The Piano Book
Don’t Even Consider Buying a Piano
Important Note: The most recent edition of The Piano Book was published in 2001, and is no longer a reliable source of information about new-piano brands, models, and prices. For that information, see elsewhere on this website.
The Piano Book FAQs
The Piano Book — How to buy and care for a piano — the consumer’s “bible” since 1987. A piano is one of the largest consumer purchases most people will ever make. Yet when you shop for a piano you’re up against a vast variety of brands, models, and styles, competing claims, and strange terminology. Finally, here is a book to guide you through the process with practical information on every aspect of buying and owning a new or used piano. The Piano Book, now in its Fourth Edition, has been the standard consumer reference in the piano business in the United States and Canada since 1987, and is the only book of its kind. It contains:
- Exceptionally candid brand-by-brand reviews of new and recently-manufactured pianos
- Sales gimmicks to watch out for — and the real differences in piano quality and features
- How to negotiate the best deal
- Tips on finding, inspecting, appraising, and buying a used piano
- Special section on buying an older Steinway or Mason & Hamlin
- Piano moving, storage, tuning, and servicing
- How pianos work
- 100 line drawings by Douglas Gilbert
- Foreword by Keith Jarrett
New in the Fourth Edition:
- Updated reviews of new pianos based on a survey of more than fifty technicians who examined over thirteen hundred pianos made during the last five years and a database of the service records for more than four thousand additional new pianos. Stephen H. Brady, editor of the Piano Technicians Journal assisted with the research and writing.
- Extensive rewriting of the section on shopping for a new piano, addressing such topics as the piano as an investment, questions of value for the money and long-term value, dealing with trade-ins, price vs. service, and shopping on the internet. Changes have also been made to reflect the latest tactics of both salespeople and customers in the battle for the best deal.
- An expanded rating system for new pianos to more closely reflect the subtle ways in which pianos differ in quality.
- Many changes to the technical information on how pianos differ in quality and the sales pitches used to exploit those differences.
- More extensive coverage of electronic player piano systems.
- Changes to the chapter on buying a used piano, addressing the question of how long pianos last, the controversy surrounding so-called “gray market” Japanese pianos, and shopping on the internet.
- A grand piano rebuilding checklist to help you plan the rebuilding of your piano or when considering the purchase of a rebuilt instrument.
- A checklist for examining a used piano prior to purchase.
- An expanded depreciation schedule for used pianos.
- A revised table of market values of used and rebuilt pianos.
- A discussion of some of the issues that may come up in relation to rebuilt pianos, particularly Steinways and Mason & Hamlins.
- A revision of Roy Kehl’s celebrated list of old Steinway models, based on his ongoing historical research.
- A new list of Steinway serial numbers and dates, different from the list provided by the company.
- Information on room acoustics.
Additional resources of interest to pianophiles, including mail-order sources for piano accessories.
- Many other small changes throughout the book to keep it current and useful, and in response to readers’ comments over the years.
The author, Larry Fine, is a Registered Piano Technician member of the Piano Technicians Guild, and has been involved in the field of piano technology for over forty years.
Published by Brookside Press, San Diego, California. Distributed to the book trade by Independent Publishers Group (IPG).