What Americans Don't Know About Pianos
Updated: Aug 3, 2019
Who makes the best piano?
I bet $10 you just thought: Steinway.
If so, you're probably an American, and your response is totally normal. Steinway does in fact make a great piano. No arguments there! Over the last century, American piano brands that our grandparents grew up playing, Everette, Kohler and Campbell, Wurlitzer, and Chickering (to name a few), have not managed to win the fight of survival of the fittest. Steinway won that fight, and it continues to be the best American-made piano. Considering the fact that the only other American-made pianos are very small, family-owned companies, Steinway is a big fish in a small pond.
Let's broaden our perspective now to the global piano industry. If we are speaking in terms of the world-wide piano industry, Steinway is actually a very small fish in a big pond. Europe knows this well because music as we know it today started over there. Long before Steinway was even a dream in someone's head, Europe was producing pianos in multiple countries that gave composers like Chopin, Liszt, and Brahms a catalyst for inspiration.
The Car Analogy:
You're in the market for luxury transportation. Imagine a world where Cadillac was your only option. Cadillac makes a great car, but where would we be without BMW, Mercedes, Alfa Romeo, Audi, Porsche, Rolls-Royce, Bently...?
Europe knows about piano brands that most American's have no idea even exist. If you asked a European who makes the best piano, you would probably hear many different brands like Fazioli, Bösendorfer, Schimmel, Grotrian, Steingraeber, Blüthner, Bechstein, to name a few.
Don't make the mistake of thinking that just because you haven't heard of it means it isn't a great piano. Steinway has controlled the American mentality towards pianos for many years with their incredible marketing team, but other brands are available to us on this side of the pond! You just have to know where to look...
Many European luxury instrument brands can be found in major cities in the U.S. I'm not saying you shouldn't buy a Steinway, but if you're ready to drop $100,000 on a piano, you should at least check out the competition with an open mind. At the end of the day, individual musical taste is completely subjective. Trust your ears and fingers to help guide you to the right instrument.