For many people, the ultimate dream is to own a big house with a manicured lawn, white picket fence, and a luxury car like a Porsche or BMW parked in the driveway.
But for a pianist, the dream is to own a Steinway grand piano. And rightfully so, since it can cost more than the typical sports car on a vision board. Of course, it depends on which German car is in your dream.
In the case of a Steinway, even the upright version is worth manifesting.
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Why Are They So Expensive?
When it comes to pricing a piano, there are several factors to consider: finish, size, and condition. For example, a Steinway Model D in either polished ebony or satin finish will cost less than the same model in a mahogany finish.
Another factor to consider is whether the piano is a Hamburg or New York Steinway. Hamburg Steinways usually cost more due to their superior action and parts.
Antiques and collectible pianos also have their own unique marketplace, and their prices can fluctuate based on demand, much like fine wine.
So, here’s a fun fact: people sometimes call Steinway pianos “the alphabet piano” because all of their models end with a letter.
If you’re looking for a smaller piano, you might want to check out the S, M, or O models. But if you need something bigger, you might want to look at the A, B, or D models – in that order, from small to large.
Oh, and don’t forget about the Model K – that’s Steinway’s upright piano and it’s in a class of its own.
If you’re curious about how much a Steinway piano costs, let’s take a look at some of the most popular models on the market.
At the highest end, the 8-foot Model D costs $173,000. The 6-foot-10-inch Model B is a bit smaller and less expensive, at around $116,000. If you prefer a compact piano, the 6-foot-2-inch Model A is priced at around $99,000.
Keep in mind that these prices can vary based on several factors, such as the piano’s condition, age, and location. Also, the market changes often, so these prices are only a general guide.
As we go down the line of Steinway models, the prices tend to decrease. Currently, the Model K costs around $41,000.
So there are three upright models with actual numbers for names: Model K, Model 1098, and Model 4510.
Model 1098 is a bit smaller than Model K at 46.5″, but it’s still a really nice piano that costs about $39,000.
Model 4510 is even more compact at 45″ and costs around $35,000.
Now, these prices might seem high compared to other upright pianos. But if you’re serious about playing the piano and you want the best instrument possible, investing in a Steinway upright piano could be totally worth it.
Used Steinway – It’s the Inside That Matters
So, you know that saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover”? Well, it totally applies to used pianos. Lots of second-hand Steinways, whether upright or grand, might look super fancy and polished on the outside, but they’re usually packed with non-genuine parts on the inside.
It’s kind of like my Hackintosh that I’m typing this on – I’ve replaced so many components with random eBay parts that it’s not even a Mac anymore.
If you do decide to go for a used piano, I’d recommend getting it checked out by a piano technician first.
Otherwise, your best bet is to buy from a dealer who can give you some kind of warranty, just to be safe.
Steinway Budget Brands
If you’re not lucky enough to sell your house to buy a Model D, you can check out Steinway’s more affordable options, the Boston and Essex series. They claim these pianos are “designed” by Steinway, but I’m always a bit suspicious of marketing tactics like that.
Basically, it means they’re made somewhere else but with Steinway keeping an eye on things.
The Boston upright will set you back $14,000, and the grands can go up to $61,000. Not exactly a steal, but still more affordable than a Model D.
If you’re on a tighter budget, the Essex upright is a good option at around $9,000, and the grand is about $22,000.
Is It Insane to Pay So Much for a Piano?
When we’re talking about fancy grand pianos, it’s helpful to think of them like fancy German sports cars. The Italian Fazioli is like a Ferrari, and the Steinway is more like a Porsche.
Sure, a lot of the cost of these things is just because they’re famous names. But let’s be real: they’re also built really well. The Germans certainly know a thing or two about design.
If you want to go all out and get the fanciest one, then a Steinway grand piano is probably worth the money. Not only will it sound amazing, but it’ll also be a fancy thing that you can show off for years to come.