Beware of Buying a Steinway Piano on the Internet

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Dr. Smith (name changed) was a pretty typical prospective client. He is a successful physician practicing in the Midwest. He was shopping for a vintage Steinway Grand for his Marco Island, FL home.

Over the next few months, he shopped and shopped and shopped and finally, purchased a 1922 Model A (6’1″) on eBay. He was thrilled to have found a completely rebuilt and refinished piano for less than $20,000. This is very suspicious because the cost of properly rebuilding and refinishing a Steinway grand is more than $20,000.

The good doctor had heard about Pianomation II, the latest player piano system from QRS, so he contacted a Florida Steinway Dealer to receive and inspect his piano and install the player system. The seller reluctantly agreed to ship the piano to the Steinway Dealer, and about a month later it arrived. It only took 15 seconds for the Steinway Dealer to figure out that something was fishy. The legs on the piano were not from 1922! Things got worse, fast.
The finish was very cloudy with many deep surface scratches. Oversized pins were a hint that the pin plank had not been replaced and some of the cheap plastic key-tops were coming unglued. All the action parts were original and worn. Only 90 seconds into the evaluation, they decided to turn the piano over to their technicians for a full assessment.

“Maybe they just got the date wrong,” suggested the techs. Serial numbers are how pianos are dated, and they are stamped in ink on the piano’s plate. The new serial number on this particular plate disagreed with the shadow of the old serial number you could partially see through the new finish. There are other places on a Steinway to find the serial number, but on this piano, the serial numbers had been sanded off.

Now there are many reasons why someone would remove the serial number from a piano, car, or gun. But, none of them are good reasons.

An e-mail was sent to Steinway & Sons in New York City. They promptly wrote back that the serial number in question had been assigned to a Mahogany Model M (5’7″) sold in New York in 1934. This piano was an impostor.

The Steinway Dealer called Dr. Smith. After discussing the possibility of starting the restoration from scratch he said, “But I will still have a piano with a phony serial number.” By now he was feeling that he had been deceived; and, of course, he had been. A few minutes later the Steinway Dealer got a call from the seller who wanted to argue with them about their assessment and protest that he had not broken any eBay rules. The Steinway Dealer suggested that he review the e-mail received from Steinway & Sons. Eventually, after numerous phone calls and more broken promises, the piano was picked up by a guy moving pianos in a horse trailer.

Dr. Smith got most of his money back. But he has since been put off buying a piano.

Had the piano been delivered directly to his home, and the problems discovered over time, it is unlikely he would have been able to return the piano.

Why has the piano market failed to present reasonable offerings online, and thereby opened up a vacuum filled by these carpetbaggers, when industry segments like electronics and guitars have successfully offered products online? There are several reasons.

First, none of the major piano manufacturers will allow their new pianos to be sold online. Best guess is, if they thought it was a viable way to market pianos, they would do it themselves. Why would they need dealers, if they could sell their pianos from a webpage? Obviously, the absence of high quality, name brand merchandise opens up an opportunity for bottom feeders.

Next, pianos are heavy, bulky instruments that must be wrangled into place, wrestled into tune, and constantly serviced. It is almost impossible to move a piano any significant distance for less than $1,000 and it is impractical to service pianos more than an hour away from the seller. Since most used pianos are decades old, there are often problems. The dealer needs to be close by.

The drawback with used pianos is that there aren’t many good ones. Dealers are able to sell all the good pianos they get on trade to local customers without much difficulty. Why would we want to market them to the lowest-price buyer online?

Then there is the economics. With locals selling old consoles and spinets on Craigslist for $200, transporting one even across state makes almost no sense. Properly regulating and voicing a 20-year-old upright is so expensive that it’s not profitable. Most used grands are more than 25 years old, and need extensive action work to be appropriate for normal use. That can be a week’s work, plus parts, which costs at least $5,000.

And finally, the Internet can be a liars’ club. Posters are anonymous and unaccountable. We have serviced a half-dozen or so pianos people have bought online. None of them were great pianos and none of the customers got a particularly good deal. Some of them were nightmares.

Expensive acoustic musical instruments need to be seen and played before they are purchased. The bottom line is: A piano is a large, heavy, complicated instrument that requires constant service. It’s a once in a lifetime purchase. Saving a few bucks by buying one online is unlikely to get you a piano you will love forever. Do yourself a favor; let a reliable local dealer help you find a quality piano, and pay him a fair price.

Steve pic for google

Steinway 1098 Upright Piano Review

Steinway 1098 Piano

When anyone thinks of a piano, the name Steinway is always the first to come to mind. The brand name of Steinway & Sons is synonymous with beautiful timbre and fantastic quality.  Steinway has been crafting pianos since 1853, when master cabinet craftsman Henry E Steinway produced his first piano, built in his own home. By the time he had formally created the company and established Steinway & Sons, Henry had built over four hundred pianos. The first officially produced by Steinway & Sons sold to a family in New York for the sum of five hundred dollars and was identified as number 483.

