In comparing prices from different Steinway dealers of NEW instruments, you are pretty much assured you are comparing apples to apples. However, even here, some dealers will go to greater lengths than others to thoroughly prep, or tweak, a new Steinway to bring an individual piano to its full potential. The Steinway Company expects this from their dealers as part of their dealer agreement but, sadly, many do nothing more than tune the instrument on the sales floor. It's interesting to note that more than 50% of ALL Steinways are sold to non-players.
Most are sold to buyers who merely want the finest in their living rooms, and who also have an appreciation for the financial investment of a Steinway. Many of these buyers will have an automatic player system installed on their piano to give them musical pleasure of the instrument as well.
Now, let's talk about buying a Restored Piano from someone like me. Prices for these older restored vintage Steinways will vary somewhat, but the difference in quality can range enormously. The three essential points to consider are:
1) were GENUINE STEINWAY REPLACEMENT PARTS used? As the Steinway Company says, "If Genuine Steinway Parts have not been used, it's no longer a thoroughbred Steinway",
2) what was the EXTENT of the restoration? And lastly,
3) was the WORKMANSHIP of high standards?
To start with, it is important to know that the Steinway factory employs hundreds of people, each of whom has been trained to do one of many specific jobs. For example, one of the lowest paid workers would do nothing more than sweep the floors of wood shavings, while the highest paid are those who do action regulation, voicing of the hammers and tuning. It is these men and women who are bringing the touch, or feel, and the tone into the instrument.
The restoration of a Steinway involves most of the same steps involved in the making of a new Steinway. Having said that, some restorers are a one-manned band, meaning that one or two people are doing the entire process themselves. While it's possible they might do as good a job as a restoration factory, it's not likely. Each step of the process requires a unique talent, and if that knack isn't exercised with great regularity, a less than perfect job will be performed.
If you are in the market for a Piano Centre, you are invited to visit us for an in-depth look at what you need know about making a wise decision before making a purchase. You'll find your visit to be very interesting and you'll be happy you made the effort.
You can even take the Music Tuition on restored pianos and refine your tunes.