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Comparison: Restored Steinway model O rosewood 1912 vs black 1905

Video transcription:

This is a comparison between 2 Steinway model O grand pianos. That’s 5’10 1/2 inches long. This Steinway was made in 1912 and is just recently come into stock.

This Steinway was made in 1906 also recently arriving in stock:

We will start off with this black polyester Steinway. This one is a fully restored Steinway grand. the third pedal in the middle was added when it was restored.

It is possible to add a sostenuto pedal to pianos of this age. It originally comes without them. But the mechanism inside allows you to do that.

Now you can see the keytops here. They have been replaced. The tops were originally ivories. They have been replaced due to hard wear of the original keytops. They look just right with the new black finish. Black polyester, just like a modern piano.

The Steinway logo has also been made to look like a modern logo

Now the 1912 Steinway is all original and if we focus in here. We can see that it has original ivory keys, in perfect condition.

Now the logo on the Steinway in Rosewood is not brass.

It is actually boxwood inlay. Which was quite commonly done on higher quality Steinway pianos.

The case on this Steinway is a lovely figured rosewood. And the polish is almost perfect, although it does have some fading.

The fading is slightly on this right-hand side

Buy mainly on the top lid which has been folded over. This is such a common thing on wooden pianos. I have mentioned it in other videos as they have been kept open as they have been played. And obviously, underneath where it was not exposed to light.

If you do have a wooden piano it is important to keep it closed. Not just sunlight does it. It is general exposure to light. Including indirect sunlight.

Now it is a lovely figured rosewood. We can fully repolish this piano. It has devalued the piano slightly that is faded. If you did want a full refinish, that is something that we offer. We do full French polishing. It takes about 70 hours, so it does add a lot to the price. But we believe we are trying to achieve the highest standard finish.

The music stand also has a beautifully figured rosewood and is faded. The whole piano is faded apart from the part that wasn’t exposed. Since it has faded the piano would appear darker if we repolish the piano.

You can see that some book holders have been installed here. That is very useful especially if you have some very thick books to keep the music open.

We could add music holders to the black polyester Stieinway too, it is possible to do without damaging the polyester.

Looking at the inside. The thing we want to do, is to check the tuning pin tightness. On this rosewood one, they are extremely tight. the wrest plank underneath has not been replaced.


It is not necessary to replace Steinway wrest planks although. When we fully redo the piano, we usually do.

On the black polyester Steinway grand, we have changed the wrest plank. A sign of a replaced pinblock are the slightly smaller tuning pins.

The restoration on the rosewood one was done by Steinway in 1984 and again a Steinway technician in 1995 has done some further work. He restrung the piano. Steinways previously have done some work on the action.

So both the action and the strings have been replaced. The Steinway technician in 1985 restrung the piano. Steinway themselves did some other work on the action. So both the action and the strings have been replaced. As you will see in a minute this is quite a special piano.

Now the insides of the black piano you will see it has been finished off in a slightly different way. It has a beautiful matte finish here:

This matches the piano superbly and matches the original Steinway finish. And the soundboard has been shimmed.

The 1912 Rosewood Steinway does not look like it has needed any shimming at all. [Shimming is when a restorer mends cracks in the soundboard usually caused by dryness. It would appear this piano has been a stable environment since the soundboard and tuning pins are in great condition!]

There is the original logo on the soundboard, which is rather beautiful.


Let’s compare the tone of the two pianos. They are both German Steinways by the way.

This is [the Rosewood Steinway grand], is as warm as you can get on a model O Steinway. The top treble has already been voiced.

The black 1905 – Still very warm. I would call it a slightly more modern sound. More like a modern piano. More in between an old sound and new style sound.

Going up through the treble there is a little bit of voicing work needed.

Both have superb tenor sound.

Looking at the action on both pianos. The black Steinway model O has had the top and bottom action replaced:

That will be Renner bottom action with Abel top. With Able hammers.

Steinway obviously uses Abel and Renner perhaps more Renner then Abel hammers. But they certainly use Abel. So do Bosendorfer voicer and tuner.

I went to the factory recently. He was explaining that even two sets of hammers can be very different. And he has to work each set of hammers differently. And I fee the same. It is difficult to know what to do. These are excellent hammers but they do need voicing especially in the treble area.

So wonderful hammers, but at the top end they need a lot of voicing. When they are put on in the press. they are put on very hard. Sometimes they need to be a bit more pointed.  So I will be working on those they are not quite pointed enough in the top end.

In the USA they do a lot of doping hammers. In the UK too sometimes we find it necessary with sets of hammers. I don’t know really know too much about the USA. Perhaps you’d like to comment on that. But the top and bottom action have been replaced. in this case.

The Rosewood Steinway

It has been done very differently. This is originally bottom and top actions here. The hammers have been changed. the Rollers hammers and centre pins have been replaced as necessary. the end result is just as good actually if done properly. This has been done by a retired Steinway technician. You can see here.

The rosewood Steinway


Actually, the action was done by Steinway. I think the retired Steinway technician did some refacing and voicing. You will see the original receipts are attached to the description of the piano on our website. Here we see french chalk as well. The results are like a new piano. extremely well done.

So it is excellently done, the hammers are not really very worn. They have been refaced but you couldn’t tell. I think they have been refaced and voiced. Because as you will see here in a minute, it is a delightful tone.

So that is a comparison of two pianos just recently in stock. It has been restored by Steinway and by a Steinway technician later on. You will see the invoices and description of this piano on our website.

Steinway Rosewood

Tone and touch are just delightful. The staff love this piano and so do I. And we have only just got it in. There is some slight refinement to do on this piano. Some very slightly refinement on touch and tone. Very very slightly. It really is superb. Now you can’t feel it yourself obviously. The down weight is about 50grams. I use coins here, we have proper weights when we weight before adjusting. There is slightly less weight at the top and more at the bottom of the piano. The weight needs to be as low as possible. It is too little weight the keys will stick.

The touch is a delight and silky to play. Now the longevity of the two pianos will not be very different as this has been reconditioned and will hold its values through many restorations in the future.

There is a 10-year guarantee on this piano of course. In the UK we will give a free tuning and check as part of the free service.

Final thoughts on the black polyester Steinway

This is the 1905 Steinway. it still needs some refinement. When you are restoring a piano there is endless work to do just to refine it and finish it off. Able hammers tend to need more refinement at the top end.

this Steinway also has a 10-year guarantee. We have many other videos of pianos like this on our channel. The difference in tone and touch it is under 50grams down weight with an up-weight of about 30grams again. Which is just right and makes you feel like it isn’t pushing against you. Some digital pianos the up-weight is very hard whereas it needs to be less than the down-weight. The keys will push up against you.

The rosewood is a beautiful wooden finish. this is obviously perfect in every way. This is more expensive if the other one was repolished it would not be quite so far off of the price of the other one.

This will help you think through. Every piano is different we have other models of Steinway in stock. We prefer you to come and try each piano as the touch and tone vary from piano to piano.

For a full list of stock and to see these pianos please see our stocklist.

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Bösendorfer 130 upright piano 1993 + comparison with grand pianos

128cm high vs Yamaha YUS 131cm

Sloping music stand on the Yamaha to let the sound out slighly from the front, giving the acoustic impression of a grand piano.

The first difference to note is the Yamaha has an opening in the music desk which allows a portion of the sound of the piano to leave the case much like a grand piano.

Yamaha upright piano open panel

It certainly has a very big sound, it does have stays on the top panel which you can raise to let more of the sound out, this is more typical on a top quality upright piano:

t.Open upright piano to let sound out

Both piano sare similiar age, 2013 Yamaha/2011 Hoffman. It is like buying a new piano that has been worn in. There is minimum indentation on the hammers, just enought to wear in.

The amount of wear can usually be noted quickly noted by looking at the front of the hammers.

Piano hammer wear is easy to see by looking at the front of the piano hammer

Both pianos are ‘hardly worn in’. Meaning since they were bought a few years ago, they were not overly played. But just enough to be ‘played in’.

The Hoffmann has a wonderful celest system, which is very easy for the piano tuner to remove. The Yamaha has a screw in the celest rail, which can wear out with multiple tunings and start to loosen. The Hoffamann wins on detail here.

