Founded in Manhattan in 1853 by German piano manufacturer Heinrich Engelhard Steinweg – later known as Henry E. Steinway – Steinway & Sons is a pillar in the world of grand pianos. Their success in New York led to the founding of another piano factory in Hamburg, Germany.
The factory in New York produces pianos for the United States while the factory in Hamburg produces pianos for the international market.
Produced mainly in Asia, two other brands targeted lower market segments, Boston and Essex pianos are manufactured under the supervision of Steinway, but with lower cost materials and labor.
Steinway Grand Pianos – Mass Produced Perfection
All named with letters, Steinway in New York produces a wide variety of grand pianos: The D at 8’ 11 3/4” – Their concert grand piano; the B at 6’ 10 1/2”, A at 6’ 2”, and the O at 5’ 10 3/4” comprise their line of parlor grand pianos; and the S at 5’ 1” for their baby grand piano.Also producing upright pianos, Steinway in New York sells the 4510 at 45”, the 1098 at 46 and 1/2” and the K-52 at 52”.
They are a high end piano that is easily available – Steinway produces around 3000 pianos a year – an incredible number given their quality. In fact, in 1988, Steinway produced its 500,000th piano, one of their special artist’s editions designed by Wendell Castle. The names of 832 pianists and 90 ensembles from the 1987 roster of Steinway Artists – including but not limited to the likes of Billy Joel, Van Cliburn and Vladimir Horowitz.
Queens Vs Hamburg – An American Legacy
Some pianists have expressed an interest in the tone that comes from either the factory in Queens or the one in Hamburg. While Larry fine, the piano technician and author of The Piano Book, considers the Hamburg Steinway to be of a higher caliber than the American Steinway. However, Emanuel Ax, a concert pianist and teacher at the Juilliard states definitively that the differences have more to do with the individual instrument than where it was manufactured. Regardless, all Steinways are exemplary of ‘The American Sound’ is a tone shared by other American manufacturers Baldwin and Mason and Hamlin. It is pleasant and rich – considered by some to be the standard against which other pianos are held. Many European manufactures have a ‘dark’ and ‘cold’ tone by comparison.
Hardly unique among the higher end makers, Steinway piano values depreciate more quickly than the quality of the piano. This makes them prime candidates for buying used. While they claim to ‘only’ make 3000 pianos a year the reality is that is a massive quantity of pianos for the higher end manufacturers. This is one of the contributing factors to new steinways depreciating aggressively. It gives them a unique market position by being able to supply a large number of pianos of a great quality and similar tone, and it is this reason that they are so popular with music schools and universities. It is also the reason that buying a use steinway piano is, in many ways, a wiser investment than purchasing a new one. Providing that the piano was well cared for, the value for dollar when buying a used steinway piano is much higher than when purchasing it new. Comprised of more than 12,000 individual parts, its hardly a surprise that, when cared for a Steinway will continue to produce beautiful, top-tier music for many, many years, regardless if purchased as a new or used grand piano.
Buying A Used Steinway Grand Piano
When acquiring a used Steinway grand piano you can confirm its quality by researching the serial number and requesting the piano’s history from Steinway, including the model, completion date, the original finish and to whom the piano was first shipped. The availability of historical records is one of the things than makes Steinway unique, and why purchasing a used Steinway grand piano makes the most sense. When faced with the choice of saving money or buying new and acquiring essentially the same quality. Fortunately, we keep a huge stock of used grand pianos for whatever you need – from Baby Grand Pianos all the way to the much larger Concert Grand Pianos. Available from our enormous stock and in pristine condition, ready to produce beautiful music in any situation our collection of used grand pianos will be more than enough to meet any needs you have. If you have any questions about buying a used grand piano please call us at (770) 717 8047 and we will be happy to help in any way we can – from piano moving to piano technical and tuning services, when it comes to used grand pianos, we are second to none!