For the next three decades, Henry together with his sons revolutionized the development of the modern piano. They patented over one hundred inventions which were based on scientific developments and research which emerged including theories on acoustics by renowned physicists. These amazing designs were coupled with superb craftsmanship to create a nationally recognized quality of piano creation.

While many people think Steinway piano ranges are limited to large grand pianos, their hand-craftsmanship and quality have actually been used to produce a number of upright piano models including the Steinway 1098. Steinway & Sons pride themselves on using the same craftsmen, techniques and processes which they use on a typical grand piano to produce a superior quality upright piano.

Steinway Upright Piano

While many of the world’s most talented and accomplished pianists from all genres of music prefer a Steinway piano, the upright models such as the 1098 remain more practical for many musicians. The 1098 allows for much of the quality and tone of a larger grand piano without needing an excessive amount of space. Steinway uprights are still made using over one hundred patented processes and features to ensure a superior quality of sound.

The frame is constructed from solid birch and maple to provide a great deal of stability and vertical strength. The braces are taped to ensure that the back frame remains straight and allows for consistent tuning.  The soundboard is constructed in a similar manor to that of a violin to allow an even and free response across the whole scale. The design and shape allows a great freedom of movement which creates a rich and longer tonal response.  The keys are individually weighted and are created to be stain resistant and chip proof to ensure the lasting beauty and functionality of the piano. The key bed is hand milled to promote a snug fit and a solid mounting which allows uncompromising and prolonged and precise action.

The Steinway 1098 provides a clarity of sound which is unrivalled by any other upright brand of piano. It makes a beautiful feature in any room and generates a satisfaction and love of playing in the most untrained novice to the most experienced aficionado. With a little care and attention, it can provide wonderful sounds and timbre of music for generations.

Through Steinway Piano Galleries of Atlanta you can order a new one or perhaps find a nice pre-owned Steinway Piano.

How To Buy A Used Piano

A piano plays a vital role in music. Very often, no melody is complete without a piano to carry its tune. With so many pianos out there to choose from, you must first decide the purpose for which you will be purchasing one. For example, will you be training children or for casual playing at home. Buying a new Steinway Piano in Atlanta can be costly and depending upon your situation it may be better to look into a used Steinway piano.

However, not all used pianos are created equal. Here are a few questions you should ask before buying a used piano. Especially if you’re looking for a top Steinway piano.

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What is the Reason for Sale?

The first thing you should know is the reason a person is selling a used piano. Their answer is usually helpful in determining if the buyer is being truthful or not as many buyers aren’t expecting the question. In a dealership or piano store this is also a good question to ask. Many times at a piano store or dealer it’s possible that new arrivals have replaced the older versions. These older pianos are sometimes offered as “used” even when they are not. These are often very good finds as they offer great value for a piano that is essentially “new”. Finding out if there are any of these is a smart question to ask as well.

How Often Has the Piano Been Tuned?

piano_tuningMany of the higher end pianos – especially those by Steinway, Essex, Yamaha, and the like –  require to be tuned at least twice a year for maximum sound performance. If care is not taken, you’ll end up paying extra money for its maintenance after the purchase. If not tuned, then make sure you have a certified piano tuner take a look at the piano before purchase to make to know the cost of getting back to it’s top playing condition.

You should also know who did the piano’s last tuning and maintenance. Remember, Steinway Pianos should always be tuned by an authorized Steinway piano technician and not by just any tuner. An accurate and detailed tuning record is a sign of a well cared for piano.

Where It Has Been Stored?

The details of where the piano has been stored must also be taken into account. Make sure that it hasn’t been cramped up in a place experiencing seepage, water outflow or extreme temperature variation. If a piano has been stored in a garage, stay away. These factors can seriously affect a piano’s performance and appearance.

How Much Movement Has It Experienced?

piano_movingIs this the first owner? Or has the piano changed hands a few times? These are good things to be aware of in determining how well the piano was cared for. Find out how often the piano has been shifted from one place to another. Inspect it for dents, scratches or defects which might affect its performance.

How Often Has The Piano Been Used?

You should be well aware of how often the instrument was been used. This is also often a key indicator of how well the piano was cared for. Don’t be alarmed if the person used the piano every day. A person that uses a piano often is much more likely to be one who has taken great care of it.

Keep these in mind while shopping for a used piano and you will definitely get the best value for your money. Or, you can just let the pros do it for you. You can always swing by Steinway Piano in Atlanta to view the used pianos available anytime.

Always remember that either is it a piano or any other musical instrument, proper tuning and care must be taken for best result.

Essex Grand Pianos Superior Quality And Performance

Essex Grand Piano EGP155

Designed by Steinway & Sons in collaboration with renowned furniture designer William Faber, the Essex has been created as a tribute to the idea that beautiful piano styles and finishes can and should be possible in every price range. With elegant traditional styling and museum-quality finishes, Essex will be a stunning addition to your home. And it is available in an array of models, sizes, and veneers to fit every décor and every lifestyle…

Read more here: http://steinway.com/pianos/essex/grand/egp-155/