The regulation is very consisten on both pianos. Daper strings are very tight, potentially too tight on the Yamaha. The dampers should come off when the hammer reaches half way along its travel, but are coming off too early on the Yamaha, causing some unwanted weight on the touch.

damper timing is important for touch, if too early it can cause unnecessary touch weight

Although hard to see, the damper is starting to come off and can be seen in the video. Around minute 2:20.

The dampers add weight to the touch adding another component needing to be pushed by the players hand, this is unecesarily early and needs regulating to move later in the hammers travel.

Hoffman goes past half way which means less work for the pianists fingers.

Hoffman upright piano hammer distance for damper movement is correct

Heavy springs are good for the damper to have enough force to stop the string. Too much means extra weight for the hands again. This also is a manufacturing decision. Also concerning longevity, need for regulation on weaker strings etc.

The bass tone. The Yamaha possibiliy has a ‘bigger sound’ however, most pieces and playing happens in the middle of the piano, where Marcus focuses his attention. Harmonically both are comparrable, the Hoffman potentially has more richness of harmonics to it.

Tone wise they are both very good, the Hoffmann may be slightly richer, the touch may be the defining point. For our stocklist please see this page. To view our pianos please see our map.

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Comparison between a Shigeru Kawai 2011 & Steinway model O grand pianos

As Marcus discusses, both pianos are designed to the highest standard. It is difficult to say which piano is better. The more modern Shigeru Kawai is likely to have a ‘slightly’ more sensitive touch. Whilst the Steinway model O is a matured instrument, especially the soundboard. Which we have yet to replace, but repair. So as to preserve the original tone, and woods. Which at the period these grand pianos were made, was a very high standard.

We recommend coming to try both for yourself. As Marcus points out the tone of a Kawai is rich, generally softer, whereas a Steinway sings, with brilliant yet more dominance. Room size may come in to play, as a large grand piano with a powerful tone will comfortably play in a mid-large sized room whereas a softer German piano like a Bluther IV grand piano suits smaller rooms. Also shown by Marcus.

We would like to show you more of our pianos in detail in our shops and showrooms both in Oxford and Sevenoaks. Please come and play each piano to see for yourself.

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IN STOCK: Steinway Model O and M grands – comparison

Marcus discusses the difference between a Steinway model O and a Steinway model M, both fully restored from similar periods. The Steinway model O is from 1922 whilst the model M is from 1929. A close and similar period of Steinway manufacture.

We would like to add that these pianos come with a 10 year guarantee for faults in mechanism not related to humidity. Each piano has new pins and a new pinblock where necessary to ensure the piano stays in tune, damaged felts and action parts have been replaced.

An interesting section of this video is the tone comparison between both pianos, a longer Feurich and similar Feurich grand piano. Feurich make exceptional pianos in the mid-price range of the market, well worth looking into if budget constraints apply. However, a Steinway will always maintain its value more comparatively to most other brands, even top brands.

Marcus also highlights that older pianos have a lighter touch, partly due to manufacture, partly due to wearing in of the piano. See the full video for more Marcus’ description.

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Comparison between Yamaha S6 and Steinway model B grand pianos

These top quality pianos are similar in length, 211-212 centimeters long. Marcus compares them in this video.

A fully restored Steinway model B grand piano is in the top price band for a fully restored piano, whereas a handmade Yamaha S6 is rarer.

Both pianos are in immaculate condition, the 2006 Yamaha S6 was hardly used by its previous owner, and is as it was when purchased. The Steinway has undergone extensive restoration including new parts.

In conclusion 

Steinway about wins on tone and, and tonal colour. Yamaha wins on touch. However if you are thinking of future investment value, Steinway wins outright. Steinway has a dominant name, fetching a higher value even when 100 years.

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Bosendorfer 170 & Steinway model M Comparison

Both pianos are 170 cm long 5″7′ long. Both restored with perfect ivory keys, new German strings.

The Steinway grand has been restored to the original design with German Abel hammers, German strings, and felt colour matching. Also included is a Canadian maplewood multilayered pinblock for extra tuning durability.

Steinway made this Rosewood two pedal piano in Hamburg in 1925, Bosendorfer in 1916.  In their Vienna factory.

Steinway toned throughout including unacorda pedal toning. With original Abel hammers, correct for the period.

The height of  the Steinway can be raised with castor cups, as is quite low.

Toning the 'Una Corda' pedal

Bosendorfer have included 3 pedals, one extra middle ‘sostenuto’ pedal. Used to sustain notes underneath a passage, usually a bass pedal. Recommended for concert pianists. However, rarely implemented on many pianos, therefore redundant on grade pieces, and not required. Una corda pedal includes a unique variation to tone that can be heard around 2:00, a softer tone than without the una corda.

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Steinway Model B & Yamaha S6 Handcrafted Comparison

The Steinway model B grand is Germany 1980 fully restored in every detail. With new bass and treble strings it has been refinished exactly as a new piano would be. It has new Steinway hammers, shanks and rollers. The action has been weighted and is regulated to feel exactly like a new action would. Very accurately adjusted including turning the una-corda pedal so when it moves over it makes a different tone.

Tone wise [1:58] is is mellow with slightly more clarity in tone. The treble sings very clearly and the top treble is slightly brighter.


Both are exceptional pianos and fine to play. The Steinway just about wins in the tone and tonal colour comparison, Yamaha on touch. However this is splitting hairs. You’ll certainly pay less for the Yamaha. The Steinway is a better investment on resale, potentially worth more in the future than what you paid for it! We have many top quality pianos for sale in our Oxford and Sevenoaks showrooms. Click here to view our stock.

Click here to see all of our pianos for sale:
Click here to see more videos on our YouTube channel:

View our current stock with photos and videos.

Yamaha S6 Japanese grand piano

Built to a similar template, both pianos are semi-concert or small-concert hall instruments measuring between 211-12 centremetres (6ft 9inches).

You’ll pay less for the Yamaha although there aren’t many available on the second hand market. This is the first one we’ve ever had.

The Yamaha in the video was made in about 2006 and had about less than 1.5 hours of playing every day. Therefore it is pretty immaculate and has had very little use. We did very litlte toning and hardly did any regulation as due to the lack of use, it was in very good condition. Only fine regulation was required.

Sound wise [0:45] the Yamaha S6 is mellow in tone with a rich tenor area

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Yamaha GB1 and Kawai GM-10K Comparison. Review

Yamaha GB1 and Kawai GM-10K comparison

In order to review the Yamaha GB1 baby grand, we’ve compared it to a similarly priced baby grand, the Kawai GM-10. Both pianos are assembled in Indonesia though we are informed that all Kawai parts are made in Japan so we assume that this is probably the case with the Yamaha. However we believe this review shows some important differences. The Yamaha GB1 is Yamaha’s cheapest baby grand and it is very similar to the Kawai in quality, though the Yamaha has left out one important feature – the sliding music desk. There are some other differences too, illustrated here:

Yamaha GB1 baby grand piano
Yamaha GB1 grand
RRP £9789 (2013)
Length 149cm (4ft 10 1/2 in)

Kawai GM-10K grand piano

Kawai GM-10K grand
RRP £9650 (2013)
Length 150cm (4ft 11in)


Yamaha pianos, yamaha GB1 review, Yamaha GB1, steinway pianos

Basic simple hammers. Only time will tell what quality
they are, but not having the under-covering certainly
means they are not so expensive.

Kawai GM-10K grand pianoUnder-covered hammers. With good hammers the tone is maintained over many years.

Music Desk

Yamaha baby grand piano, GB1 grand piano, steinway pianosFixed music desk which lifts out rather than slides. We
think this is a very inconvenient economy; no other
grand pianos are designed in this way.

Kawai GM-10K grand piano

Sliding music desk found on all other grand pianos;
necessary if you want to adjust the distance to
accommodate your eyesight; most pianists use this facility.


GB1 tuning mistake, Marcus Roberts, Steinway pianos, yamaha upright and grand

Difficulty in tuning due to the high rail in front of the tuning pins. It’s actually impossible to get the tuning lever on at the angle shown, which is the normal angle for the top treble. Instead the lever has to be held at the opposite angle to that which is best for tuning. This makes fine tuning awkward though possible.

Kawai GM-10K grand piano

Normal design allowing the piano to be tuned easily and
at the right angle.

Both these small grand pianos are technically well made for the price range. We have chosen the Kawai mainly because of the user and tuner-friendly traditional sliding music desk as shown above.

