A Guide To Buying A Used Steinway Piano

A Guide To Buying A Used Steinway Piano

Are you shopping for a used Steinway piano?

Not every used Steinway is the same. Just because a Craigslist ad says it’s a Steinway doesn’t mean it truly is. There are a lot of factors that go into consideration to determine a genuine Steinway. And every seller, dealer and technician will classify it in a different way.A Guide To Buying A Used Steinway Piano

Typically, used Steinways are broken down into several categories

Original – a used Steinway that has never had any parts replaced since the manufacturing process. They are typically less than 20 years old.

Repaired – the piano has been repaired over time without replacing any of the major components. It has been maintained and is still playable.

Rebuilt – all of the components have been built to original specifications. Soundboards, bridges, and action parts are the most common items to be rebuilt.

Shell – the piano has never been restored and is not in playable condition. It has been neglected, damaged or compromised.

Factory Restored – if a Steinway was restored at the Steinway Restoration Center, it has original parts replaced with genuine Steinway parts.

Stein-Was – a piano that has had one or more parts replaced with non=Steinway parts.

To determine the authenticity of a Steinway, find the serial number. On a grand, it is found on a cast iron plate between the tuning pins above the keyboard. On an upright, it is located on a cast iron plate when you open the top lid. A search will show you the date of your piano. You can request the history depending on its age.

Used, vintage and restored Steinway pianos are often prized for their beauty and value. However, there is a great deal of confusion in the piano industry about what constitutes a Steinway. Because many rebuilders use non-Steinway parts in the process, they often claim it doesn’t matter. But using inferior products and workmanship will compromise the instrument’s quality. If it doesn’t have the parts that give it its unique, rich quality, the performance will be forever lost.

Have additional questions about Steinway pianos? We’d be happy to answer.


Since 1960, Coltharp Piano World has represented the finest pianos in Memphis, Tennessee, the Midsouth and the world. In addition to quality sales and service we offer moving services, restoration services and master piano tuning. We offer the best new, used and vintage pianos anywhere. And our prices simply cannot be beat. Come and see our newly remodeled showroom and our beautiful new concert hall. We specialize in piano restoration for the southern United States. We welcome your call.

We are located at: 4447 Summer Ave, Memphis, Tennessee 38122 Call us at 901.682.1172

Buying A Used Steinway Piano

Buying A Used Steinway Piano

For many musicians, they don’t own a piano until they own a Steinway & Sons piano. Steinway’s are arguably the most coveted pianos in the world. Owning a Steinway represents commitment to excellence, and offers musical enjoyment for many years to come.Buying A Used Steinway Piano

Because Steinway pianos can be some of the most expensive pianos on the market, many turn to buying a used Steinway piano when purchasing a piano for their home. But what should you look for?

A piano can be broken down into three distinct areas:

  • The body of the piano contains the soundboard, the bridges, the pinblock, the ribs and the strings
  • The action of the piano contains the hammers, the hammer shanks and flanges, the dampers, the repetition levers, the keys, the key tops and the key frame.
  • The casing of the piano contains the lid, the frame, the music rack, the key cover, the pedals and the hinges

Over the years, repairs might be made to bring each piece back into working condition. If a complete rebuild occurs, it would require all of the above to be replaced. While some rebuilders demand on using only Steinway parts when making repairs, other rebuilders aren’t as arduous as others and will use parts easiest to find. While playability is important, it also brings into question “is a Steinway really a Steinway if it doesn’t have Steinway parts”. It’s important to consider and to talk with the person you are purchasing the piano from to understand the originality of the piano you are considering.

Inevitably the search for used pianos turns to the Internet. And in many cases you’ll find a wealth of information on the piano forums. Keep in mind that these forums are filled with a mixture of people with interest in piano. You’ll find the homeowner who picked up a piano for free and considers any music to be an acceptable form of entertainment. You’ll find technicians and wanna-be refurbishers who make a little extra money on the side tinkering around with something they enjoy. And occasionally you’ll find a reputable piano expert that’s been in the business for decades – however these are few and far between.

The Internet doesn’t take into account the musicality of a piano. A photo can never fully tell the real story of the piano. Without interaction between you and the piano, you have no idea the true condition a piano is really in. Even something in “good condition” is subjective depending on the person making the claim.

The only way to purchase a quality Steinway & Sons piano is to visit your local piano dealer where you can physically hear and play a variety of pianos, and have a face to face conversation with an expert that values their reputation in the community, and will offer you the best advice about selecting the right piano for you.

Give us a call today to find the perfect Steinway piano for you.


Since 1960, Coltharp Piano World has represented the finest pianos in Memphis, Tennessee, the Midsouth and the world. In addition to quality sales and service we offer moving services, restoration services and master piano tuning. We offer the best new, used and vintage pianos anywhere. And our prices simply cannot be beat. Come and see our newly remodeled showroom and our beautiful new concert hall. We specialize in piano restoration for the southern United States. We welcome your call.

We are located at: 4447 Summer Ave, Memphis, Tennessee 38122 Call us at 901.682.1172