Lidstrom Piano Restoration



Lidstrom Piano Restoration has specialized in Steinway* grand piano renovation for musicians, institutions and concert halls since 1984.  We are located in rural Southeastern Minnesota.

*Our business overwhelmingly involves the Steinway, but we also renovate high-quality European grand pianos and early-model Mason & Hamlin grands.

Pianists' Reviews
1860s to 1890s
1900 through the 1920s
1930s to 1940s
1960s to 1990s
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  • Approach. Lidstrom Piano Restoration's success results largely from our rapport with pianists. We know the piano literature, and the challenges that pianists face in playing it. Pianists want instruments that:

  • produce the broadest range of dynamics and color
  • are uniform in timbre and volume, note to note, throughout their compass (particularly at a pianissimo)
  • allow effortless, intuitive control of the sound.*

*Most musicians' connection to the music is direct. For singers and wind/ brass players, the breath produces the sound; with string players it is the hand's pull of the bow, or the finger's pluck of the string. Pianists, however, are disconnected from how sound is produced on the piano. Their technique is translated through a series of levers of abstruse relationships, each in varying degrees of adjustment and condition. If that isn't bad enough, they can only evoke a note, at whatever dynamic level and of any duration, with a millisecond touch of the hammer to the string. (Remarkably, too, at the very moment of contact, the pianist has relinquished all control of the hammer.) And now the worst: the pianist usually performs on someone else's instruments, and rarely  are those instruments maintained in true concert condition.

The result? Pianists are diverted from music-making to compensation for the instrument's deficits. Pianos renovated by Lidstrom Piano Restoration respond intuitively and with immediacy, as if there is no intervening mechanism between the keys and the strings.

  • Historically important pianos. For most instruments, all facets of their construction are comprehensively renewed to assure the finest cabinetry, touch and sound. (That said, we do not blithely replace soundboards--in our experience restored older boards outperform new ones--but change them only when the circumstances truly warrant it.)

    With 19th century, "pre-modern" instruments, true restoration--and ongoing conservation--should be considered. This means that the original intent, materials and methodology of the maker guide the restoration process. The historical value of the piano overrules the temptation to "modernize" the instrument.

    In the case of Steinway grands from the period between 1859 and 1885, there are serious questions to resolve. The action geometry of the 1860s instruments, for example, is virtually modern, but the means of attaching the action to the keyframe makes them extremely difficult to service. Does the rebuilder solve this problem by retrofitting Steinway's own answer to this problem, implemented just a few years later?

    Except in the case of museum instruments--those to which we refer to learn how pianos of earlier centuries were made--the answer lies somewhere in keeping the "expressive intent" of the instrument. "Expressive intent" is how the instrument makes music via the string scaling, the action geometry, hammer type, etc. Functional improvements should not compromise that "expressive" intent, but can be made to insure durability and serviceability. Pianos, after all, are musical instruments first, designed to be played and serviced, and only secondarily might they become "antiques", preserved as a link to the past.

  • Cost. The cost of a complete renovation typically ranges between $32,000 and $44,000. The instrument's size and condition, the type of finish selected, the use of iron-wrapped strings, the need for soundboard and keyboard replacement, etc., will affect the final cost.

  • Value. Lidstrom Piano Restoration's renovated Steinways are consistently valued beyond those of new Steinways of comparable model. Restored one-of-a-kind instruments achieve values vastly beyond that of new.

  • Sales. Although commissioned renovation is our mainstay, we occasionally have restored Steinways for sale. Available instruments will be listed on this website.



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This site was last updated 07/15/06

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