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Piano Advice

What makes a good piano?

A piano is a highly complex machine, housing literally hundreds of component parts that need to work in perfect tandem to create the necessary consistency, not only in tone but more importantly in key touch. Good piano manufacturers are able to create this consistency very well so that the player can express themselves freely through the instrument. Esteemed European manufacturers such as C. Bechstein, Steigraeber and Bosendorfer have a long history of producing beautiful instruments which are perfectly hand-crafted using the finest woods and materials. As well as renowned manufacturers such as Yamaha, there are now several factories in China and the Far East that have adopted European piano making traditions to build very high-quality pianos, where the prices reflect the lower production costs.

Whatever your budget, our sales staff (who are also music professionals) are happy to advise you on the merits of each and every instrument in our showroom and our technicians from our in-house workshop can also discuss the specific technical details of any of our pianos

Why not buy a piano on Ebay?

Various problems such as poor tuning, worn or substandard action parts, old strings, and a myriad of potential problems caused by misuse and environmental issues can have a catastrophic effect on a piano’s ability to ‘perform’ for the player and can be VERY costly to put right. These are issues that are not always evident to non-piano technicians and tuners and the piano may well look, sound and feel okay initially. The most important thing to consider is that, unlike the violin family, a piano does not improve with age. That does not mean that you cannot restore an older piano to its former glory, but do bear in mind that as a watch, a piano is a complex mechanical instrument and one that needs regular servicing.

The vast majority of pianos found on auction sites are very old, pre-war instruments that require so much restoration work that is just not economically viable.

Why do many new pianos have German and English names?

It is understandably very confusing to you, the potential buyer to visit a piano showroom and find a host of shiny new pianos, all with dubious (sometimes quite laughable) European sounding names. Although we sell pianos from very prestigious German piano houses that you may not necessarily have heard of such as Steingraeber & Sohn, we too also have Far-Eastern made pianos with European names. However, all our Chinese and Indonesian pianos come from highly respected factories including Pearl River who work very closely and produce pianos for long-established manufacturers such as Steinway, Yamaha and Bechstein. Our Far-Eastern pianos have won numerous awards including the Music Industries Association ‘Best piano’ and have received very favourable press including the Guardian and The Week magazines.

Sadly, there seems to be more and more misinformation on websites and forums but please be rest assured that we will always be absolutely honest about the history, manufacture and provenance of all the pianos we sell.

Are refurbished imported Yamaha U series a good choice?

Yamaha U series models are highly durable and consistent professional practice pianos and have for many years been the number one choice in Japanese musical institutions. It is for this reason that over the last decade, a huge number of these pianos, which are typically 20 to 30 years old, have been refurbished and imported to Europe for resale. Provided all the necessary restoration is properly done using high-quality parts, then there is no reason why one of these pianos should give you many years of playing pleasure. However, it is very important to first compare these pianos with other newer instruments of the same budget as, although they have a certain cache, the quality of manufacture and precision build has improved over the years on pianos made in China and other areas of the Far-East. Many of these pianos now house European parts and therefore have more warmth than that of the typically brighter, cleaner sounding Yamahas.

We currently sell what we consider to be the best refurbished Yamaha U1s and U3s available as well as newer (and older) pianos for you to compare

Are pianos refurbished?

Many of the pre owned pianos that we sell are very young and as a result, don’t necessarily require a full restoration. However, we are unique in that we have an in-house workshop with half a dozen highly skilled tuners and technicians who are able to do any necessary repairs and refurbishment to bring a piano to its optimum playing condition. As a result, we will guarantee all our pre-owned pianos for the same length of time as our new ones.

For older and more seasoned pianos we will do all the necessary restoration work using the highest quality materials and in some cases, will have the work carried out in Poland which has a long and distinguished history of piano restoration.

Are all our pianos covered by a guarantee?

Yes, all our acoustic pianos, including our pre-owned instruments carry a full guarantee which is five years against all structural aspects of the piano (including pin-block, pedal system, casework and soundboard) and one year against any potential mechanical problems. The reason for the latter is that with all pianos and their manufacturer guarantees, it doesn’t matter what quality the piano is; if it is owned by a professional player, it will need some minor and in-expensive servicing after a few years of consistent and strong playing.

Some specific manufacturers even offer ten years, although we find that on the very rare occasion a piano has a structural fault, the symptoms are likely to occur within months of ownership. We therefore wouldn’t necessarily recommend you make this a deciding factor in choosing your piano.

Our digital pianos also carry significant guarantees ranging from THREE to FIVE YEARS depending on the manufacturers.

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