Grand Pianos – buying a grand piano

Here are some valuable facts about grand pianos that will help you understand their merits and compromises as well as essential grand piano buying advice.

How much do grand pianos cost?

We specialise in affordable high quality grand pianos – assuring you of a pleasing tone, responsive touch and high standard of finish, at a relatively low price. Prices start at around £9,500 for a new 5’10” grand, with our quality approval and 5 year guarantee. ‘Young’ pre-owned / second-hand grand pianos are usually available from around £7,500 (sub 6′) depending on specification, and availability.

What size is a grand piano

A grand piano is between 5’8″ (173cms) – 7’6″ (228cms) in length, and around 5′ (152cms) wide. A full concert grand is around 9′ (288cms). The tail (end opposite from the keyboard, with one leg) is around 3′ wide.

Why should I buy a grand piano?

Grands are popular because of their unique appearance as a highly desirable piece of furniture, they are easy to accommodate and visually more inviting to play than upright pianos. As well as being an effective ‘action’ upgrade from an upright to grand, providing the player more touch response and efficiency, the tone of a grand is very different (not necessarily better in all respects) to an upright piano of similar price.

Older grands are cheaper, but is age a higher price in itself?

Modern design and engineering is very effective – and worth so much. Older pianos (pre-1930’s) built by top piano makers in their day eg. Bluthner, Bechstein or Grotrian-Steinweg are very attractive on price vs. the same models brand new. However, they simply do not match up. The designs are very different: the actions weren’t as good, the scale designs weren’t so well engineered and the timbers were not built with central heating in mind. Add to this the fact that they has been subject to around 20tonnes of combined string tension for over 80years, probably been moved over 10 times and been heavily played, the result really is a substandard instrument that cannot compete with a good quality modern piano.

‘Restored’ is a very loosely used term in the piano trade, so get an independent technician to see how well, how much and how recently the ‘restoration’ has been done. Full restoration costs are typically in excess of £4,000 – so don’t expect a £7,500 grand to have been ‘restored’ properly.

If you want to consider an old grand piano, try some good quality but affordable new / nearly new pianos as well, so you can gauge the performance, condition and value of grand pianos for yourself.

Here’s a fact: We supply many new Petrof, Yamaha and Venables & Son grand pianos to homes, professionals and institutions who have a pre 1930’s ‘premium’ grand for part exchange. What does that say?

Where is the biggest improvement in most grand pianos, in performance for size?

Length is the primary factor in grand piano tone. It is very important to look at the width of the main body too, and more-so the tail end. Two 6′ grands may sound very different, depending on the profile of the tail. A wide tail will accommodate longer bass strings, provide more soundboard area and allow for a more receptive position for the bridge.

What’s best for you?

Principally, longer grands sound better. It isn’t just the bass, it’s the depth of the mid-register too. In a domestic environment, you may prefer a smaller grand, around 6′, that has a colourful tone and wide projective range, or a 7′ grand that is more focused, subdued and gentle, yet has more depth and a more natural bass. Remember, it is personal, subjective and only you know what’s best for you.

We recommend visiting our grand piano showrooms by informal appointment so you can fully appreciate the true differences, select from a hand-picked selection of affordable high standard grands, and play in privacy.