rosewood broadwood grand piano

A 5ft Broadwood grand piano. This is one of the best models of Broadwood; they restore very well.

The main factor when buying any used piano is: who made it? The top quality common modern British piano makers are Knight and Welmar. The most common good makes of pre 1940 British pianos are Chappell, Challen, Rogers and Broadwood. Pre -1890 British pianos may not have a full iron frame. Avoid these, unless you want an early music sound. They will often be unstable with central heating unless you use a good humidifier.


The main problems with these older British pianos is that they have often dried out loosening the tuning pins, so that they don’t hold their tuning for long. The cure for this is larger tuning pins costing about £850 including fitting, though if the piano is restrung at the same time, the cost will be at least £2200 (2013). Better still is having the tuning block or Wrest Plank replaced with a modern one. Add about £1000 extra for this. Other problems are that they are often worn, and need extensive reconditioning in the action. This can cost from £350 for a basic regulation to £2500 if the hammers and other felts are replaced. Good traditional British pianos have a characteristic sound which is usually brighter than German ones but it is much richer than a cheap to mid range modern piano.