The popularity of Japanese pianos, in particular Yamaha and Kawai, has resulted in many being available on the second-hand market. There are several companies which source these instruments from homes, lease companies and educational institutions in the Far East and ship them to their factories, often in China, where they are stripped down and rebuilt in order to be sold in the US and Europe.
The rebuilding tends to be sympathetic, meaning that ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ but there is a standard list of works, including replacing the bottom bass string section, replacing the butt springs, loop cords, checking leathers, damper springs and felts. Essentially, any component which perishes over time is replaced.
The original action components remain and are cleaned and burnished so that they look like new, before the piano is reassembled and given a new polished ebony polyester lacquer finish.