Advice for buying in the UK
When choosing a piano, by far the most important factor is where the piano was made. In the UK the majority of good pianos to be found, both new and used, were made in Germany, Austria, Japan or England. Here is a list of the best known top makes. For a list of all common makes available in the UK, together with their rankings, please click here.
The best common makes of used pianos found in the UK are:
Restored grand pianos 5ft to 6ft 3in are some of our most common stock item of traditional grand pianos. Ideal domestic pianos – rich warm tone and not too powerful. The older ones to about 1915 have very beautiful rosewood casework and the smaller ones from about 1920 to 1939 are usually figured mahogany. Please note that most older Blüthner grand pianos up to about 1915 have the Blüthner patent action (see our Blüthner page). Blüthner uprights are less common, though the underdampers are fine instruments.
We usually stock one or two 1890 – 1920 grand pianos from 6ft to 6ft 7in and two or more uprights 1902 to 1930. Modern Bechstein grands 1960 – present are also excellent domestic pianos. Uprights are relatively common, the model 9 and 10 being the ones we usually stock. Please see our Bechstein page for more details.
These are not very common in the UK. We try to have one or two baby grands from the 1900 – 1935 in stock, 170cm long and are always looking for modern Bösendorfers. Often preferred to Steinway in the concert hall. Smaller Bösendorfers from 1900 to 1935 make ideal domestic pianos being subtle in tone yet powerful when required. Uprights are equally uncommon. We try to source the superb 130 model from about 1910 to present day.
|We usually have two or three used Steinway grands and two or three Steinway uprights in stock. Steinways are naturally powerful in tone, so if you’re thinking of purchasing one, make sure your room can take the volume! Please see our Steinway page for more details.|
We are very fond of Grotrian uprights from about 1910 to 1930 and usually have one or two in stock if we can find them! Modern Grotrian grands are excellent and we stock them when they come available. We can get older Grotrian grands to order.
Not common yet but increasing in number; they only make grand pianos. The smaller grands are especially fine. We normally have a list of clients who have Fazioli grands for sale but rarely take them into stock due to their high prices. Please enquire.
This is very generalised of course, and there are many other top makes of used pianos which are less common, such as Knight, Kaps, Lipp, Welmar, Sauter, Seiler, etc. Please see our “common makes in the UK” page for a comprehensive list. Some makers were excellent for upright pianos but didn’t make many grands, such as Knight, Fazer and Rippen.
There are several other good makes of new piano available in the UK. We especially recommend pianos by Steinway, Fazioli, Bechstein, Grotrian Steinweg, Kawai, Sauter and Steingraeber. Here are the main makes of new pianos that we stock:
The West German factory produces very refined pianos; the inexpensive range are designed by West German and Austrian technicians but made in China.
The top quality “hand built” new Yamahas are of very fine quality. However we do not recommend the inexpensive ones such as the BG1 baby grand which is manufactured in Indonesia and has an inferior design.
|Used or new Pianos? Here is a rough price guide (correct as of January 2013)|
The used piano market has always been far larger than new piano sales. This is because a piano from a good factory is built to last for a lifetime and many older pianos have had very little use and are wonderfully made. However, heavy playing will mean that they will need extensive reconditioning. Please see our restoration page for more information. Conversely, many cheap modern pianos, including those made by well known makers, show faults or sound brash or lifeless after a few years and are best avoided altogether.
|Free or under £1000|
We always have a selection of free or very inexpensive pianos that have been given to us or come to us in part exchange. We have to use as parts or throw away some of these as they will never make good pianos, but there are many that are potentially good and we give away as we don’t have time to work on them. Please see the stocklist for some examples. These often don’t get put on the stocklist so please enquire as well.
|£1000 – £2000|
There are a large number of used English upright pianos which when reconditioned fall into this price range, such as Rogers, Chappell, Kemble, Fazer, some Welmars and Knights, etc. We don’t recommend new pianos at this price.
|£2000 – £3500|
You’ll get top range English upright pianos by Knight , Welmar or Chappell, and also the second hand Japanese Yamaha U1 and U3 uprights made from about 1960 to 1985. Some but not all baby grands by Challen, Chappell and Rogers are worth considering too. Following extensive research we are able to recommend new Feurich 121cm upright pianos within this price range.
|£3500 – £6500|
Fine quality reconditioned Bechstein and Blüthner upright pianos fall into this range. New upright Japanese pianos by Kawai are good value for money. Some Broadwood grands too, though be careful as there are a wide variety of this make.
|£6500 – £10,000|
Top quality reconditioned uprights from 1895 to 1940 by firms such as Grotrian Steinweg, some Blüthners, Bösendorfer (not common in UK) and Bechsteins. Good quality second hand Japanese Yamaha grands and some Bechstein and Blüthner grands. There’s also a choice of new uprights pianos, though we don’t generally recommend new grands in this price range. There are plenty of fine used ones. Following extensive research we are able to recommend shorter Kawai and Feurich 161cm and 178cm grand pianos within this price range (correct as of 2013)
|£10,000 – £20,000|
Restored grand pianos form 1895 to 1940 by Blüthner, Bechstein, Bösendorfer (not common) and some Steinways. Top quality new uprights and some new grand pianos.
|£20,000 – £25,000|
Restored Steinway, Bechstein, Bösendorfer and Blüthner grand pianos. Some new grand pianos also worth considering. Top range new uprights by Bechstein, Blüthner, Bösendorfer, Grotrian Steinweg and Steinway.
Modern Steinway and Bösendorfer grands are the most common reconditioned used pianos in this category. Fazioli are excellent but very rare second hand. There is also a wide choice of new grand pianos.
More detailed advice can be found on other pages in this section. For an extensive list and rating of common used makes available in the UK please see our restoration in detail page or the common makes in UK section.