It’s taken three hundred years of creativity and development and plenty of manufacturing excellence to get where we are today. But, now we have the best version of the most popular musical instrument there has ever been. With each increase in its development, the expression of the piano has been improved. Now, a skilled musician can coax the most subtle of nuances from their piano.
It has become a complex machine. No modern Silicon Valley tech in this manifestation of excellence. It is wood, felt, and metal and can absorb about 20 tonnes of tension from the strings.
This is what gave us today’s instrument in Italy in the early 1700s. Where else, might you ask? Considering at the time, they led the world in fine instrument manufacture. Ask Stradivarius and his contemporaries. And, no one has ever been able to manufacture what they produced at the time.
Bartolomeo Cristofori produced a new mechanism for the harpsichord. The prime keyboard instrument at the time. This “new” touch-sensitive instrument allowed the musician to create dynamics. He called it his “gravicembalo col piano e forte,” or harpsichord that has both soft and loud.
Through the 1800s and 1900s, development went at a considerable pace. But the original 18th-century designs are still what we see, even if the materials that are used have improved.
Manufacturing and Competition
The Germans were manufacturing quality instruments as they were in the UK. In America, they joined the manufacturing race and for a while excelled at it. Steinway is one of their well-known products, albeit founded by a German piano manufacturer.
But, that all was diminished by the arrival of the Japanese. Kawai and especially Yamaha arrived with better quality and, of course, a price that the US and others could not match.
Some of the ‘big’ names still exist…
There is Bosendorfer, once from Austria and now owned by Yamaha. And Steinway, a German manufacturer who set up in America. But it is Yamaha and Kawai that probably produce the best. And that applies especially to the Grand Piano.
Go into the majority of the most important concert halls in the world, and that is probably what you will find.
How Much Does a Grand Piano Cost?
Well, they look like they might be rather expensive. But, the cost of a Grand Piano isn’t the only issue if you are thinking of buying one. And there isn’t just one kind of Grand Piano. Let’s have a look.
Of All The Pianos
There is a great range of pianos on the market and plenty to choose from. But, if you are thinking about buying a Grand Piano, then you probably know you are buying the best piano that money can buy. It is famous for its warm and clear tone.
Of course, some are better than others. That applies to just about everything. And I will consider the prices both new and second-hand.
The Other Issue
Earlier, I mentioned that when you are considering buying a Grand Piano that there is another issue besides the cost of it. That is the sheer size of the instrument. You are going to need two things to buy most Grand Pianos – space and a good location.
If you live in an apartment that is not on the ground floor, then there will be problems. The higher you go, the worse it becomes. This is not a kitchen unit in a box that is being delivered. And it certainly won’t go in a lift.
You do need to think about your location and how you are going to get this rather large instrument into your home.
And when you get it in, what are you going to do with it? If you live in a small apartment, then it just isn’t going to work. You’re almost certainly going to need an average-sized room, maybe at least 10 meters square. And a room that is basically dedicated to the piano would be the optimum space.
However, there are a variety of Grand Piano sizes. They are not all half the size of the Titanic. But, just as the size is variable, then the sound can also be.
You will not get that huge rich sound from a smaller grand that you will get from the full-size piano. However, if you need a smaller Grand Piano because of space or whatever reason, then it is still a fine instrument. Let’s consider the sizes:
- Petite Grand is less than four feet eleven inches.
- Baby Grand is from about four feet eleven inches to five feet two inches.
- Medium Grand is usually from five feet two inches to five feet eight inches.
- Parlor Grand is between five feet nine inches and six feet two inches.
Whilst those pianos can be graded by size, there are two more that overlap in their sizes. They are:
- Ballroom Grand is usually about six feet ten inches to nine feet.
- Concert Grand is from seven feet to ten feet.
We will look at the costs of each a bit later, new and second-hand. But, the question you will ask after looking at them will be…
“Why are Grand Pianos so expensive?”
