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Customizing Adds Value
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Dr. Stephen Birkett and Tim Coates recorded string vibrations with High Speed Video in Rochester, New York.

The Wapin Piano Bridge is property of The University of Cincinnati.

The Mass Loaded soundboard was

Adding value to products whether new or old has been a time honored endeavor. Most of today's products are manufactured and not painstakingly built with attention to every detail. Automobiles have long been customized and improved. The human eye can also be improved and customized. Just as with cars and eyes, people who know fine piano are choosing to have their pianos customized.

The piano world is now seeing a rapid change towards customization. Changes in action, string, hammer, and bridge design are commonplace in small shops and large shops world wide. Why? Because new pianos direct from the manufacturer aren't meeting the needs of pianists. Fine pianos interact with the pianist in such a way that the piano and the pianist become one. New pianos direct from the manufacturer very rarely achieve that level no matter which manufacturer's name is on the piano. It is now possible to upgrade a new or older piano to achieve the sought after interaction. To facilitate the understanding of fine pianos, pianists now talk to each other and discuss ideas by way of the internet. Pianoworld is such a place. How a piano speaks, feels to the touch, and functions comprise part of the discussion. Members of these forums are educating each other about what constitutes a fine piano.

It is apparent there are people all over the world who want a better instrument than what the typical retail piano store can supply. Upgrading or customizing a piano through redesign of strings, hammers, actions parts, or bridges is adding value to a piano. And what is the value of an instrument? It's value is based on how well it plays and the quality of its sound. In most cases this means buying a piano that is "Better Than New".

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