Stephen Brandon Pianos of Yorkshire

Faq & Links

Q. Do you take pianos in part exchange?

A. Yes! I am happy to take pianos in part exchange. Obviously the amount I can offer in part exchange depends on which piano you are buying and the type/condition of your piano. Normally I prefer clients to choose a piano they like in my shop, I then make an appointment to call and have a look at their existing piano.

Q. Do you tune pianos?

A. Yes I do tune pianos as this is how I got into the piano trade having worked for Bluthner Pianos of London. If you would like a quote for tuning or repairing your piano please get in touch.

Q. Where are you?

A. Click here for our how to find us page

Q. What is the difference between upright overstrung and straight strung pianos?

A. Basically overstrung pianos are designed to have their bass strings crossing diagonally from top left to bottom right across the other strings. This gives the bass strings more length than that of the straight strung piano where all the strings run vertically from top to bottom. It also means that the bass bridge is better situated slightly closer to the centre of the soundboard which in turn transmits the sound vibrations better across the soundboard giving the overstrung piano a better tone than the straight strung piano.

As with most things there are exceptions to this rule eg. Bluthner made a very good quality straight strung piano which had a far better tone than many inferior overstrung pianos.

Q. What is an oblique strung piano?

A. This is a hybrid neither overstrung nor straight strung. ALL the strings are strung diagonally giving the bass strings slightly more length.

Q. What is the difference between underdamper and overdamper pianos?

A. The dampers on a piano are the action parts which 'dampen' the sound of the strings when you lift your finger off the key of the piano. On an underdamper piano action the dampers are underneath the hammers therefore being slightly lower down the string than the dampers on an overdamper action. On an overdamper action the dampers are right at the top of the string above the hammers resulting in them not 'damping' the sound as efficiently as in the underdamper action.

As with most things there are exceptions to this rule eg. Bluthner made a very good quality overdamper piano which had a far better damping mechanism than some inferior quality underdamper pianos.

Q. Do you include free delivery on your pianos?

A. Yes, I include free local, ground floor delivery (approx 50 miles radius of York) However I regularly deliver pianos widely across the U.K. and abroad. For U.K. deliveries further a field I usually come to some arrangement with the customer to share the extra removal expenses. The extra cost is usually minimal as I use a nationwide specialist piano moving firm who travel up and down the country on a weekly basis.

I have delivered many pianos abroad to France, Italy, America, Thailand and even to a tiny island in the Caribbean! So basically 'distance no object'.

Q. Do you offer the first tuning free when you sell a piano?

A. Yes. Following delivery of the piano I allow a few weeks for the piano to 'settle' and then arrange to call and tune, regulate and tone the piano in the home.

Q. Why not buy 'online' it seems cheaper?

A. Great care needs to be taken when buying a piano unseen purely from a website. It is always advisable to buy from a reputable piano shop. Many websites offer new pianos at discount prices. Many do not actually have any pianos in stock, but order them after they have been bought by the customer. This is perhaps OK for some goods but many online firms simply order the piano to come straight from the manufacturer / distributor / middleman to the customer. Unfortunately many arrive unplayable. A brand new piano requires tuning, toning and regulating before being dispatched to the customer. The piano will then need a further tuning when it has 'settled' follwing delivery. After sales service is very important when buying a piano. You need to know that it comes with the makers guarantee and that should you have a problem with the piano, even a minor problem such as a sticking key or squeaking pedal, then the firm where you bought it has a skilled piano technician to put it right.

Q. Do you have any famous customers?

A. Over the years, through my work in piano sales, restoration and piano tuning I have been fortunate to meet and work for a number of prominent musicians including:

Van Morrison, Bryan Ferry, Jamie Cullum, Peter Donahue, Des O'Connor, Christopher Norton, Dr. John, John Ogden, John Briggs, Stan Tracey and Charles Rosen…

Q. Do you sell piano stools?

A. Yes, click here

Q. New, second hand or restored. Which is best for me?

A. Generally I find people usually have an idea of what they want their piano to look like. Eg. A modern shiny black grand piano or a traditional antique looking piano with candlesticks and inlaid panels.

If you like the look of the new or modern pianos you would usually have a pretty safe choice between a brand new piano or a second hand modern one. I say 'safe choice' as new and modern pianos (say from 1970s onwards) are made from wood that has been treated to withstand the drying out effect of central heating. A new or modern piano is unlikely to re-act badly to central heating. Obviously if the strings and action etc. are brand new you are very unlikely to have a broken string or suffer breakages in the action. Therefore a new or modern piano should only require tuning and minor adjustments to the action (regulating) on a regular basis. All pianos require tuning at least once per year and usually twice per year is recommended in order to keep the piano tuned up to concert pitch and to keep the piano regulated properly.

With older pianos you have to be more careful. You will need to know; has the piano been well maintained? Are the tuning pins tight (good) in the wrest plank? Or are they loose (bad) in the wrest plank? What condition are the strings in? How worn is the action? What restoration work has been done? Are there any splits in the bridges? Is there any woodworm?

On the plus side, with an older piano you may find a beautiful instrument with a pretty solid wood cabinet, ivory keys and in some cases a far richer sound than some of the new pianos. Providing the piano has been well cared for and has had the necessary restoration work done you could become the proud owner of a well made piano made by one of the world famous makers that will last a lifetime and appreciate in value over the years.