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My local piano dealer leases for concert grand piano in my city. I was inquiring recently about buying a grand piano when I was informed that this year they were selling one of their Steinway D, who's only been played for the past few years, at a good discount from new (around 30%, maybe a bit more later on).

My understanding is that despite being relatively young, around 5 years old, the piano will be far more used than a privately owned one. Yet after preliminary inspection, hammers were in relatively good shape, no damage to the soundboard, cosmetic scratches but nothing unusual for a piano used for many concerts and a great sound. A piano technician would be hired to fully inspect the piano if I were to proceed.

I was wondering as I am not a technician if you would strongly advise against buying such a piano as it would come with problems that would be costly to fix in the long term. one problem I have been told to look for is a looser pin block due to the number of tunings done to it. What should I watch for? should I wait for a privately owned one but certainly older Steinway D for the price point? I seem to be in a rare situation as very little information about used concert hall piano seems to exist. I would be glad about any information one could provide me.

Thanks for your help.

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In my mind the biggest question is "why are they selling it?"
If it's no longer up to scratch would you want it?
In my experience (and I mean only mine) used concert grands are only disposed of when they have lost their personality.
Just my opinion and each case will be different of course.
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It was my first question and they seem to have a regular change of concert grand as often when an artist such as Kissin or Martha Argerich come to perform they will be able to select a piano from Steinway for multiple concerts in the region. Then the shop as they organized the delivery tunning etc of the piano gets to keep/buy (seems like a grey area) the piano and use it for Steinway artist concerts and/or lease it to a concert hall. So as they have a high supply they can afford to only keep the "fresher" pianos.

However, this I what I was told and the piano might have damage I didn't find. which is why I would hire a technician before making any decision. I am more curious about what I should look for and expect. In terms of sound, it was still in great shape, in need of a voicing in the treble but much better than some 20 years old Steinway's I've tried. I am worried however about the pin block as mentioned due to the amount of tunning.

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Have a technician make an assessment and then you hopefully won’t have any mysteries about its condition.

Though for me I’d be concerned about paying that much. If there’s something special about this piano, if you play it and are mesmerised, and it’s worth it to you then go for it. But if you’re interested because of a 30% discount you could very likely get a nice D for less if you look around and are patient. You could certainly get a B for much less if you’re not determined to get a concert grand size. And unless you’re determined to get a Steinway, you could find other nice pianos for even less.

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Have the technician inspect the V-bar for proper shape and test it to determine if it was hardened. Avoid pianos with hardened V-bars.

Inspect it carefully looking for any sign it has been dropped and damaged.

30% off new is too high. If you had to sell it you would be lucky to get 70% off the new cost.


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I reside in Europe where even used Steinway go for a lot of money, instrument less than 10 years old are rarely seen at great discount. A lot of 2005-10 Steinway B still easily sell for above 80/90 000 dollars where I reside.

Thanks, the V-bar will be properly checked, i wouldn't have thought of it thank you. for the price, the piano is advertised at a 30% discount but knowing the shop the final price would be closer to 35/40% there's always room for some haggling.

So if after inspection by a competent technician and a price reduction would it be a good purchase or would an ex concert hall piano hide too many flaws that would reveal themselves later on due to an "accelerated" aging process?

I am not deadset on this piano it just seems like an interesting opportunity I wanted to explore as a good steinway D as been a dream piano of mine. (before anyone ask i am exploring different european option like steingraeber, Bosendorfer; and love the yamaha CF line)

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Shigeru Kawai also worth considering, if you are in the Yamaha CF, Bosendorfer, Steingraeber league.

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Originally Posted by LeZokk
I reside in Europe where even used Steinway go for a lot of money, instrument less than 10 years old are rarely seen at great discount. A lot of 2005-10 Steinway B still easily sell for above 80/90 000 dollars where I reside.

I am not deadset on this piano it just seems like an interesting opportunity I wanted to explore as a good steinway D as been a dream piano of mine. (before anyone ask i am exploring different european option like steingraeber, Bosendorfer; and love the yamaha CF line)

Not meaning to say anything negative about Steinway’s—I’ve heard a couple of D’s which were more beautiful than any other piano I’ve heard. But there are other really nice piano brands which may inspire you equally at a lower price. I have a 1951 Mason & Hamlin BB and I replaced the hammers, shanks, and flanges, and I love it. A Steinway D would have to be a pretty special one to lure me away (where I teach there are two D’s and I’d never trade my BB for them).

Personally I think it’s impossible to say with certainty what will happen to a piano if it’s not currently showing any issues to a knowledgable technician. Even with a simple tuning every piano reacts differently—I routinely see pianos defy convention and expectations. If a trusted technician says this D is currently in good shape just go with that.

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A Steinway D, even at a 35-40% discount, is still a lot of money! I would definitely want to be completely over the moon about the piano if I were considering it, and I would definitely spend the time looking at pianos from other manufacturers (as it seems you are doing). As well as getting it inspected.
To the question about why a relatively new piano is being sold… I have no way of knowing, but it seems possible that if performances are down due to COVID, and if concert venues are financially strained, there may be fewer leasing opportunities for the dealer, and therefore, it makes more financial sense to sell some of the pianos that they were otherwise leasing. Or, as has been suggested, it may have lost its concert personality. I’m just speculating…

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I would also ask you...how big is the room you are thinking of putting it in?
Sound splashes back at you from all the surfaces in the room and a piano that size doesn't always sound good in restricted circumstances.
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That is also basically my question, although I will frame it differently: Just why do you want a D? Is it because you believe bigger is better?