Comparison between a Yamaha U1H and Bechstein 10 upright piano


Yamaha U1H

Yamaha U1 Upright Piano

Bechstein 10

Bechstein 10 Upright Piano


We’ve written this page to help you decide which piano to choose between. Highly regarded by musicians as some of the best uprights available under £5000 (2012). We’ve sold over 100 Yamaha U1H uprights and a similar number of Bechstein upright pianos, and regard them both as an excellent choice. For more information on Yamaha follow click here. For more information on Bechstein pianos, go to this link.



MODEL: U1H (c. 1965)
PRICE: £2,600-£3,200 (2013) when precisely reconditioned
DIMENSIONS: height 121 x width 151 x depth 63


MODEL: Bechstein 10 (c.1902-1930)
PRICE: £3,500 – £5,500 (2013) precisely reconditioned
DIMENSIONS: height 129 x width 146 x depth 60


The U1H’s touch

Yamaha U1 Keys

One of the main reasons clients choose the Yamaha U1 is because it has a responsive touch. Our U1 and U3 uprights have had very little use and will not require any maintainance for at least 20 years of normal playing.

The Bechstein 10’s touch

Bechstein 10 Keys
The Bechstein model 10 has a delighful touch which allows for an excellent dynamic range.


The U1H’s action

Yamaha U1 Hammers

Suited to all types of playing, the Yamaha U1 upright has a clear, leaning towards bright sound. It produces the kind of sound that would contrast well enough to be heard in an ensemble and has enough depth to effectively reproduce classical music. On that note, we regularly hire Yamaha U1 pianos to the world’s top concert pianists for rehearsal practices.

The Bechstein 10’s action

Bechstein 10 Hammers

An exquisite sweet mellow tone with a rich singing treble. In our opinion one of the best sounding upright pianos. The bass strings are straight strung but as the piano is taller than the U1, the string length is virtually the same. The straight stringing makes the tone more even and allows the sound to pass through a sweeter area of the soundboard.


The U1H’s casing

Yamaha U1 Bookholder

Many musicians insist on these; unfortunately the music stand is too thin to have fitted, though it is more ridged to try to compensate. Practically no modern pianos are fitted with bookholders as manufacturers fear they will damage the case by scratching.

The Bechstein 10’s Casing

Bechstein 10 Bookholder

Standard on this and nearly all traditional pianos. They hold the music page and prevent it from turning. You will definitely need these if you use thick books such as hymn books.


The U1H Pedals

Yamaha U1 Pedals

One benefit of the Yamaha U3 piano is that they mostly come fitted with a practice pedal which inserts a felt between the hammers and the strings. Although the Bechstein piano does not include a practice mechanism, one can be easily fitted, current charge £200+VAT (2012)

The Bechstein 10 Pedals

Bechstein 10 Pedals

Although the Bechstein piano does not include a practice mechanism, one can be easily fitted, current charge £200+VAT (2012)


If you require an all round modern tone then the Yamaha is our suggested choice. However, if you already play and are interested in a rich warm mellower tone then you might prefer a Bechstien or other traditional German piano.

Restored Steinway model O and Bechstein model A comparison


Steinway model O (1920s)

Steinway O-151bb

Bechstein model A (1905)

Bechstein A-1001


We’ve written this page to help you decide which piano to choose between these two pianos, which many musician regard as two of the best uprights available under £4000 (2013). We’ve sold over 100 Yamaha U1G, H or A uprights and a similar number of Knight K10 & 20 upright pianos, and regard both makes of this period as an excellent choice. The information below assumes that the pianos have not had very much use and are in top condition.


Steinway Model O

PRICE: £18,000 – 30,000 (2013) restored or reconditioned.
DIMENSIONS: height 97 x width 146 x depth 180

Steinway grand pianos made during this period generally have a very rich tone throughout their range. However, they have often originally been bought by musicians who have played them extensively, as a result they may have worn hammers making them sound weak or dull. Many Steinways made during this period will have been fully restored, the quality can’t always be guaranteed, depending largely on the restoration quality. The variety is considerable.

Bechstein Model A

PRICE: £9.000 – 19,000 (2013) restored or reconditioned.
DIMENSIONS: height 97 x width 141 x depth 181.

Bechstein grand pianos made during this period vary a lot, they are less likely to have been restored. They have a beautiful even tone and are generally less powerful than Steinways, often making them more suitable for smaller rooms.


The model O’s touch


Steinway grand pianos made during this period should have a very responsive touch slightly lighter than a modern piano.

The model A’s touch


Bechstein grand pianos made during this period require lighter hammers than modern ones and the touch is ideal for those preferring a fluid easy feel.


The Steinway’s action

If the hammers are well voiced, the tone is clear and bell-like, very even throughout the range and capable of being sweet, soft and also capable of great power.

The Bechstein’s action

bechstein hammers

If you’ve never played a well voiced Bechstein then we recommend trying one. They are unique with a rich romantic tone.



Book Holders Unfortunately few grand pianos have bookholders. This is not a problem with many music books but can cause issues with chord books, hymnals and some modern bound sheet music. We often fit these for musicians.


Steinways being such a well known make throughout the world inevitably have the higher price tag. However, the higher price does not necessarily mean that the quality is better, and both makes have their strong points. We recommend you try one alongside the other as the best way to form a conclusion.

Comparison of a Welmar and Knight upright piano

Comparison of a Welmar and Knight Upright Piano

Models from the 60s to the c1980s

Welmar Upright Piano 1976


Knight K10 Upright Piano c1967 – c1987.



Both pianos are well made British pianos with an even touch and tone.
Knight pianos were sold alongside grand pianos in Steinway hall during this period and sold around the world as one of the most stable uprights available.



RRP: £3200 (2013) when precisely reconditioned
DIMENSIONS: 121 hight x 143 length x 61 depth


RRP: £2,000 – £3,300 (2012) precisely reconditioned
DIMENSIONS: 112 hight x 140 length x 56 depth


The Welmar’s touch


The welmar uprights have an even touch, with a well adjusted action. Similar to the Knight pianos.

The Knight’s touch


Knight uprights have shorter keys but a well balanced action giving a very responsive touch


The Welmar’s action


Slightly more mellow than Knights. The tone on the shorter Welmar uprights is very even, and superb on the taller ones.

The Knight’s action


The bass strings are designed so that they cross the treble strings at a greater angle, thus they are longer. This extra length allows the Knight K10 to match the tone of bigger upright pianos such as the U1. Different Knight uprights may vary between a moderately mellow to a bright tone. This is often to do with the hardness of the hammer, and the pianos can often be toned. Knight uprights may be smaller than Yamaha ones but the richness of tone is comparable.


The Welmar’s casing


The Knight’s casing


Neither piano originally came with book holders but due to the thickness of the wood material of the music desk, book holders can be fitted.


The Welmar’s Pedals


Most Welmar upright pianos do not have a third practice pedal, however, a practice lever may be fitted for an extra cost of £200+VAT. This system is the same as found in most modern pianos but is activated with a hand operated lever rather than a pedal.

The Knight’s Pedals


Again, some Knight upright pianos do not have a third practice pedal, however, a practice lever may be fitted for an extra cost of £200+VAT. This system is the same as found in most modern pianos but is activated with a hand operated lever rather than a pedal.


Both of these makes are regarded by tuners and teachers as some of the best modern British uprights ever made. They are both extremely stable and are easily tuned. Knights usually have a brighter tone. The tall Welmars are among the best uprights in existence. So both are highly recommended.

NB buying a good used piano from this period is far better than buying a new piano such as the Yamaha B3 that has a plywood soundboard, making the tone sound dull in comparison.

Comparison of a used Yamaha U1 and a Knight Upright Piano

Comparison of a used Yamaha U1 and a Knight Upright Piano

Yamaha U1

Yamaha U1 Upright Piano

Knight k10

Knight K10 Upright Piano


We’ve written this page to help you decide which piano to choose between these two pianos, which many musician regard as two of the best uprights available under £4000 (2013). We’ve sold over 100 Yamaha U1G, H or A uprights and a similar number of Knight K10 & 20 upright pianos, and regard both makes of this period as an excellent choice. The information below assumes that the pianos have not had very much use and are in top condition.



MODELS: U1G, H & A Upright pianos c1965 – 1985
RRP: £2,600-£3,750 (2013) when precisely reconditioned
DIMENSIONS: 121 high x 151 long x 63 deep.


