When my parents purchased our first Steinway & Sons piano for about $50,000 back in September 2018, my dad’s favorite line to say was, “This piano is the cost of a Mercedes.”
It was understandable since Mercedes was and still is his favorite car brand, and having crashed his old Mercedes a few months before buying the piano, I’m sure the last thing he wanted to do was to pay for an expensive piano that was not for him.
With the increase in demand for pianos all over the world, the popularity and fame of the piano company Steinway & Sons has also grown. Steinway & Sons is a German-American piano company with over 160 years of experience, and Singapore’s piano community, ThePiano.SG, compiled evidence that it is likely the number one best-selling piano brand in the world.
Steinways are used for practice at home, in many small and large-scale competitions, at piano concerts and more.
But are Steinways really worth the popularity and price? For me, yes for the popularity and it depends for the price.
In comparison to many other piano brands, Steinway is definitely better in terms of quality and sound. For a musician, the most important thing to look for in a piano is the sound and tone it can produce. Both a good musician and a good piano are crucial to producing beautiful music. The bright and rich sound is one of the most convincing reasons to buy a Steinway.
Most Steinway pianos can produce a beautiful sound and they are very easy to play on as the keys and pedals are light to press. The sound a piano produces can be determined by the material used to make the instrument, how long the piano has been in use and many other factors.
So, since Steinway pianos can produce a beautiful tone, it is a good choice, right? Here’s the catch.
Every piano is different. Steinway does a relatively good job in producing high-quality pianos, but that does not mean other smaller brands such as Kawai or Yamaha are not as good. There are pianos from less prestigious piano brands that may also sound great and there are also Steinway pianos that may be very hard to play.
The Steinway brand promises good quality and sound, but that really depends on the musician playing and the specific piano itself. Therefore, when buying a piano, it is more important to look beyond the brand and at the actual piano itself. Take the time to try out the piano and determine whether it is a good fit for you, just like when buying clothes. However, a piano is much more expensive than a piece of cloth.
So, is the quality of the Steinway worth the price?
A used Steinway grand piano can cost about $50,000. As mentioned above, it depends on which piano you choose. Most Steinway pianos do promise good quality, but only you can decide whether you like the piano or not based on your own hands and ears. Another major deciding factor of whether the piano is worth the price or not is the amount of time you spend playing it.
For my family, I think it is worth the price. I spend hours each day sitting on the piano bench and using the Steinway, so I am definitely getting my dad’s money’s worth. Steinway pianos can also last for a very long time if you take care of them well. This includes putting the piano in a good room temperature location and having your piano tuned often. If you take good care of your piano, then the Steinway can probably last for many years or even decades.
However, it is definitely not worth the price if you are not serious about playing the piano and you only want to play when you feel like it. Not only are Steinway pianos expensive, but they are also mainly used by serious or professional musicians in competitions or concerts. If playing the piano is only a new hobby for you, I would recommend purchasing a keyboard or a less expensive piano first.
Overall, Steinway & Sons is an amazing piano brand with incredible pianos used all over the world by many famous and successful musicians. It is definitely a great choice for musicians that take piano seriously or are looking to pursue a career path in music. A Steinway piano may be the cost of a luxury car, but I believe that it will add much more beauty to your life than a car does.