So you’re determined to buy a lightly used Steinway that will bring you to the piano day in and day out. Which Steinway is right for you? The answer usually lies in the character, personality, and soul of the piano.
When choosing a Steinway piano we recommend that the Steinway buyer sit at the instrument and focus on two areas: the bass and the lyrical possibilities. Play a few pieces with big bass sections and look for the responsiveness of the piano. The Steinway bass is renowned for having a deep, rich, and powerful quality. See if the Steinway you are considering has this power and richness.
Then move up to the middle and higher registers of the Steinway. Does the piano sing with ease? Does the legato flow seamlessly, and lastly, does the tone simulate vibrato? With violin or voice, or virtually any other instrument, there is the benefit of vibrato; within the context of a single note the sound can swell and open up and sing.
The piano by definition is a percussive instrument. You press the key, the hammer hits the string, and there is nothing further you can do to enhance the note at that point.
Experience the simulated vibrato effect on a great Steinway piano
However, on a truly great Steinway piano, there is a simulated vibrato effect. You can literally hear the note open up in the air. These colors, nuances, and the character and personality — does it match your ear? Even a beginner can make this effort to connect with the sound, and often it pays dividends.
Beyond exploring the character of the piano, size DOES matter. All Steinway buyers should explore the different piano models for sale to see which is right for your space.