What Is the Difference Between a Pre-Owned and a Used Steinway Piano?

Used car dealers popularized the use of the term “pre-owned” vs. “used” because it sounds classier. Well, in the Steinway pianos market there is the same terminology: pre-owned vs. used Steinway pianos. But there’s a reason. A used Steinway or pre-owned Steinway?Not every used Steinway is the same; you need an expert to check out your piano, and look beneath the hood, so you know what you’re getting.

Even if you are not buying a new Steinway grand piano, you are still going to be spending many thousands of dollars and unless you know what you are doing you could make a big mistake. And let’s face it: the simple fact is that when it comes to assessing the condition of pianos most of us really don’t know what we are doing. Sure, there may be some scratches on the case, and they may well be obvious, but what about the works?

Complicated Scoring

When it comes to assessing pre-owned vs. used Steinway pianos, there is a very complicated scoring system that is used. Here is an example when it comes to the tone of the piano:

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 Steinways you will play.
07 Classic with some Darkness. Very good color and dynamic range.
06 Dark and Sweet with good color.

Yes, that’s all very well, but what does all that MEAN? What does “dark and sweet with good color” mean, for instance? Surely color is something that you see, not listen to?

What about the hours left on the hammers? With heavy playing there should be about 22,000 hours of use in the hammers from new, but when used in the home that will be more like 35,000 hours of use.

Do you begin to see why you need an expert to assess the difference between pre-owned vs. used Steinway pianos? And not only to assess the difference but explain it to you in simple English so that you can understand it and make a considered decision on whether or not you should invest your money into a particular Steinway.

This is why you need to talk to Maestro Bruno at Concert Pianos because he has been selling Steinways for 45 years, so it is fair to say that he knows a bit about them! Maestro Bruno can make his assessment of a Steinway in which you are interested and score it accordingly. He can explain to you what all the terminology means, and then you will be in a position to make an informed decision on whether or not to buy. In summary, whether it’s a “used Steinway” or a “preowned Steinway” that you’re looking for, Maestro Bruno can help you wade through the terminology and find you the instrument you really want.

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