In working to help educate my clients on what piano is best for them, I am often asked the following question. “Why do pianos cost so much?”
Well, there are many reasons a piano costs what it does, but here are a few of the main ones for you to be aware of.
A piano is made of many parts, up to over 12,000 in grand pianos, and most of those parts are made of select woods suited to the exact job of that particular part. High quality woods are quite expensive. For example, the sound board or “speaker” of the piano is made from Sitka spruce in the good pianos. Sitka spruce is found in one place … Sitka Alaska. Steinway goes as far as selecting spruce that is from only one area of the mountain, the coldest part, so that the growth rings are very close together, which creates the best sound in a soundboard. That part alone can cost well over a thousand dollars and much more in large grands. There are also different kinds of maples, mahoganys, core cabinet woods not to mention the many different beautiful veneers that are applied to the cabinets.
The amount of parts to let one key work correctly numbers about 100. There are 88 keys in a piano. All those parts need to be installed and adjusted correctly to allow the player to make music on the piano. That takes much time.
People will look at a nice grand piano and say “Wow, I can buy a car for that!” My answer is, how much is that car worth when it leaves the lot? And, where is that car in about 10 years? Most pianos will work well up to their 50th birthday and very good pianos will live to be 100 and more and actually can appreciate in value a lot.
Most pianos are mass produced meaning that there are assembly lines with robotics that cut woods and install certain parts but, there are always human hands involved. A robot can’t tell how musical a piano is or is not. The very best pianos like Steinway are all built by hand and can take up to one year to complete, which will of course add to the price tag, but after experiencing a piano like this, you wonder why it does not cost more!
So, remember that you are not buying a washing machine or a recliner. A piano is a musical instrument designed to bring beautiful music and great memories into your life for many years. It is a great investment in many ways.