years, taken at different stages of the rebuild process.

Action & keyboard work in progress, gallery:

Fitting new hammers, building in actions, keyboard prep & leading, fitting dampers, regulation & voicing

Action work
Fitting hammers
Keyboard work
Cleaning up the keyboard, rebushing keypin holes, fitting new backchecks
Key leading
Re-leading keys for weigh off
Keyboard prep
Action fitting
Hammer fitting
Steinway upright hammer fitting in progress
Fitting damper tray
Damper fitting
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Cabinet re-finishing in progress, gallery:

Prepping, priming, building coats, buffing and fit up.

Prepped for spray
Primed cabinet
Primed upright
Sanding primer
Sanded primer
Adding top coats
Adding top coats
Top coats on
Top coats on
Top coats on
Buffing high gloss
Quality check
Final fit up
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Frame refinishing, gallery:

Priming, gold top coats, lettering & re-fitting.

Primed frame
Gold frame
Frame lettering
Frame lettering
Frame fitment
Re-fitting frame
Re-fitting frame
Re-fitting frame
Frame fitted
Frame fitted
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Re-stringing, gallery:

De-stringing, felt prep work, re-stringing.

Stringing complete
Stringing complete
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Some of our complete rebuilds:

Re-finished, rebuilt, voiced by Ian.

Steinway Model O
Steinway Model A
Steinway Model B
August Forster
Steinway Model O
Bluthner grand
Gaveau grand
Steinway Model K
Steinway Model M
Steinway Model S
Steinway Model A
Ed Seiler grand
Steinway Model S
3 Steinway uprights
Steinway Model O
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19 Stibitz Street, Westlake - Cape Town - 021 788 9389

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