First, determine what you need earlier than you begin to investigate. Countless hours may well be saved by first knowing clearly how really extensive, what style, what age, what value range you need earlier than you start browsing. After all, why look at Steinway B pianos if they are above your value range, or too really extensive for the room you are going to be placing it in? Or if your condo if modern in appearance, perhaps the Victorian, ice-cream leg style would be seriously out of place in comparison to a graceful, semi-gloss finish of a lovely ebony.
Second, realize who you are going to be purchasing from. A provider or Steinway Gallery may have some pianos to observe, however your alternative will be limiting and the price you pay for their knowledge will be relatively high. An online catalog, such as that found in Piano Mart (www.pianomart.com) or American-Steinway.com (www.american-steinway.com) will offer a heaps greater range of pianos for one to trust, and the knowledge and the reputation of the owners in the piano business gives them as heaps creditability as any Steinway Gallery. http://american-steinway.com
Third, use a qualified piano technician to ask the tricky questions if you are uncertain. Qualified means not just a professional of how a piano works, however also very a professional of the Steinway history, action changes over the years, format changes, style changes, so she or he can help you realize not only the work that has been performed and the possibly future work that will needs to be performed, however also the point of history where this Steinway piano falls into. This will also help determine the value for your investment, and help you identify if you are getting the most "bang" for your buck. You may need one technician for the piano itself, and one "historian" on Steinway Pianos to assist you realize your pianos place in history.
Fourth, play the piano, or find an artist to assist you play on the piano. Ultimately, a piano is not just an investment, however also an instrument. A piano needs to sound its value, and only through years of proper care and restore can a Steinway piano still sound and feel like a Steinway piano. The piano has many moving parts, and strings (of course) that wear and need substitute. There are details such as what kind of strings were used at the same time they were replaced, what kind of bushings, action parts, etc. were used, that will determine if the piano is still "as brilliant as new" like a Steinway may want to be, or were corners cut so as to make this Steinway just be a Steinway "in name" however not necessarily true to the Steinway standards. Of course the technician that worked on the Steinway having been educated by a master craftsman does help, however the ultimate guide will still be in the sound and the texture.
Fifth, dont let the "voicing" of the piano fool you. Any piano may well be voiced to sound duller or brighter on temporary bases, and many rebuilt pianos have yet to be voiced, so they are relatively uneven. The voicing is the entire time the last step earlier than a piano is truly concert ready, and most pianos are not voiced at the same time you acquire them. So dont let this factor be thought of too necessary in your investment.
Finally, trust who you are purchasing from. Know that you are going to pay more from a "Steinway Dealer" than a non Steinway provider by the inherent nature that the name has some value. But many non-Steinway dealers are equally or even more qualified because of their years of experience on this field. For myself, after 35 years of working with Steinway pianos, and even selling rebuilt pianos back to Steinway pianos, I know masses of dealers that can and won't help you in your acquire. Feel free to touch me through our www.american-steinway.com and I will do everything I can to lead you in the simplest possible route. http://american-steinway.com Happy Steinway Shopping!