Kendall Ross Bean began playing the piano at the age of 4 and was also working with wood at a very early age, starting with his father and grandfather. His love of music, art, and history led him into the specialty of piano rebuilding and preservation, which he has been doing as a partner in the Piano Finders business since 1982.
About PIANO FINDERS
When restoring a piano, it is not only important to preserve and restore what was originally there, but also so far as possible to bring the instrument back to its former potential - not only as a musical instrument but also as a beautiful piece of heirloom furniture.
Kendall’s goal is to restore the piano as closely as possible to what it was when originally created, using parts and materials that are as identical or similar as possible to what was originally there, so that the piano may once more emerge according to the vision of its original designer, and be faithful to the pattern of its former self. This is not to say that “improvements” to the original design and materials cannot also be made, where appropriate. But there is a delicate balance between “improving” on the original design, and reverence for the original execution of that design.
Kendall understands this, and also that to “restore” a piano to its original potential, it is often not possible to retain, reuse or renew parts that are completely deteriorated or worn out. Some parts replacement is usually necessary. However, any parts and materials used to replace those worn out originals should be as similar as possible to what was originally there. Kendall also understands the distinctions between a “museum” restoration - where the emphasis is on preserving as much of the original piano as possible, and a “musical” restoration - where the objective is to replace whatever is necessary to achieve the piano’s potential as a musical instrument, and that, by definition, the terms are often mutually exclusive. In cases where it must be either one or the other (and cannot be both), he will work with the client to achieve their vision for the restoration.
When rebuilding a piano, Kendall carefully notes and documents the dimensions, positioning, and materials of the original piano before restoring it, and he also has records of thousands of documented pianos he has personally inspected, to compare with.
Kendall often must create special jigs and fixtures to recreate original-type parts, the exact equivalent of which can no longer be found today. This may be something as simple as a modification of available new replacement parts, or something as complex as making new parts completely from scratch. There are over 10,000 moving parts in a grand piano and over 6,000 moving parts in an upright piano. Kendall Bean’s training with a Master of Piano Performance Degree in Music and more than 35 years of experience as a piano rebuilder, gives him a unique perspective. Kendall's rebuilt pianos are the choice of major recording studios like Fantasy Studios. He rebuilt the Bill Evans, McCoy Tyner and George Winston pianos for Fantasy Studios. And his rebuilt pianos also adorn the Woodside home of Larry Ellison and many other private owners. A piano restoration by Kendall Bean is customized to the owner, combining a knowledge of rebuilding history with the owner’s preferences in sound, since every quality piano has a wide latitude of tonal character possible, from “mellow" to “bright", with the proper customization.
San Francisco, California Offices:
One Embarcadero Center
San Francisco, CA 94111
Walnut Creek, California Rebuilding Shop:
By appointment only