MODELS: K10 & 20 c1970 – 1985
RRP: £2,000 – £3,300 (2013) precisely reconditioned
DIMENSIONS: 112 high x 140 long x 56 deep


The U1’s touch

Yamaha U1 Keys

One of the main reasons clients choose the Yamaha U1 is because it has a responsive touch. Our U1 and U3 uprights have had very little use and will not require any maintainance for at least 20 years of normal playing

The K10’s touch

Knight K10 Keys

A well balanced touch with great range of expression. Knight piano actions are very well designed and wear slowly.


The U1’s action

Yamaha U1 Hammers

Suited to all types of playing, the Yamaha U1 upright has a clear, leaning towards bright sound. It produces the kind of sound that would contrast well enough to be heard in an ensemble and has enough depth to effectively reproduce classical music. On that note, we regularly hire Yamaha U1 pianos to the world’s top concert pianists for rehearsal practices.

The K10’s action

Knight K10 Hammers

The bass strings are designed so that they cross the treble strings at a greater angle, thus they are longer than most pianos of this height. This extra length allows the Knight K10 to match the tone of bigger upright pianos such as the U1. Different Knight uprights may vary between a moderately mellow to a bright tone depending on the hardness of the hammer. A piano can always be toned down to be more mellow.


The U1’s casing

Yamaha U1 Bookholder

Yamaha upright music desks are thin polyester. It is very difficult to fit book holders as the polyester easily cracks when drilled.

The K10’s Casing

Knight K10 Bookholder

Normal wood design allows drilling for book holder placement.

Comparison of a Yamaha U3h and a Wendl & Lung 122 Upright Piano


Comparison of a Yamaha U3h and a Wendl & Lung 122 Upright Piano

Yamaha U3h


Wendl & Lung 122



Many musicians regard these as the best uprights available under £4000. We’ve sold over 100 Yamaha U3H and about 30 Wendl and Lung/Feurich 122 upright pianos, and regard them both as an excellent choice. NB since 2011 Wendl & Lung have amalgamated with Feurich and now use that name.



RRP: £3000- £3500 (2013)(When precisely reconditioned)
DIMENSIONS: 130H x 154L x 65D

Wendl & lung

MODEL: 122
RRP: £3300- 3450 (2013)(when new)
DIMENSIONS: 122H x 152L x 60D


The U3H’s strings


Smaller than the U3 but with the same quality. Maximum bass string length 120.6cm, tenor 92cm. The U3H sounds strong in the bass but improves greatly when fitted with top quality German bass strings (cost £750 +VAT inc fitting).

The 122’s strings


Maximum bass string length 120cm, tenor 91cm. Almost the same string length as the U3, since the strings have a greater angle across the piano. Deep rich and even bass and excellent break point.


The U3H’s hammers


Good quality hammers; as they have been played for some years, they are very even, but without refacing they are softer in tone. This is frequently preferred by musicians as the sound is more classical.

The 122’s hammers


Well toned with clear bright sound, but not played in.They are already excellent and will become more even toned over the years.


The U3H’s book holders


Book holders difficult to fit: Used by most musicians,these can be fitted but there is a risk of damaging the music desk as it is plastic, too thin and brittle.

The 122’s book holders


Book holders: These can be fitted for £35 extra, as the desk is much thicker. Modern pianos are not fitted with book holders because of the risk of damaging the polish, so if fitted take care to make sure they are folded sideways before closing the lid.

The U3H’s top lid


Hinged top lid; if any water gets on the top of the piano and goes down the hinge it will seriously damage the dampers.

The 122’s top lid


One-piece top lid; more sensible design, though must have enough space above the piano to open upwards for tuning.


The U3H’s action


Celeste (practice felt) fitted with wing nut for removal when tuning; a bit awkward.

The 122’s action


Celeste just slots in; this removes in an instant and is the best design so far on any upright.


The U3H is a popular musician’s upright it is highly recommended both for it’s touch, tone and stability.

Wendl & Lung 122 piano has great integrity, at least equal to the Yamaha U3H. These new pianos are not as well played as the U3H but, none the less they have an excellent touch and tone and, are very stable.

Pianos for sale in the UK

What pianos are available in the UK?

A conservative estimate is that there are well over one million acoustic pianos in the UK. Only four thousand people buy a new piano each year (2017 figure). The rest buy used pianos, of which we estimat about 30% will be of the plainer modern style made after 1945 and 70% will buy the older, mostly more decorative style, made from about 1880 to 1945. Here are some thoughts about how to go about choosing a piano:

If you aren’t limited by space then all professional musicians will recommend buying the longest grand piano possible. This is because grand piano actions have the best control and long pianos have a deeper, richer tone. For more information about this please search “grand piano” on our video channel.

If you are unable to fit in a grand piano then the next best choice is as tall an upright as possible. This will have a larger action and longer strings.

These allow you to play or practice without others hearing. However the silent mechanism usually interferes with the action of the piano, making soft playing more difficult, so unless you need this facility then it’s best not to have it. If there are occasions when you want to be less intrusive then many pianos have practice pedals or can have a practice lever fitted. These put a felt between the hammer and the strings, so when you play it is a lot softer.

We don’t recommend them unless it’s totally necessary as the touch is compromised and the tone is much less interesting than a real piano. The only advantage may be that you can access many other sounds and also use them to record, though for a child learning this can be a distraction.

Less than 10,000 new pianos are sold in the UK annually and well over 100,000 pianos change hands each year (2013). Only a small percentage of new pianos are made to a good standard – especially when looking at the lower ranges. Many upright pianos from the Far East which generally retail for under £3000, are in our opinion of really unacceptable quality. Having a brash or uneven tone, unstable tuning, a gradual development of problems in the action after just a few years of use.

The new Yamaha GB1 baby grand piano, for instance, is in our opinion badly designed and we recommend paying the extra for a C1, or buying a Kawai or Feurich, or opting for a reconditioned baby grand from the 1920s or 30s.

VIDEOS (for over 100 on various themes, please see our channel)


Unlike your car, computer or digital piano, a real quality piano will be as good (and possibly better, as most new hammers take time to settle) in 10 years time as it is today, based on normal 1 hour’s use per day. After 20 years it will need light adjustment and toning of the hammers by a qualified tuner. In 50 years it will probably need two or three days’ reconditioning and possibly new hammers and bass strings. During all this time it is highly unlikely to go wrong at all. Older pianos sometimes carried lifetime guarantees! There are over 3 million pianos in the UK. Therefore the number of used pianos sold in the UK far outweighs the number of new pianos sold, which is around 10,000 per year.


rosewood bechstein 7 upright piano

Bechstein 7(1911)

In the early 1900s, when most households had a piano, the industry was much larger, competition was fierce, and the quality of good pianos for sale was extremely high. It follows that a good reconditioned piano from a top maker in the early 1900s is likely to be much better than a cheap new one. Also, the ‘modern’ piano dating from about 1960 to 1980 was generally better made than an equivalent new piano made today, as more skilled technicians were in the piano manufacturing trade in those days.


The make is the key

By far the most important factor when buying a piano is the make. Yamaha pianos are the most prolific make and the majority of these are well made – particularly those from the 60s to 80s. However, most new Yamaha pianos for sale are no longer made in Japan and can be far inferior and in some cases unacceptable in the opinion of many tuners. We now stock a range of new Feurich grands and uprights, which we consider to be an excellent alternative to the used Yamaha G and C series grands and upright U1 and U3 pianos made in the 60s to 80s. We are extremely selective with regard to the makes and origin of pianos we take into stock. For examples and photographs of these and other good makes please see our stocklist. Our common piano makes in the UK page has a list of all the common makes available and a rating range of each make.


Assuming the make of piano is good, the bigger pianos have a deeper and better tone and more responsive touch. Grand pianos are generally better than uprights as the grand action lifts the hammer to the very last minute giving maximum control whereas the upright action lifts and throws it towards the string. However top quality uprights can also be very sensitive, and very small grand actions can be quite basic (see grand and upright pages for more information).

Humidity – Very Important

If you live in a dry modern house, then you may need a humidifier. This will depend largely on the make and type of piano. Good makes are more resistant to changes in humidity. As a guide, try to keep the humidity between 45% and 70% and the temperature at no more than 21°C. Under floor heating can also ruin a piano if serious steps are not taken to compensate for it.

