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Clavichord and Harpsichord Repair, Restoration, Rebuilding and Reinstatement

Clavichord, Spinet and Harpsichord Factory Repair & Restoration including square pianos and antique piano restoration at our workshops in Lewisham, London. From minor repairs to instruments requiring more extensive restoration. Each instrument is considered on an individual basis. We believe in a conservative and sympathetic restoration of modern, older and antique instruments to enhance their sound and personality. Insurance repairs for instruments damaged by water, fire or transit undertaken. We will restore your musical instrument to its original glory. Our craftsmen are on site with years of experience to discuss your requirements and needs from start to finish. All quotations for work are supplied in writing prior to work starting in our extensive workshop facilities.
We have extensive experience, highly skilled craftsmen and a large, well equipped factory in London.

YOUR HARPSICHORD AND CLAVICHORD

  • Is it playing well, in tune and looking good ?
  • Are you and your tuner coping adequately with tuning and maintenance or is this becoming difficult ?
  • May your instrument need more major work or attention ?
  • Has it suffered from accident, wear and tear, accidental damage, has it been in direct sunlight or a non-stable environment for many years?
  • When the great early music revival started in the c1950’s most people were playing the20th century piano and wanted a painless transition and changeover to early keyboard instruments like harpsichords and clavichords

BENEFITS OF ORIGINAL 18TH CENTURY TOUCH AND TONE

  • With the passing of time and better understanding, the benefits of the original and earlier touch, sound and tone are now much more generally appreciated.
  • Conversion of 1950’s instruments to a more authentic touch and tone (voicing) is possible
  • Since John Morley instruments were based on specific original 18th century instruments this conversion is both practical and desirable enabling a return to greater authenticity
  • Time, use, neglect and atmospheric conditions cause wear – rectifying these applies not just to John Morley Instruments but everyone else’s, many instrument makers are no longer able to provide help.

SO WHAT SHOULD YOU DO – FROM THROUGHOUT THE UK?

  • Consider what you would like to improve or rectify on your instrument.
  • Call and discuss options - repair, restoration, servicing or even exchange to an instrument more suited to your current musical needs.
  • Send pictures of particular areas of concern and to give us an idea of the instruments condition and setup
  • We will make initial observations and possible course of actions as well as cost implication.
  • The major costs are the time of dedicated craftspeople, materials required for restoration usually cost only a small proportion of the total cost.
  • You can either bring your instrument to us and we can supply you with a no charge quote.
  • Alternatively instrument can be collected by our special transport contractor from through UK, let us know where you are supplying a full postal address, if there are any stairs and what the instrument is so we can supply you with a charge for this, collection and redelivery are usually charged upfront.

On arrival free assessments, quotation and discuss with you about your instrument.

WHY FACTORY RESTORATION AND REPAIRS:

  • Craftspeople work most efficiently as a team in their own surroundings with all their tools, benches and other equipment and machinery immediately available.
  • A certain amount of dust, dirt, noise and grime is inevitable in major work which most homeowners and their pets do not welcome.
  • Transport charges for instruments are good value when compared to travelling time costs of craft people.

WHAT ARE THE MOST LIKELY REPAIRS AND RESTORATIONS:

  • John Morley clavichords and harpsichords are structurally very stable, so most work is likely to be to the jack mechanism, registration, keyboard and string replacement.
  • Originally harpsichords had quill plectra when all musicians used penknives.
  • During the first quarter of the 20th century, (Playel and Gavau), quill which frequently broke was replaced with more reliable and easier to use hard leather which produced a warmer, rounder and more familiar tone for pianists.
  • During the 1950’S “Delrin” was developed by Dupont Corporation and was unique because it very stable seldom broke and produced a quill like tone and voicing characteristic more suitable to early music.
  • With the universal adoption of Delrin it became possible to return to the more responsive lighter shallower touch depth of quill for better interpretation of 18th century and early music.
  • With adverse conditions strings may become brittle and require replacement.
  • Accidents will happen, excessive central heating, damp and sunlight can cause damage.
  • Cost of works, from your description we can usually provide a very general estimate on a basis of your description however when the instrument arrives in our factory we can provide a firm written quotation.

MUSICAL VALUE AND VALUE FOR MONEY

Each instrument will need to be looked at and considered individually, with each maker and workshop there were many variations of structure and specification. It is not unusual for pedals, parts or internal levers to have been lost, superseded or ceased working. Some modern (reproduction) clavichords, spinets, harpsichords and virginals were made by individuals, small workshops or as kits mainly between the 1960’s and 1980’s and often it is necessary to establish how well the instrument was made, structural stability or how it was put together before a final decision about course of action required can be reached and giving a price for the work required, some instruments parts may need to be made to pattern as replacements as are no longer available. Work can be time consuming and expensive however we would endeavour to advise you on the potential musical qualities and value for money and other alternatives.

HELPFUL INFORMATION YOU MAY BE ABLE TO PROVIDE:

  • How and where you propose to use the instrument (home, concert, school)
  • What is the make of instrument and does it have a makers number ?
  • If it is a harpsichord – how many keyboards and how many rows of jacks
  • What is the compass – how many notes (white and black together)
  • What problems do you feel it has – broken strings, broken jacks or plectra, bridges lifting, hitch plank moving, soundboard coming apart …
  • Problems with the casework, damage, key coverings coming off, veneers lifting …

REPLACEMENT STRINGS AND SUNDRIES – BY POST, IN PERSON OR BY TELEPHONE

  • Telephone or e-mail or visit to order and discuss your requirements
  • Strings – we can supply brass, iron, phosphor bronze and steel replacement strings by the metre – send us a sample of the broken string so we can gauge it, strings are usually supplied on 2, 3 or 4 meter cards as required
  • For jacks – new plectra are available with nylon or hogs bristle springs
  • Tuning hammers are available for a range of instruments
  • Ask for our current “Instrument Spare Parts and Sundries” list
  • Stringing charts for many Morley Early Keyboard instruments and hints sheets are available

 Instruments should be stored in climatically controlled storage to minimise damage and loss caused by uncontrolled temperature and humidity.