Advice to help you choose, buy or restore a Bösendorfer piano
Bösendorfer grand pianos
Bösendorfer pianos are regarded as one of the very best makes and are often found on the concert platform. However, they are rare in the UK; we try to have at least one Bösendorfer grand and one upright piano in stock. In our opinion a professionally restored Bösendorfer from about 1920 to about 2001 is one of the finest domestic and concert pianos. If you’re thinking of buying a Bösendorfer grand piano then they generally have a warm, powerful rich tone and smooth responsive touch, with an aesthetically pleasing cabinet. The most common colours are black and mahogany. They also do many “Art cases”.
Bosendorfer 170 before re-polishing. This 5ft 7in small grand is by far the most common Bosendorfer in the UK (perhaps 4 out of 5). Once restored it has an fine unique tone. NB Bosendorfer bass strings are near the top of their maximum tension; if some have already broken it’s advisable to think about changing them all, usually restringing the treble at the same time.
Bosendorfer 275. This piano has 92 keys, four extra in the bass. Bosendorfer also make a 290 model with 97 keys. These are excellent concert grands with a warm serious tone.
Bosendorfer 130. The most common Bösendorfer upright in the UK, the choice of many musicians.
Used Bösendorfer grand pianos in the UK
In the UK there is about one Bösendorfer for every twenty Bechsteins, Blüthners or Steinways. Generally speaking older Bösendorfer grand pianos have been used extensively and are therefore very worn. Reconditioning can also vary widely. We fully restore all models from 170cm upwards.
Baby and boudoir grand Pianos
There are a few baby (170cm) and boudoir (200cm and 228cm) Bösendorfer grands from 1900 to 1930 in the UK, mostly black and mahogany.
Warning! Older 5ft to 6ft Bösendorfers up to about 1900 often have what’s known as a “Viennese” action. This is a very different design from the standard. They are not really acceptable for all-round playing.(NB this is not to be confused with the “Strauss” model, which refers to a style of cabinet).
Concert grand pianos
There are a few modern Bösendorfer concert grand pianos on the second hand market (about one for every 30 Steinway concert grands) . These vary from being well worn to hardly used. They are often unique, having 4 to 9 extra notes in the bass.
From about 1965 to 2000
Modern Bösendorfer grands are from 170 to 290cm. These mostly date from 1960 to 2000. the casework of used modern Bösendorfers is nearly always bright black.
List of Bösendorfer grands
- 170 (5ft 8in) Fine grand with rich warm tone
- 200 (6ft 7in) This is the most common of post 1965 Bösendorfer grands
- 228 (7ft 6in) As above but deeper tone. Not so common in the UK.
Concert Bösendorfer Imperial models
- 275 (9ft) This model has 92 keys and is superbly engineered with a warm rich deep tone. Highly recommended.
- 290 (9ft 6in) The longest concert grand, and with 97 keys. Very similar to the 275
Bösendorfer upright pianos
The most common Bösendorfer upright is 130cm tall and ranks as one of the best uprights ever made. Very few Bösendorfer upright pianos are available in the UK so you may be frustrated trying to find one; we get one or two into stock each year. If you’re thinking of buying a professionally reconditioned Bösendorfer upright then you’re getting a piano with a very refined touch and warm subtle tone. The most common colours are black (95%) and mahogany.
As there are so few Bösendorfer upright pianos in the UK, if you’re looking for a fine German upright piano you’re more likely to find a Grotrian Steinweg, Steinway, Blüthner, Bechstein, Lipp or other top make (see our “common makes in the UK” page). However if you have your heart set on a Bösendorfer then you could rent or buy one of these other makes while waiting for a Bösendorfer to come into stock.