The Tone

Good older pianos generally sound more mellow and modern ones more crisp, though there are many exceptions to this. Classical musicians often prefer a mellow tone while jazz musicians a ‘cleaner’ modern sound. It’s down to personal taste; our advice is to try as many pianos as possible before purchasing. If you’re not confident to do this, take a good teacher or tuner with you when you shop. If this isn’t possible then we also have several staff who can demonstrate the pianos for you.

Touch Weight

Touch weight is to some extent a matter of personal preference, but a piano with too heavy a touch can be difficult to play expressively. On the other hand, too light a touch is not good for serious beginners as they will not develop sufficient finger strength, though a light touch is often preferable for occasional or older players. New pianos tend to be on the heavy side while some older ones (e.g. Blüthner patent action grands) have deliberately light touch.

Piano Stools

It’s important to have the right height of stool to suit the piano and player. Please see our piano stools page.

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, and modern ones and grands usually don’t. Many serious musicians request them.


black polyester yamaha u3 upright piano

Yamaha u3

Leg room on pianos varies from 60 to 70cm . Grands and small modern uprights are usually 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!


We advise you never to buy a piano without getting a technician/tuner to assess it. Choose a PTA (Piano Tuners Association) member. The charge should be modest, and could well save you hundreds of pounds! Thank you for reading this. If you’ve followed these principles, then your well chosen piano will bring life into your home for generations to come!

Virtually unused Steinway M grand piano 5ft 7in, 2003

This piano has just come into stock. I like to tune pianos when they come in to get an idea of what the condition is like. It needed pitch raising, about 5 beats. This indicates normally that is has had very little use, which is evident from the slight amount of wear on the hammers.

Cosmetically, the piano has some small scratch marks, which are most likely due to sheet music on the desk. We can remove about 90% of the scratches.

Steinway music desk
Scratches difficult to see here

Looking inside, although it is dusty, it appears the piano needs little work except for some regulation.

A piano of this age (2003) will sound much like a new piano. The tuning pins are tight which is a good sign of endurance. We could say for arguments sake it has lost perhaps 3-4% of its tone in the bass. It may be the construction not the age.

Parts include Renner hammers, in perfect condition both in terms of wear and regulation. The backcheck and felts as well as distances are all fine. it may have had 30 minutes of play for about a year.

Hammers only slightly worn
Hammers only slightly worn

In comparison with a Bluthner 150cm, the bass is not as strong, due to the size. Action wise the Bluthner is very smooth. As well a 2 metre Bechstein which has a very nice tone, and rich bass due to the lenght.

Visit us to view our stock in person. We regularly have 3-4 Steinway grand pianos in stock. Call ahead or show up (01865) 240-634. Email for inquiries.

Fully restored roller action Bluthner 6ft 3in grand c1905 rosewood

Bluthner grand piano
Bluthner in Rosewood finish

1905 6ft 3in long Bluthner  grand piano in stock. Marcus is showing the quality of the piano. This piano has a rosewood finish, polished by Blüthner in London. The grain is particularly attractive. With slight fading on one corner.

Fine rosewood veneer
Fine rosewood veneer

Bluthner’s refinishing is unique to Blüthner with a silky slightly open pore polish.

Silky smoothness and pores piano
Silky smoothness and pores

The sides show how beautiful the veneer is:

Piano veneer pattern
Piano veneer pattern

Very decorative rosewood veneer. In our opinion Blüthner use the best veneer on the market for pianos. Steinway also do an excelent rosewood that is very similar.

The keytops are replacment keytops.

Replacement keytops Blüthner logo
Replacement keytops

They are very well done by Blüthner themselves apparently. The piano has a a lot of history but we want to focus here on the fine regulation and things we will do to the piano ourselves.

Firstly we like to check the tightness of the tuning pins. This piano has a new wrestplank and pins. When some restorers replace the pin block they place larger pins. There is no need to do this.

New tuning block and tuning pins
New tuning block and tuning pins

The wrest plank is multi laminate wrestplank, probably made by delegnite:

New tuning block
New tuning block

The piano was fully restored in 2005. There are signs that show it as delegnit, the main one is the that the wood is slightly patchy.

They have replaced the original patent action with a roller action and replaced the damper tray too which you have to do too if you change the action. The spoons on the damper rail make for efficient damper regulation.

New action damper rail and damper system
New action damper rail and damper system

It is an extremely high quality job done here by Blüthner.

The piano has a new Schwander action made in England, with potentially some parts made in Germany:

Schwander grand piano action
Schwander grand piano action

Schwander is a tremendously good firm. This action has Abel hammers and the whole action is new. If you want to see videos on patent actions, we have videos of those too for comparison.

What I want to concentrate on is the fine regulation. If you compare C and B here:

Piano hammer regulation let-off and spring
Piano hammer regulation let-off and spring

The C is fine regulated, by moving up the let-off

Grand piano let-off regulation
Grand piano let-off regulation

It was not playing as finely as it could have been. Also the drop-screw has been taken up a bit.

Action regulation continued
Action regulation continued

So if we watch it now B and C together you will be able to see when the hammer sets off. They go up very slowly together you will see B sets off before C. And C sets off later. A later set-off allows for very fine playing as you can control the hammer closer to the string.

I will show you how these are adjusted. We had set-up the key dip to 11mm as Marcus’ prefered key-dip. Similar to most modern keyboards:

Key dip measurement tool
Key dip measurement tool

We had previously set the key dip to 11mm which gives it a nice after touch. We had also set the blow-distance to 44mm.

Let-off regulation Blüthner Schwader action
Let-off regulation Blüthner Schwader action

The chalk visible on the action is there to enable the roller on the hammer to move more smoothly. Which also removed the slight squeak on some notes:

We either use French chalk or teflon powder or talk on the back of the roller for smootheness.

We also found the springs needed regulating to make the hammer go up after touch. Renner say ‘rise like the sun’ we prefere a bit more speed as this slows with age.

Backchecks, it is important that the hammer is caught on the backcheck not left hanging in mid-air
Backchecks, it is important that the hammer is caught on the backcheck not left hanging in mid-air

This responsive spring makes a lot of difference if you would like to play softly. Until 1905 Bluthner replaced production of patent actions with roller actions. Blüthner fully restored the piano in 2005 and it feels beautiful.

This is the screw that adjusts the spring:

Regulating the spring
Regulating the spring

There are many fans of Blüthner because of its silky smoothness. Which can also produce power if desired. The main points, the baseline, is how a piano feels and sounds. We will do more fine regulation to even further perfect this beautiful piano.

Time to enjoy this fine piano
Time to enjoy this fine piano
Tagged , ,

Blüthner Grand Pianos

bluthner grand piano for saleBluthner style IV

We normally stock at least three restored Blüthner grand pianos between 5ft and 6ft 3in long. If you’re thinking of buying a professionally reconditioned Blüthner grand piano then you’re getting a piano with a smooth, light touch (especially in the older “patent” actions models), warm tone and an aesthetically pleasing cabinet.

Blüthner patent action

bluthner grand pianos patent action

These are unique to Blüthner and date from about 1885 to 1925.

Photo taken of a Blüthner style 5 grand with a Blüthner patent action (See image) These are the older ones dating from about 1880 to 1924. The action is simpler in design than the normal roller action found in nearly all other pianos. It has the advantage of being smoother, usually lighter. The action doesn’t repeat as fast as the roller action, but this is not noticeable unless playing very fast repetition such as in Rapsody in Blue. Some restorers fit a modern action into the older pianos.

Standard roller action

bluthner grand pianos roller action1

Blüthner roller-action are commonly found after about 1920, though there is a cross-over period and some patent actions appear after this date.

These start from about 1920 onwards though most are from out about 1926. By far the most common is the style 4 baby grand, 4ft 11in, which is one of the best baby grands ever made. It has a smooth touch and fine “silky” tone. They are simple in style with plain music desk and square tapered legs. These cost about £3000 to £5000 (2014) unrestored and we sell them reconditioned from around £9500 to £18,500 (2014) fully restored and custom re-polished. We normally have one or two style 4 Blüthner baby grands in stock, though they are in great demand and becoming hard to find. The most common veneer/colour is mahogany.


Patent action


Roller action

Blüthner style 4 baby grand pianos

Many Blüthner style 4 baby grands from 1920 to 1939 need to have the “action standards” replaced as they form fissures and bow outwards, making correct regulation impossible. This work and action regulation costs about £1200+VAT (2014) provided someone has not previously attempted to repair the regulation without first replacing the standards. This second scenario is often the case, so the piano needs re-regulating and the cost will then be around £2300 +VAT (2014).

