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Why Ian Burgess-Simpson Pianos is Unique in the Pre-Owned Steinway Market

Steinway has dominated the top end of the piano market for a long time. Recently however, the superiority of their instruments is increasingly being challenged by the likes of Fazioli, Shigeru Kawai and other high-end manufacturers. Be this as it may, many people still aspire to own a Steinway, and they are faced with the choice of a new piano or a pre-owned instrument. The price of a new Steinway may be an obstacle for many aspirant owners, who would then be looking at the pre-owned option.

There are a good number of Steinways in the country, as they were imported in reasonable numbers over the years. A prospective Steinway owner can try the private purchase route, which brings with it potential cost savings, and possible pitfalls. As with all private purchases, you are limited to the instruments you come across at the time you are looking. If and when you find a suitable piano, you’ll be buying without any after-sales support or warranty. It is highly likely the piano will need restorative work as it is pre-owned and a premium brand piano only offers its true potential when in excellent condition.

The other option is to buy a pre-owned Steinway from a reputable piano company like Ian Burgess-Simpson Pianos. In fact, for the reasons listed below, we believe that if you’re in the market for a pre-owned Steinway in South Africa, you shouldn’t go with anyone other than us. The reasons boil down to our experience and skill in rebuilding and restoring Steinways, and the collaborative personalized approach we take when preparing a pre-owned instrument for a customer.

There may be a perception that overseas companies, in particular European businesses, are able to work to a standard that surpasses local abilities. In fact many European piano businesses offering Steinway rebuilds follow a production line approach given the economic benefits and the volume of pianos in question. The Ian Burgess-Simpson Pianos restoration approach follows the traditional handwork method, true to the original construction that pre-owned Steinways would have undergone. We are not aware of any other international Steinway trained technical team who has completed more Steinway rebuilds (nearing the 100 mark!) than the Ian Burgess-Simpson Pianos team under Ian, who has undergone both Steinway factory training as well as the prestigious Steinway Academy for Concert Technicians training. Each pre-owned Steinway we sell is an exceptional example of a restored instrument, to the extent that we have European customers placing orders with us to rebuild and export pre-owned Steinways.

We involve customers in all parts of the restoration process if they wish, from decisions around the cabinet finish work through to input on the eventual touch and tone of the piano. Whether we are rebuilding a privately-owned instrument on behalf of a customer or restoring one to sell in our showroom, we put the same level of effort and quality into the result.

Ian Burgess-Simpsons Pianos currently has three pre-owned Steinways on the showroom floor, one mahogany 1941 Model S and two Model O’s, one a mahogany 1925 and the other a 1957 ebony finish. The 1957 Model O is of particular interest as it was completely rebuilt by us as recently as 2011 and is therefore in superb condition.


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