Top makes of used upright pianos
If you haven’t got room for a grand piano, then there are certain good makes of upright piano which stand head and shoulders above the rest. The table below gives the best common ones available in the UK, placed in order of the most common top quality pianos available. We’ve listed the ones tuners and performers regard as the best, taking into account tone, touch and appearance.
There are hundreds of makes of upright pianos and we have only listed the top quality used and new ones you’re most likely to find. If you are interested in purchasing or selling a make not listed, please e-mail with details. Our “common makes” pages have a list of all the common makes available and a rating of each make.
Bechstein Model 10. This has a rich sweet tone in the mid range. It is straight strung but the bass strings are about the same length as the smaller overstrung model 9. The straight stringing makes the tone more even and damping more efficient in the tenor area.
Steinway Model K. The style illustrated dates from about 1905-1925. The tone is rich and warm throughout, varying from bright to mellow depending on the hammer hardness. Touch when well regulated is very responsive.
Are you tall – is there enough leg room?
Leg room on pianos normally vary from 58 to 70cm . Grands and small modern uprights are normally about 62cm from the floor to the under side of the keyboard. With grands, this can be increased by about 3cm by using glass caster cups; the angle of the pedals may then need adapting as these are raised up too. A Yamaha U3 upright has leg room of 62cm whereas a German Steingraeber 118 has 70cm and an older Bluthner 65cm. A small modern Zender has only 58.5cm! Modern German uprights tend to have the most leg room.
Do you need book holders?
If you use thick music books, then a couple of book holders can be fitted. Older uprights usually have them, but modern ones and grands usually don’t. Most serious musicians require them.
Bechstein upright Pianos
There is much variety in Bechsteins available, so it’s hard to generalise on price. We deal mostly in models 10, 9 and 8. Model V (5) is also very common and often has attractive inlay, but models I to V suffer a lot from loose tuning pins and will therefore need repining and often a new pin-block. Bechstein 8′s are normally found in: black, rosewood or mahogany. They have a rich tone but the action can be difficult to set up. Overall it’s a good all round upright. It has a much more “serious” tone than models 9 and 10. See Bechstein page for more details. Model 7 is excellent but rare. Model 6 is rarer still.
Knight Upright Pianos
Knight pianos Are normally found in mahogany, sometimes walnut or teak. They are commonly a teacher’s favourite for the fact it’s made with great integrity and a full singing tone. Older knights from 1950 to 1959 are much smaller and more varied in quality. Post 1989 Knight pianos changed their original manufacturing way and as a result are inferior in tone.
Modern English and European upright pianos (prices 2012)
Welmar Upright Pianos
Welmar’s are a good quality upright with a rich mellow tone and fine touch. The 30′s pianos are taller were made In collaboration with Blüthner, for whom they were the agents. The 1930′s stlye of Welmar were manufactured between 1928 and 1940. Un-restored these pianos are found for £300-£800. Restored, these pianos sell for around £1500 to £3,000
Other Upright Pianos
Kaps are well made pianos, often decorative Art Nouveau and Art Deco with strong rich tone. Can vary in quality. Other less common good makes include Blüthner (pre 1900 ones very common but are usually over-dampers), Steinway, Förster (old ones good), Bösendorfer (excellent but rare), Feurich, Gors & Kallman (varied), Grotrian Steinweg (excellent), Ibach (pre 1910 ones common but over-dampers), Schimmell, Sauter, Seiler and Zimmermann (not recommended until 1995 when merged with Bechstein). Modern Bechsteins, Steinways, etc are not listed above because they rarely appear on the second-hand market.
Other common good makes of English and European pianos include Chappell, Fazer, Hopkinson, Kemble (varied), Rippen, Rogers and Broadwood (varied). We will add comments to these later. Upright pianos can be rented @ 3% of the purchase per month or 5% with option to purchase. Follow the link for our rentals page. For all new and used upright pianos for sale, see our stocklist.