Comparison of Bluthner style 4a and style 4 small grand pianos


Blüthner grand pianos from about 1958

Unfortunately the “iron curtain” had an adverse effect on the Blüthner grand and the materials used weren’t always of good quality. Be careful when buying a Blüthner from this period.

Modern Blüthner grand pianos from about 1995

There are not many of these available, but they are generally of excellent quality, perhaps more suited to smaller rooms than the equivalent Steinway.

Models of Blüthner grand pianos found in the UK

Older Styles to about 1925 (mostly patent actions)

Style Comment
5 5ft 9in Rich tone with patent action; turned legs and fretted or slatted music desk.
They normally have a patent action (see above).
6 5ft 9in. Same as above with Aliquot stringing. Patent action
7 6ft 3in. Most are rosewood or black. Warm rich tone with superb bass and singing treble and tenor. Patent action
8 6ft 3in. The same as style 7 but with Aliquot stringing (see photo) Patent action
9 6ft 9in – 6 ft 11in. Rich tone with strong bass. Aliquot stringing; patent action
10 7ft 8in Small concert Grand.
11 9ft 2in Concert grand

New Styles From 1926 – roller actions

Style Comments
4 4ft 11in; popular small grand piano with a rich silky tone.
4a 5ft 5in; less common, the styling is the same as the style 4
12 6ft 3in. Replaced style 7 and 8 from about 1925 to 1945. The numbering is reversed from about 1945. Very few in the UK
11 Becomes model 1 Length: 9’2″ (280 cm)
style 10 becomes model 2 Length: 7’8″ (238 cm)
9 Becomes model 4 Length: 6’10 ” (210 cm)
8 Becomes model 6 Length: 6’3″ (191 cm)
4a Becomes model 10 Length: 5’5 ” (166 cm)
4 Becomes model 11 Length: 5’1″ (154cm)


Model Size No. in UK Finish
11 154cm 1,100 35% mahogany, 35% black, 20% walnut, 10% other
10 166cm 550 30% mahogany, 40% black, 20% walnut, 10% other
6 191cm 250 25% mahogany, 55% black, 10% walnut, 10% other
4 210cm 50 85% black, 15% other
2 238cm 40 90% black, 10% other
1 280cm 20 99% black, 1% other

Patent Aliquot scaling


Bluthner designed a 4th string to enhance the power of their characteristically ‘soft’ treble. The string is elevated which means the hammer is not struck by the hammer. Instead the strings played transfer the vibration through the laws of physics of sound vibrations. Practically it is harder to tune as the tuner needs to pluck this extra string.

Steinway Grand Pianos for Sale | Steinway & Sons

Thank you for coming onto our Steinway grand page. We buy, restore and sell over 15 Steinway grand pianos each year and constantly try to improve our standards by attending Steinway and Renner courses regularly. We are especially fastidious in making sure the touch and tone are as fine and possible.

We also have an in-house traditional French polishing team and also commission other companies if we need a modern polyester black finish.

We have over 50 videos which we hope will help you understand Steinway restoration. Please see our video channel.

Help in choosing a restored or used Steinway grand piano

Comparison Between Steinway Grand Pianos: S, M & O

Common models

  • Model S 5ft 1″ commonly found in mahogany, restored Steinway S’s are often refinished in black.
  • Model M 5ft 7″, normally in Mahogany; restored model M’s are often refinished in black. All with square tapered legs.
  • Model O 5ft 10” usually in Rosewood or Mahogany. Early model O’s had turned legs and later it changed to square tapered. Model O’s are about 40% of all Steinway pianos available. The best have a rich, full and powerful tone
  • Model A 6ft 3″ normally found in rosewood or mahogany, earlier ones with turned legs and later with square tapered. The best have a rich, full and powerful tone. (They make up for 20% of Steinway pianos)
  • Model B around 7ft, these are uncommon second hand pianos, and much sought after
  • Model D 8ft 10“, concert grands; older used ones usually need extensive reconditioning

black model o steinway grand pianos

A Steinway model O grand piano

I thought I would send you a few lines expressing my gratitude to you and your team

I thought I would send you a few lines expressing my gratitude to you and your team for the fantastic job they have all made in reconditioning my Steinway grand piano. The outcome is a beautiful piano, the rosewood veneer now looks just like it was over hundred years ago. Truly magnificent and the polishing by Mana was a great work of art. The high polish looks fabulous in the snooker/piano room. The interior again looks like brand new and is joy to behold. The sound is splendid, I just wish for the first time in my life that I had carried on with my piano lesson so that I could enjoy playing it now. To say I am pleased with the result is an understatement. The men who did the actual removal and reinstallment were extremely nice and very courteous I would be more than happy to recommend your Company at any time.

Robert Cranmer-Brown

Unlike other instrumentalists who can carry their instruments with them…

Unlike other instrumentalists who can carry their instruments with them, pianists are more reliant than most musicians on the people who maintain and care for the instrument. For that reason there has always been a strong relation between pianists and piano makers, technicians and tuners (e.g. Beethoven and Broadwood, Chopin and Pleyel, Liszt and Bechstein, Gershwin and Steinway, Richter and Yamaha, etc.). Oxford is really fortunate in having Marcus Roberts and Roberts Pianos. He has shown the same care and attention to the need of the professional pianist as any of these famous names from the past. For my annual Oxford Summer Piano Series Marcus went out of his way to make sure I had a superb instrument on which to prepare 8 taxing recital programmes while visiting the city, and his help has been invaluable. I would also not hesitate in recommending his business to the amateur pianist as much as the professional. All budding pianists, of whatever age and whatever level of skill, should always have access to the best instruments available, and Roberts Pianos, whose instruments are superbly maintained, is in a unique position to help.

Jack Gibbons

Table of models

O5’10”1900  The Steinway model O is one of the more common models of Steinway in the UK. We often have several in stock.

Model Size Year introduced Information
S 5’1″ 1936

Information. The rarest size of used Steinway; out of 100 Steinways in the UK about one will be a model S.

 The main competitor to the S is the 4ft 11in Bluthner model IV baby grand which is much more common.

See our stocklist for availability.

M 5’6″, 5’6″ 3/4, 5’7″ 1911, 1914, 1918 Steinway model M, also known as the "medium grand" is a common grand that we have in stock. Highly recommended for medium to mid-large sized rooms. Often available in rosewood or more modern polyester black. A resonant mid-sized grand from the German manufacturer. See our stocklist for availability. Information
O 5’10 1/2 c1900 The model O is one of the most common Steinways available. Formerly manufactured in New York; manufactured in Hamburg from about 1900. More information
L 5’10 1/2″ 1923 Manufactured in New York. More information
A 6’1" 1878  The A was the shortest model up to about 1900. The Steinway model A is a resonant mid-sized Steinway grand. Recommended for medium to large sized domestic settings. Mainly old-styled ones available in the UK with fretted music desk and elephant legs. Information
A II 6’2″ 1896 Formerly Manufactured in New York now manufactured in Hamburg from 1923. More information
A III 6’4″ 1/2 1913- 1947
B 6’11″, 6’10” 1872, 1884 The model B Steinway grand is an excellent piano suited for medium to large concert spaces or large domestic environments. The length makes for a clear tenor section and longer keys allow greater dynamic expression. More information
C 7’1″, 7’2″,
7’3″, 7’5″
1861, 1870,
1884, 1885
 Discontinued in 1913 but is occasionally produced in Hamburg from 1923. More information
D 8’5″, 8’6″, 8’9″,
8’10”, 8’10”
1859, 1869,
1876, 1884, 1915
 Information. Steinway model D is the largest Steinway grand piano. Used in many top concert halls and conservatories around the world. We do occasionally stock these. However, they are rare on the market and most concert halls sell them once they have been well used. Occasionally you can find modern model D's for sale that were used as hire pianos.

Frequently asked questions

Is my Steinway worth restoring?

Almost every Steinway grand is worth restoring. Uprights vary in terms of investment value of restoration. Please inquire for a free valuation.

How can I maintain my Steinway?

Keep the room from being too dry or too damp. Use a damp cloth to clean wooden cases and barely damp for polyester. We do not recommend cleaning the dampers yourself, it is best to ask your tuner to do so

Pianos for Sale

Here to help

Over 200 pages of information and videos to help you navigate the world of pianos.