Well, because they are made from the very best materials. The woods used are all high-quality solid Spruce or Maple. Likewise, the fittings are exceptional, and the moving parts and those elements involved in producing the sound are the best quality you will find.
That applies especially to the hammers and the keys. But, even the felt, such an important part of the sound often overlooked, is of the highest quality.
What Does Such High-Quality Produce?
Such attention to detail and ensuring materials are of the highest quality produces a great sound. Warm and rich for the lower frequencies. Crisp and clean for the higher frequencies. Just excellent in every way. Every care is taken to ensure the instrument will produce great music.
Something Else In The Mix
But, there is something else that is required to price such quality as this. The know-how. That is especially where Yamaha scores big. They went around the world and hired the best they could find.
They even invested in buying companies like Bosendorfer and brought hundreds of years of in-house experience. And they still managed to produce real quality at a cheaper price with no corners cut. If anything, the corners were substantially improved.
New Or Used?
You won’t find too many used Grand Pianos around. But if you do, and happen to find a good one that an independent technician is happy with, then be prepared for a shock. I’ll come back to that later. First, let’s talk about the new Grand Pianos.
How much does a Grand Piano cost? – The Price Of A New Grand Piano
It will vary by manufacturer, of course, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that the most expensive is the best.
Because it will take up too much time and space to identify three or four manufacturers for each type of Grand Piano, I have restricted the options to those I consider not only to be the best. But, also, the best value for the money Grand Pianos.
Therefore, this is about how much you would expect to pay for a:
- Yamaha $36,000- 39,000
- Kawai – $40,000-$43,000
- Steinway- $71,000-$76,000
- Other Brands – $11,000- $50,000
Concert and Ballroom Grand
- Yamaha – $120,000-$190,000
- Kawai – $53,000- $197,000
- Steinway – $150,000 – $220,000
- Other Brands – $35,000 – $175,000
As you can see, there is a price difference even by the manufacturer based on the quality of each instrument.
In my view…
And the view of most professionals, Yamaha and Kawai are the number one and number two choices. That is for the way they sound, how they play, and the craftsmanship and materials involved.
I enclosed the Steinway as an example so you can see what other Grand Piano manufacturers might cost. Steinway is a quality manufacturer with a good reputation, so that is no slight on them. And of course, there are many other manufacturers all around the world making great instruments.
But, you have to draw the line somewhere in terms of representing the price of a new Grand Piano. It is impossible to create a price comparison for all brands. I have based mine on quality and cost-effectiveness.
The Price of a Second-Hand Grand Piano
For those that are considering buying a second-hand Grand Piano, it is an interesting option. Firstly, you aren’t going to find many available. Secondly, there isn’t a place where you can go online to source one.
It is unlikely, unless you are lucky, to find one on eBay or other such sites. If you do find one, it is would likely be in the region of $15,000 to $30,000. But, could you go and view it and have it checked over? However, there is a bigger problem.
You may be thinking that a second-hand Grand Piano will cost anything between $15,000 to possibly $50,000 depending on what it is and its condition. That is before you move it.
This is a finely tuned, and despite its size, vulnerable instrument. How much is it going to cost to hire a professional organization to move it for you? And how far has it got to go? Overseas is obviously out of the question.
I mentioned being prepared for a shock. You may find that a Grand Piano that is forty or fifty years old could well have a better sound than a newer one. It may even cost more than some new options. That applies to many types of instruments, not just the Grand Piano.
Think of the ‘vintage’ instruments and what people pay for them. Of course, there would have to be a very careful check by an independent technician. This brings me to my next and probably the most important point about buying second-hand.
What To Look For
Do you think you are qualified to know whether a particular Grand Piano is worth the money? Probably not, so it is best to have it checked over by a professional. But, if that is not possible, here are some things to consider.
Is the wood in good condition?
Are there any cracks or blemishes? Do all the hinged joints work, and are there any noticeable examples of repairs or previous damage. Can it be proven that it is made from either Spruce or Maple?
