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.