Top quality pianos in stock

We have a good stock of Steinway, Bechstein, Blüthner, Wlemar, Knight, Feurich, Kawai  and Yamaha pianos. With over 70 upright and 15 grand pianos, we have a great variety of stock – new, restored German and English and Japanese ranging from £900 to £32,000.  All have well regulated touch and are finely voiced.

For all our pianos for sale please see our stocklist which is regularly updated.

View Stocklists

Piano Rental

Rent a used grand or upright piano

Rental only: 3% of purchase price per month.
Rent to buy: 5% of purchase price per month.

Rent an upright piano or grand piano from £45 a month. If you pay 10 months’ rental in advance the full amount will be deducted from this or any other piano. For more details please see our rentals page.

See the rentals page for more information:

Piano Rental

Quick Links


Bluthner baby grand traditional french polished
Manuel Miron
Manuel Miron
22:11 05 Mar 20
Bluthner baby grand traditional french polished
Manuel Miron
Manuel Miron
22:10 05 Mar 20
For me, to own an acoustic (real) piano is just a dream but piano maintenance is fascinating. Digital pianos are more affordable; every home should have one.
John Peter Maughan
John Peter Maughan
10:02 25 Dec 19
For me, to own an acoustic (real) piano is just a dream but piano maintenance is fascinating. Digital pianos are more affordable; every home should have one.
John Peter Maughan
John Peter Maughan
10:02 25 Dec 19
Superb retailer of modern and historic pianos. Their technical work is first class, and the staff are extremely helpful and friendly.
Christopher Holman
Christopher Holman
10:32 04 Oct 19
Superb retailer of modern and historic pianos. Their technical work is first class, and the staff are extremely helpful and friendly.
Christopher Holman
Christopher Holman
10:32 04 Oct 19
Most unprofessional: I've e-mailed this company with the information requested on the 10th of December 2018. I've called a few weeks later and was told that they will get back to me in the New Year. Then called again in January to chase but only empty promises that they will get back to me. On Monday the 4th of March I called again and finally got some help telephonically with the promise that my case will now be dealt with. On Wed the 6th of March I've received a text message: "Yes, I'm out tuning today away from the office but will check e-mails again tomorrow and get a reply to you then I hope. I had no communication once again... I was hoping that Clive just forgot and sent him a polite request yesterday to get back to me. And then his response: Like I said...I will but there are other customers too and I deal with them in order of priority. The more messages I get the longer it takes." You as reader can certainly make up your own mind what to think of this response. I really hope to get an apology from whoever cares about this company/business. No potential client should be treated like this.
Hannake Kluge
Hannake Kluge
11:23 09 Mar 19
Purchased a Hidrau Geneva Stool Duet stool from Roberts Pianos instead of a cheaper stool from the store I was purchasing our piano from as the stool seemed to be of much better build quality at Roberts. The stool was a surprise Christmas present for my partner, she absolutely loved it. I had good customer service from David and Rodrigo
Matthew Benham
Matthew Benham
15:25 12 Jan 19
I had been looking for a piano for some time when I found one of Markus' videos on the web. I was so much convinced by his professionalism that I went on their website to find one of the pianos he introduced in one of his videos and after one week I'm sitting here listening to my daughter playing the piano. They are such a nice, helpful and professional team that I can really recommend them to anyone who seriously wants to buy a quality piano. I thank them for this wonderful buying experience.
Kornel Negro
Kornel Negro
18:13 05 Dec 18
If pianos is what you look for, this is the right place. Very helpful and amicable staff!
Adriana Ahuban
Adriana Ahuban
12:04 30 Sep 18
Attentive and expert, enthusiastic about the pianos and really keen to make sure that we understood what we were buying and would be happy with it
Charles McEvoy
Charles McEvoy
15:44 16 Jun 18
Imagine playing grand pianos by Bechstein (x2), Bluthner (x2), Bosendorfer (x2), Lipp, Ibach and Steinway all in a Saturday afternoon - well you can with the excellent selection at with either the retail shop or workshop. Bechstien Model IIII & 8 and Grotrian -Steinweg uprights tried too - which was the reason for our visit!
Paul Hart
Paul Hart
10:42 12 Apr 18
Technical expertise, passion for the piano and outstanding customer service - we have enjoyed these in equal excellent measure in our purchase of a “new” 1919 grand piano from Roberts Pianos. Marcus Roberts helped us to find a wonderful piano perfect for us now and that will last us generations; he guided us on the priorities for its restoration, whilst fitting within our budget; we are delighted with the result.We have had the piano for a month now - delivery and aftercare have been faultless too.Thank you for helping us find our piano.
Stuart Cotton
Stuart Cotton
21:04 05 Jan 18
As a pianist and teacher I was looking in 2005 for a concert instrument to be housed in our local church, for recitals. Marcus Roberts very helpfully found a Yamaha C5 Grand and more recently, in 2014, when I needed to update my (smaller) teaching piano, I went back to Roberts Pianos and Marcus recommended a Kawai 4'11'' grand which, like the Yamaha, is proving to be a beautifully-toned and balanced instrument. I have been delighted with the helpfulness of all the staff, including the efficiency of the removal operation.
David Berdinner
David Berdinner
23:03 17 Jan 14
We moved to Oxford last August for a one-year assignment. As we have two young children who play piano, one of the first things we did after settling in was to look for a shop with piano rental service. A friend who has lived in Headington for years recommended Roberts Pianos at St Clements Street. We were greeted by friendly staff the second we walked in. Marcus Roberts’ son Evan professionally guided us to try many different pianos in the showrooms and workshops. Throughout the process he and his co-workers were very helpful, courteous, patient, and knowledgeable. Evan later introduced us to Marcus, who showed our children around and encouraged them to try out different models. We eventually settled on a Welmar Fine English upright piano, which has an elegant look and beautiful sound. We rented it for 11 months. Marcus was very kind to offer that if we need to use the piano for additional weeks beyond the rental period, he is “absolutely fine”! The delivery team was polite and efficient. Our children have thoroughly enjoyed playing the piano over the past 11 months. Looking back, we are very happy with our decision of choosing Roberts Pianos. We would recommend them to anyone looking for a great piano and great service.
Cheng-Chwee KUIK
Cheng-Chwee KUIK
22:21 25 Jul 13

Our history and our staff

The Roberts family have been in the trade for four generations, starting in 1919 with David Roberts who worked as a piano and organ tuner and restorer in the Exeter area. David’s son Brian helped with piano restoration but went into music teaching. His son Marcus started as a teacher but began piano tuning and restoration in 1980. After five years tuning and restoring, with clients including Vladimir Ashkenazy, John Lill and Alfred Brendel, he took up piano dealing in 1985. His sons Stephen and Evan are now all working with the Roberts Pianos team, which comprises of about 8 full-time workers. We currently serve top concert venues in Oxford, London and Portsmouth with clients such as Oxford University, Portsmouth Guildhall, Wembley Arena, Eton College, Radiohead, Jamie Cullum and Adele. We specialise in top quality grand and upright pianos with sales across the South of England from Cornwall to East Anglia.

Grand pianos

Grand pianos

This page is intended to help draw your attention to the most important factors to consider when deciding which grand piano to buy.

Are grand pianos better than uprights?

  1. The grand action has better control than an upright action, allowing the player more sensitivity. This is because the upright “throws” the hammer towards the string, whereas on a grand piano it is a “lifting” movement, so perfect control is maintained until the very last moment.
  2. Also, nearly all grand pianos of 150cm length or more have a repetition lever which holds the hammer near the string ready for the next time it is struck; this minimises the travel for the repeated blow.
  3. Grand pianos over about 5ft 5in in length have longer strings and a bigger soundboard than most uprights, giving them a richer tone.
  4. The soft pedal is genuinely “una corda” in most grands, meaning that there should be a significant change in tone when used. Upright “soft” pedals (left pedal) only move the hammers nearer to the strings preventing loud playing.
  5. the player can be facing the audience or other players instead of facing the wall.
  6. The music desk is adjustable (except on some cheaper modern baby grand pianos such as the Yamaha GB1 or GP1) by sliding it forwards or backwards, accommodating both short and long-sighted people. It is also highter except for older uprights that have the swing style music desk that folds away inside the piano.
  7. Finally, most piano exams are taken on a good grand piano because the action is different and more sensitive; it’s therefore preferable to practice on one too.

