What can I buy if I am not ready for a Steinway?
Putting their over 160 years of design and craftsmanship to work, Steinway has developed two brands of pianos to meet every budget. Fully designed from conception by Steinway & Sons, these pianos represent the best value in pianos today. The Boston and the Essex are simply the best sounding and longest lasting pianos available.
There are very few piano dealers that are authorized to sell new Steinway pianos throughout the world (only about 68 in North America) but any piano dealer can sell a used one. Since they can’t sell new Steinway pianos it is in their best interest to sell their used Steinway’s as being better than new models, unique from other used models, or from the fictional Golden Age.
The myth of the Golden Age is easily disproved. Just look at the concert halls throughout the world who cater to the most discriminating pianists of our time. How old are the pianos you are hearing? On average, they are less than 10 years old. If the world’s most prominent pianists felt that pianos from a Golden Age were superior to those produced today, we would not see new Steinway pianos on these stages.
The Steinway Promise
The Boston and Essex pianos perform so well and have sucj a high resale value that Steinway guarantees their trade-in value with the Steinway Promise. When you are ready to trade in your Boston or Essex piano for a Steinway Grand, you will receive 100% credit for your piano at any Steinway & Sons dealer worldwide.
Strive always to improve the instrument.
The very first Steinway & Sons patent was granted in 1857, and since that time, the company has been granted more than 125 additional patents. As a consumer shopping for a used Steinway, it is important to consider when these patents were implemented, how they work, and what benefits they provide for pianists like yourself.
It is important to remember that a Steinway piano will only feature the patents preceding the date of its completion. This means that a Steinway grand piano completed on March 5, 1923, will NOT have any of the innovations or advancements developed after that date such as:
October 13, 1931 Patent #1826848
The touch of a Steinway is the most sensitive and responsive of any piano made. This is not merely an opinion. It is a fact that results from the way the piano is designed and manufactured. In fact, tests have proven that the keys on a Steinway piano can repeat 14% more quickly than the keys of any other piano.
August 18, 1936 Patent #2051633
The current production of the Steinway & Sons soundboard is based on a 1936 patent to achieve optimum performance in dynamic range, and maximum sustain. Under this patent, the soundboard is gradually tapered from the center to the edge, permitting freedom of movement and creating a sound of unparalleled richness, sonority, and sustain.
May 28, 1963 Patent #3091149
Due to the unique design of the Steinway pinblock all Steinway pianos hold their tune longer. The secret lies in the grain of the wood. The grain of each layer is positioned at 45 degrees to the grain in the next layer. As a result, the tuning pins are exposed on all sides to the tenacious grip of the maple’s end grain. The tighter the grip on the tuning pins, the longer the piano stays in tune.
Seven Categories for Classifying Steinway Pianos
An original used Steinway piano is one that has never had any parts replaced since it was manufactured. Typically, these are less than 20 years old.
2. Heirloom Collection
Steinway Heirloom Collection pianos are available through authorized Steinway dealers. Each Heirloom carries the same 5-year warranty as a new Steinway, has genuine Steinway parts, and is distinguished by a medallion on the inner-rim and a Certificate of Authenticity.
A used Steinway piano that has never been restored. Typically, the piano is not in playing condition. The piano has been neglected, damaged or compromised, and has had no annual maintenance for an extended period of time.
This is a Steinway that has had parts repaired over time without replacing any major components. The piano has been maintained and is still capable of being played daily, but major parts will likely need replacing in the future.
A rebuilt Steinway is a piano in which all the components have been rebuilt to its original condition. Some major components commonly rebuilt are the soundboard, bridges, and action parts, as well as the case.
A Franken-Steinway is a used Steinway piano that has had one or more parts replaced with non-Steinway parts. It was a Steinway piano, but now it isn’t.
7. Factory Restoration
A Steinway piano that was restored by the Steinway Restoration Center in New York City and had the original parts replaced with genuine Steinway parts.
The Features of the Steinway Pianos
How are Steinway pianos made?
Specialists work on different parts of the piano during the manufacturing process. Each factory uses the best, most modern tools and machines available to them. The skills required to cast plates, season wood, fashion hammers, assemble actions and countless other processes are each unique. No one person can be really good at all of them, so it really does take a village to build a piano.
A Steinway & Sons piano requires about 300 hours of labor while the typical piano takes a fraction of that time. Budget pianos are built even faster. Steinway & Sons uses a rigorous apprentice program to insure their exacting methods are passed down from one generation of craftsmen to the next.
These videos show the similar methods between a Steinway built in the 1920’s versus the modern Steinway piano built today.