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How do I choose the best piano for me?

by Stephen N. Reed


Choosing a piano for one’s home or institution is an expensive proposition.  But there is a difference between “expensive” and “costly.”   An expensive piano may come at a price, but at least you are getting many years of great learning and playing on the keyboard.

Row of Steinway Model D pianos
Though many pianos look the same, they’re not. Understanding the differences between piano brand, models, and designs is key to a sound purchase of a piano that is well-suited for you.

But a piano purchase can become unfortunately costly and disappointing if you don’t have reliable sources for information.  You could end up with an outright lemon of a piano or just something that is different once you get it home than what you thought you were getting.   What could be more disappointing than that?

At M. Steinert & Sons, we have spent over 160 years helping tens of thousands of customers find the piano of their dreams. We do this by listening to each customer’s individual needs and aspirations and advising each and every customer to find the right piano to achieve their goals.

By the end of this article, you will begin to understand the key considerations towards finding the best piano for you. You will be a more informed buyer, ready to approach your nearest piano merchant confidently.

You’ll walk into a piano store knowing that, though many pianos look the same, they’re not. Understanding the differences between piano brands, models, and designs is key to a sound purchase of a piano that is well-suited for you.

Why carefully choosing your piano matters

The day of your piano delivery will be an exciting one. All the research and planning, all culminate in this one key moment when the piano becomes yours.

As a result, the last thing you want is to buy impulsively, not understanding of how wide a quality range of piano brands and models are out there.   What about the pros and cons of buying used vs new?

For many, buying a piano is a huge purchase. Done right, buying a piano can bring years of music to your home.

However, done carelessly, buying a piano can become a source of stress, annoying you every time you see your purchase, sitting there, taking up space.

How to choose the right piano

Any decent piano seller wants their customer to be truly satisfied with their purchase. However, this can only be achieved through careful consideration. Putting thought in ahead of time can greatly increase the odds that your piano purchase will be satisfying to you.  Three key steps are involved:

Step 1:  Decide upon your preferred size, color, touch, and tone

Piano template
If you’re unsure about whether you have enough room to have a grand, piano templates are available to determine if you can accommodate one.

In this previous article, we examined some of the essential aspects of buying a piano: one’s preferred size, color, touch, and tone.  If you’re unsure about whether you have enough room to have a grand, piano templates are available to determine if you can accommodate one.

Step 2: Consider your budget

Of course, one’s budget needs to be examined in light of one’s preferences. This helps to narrow down possible pianos for you to try.  If you find that the piano you resonate with the most goes beyond your budget, some dealers have financing options available.

Step 3: Talk with a seasoned piano consultant

Taking one’s time to sample a variety of makes and models of pianos with the help of a seasoned piano consultant is critically important. Such an expert helps you to further narrow down your choices to a few that meet your budget and other needs.  Then you can zero in on the piano that was meant for you.

Asian woman thinking
A seasoned piano consultant can help you to further narrow down your choices to a few that meet your budget and other needs.  Then you can zero in on the piano that was meant for you.

This is not just an individual buyer’s strategy but an institutional approach, as well.  For example, many colleges and universities that become All-Steinway Schools secure the help of an Authorized Steinway Dealer in their search for a new grand piano for their music program.

Such schools can avail themselves of the Steinway Selection Process, which is available to both institutions and individuals.

After narrowing down their search, they visit the Steinway factory in Astoria, New York, where they try four brand new models, usually the Model D.  After trying each one, the college’s committee decides upon the one Steinway grand piano that meets their needs.

Your guide to choosing the right piano–wherever you decide to buy

There are several more angles to consider when choosing your piano.  Frankly, this additional information is too detailed for a single article like this.  The discerning piano buyer will want to learn more about the other dimensions of finding the right piano by consulting a piano merchant’s buyer’s guide.

Essex grand piano
A buyer’s guide covers everything from the types of pianos, the popular brands of pianos, technology-enhanced options and more.

A comprehensive buyer’s guide like M. Steinert’s can help you make a better-informed decision that fulfills your current and future needs–whether for education or entertainment.  It covers everything from the types of pianos, the popular brands of pianos, technology-enhanced options and more.

Such a buyer’s guide can be very helpful in your selection, whether you buy a piano from the dealer who developed it or another.

Because we want you to succeed in your quest for the right piano for you, we offer M. Steinert’s buyer’s guide free of charge, regardless of whether you buy your piano from us.

Buying a piano should be an educational, interesting, and even fun experience. Learning from your own readings and having the guidance of a seasoned piano is the best way to have a positive experience.

Then the result will be a new addition to your home: a cherished musical instrument that can be in your family for generations.

Go to our main page to download the M. Steinert’s Buyer’s Guide.

 

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