Things that should be considered

Are you tall? Is there enough leg room?

Leg room on pianos varies in height from 58 -70cm (Measure your leg from floor to top of knee!). Grands and small modern uprights are usually about 62cm from the floor to the under side of the keyboard. With grands, this can be increased by about 3cm by using glass castor 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 and many Kawai and Feurich uprights have 70cm and an older Blüthner 65cm. A small modern Zender has only 58.5cm!)

Underfloor heating – beware!

Recently (2013) we have been out to several pianos that have been badly damaged by under-floor heating. If you do have this system of heating then the best solution is to isolate it from the area near the piano. Please contact us for further advice on how to do so. If you are unable to isolate the area then we can provide a special mat for the piano to stand on.

Wooden Floors

It’s most important to note that as the soundboard vibrates the sound that bounces back off a wooden floor, making the piano sound much louder than it does on carpeted flooring. If you’re buying a soft toned piano such as an old style Blüthner then this may not be a problem. However if you’re buying a bright sounding modern Steinway, Yamaha or Bösendorfer then it’s likely you’ll need to put a rug under the piano, and may also need to introduce other absorbent material to the room such as drapes or tapestries. In this way you should be able to arrive at the ideal acoustic. IMPORTANT: as we have said above, if you have underfloor heating this can dry out a piano and you will either need to isolate it or humidify the 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 bookholder. Not very easy to fit on polyester pianos

Book holders on a Bechstein 10

What make of Grand Piano?

There used to be a saying “a Steinway for the concert hall, a Bechstein for the theatre and Blüthner for the home.” There is a lot of truth in this, as Steinways generally aim for a big powerful tone, Bechsteins for a more subtle tone but still quite powerful, and Blüthner very much more mellow, usually with a lighter action. These are the most common of the fine German makes. IMPORTANT: If you want a piano to seriously study for an exam then you will need a heavier touch than most older pianos have. (Touch weight has increased since 1870 by as much as 30%!) However, if you are an occasional player then the lighter touch of an older or a played on modern piano is often better as it is less strenuous.

By far the most common restored Steinway grand pianos are models M's, O’s, A’s and B’s. They vary enormously in quality and in how much they have been used, but generally older Steinway grand pianos have been used extensively and are therefore very worn. Reconditioning grands can also vary widely in quality so if you’re buying a restored Steinway grand we strongly recommend having a Steinway trained technician to check it first.

Bluthner Style 9. Bluthner pianos for sale

(c1880 – 1910) normally have a “Blüthner patent” action which is lighter to play than a modern one

Styles of grand pianos

Baby grand pianos

These are loosely defined as being from 4ft 3in to 5ft 8in in length.The best used makes of baby grand pianos are, in rough order of availability: Blüthner, Yamaha, Steinway, Kawai, Welmar, Richard Lipp, Bösendorfer, Fazioli and Steingraeber. There are other excellent makes but they are less common in the UK. Please see our list of common makes.

New baby grand pianos

We stock new baby grands by Kawai and Feurich (formerly Wendl & Lung ). The Yamaha GB1 is 4ft 11in but we don’t recommend this piano as it doesn’t have an adjustable music desk.

New Grand Pianos

We don’t recommend most new grands which sell for up to about £14,000 RRP (2015), as they tend to be of inferior quality and can develop problems after a few years. There are a few exceptions to this, and we currently have in stock new pianos from Feurich, a serious Austrian/German firm and the Japanese firm Kawai.
Kawai GM-10K. Kawai pianos for sale


Concert Grand Pianos

From about 7ft 2in to 9ft 6in. Manufacturers always put a lot more time and effort into making concert grand pianos, also employing their top technicians to work on them. They have long strings and a large action, so sound and play powerfully. The best restored makes of used concert grand pianos are, in rough order of availability: Steinway, Yamaha, Bösendorfer and Grotrian Steinweg. There are many other good makes of concert grand, notably Steingraeber and Fazioli, but we’ve listed the most common.
Bosendorfer Piano. Bosendorfer pianos for sale

Bösendorfer 275 concert grand

German grands

Modern German Grands (post 1950)

These are much less common on the second hand market. The best ones that come up relatively frequently are: Steinway models O (5ft 10in) and B (6ft 11in). Model M (5ft 7in) and model S (5ft 1in) baby grands are good but not so common. For full details see the Steinway website. Avoid modern Bluthners made from about 1960 to about 1990 as these were made in East Germany while Germany was divided util just after reunification, and the materials used are not always good.Other less common modern German grands are (in order of availability) Bechstein, Bösendorfer, August Förster (not recommended – too variable), Ibach, Zimmerman (not recommended), Schiedmayer and Schimmell. Please inquire if you’d like further information about any

Other common quality German grand pianos

Steinway Model B. Steinway pianos for sale
Steinway model B

Bechstein models V and IV grand pianos which pre-date the models A, B and C are also very common. Please see the Bechstein page for details. Richard Lipp grand pianos are also excellent. The most common are the 5ft and 5ft 8in baby grands.

Rough price guide (2014)

Make Model Length Year Un-Restored Restored Comments
Bechstein A 6ft 1902 – 1925 £1,200 – £3,500 £12,000-£18,500 Usually black or rosewood. A beautiful all round grand with a smooth action and rich tone.
Bechstein B 6ft 7in 1902 – c1925 £1,000-£3,500 £12,000-£18,500 Usually black or rosewood. A beautiful all round grand with a smooth action and rich tone
Blüthner boudoir grand 5-8 5ft 7in- 7ft 2in 1880-c1915 £1,000-£2,500 £10,000 – £19,000 Usually black or rosewood. Very rich warm tone, mellower than Bechstein. Smooth light touch
Blüthner baby grand 4,4a,5 4ft 11in to 6ft 1915-1935 £2,000-£4,000 £10,000-£18,000 Baby grand usually mahogany, walnut or black. Warm silky tone and smooth touch.
Bösendorfer grand 170 5ft 7in 1915 – 1940 £4000 – £5000 14,000 – £25,000 Usually black or mahogany; fine pianos.
Steinway boudoir grand O 5ft 10in 1877 – 1935 £5,000-£8,000 £15,000-£38,000 Varied styles of casework though mostly rosewood and black. Powerful all round piano with rich tone .
Steinway boudoir grand A 6ft 2in 1877 – 1935 £5,000-£8,000 £15,000- £37,000 Deeper tone than model O

Japanese Grand Pianos

These are the two most common makes of good Japanese grand pianos. Yamahas are by far the most common good grand piano on the world market. For details of Yamaha grand pianos please see the Yamaha page. Older Yamaha and Kawai grands from about 1970 to 1985 are excellent and more consistent than more recent ones, with the exception of the top of the range newer ones which are also excellent. Grand pianos can be rented at 3% of the purchase or 5% with option to purchase. Click here for our rentals page. For all new and used grand pianos for sale, see our stocklist.

Rough price list for traditional used English grand pianos (2015)

Here we list the most common English grand pianos, in rough order of availability in the UK. For a comprehensive list of the most common makes of grand piano available in the UK please see the restoration page.

Make Model Length Year Un-Restored Restored Comments
Challen N/A 4ft 3in to 6ft 1915-1960 £300 – £1,000 £3000 – £6500 Usually mahogany or walnut. Very varied. The best have a bright singing tone
Chappell boudoir grands B 5ft to 6ft 10in 1895 – 1915 £400 – £1,200 £5000 – £8,500 Usually figured rosewood. Attractive with rich bright tone and smooth action
Chappell baby grands N/A 4ft 6in to 5ft 1920 – 1935 £400 – £1,000 £4,000 – £6,000 Usually mahogany. Consistently fine strong tone for a baby grand
Broadwood baby and boudoir grands Various 5ft to 8ft 1890 – 1940 £500 – £1000 £4000- £12,000 Pre 1890s ones very common and best avoided unless very well reconditioned. 1890 to 1910, some excellent ones,especially the “Barless” grand. Of this make you will find some of the best and some of the worst secondhand pianos available. Broadwood also made some of the most beautiful looking grands.
Steck A 6ft 2in N/A £300-£800 £2,500 £4,000 Other English makes of grand and baby grands which we don’t often buy and sell Older ones (1900 – 1915) can be excellent. 1920s and 30s ones vary and often develop loose tuning pins.
Cramer N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A Well made baby grand
Allison N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A Well made baby grand