If you’re curious as to what all the facts and figures mean about Steinway pianos, explore ‘legend’ to Steinway pianos. Includes such features as the case condition, hammer and string life and even the sound and tone. Learn more about a Steinway Piano so you can make an informed decision when you purchase your Steinway Grand.

General Legend
Year Built This serial is put on a Steinway on the Day it is Boxed. So it was completed sometime during this year.
Year or Date Sold This could be up to 24 months from the time it left the Steinway Warehouse.
Serial Number Series Steinway Used 6 numbers starting in 1901 These can be in 1 to 3 places on the piano
Stock Number This is the inventory number to be included in the purchase order
Case Condition Ebony Satin Cases from 1986 to present use about 39% solids in the paint. This will show surface scratches. See Legend for Condition Rating
Action Down Weight Expressed in Grams
Service Level How much service within the last 60 days
Hours Left On Hammers Hammers last 22,000 hours of Heavy Play. This is how many hours of playing time left on the Hammers. This is expressed in Heavy playing time. If played lighter hammers would last longer.
Sound – Tone See Tone Legend
Player System This will denote the Brand and model of the Player Unit.
Price $$
Steinway Satin Ebony Finish
10 Very Hard to have a 10 in Satin Ebony
09 Refinished or Brand New
08 Like new when rubbed out but some surface scratches might exist
07 Surface Scratches on Lid and Fallboard and some nicks
06 Same as 7 but with deeper surface scratches and some dings
05 Same as 6 but with a few deeper nicks. Could use a Spray Over
04 Needs case work and a Spray Over
03 Needs Refinishing
02 Needs Case work and complete refinishing
01 Needs new parts in some areas and complete finishing
Action and ToneLegend
10 Extremely Fast, for the best players and the concert stage
09 Very even action, even voicing, very fast. In line with Level 4 Service Finer Regulation
08 Very even action, even voicing, fast. In line with Level 3 Service
07 Usually in line with a Level 2 Service. Even action and even tone
06 Usually a Level 1 Service
10 Performance. A Brighter Tone. Hard to find. This tone usually has attack.
09 Classic with Performance Leanings and Good Bloom
08 Straight Classic Steinway Tone. About 60% of all Steinway’s you will play.
07 Classic with some Darkness. Very good color and dynamic range
06 Dark and Sweet with good color
Service included in Price
05 Over 60 hours of Concert Level Service by the finest technicians. Maybe 5% of the pianos in the world are at this level
04 This level is for an advanced player that is performing and wants to win competitions. It also includes assessment of the acoustics of the room in which the piano will be placed. Able to play pppp to ffff with a lot of color and full dynamic range
03 For the advanced player. Ability to play ppp to fff. Very good color and very good dynamic range
02 Suitable for the intermediate player.pp to fff with good dynamic range
01 1 Day of Service. Good for the beginning pianist
00 In home tuning and minor service over the life of the piano
-01 The piano needs parts replaced and probably rebuilding
Steinway Wood Color
09 Refinished or Brand New
08 Like new when rubbed out but some surface scratches might exist
07 Surface Scratches on Lid and Fallboard and some nicks. Some Oxidation on back lid lline at Fly Leaf when open
06 Same as 7 but with deeper surface scratches and some dings. Some Sun Fading or Heavier Oxidation
05 Same as 6 but with a few deeper nicks. 
04 Needs case work. Sun Faded in Many Places
03 Needs Refinishing
02 Needs Case work and complete refinishing
01 Needs new parts in some areas and complete finishing
Discussion of Terms
Hours Left on Grand Piano Hammers::
Hours of Hammers : The hours remaining on a set of hammers is an estimate based on decades of selling Steinway’s to Institutions. The study of hammers also includes reviewing over 8,000 pianos and the intense studies of pianos at institutions and pianos from private homes. Our studies showed that Colleges and Universities played their pianos an average of 7.7 hours per day and an average of 1,750 hours per year.Our studies showed based on the yearly hours that hammers were used they should last about 22,000 hours in a institutional setting. From this data and other data and having sold used Steinway Grands for over 44 years we estimate that hammers in a home with normal playing would last about 35,000 hours. So when Maestro Bruno looks at the hammers of a Used Steinway Grand and chooses to estimate the number of hours left on the Hammers he is doing this based on his level of expertise. We know you want to have a sense of when you might need to replace a set of hammers on a piano you purchase. When we did reports for Institutions for repair parts budgets we had to look at how long hammers and strings would last. On strings it is not so much how long they last it is when they would lose tone or elasticity. We feel that you would like to know this information so you the buyer would have some knowledge from an expert with 44 years experience with Steinway Grand Pianos. We try to give a broad base of knowledge so you can make an informed decision. A PHD professor once told me that a Pianist knows the least about their instrument that any other musician. Once I heard this I started to ask many different musicians about their instruments and ask many pianist about their instruments and felt that it is our job as Merchants of Pianos especially Steinway’s to pass on knowledge to you so that you can become more familiar with your piano. Many many pianist have enjoyed my sharing my 44 years of knowledge with them as it has enabled them to understand the piano and to also be able to make a more informed decision when they purchased a used or new Steinway Grand.
Original Parts
Used Steinway Grands come to us in many different conditions. We have purchased Steinway Grands from 1908 in which all of the parts were the original parts in the piano and the Strings were the original strings. I have spoken to children that are selling their mothers or fathers piano and they tell me the history of the piano. How their family purchased the piano new in 1908. So it is more common then you would think that a Steinway Grand from 1908 to 2019 could have all of the Original Parts. When we purchase a Steinway directly from the owner or family we try to document what they tell us so we can, if we have this information, pass it along to you or to tell the story in our listings. Most of the time when referring to Original Parts we speak of the Action Parts. Hammers, Shanks, Flanges and Wippens. These are the most expensive parts of the action. 99% of the time the key sticks will be original. Call me anytime to discuss any of the terms in this section
Everything about every piano in every listing
Given how people to today want to be able to zip through pages of a web site, it would impossible to write a 10 page report about each piano in a listing on a web site. When you visit our Steinway Selection Center in Bowie, Texas or our Steinway Selection Room in Dallas, Texas or our Steinway Selection Atelier in Downtown Dallas we can discuss the pianos that most interest you so you are able to make an intelligent decision and choose the Steinway that is best for you.