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in terms of room size, it is not a concern, I live in a large house and my living room is a piano room first with a tv in the corner for guests. around 70m2 and 4m in height. I have tried concert grand in a much smaller room and they were okay.

bigger is not always better but in this case, it is. I have played many disappointing B, yet great A but I already own a piano in a similar size and wish to own a concert grand. Just as no one needs a Ferrari, a concert grand is my Ferrari. Also, I don't think anyone can't deny the joy of playing those rumbling bass notes on a 9 foot piano. I am past the point of being sensible or logical. Very few individuals genuinely "need" a concert grand, but it's the closest thing I will ever get to feel like Horowitz and smile. It's just fun.

if you meant why a steinway D in particular, i just happened to have the option to buy one in my price range and it plays fantastic. But it doesn't have to be a D.

I am not shopping for a concert grand specifically but my price range allows me to consider it, some modern 7 foot piano sounds just as good as some larger ones I have tried.

also, I hate my neighbors.

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You have nice tall ceilings. This will go a long way to making a D work in your room. It gives enough room for the ceiling reflection to be not so abrupt.


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Is this a Hamburg D you are looking at or a NY D?

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it's the one reason i chose this house haha, one large room with high ceiling, and i plan on getting a few GIK acoustic panels if necessary.

it is a Hamburg D steinway.

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it's the one reason i chose this house haha, one large room with high ceiling, and i plan on getting a few GIK acoustic panels if necessary.

it is a Hamburg D steinway.

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As already advised, a thorough inspection (and I might add pay extra to tune the entire instrument) should be performed by someone you know and trust. But the likelihood of there being anything seriously wrong from a manufacturing standpoint is actually quite slim. My suspicion is that it is simply a cash flow generating opportunity. I assume of course that it is being sold with a full "replenished" five year warranty (read it carefully). Yes?

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yes, it will have a 5 year warranty, i will demand a copy of it to read it shortly.

i am not expecting a default in manufacturing more an used pin block and strings due to numerous tunning as it was use for concerts and constantly moved, maybe even a pitch raised. i will be receiving more information about what was done on the piano shortly.

also if anyone can advise on how to check if the piano lyre is in adequate condition. the shop doesn't lyre tilt as far as i know but some performer can't be spirited with their pedalling let's say.

i am not concerned about buying a used piano but by a used piano that served as a concert piano for a few years (not many considering the lack of concert for the past year and a half)

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Maybe it's a bit like buying a used car. In this case a used hire car. You know it's been driven as if it was stolen by every hirer, but then again you know it's been maintained properly....
Decisions decisions.....
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You should accompany your tech to the inspection and tuning so as to bring up anyb and all concerns to be checked to your satisfaction.

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Concert pianos sometimes get aggressive string seating done on the bridges. Have your independent tech look for crushed wood under the strings at the bridge.

Sometimes Steinway case hardens their V-bars in the capo d'astro sections. (The top two sections of strings in a D). Have your tech check for this too. A hard V-bar makes for many problems over time. If the treble was recently restrung, it may be because it has this issue, and the problems can be "moved down the road" by putting new wire in there; but over time the buzzes and breakage will come back.

D's are cool, but I still prefer a perfect B in a home to a perfect D. The B's weaknesses at the scale break and low bass can be mostly eliminated by rescaling with a hybrid wire scale. And if the hammers are properly tone regulated, and the V-bar is properly configured, a B has a warmth of tone and rich palette of color a D doesn't quite have.

I am splitting hairs here so to speak.


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I agree with Ed. Add strike weight calibration and resulting key reweighing and SHAZAM!

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Last edited by P W Grey; 07/29/21 12:13 PM.

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There are lots of people here who are selling fear, uncertainty, and doubt instead of piano service. If all that they want to sell you were necessary, it would have been done already. Bottom line, it is your money, and if you like the piano and can afford it, you should not be afraid of buying it.


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I am back with more information,

I will be getting a full 5 years warranty and it seems to cover unseen damages caused due to loaning the piano that might arise these next years (that's how I interpret what's written)

the piano is in top condition, strings have nearly no patina/rust, action is sturdy and no new parts are required, Cappo d'astro is in good shape, uncracked soundboard, and the piano was even cleaned of dust recently. The technician confirmed that the piano is healthy and won't require any heavy maintenance or repair.

however, two problems were noted, both cosmetic. On the right side of the piano, next to the piano leg where the right angle is there is a slight ding revealing a bit of wood. it was a bump against a wall when moving it on stage. the second problem was underneath the piano, on a "black plank of wood" (unsure of correct term ) underneatht the key bed on its left corner. The paint has been rubbed off and the wood is starting to show. it was explained that this is due to the straps used to secure the piano when transporting it due to the many loading and unloading and was mostly cosmetic.

just to be more precise, the corner of the plank has no paint anymore and was "rounded", due to friction, with a bit of splintering but it seems to be superficial.

My technician confirmed to me that it wasn't unusual for a concert grand piano that has been loaned to have those injuries and that the shop explanation was coherent with what was presented to us.

after some discussion, we arrived at an agreement, the piano at ~38% off MSRP and all cosmetic damages of the piano would be repaired before final purchase and the approval of my technician after the repairs. Also piano cover, stool, delivery included.

I can still cancel my purchase but I am quite happy with the price and quality of the piano. I haven't discovered any defects big enough to drop the deal.

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Surely no secondhand piano is worth more than 50% of the street value of a new one?
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Sounds like you will have a concert instrument soon. No red flags from anything you've written thus far.

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How did they define that the Capo bar was in "good" shape. Is it a true V-shape with no more than 1mm of width at the string contact point? Is it case hardened? (That is bad).


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I'm glad you got it checked out thoroughly by a tech, prior to purchase, and the report sounds promising.


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Then congratulations smile Hopefully you will get many years of pleasure and use out of it.

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Just like to add my congratulations!

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