Are they all functioning without any sticking? They should also be made of spruce and then covered with either ivory or ebony. Although, in recent years, these materials have been replaced by synthetic options.
They should be made of quality metal, be well-fitted, and feel very sturdy. When you use them, they should operate smoothly without sticking.
Ensure the hammers are well-grooved and there is no dust on the soundboard. Play it a bit if you can for 30 minutes to an hour. This is to ensure there is uniformity of sound and feel from one end of the keyboard to the other.
Easy to Play
When you’re playing it, does it naturally feel comfortable to the touch? Is it smooth, and is the movement of the keys free from any strange sounds?
Buying second-hand anything is always fraught with potential dangers. But with something like a Grand Piano, then those dangers can be increased to complex lengths.
There are so many things that could be not quite right that you may never notice at first. So you, therefore, have to answer the question…
Is A Grand Piano Right For You?
There are plenty of things to consider, as I have highlighted. This is not an instrument that you can put in the back of your car to take to a gig. This is a permanent fixture in your house. Assuming you have the room in the first place.
And while we are on the subject of the location, let us just return to that. I have already talked about the size of the room and that it needs to be easy to deliver the instrument. But what about the room?
By that, I am referring to the environment of the room. The room must not be damp for obvious reasons. The piano must not stand in direct sunlight. Nor can it be near any moisture that may occur from the outside, like a drafty window.
In other words, the room must be just right if you want to keep the instrument in good order.
An Involved Process
As you will no doubt realize, there is a lot involved if you want to buy a Grand Piano. Irrespective of the initial question, “How much does a Grand Piano cost?” there are plenty of other things to consider.
It may be that you have set your heart on a great piano sound. And it is true that nothing sounds quite like a Grand Piano. But maybe the requirements don’t all stack up. And, if we are honest, they don’t for the vast majority of people.
Even the Baby Grand and the Petite Grand, while less expensive, still have the same potential problems. The room has to be right, and you still have to get it in your house. But there is an alternative.
A Great Piano Sound?
Have you considered getting an upmarket digital piano? These days some digital pianos sound absolutely fantastic. Not as deep and warm as the Grand Piano, of course. Nothing is. But still, a great piano sound. And you won’t have location or room size problems.
It could be the answer for those piano connoisseurs looking for a great sound. Here are some great sounding options with a sound that you might be surprised with.
- Yamaha YDP164 Arius Series Piano with Bench
- Kawai KDP120 88-Key Digital Piano with Bench
- Yamaha YDP184 Arius Series Console Digital Piano with Bench
And should you be interested in a great piano sound that can sit on your table, then Roland is a good company to consider.
Interested in checking out more superb Piano options?
No problem, we have you covered. Simply take a look at our in-depth reviews of the Best Digital Grand Piano, the Best Kawai Digital Piano, the Best Yamaha Digital Pianos, the Best 88-Key Keyboards, the Best Digital Piano With Weighted Keys, and the Best Digital Pianos you can buy in 2023.
And don’t miss our handy articles on How to Buy a Used Piano, How To Clean Your Piano Keys, Types & Sizes of Pianos Explained, What’s the Difference Between a Digital Piano and a Keyboard, and How to Become a Better Piano Player for more helpful piano information.
How Much Does a Grand Piano Cost – Final Thoughts
In this article, I have outlined some of the average costs of a Grand Piano, new and second-hand. And if you have the budget and the correct location, then you cannot buy a better instrument.
But, I have also given you some things that need to be considered with this potential purchase. Buying one isn’t quite as easy as most things you will acquire. And I have shown that if all the requirements are not in place for a Grand, then there are some other great options.
A Grand Piano is a beautiful piece of furniture to have in your home. But, it is more than that. You don’t buy it because it looks nice, you buy it for the sound. And there is nothing quite like it. However, it is not going to be an inexpensive option, as you now know.
Until next time, let the music play.