Benefits Of Renting A Piano

Benefits Of Renting A Piano: Courtney Pianos

Wouldn’t you love to have a piano? Put off by the price of buying one? We can admit, a new piano isn’t cheap. It is, of course, a luxury item and certainly not a purchase that can be made lightly.

This is why we at Courtney Pianos, Oxford, have a broad selection of pianos available to hire.   Hiring a piano allows you the choice of several famous piano brands at an affordable monthly price.

Unless you are an expert or have a lot of time to research the size, dimensions, tones of every piano brand, then buying a piano is full of risks. Renting a piano reduces the risks you’d face when buying.

Welmar Upright Piano

Find The Right Piano To Suit You

By hiring a piano, you can get a feel for whether the instrument is right for you. This makes more sense than committing to high ticket purchases, only to discover later, that you chose badly. With rentals, you can change the piano if it’s not quite right.

Get A Piano To Match Your Style & Fits Your Home

Pianos come in a variety of styles, shapes and sizes. When you rent, you have more flexibility about which piano fits the designated space for the instrument as well as fitting in with the décor of your home. It might be better to buy an upright if you have limited space but still have your heart set on having a piano in your home.

Alternatively, for those with a little more space, a Baby Grand is an increasingly popular option. They have all the elegance and finesse of the Grand, but simply take up less space.

Are You Really Committed to Learning?

Whether you are getting the piano for yourself or your children, renting a piano will allow you to test the level of interest of the student.

There are literally thousands of pianos sitting in homes, that are rarely or never played. Piano rentals give you the ability to test your ambition before you purchase, or pay for lessons.

Practice On A High-quality Instrument

The sound matters. People learning an instrument are often become discouraged when playing on poor quality instruments. The sound isn’t quite right, or the build just doesn’t feel right.

Renting a good quality piano will give the student a better, more encouraging experience. This should hopefully increase their interest and dedication, and help them to improve at a faster rate.

Rent First Buy Later

When you rent, you often have the ability to apply the monthly payments to the purchase price if you decide to buy.

Courtney Pianos provide a broad selection of upright and grand pianos. For more information about renting a piano, click here.

Related Links
Our Current Pianos for Rental.

World Famous Piano Manufacturers

The World’s Most Famous Piano Manufacturers: Courtney Pianos Every year at Courtney Pianos we restore many different brands of piano. Piano restoration and care is a very customer facing business. We’re invited into peoples homes to work on and remove one of their most prized possessions so that we can restore it. Of course, we have some fascinating conversations with the owners of the pianos we restore, often hearing a long and rich back story of the role the piano has played in the lives of our patrons.

Who Is The Best Piano Maker?

We are often asked, “who are the best piano makers”. It’s a tricky question to answer of course because it’s a subjective question, different people prefer different pianos for different reasons.

There are many piano makers throughout the world but only a handful of brands have the quality and history to be in the running for a title such as  “The world’s best piano maker”.

If we were having to judge, we can only do it by personal preference. Such preferences are built on our years of experience of restoring pianos.  Tone, sound, action, company history as well as the love and respect of musicians are the factors that influence our choices.

The views of pianists, other restorers like ourselves and piano dealers have helped us create this shortlist.

C. Bechstein Pianos

C Bechstein Piano

Bechstein Pianos were founded by Carl Bechstein. He studied and worked in France and England becoming a master piano craftsman, before setting up his own piano making business. After starting out making pianos as an employee, he had a dream of building his own brand.

His piano factory on 1 October 1853 in Berlin. Bechstein set out to create a robust piano that was capable of withstanding the great demands imposed on the instrument by the virtuosi piano players of the era, such as Franz Liszt, known for being a passionate pianist.

These were the days of the virtuoso pianist and young, upcoming artists pianist wanted to emulate their heroes, Bechstein had chosen the right time to launch his brand.  Bechstein pianos became a status symbol.

By the 1870s Liszt and Hans von Bülow had endorsed the brand and Bechstein pianos had become the must-have piano.  Concert halls and private houses followed the trend.

Bechstein, A Modern Favourite

Bechstein pianos are still popular with more contemporary composers and musicians today. Artists such as Bob Dylan, Dave Stewart of The Eurythmics, The Beatles, David Bowie, Elton John, Lou Reed, Carly Simon and Supertramp have all all recorded music using Bechstein Pianos.

Other names such as Freddie Mercury, of the British rock band, and Queen, Elton John both endorsed Bechstein Given that Bechstein pianos are still so popular with performers today, it’s little wonder that the pianos, whether grand or upright are still highly sought after instruments.

Bechstein Pianos for sale

If you’re an admirer of these fantastic instruments, then you’ll be pleased to know that Courtney Pianos, Oxford have a number of Bechstein Pianos for sale.


Blüthner Piano Keyboard We’ve spoken about Blüthner before. This East German piano manufacturer from Leipzig Founded In 1853 Julius Blüthner started the company and over 165 years later it is still run and managed by the Blüthner family. Impressive! Blüthners are renowned for their quality and tone, often referred to as the Golden Tone.

Despite the factory being destroyed in WW2, Blüthner has rebuilt and maintained a reputation for delivering outstanding quality. Queen Victoria, Listz, Brahms, Tsar Nicholas II, Rachmaninov, and Tschaikovsky are listed amongst their customers.

Despite the fact that Blüthner builds high-end quality pianos, they are also a modern responsive company. They offer two other, more affordable ranges, the Heassler and Irmler ranges. And also create digital pianos that are gaining a good reputation.

Steinway & Sons

Steinway Piano Keyboard When you think of a Grand Piano, Steinway comes to mind.  Steinway & Sons are probably the most well known and highly piano manufacturer in the world. Heinrich Engelhard Steinweg began making pianos in his kitchen in Sessen, Germany when he was aged just 20 years old. in the following twenty-five years he’s built a further 482 pianos. 

Steinweg decided to emigrate to America. Setting himself up in In New York City, he changed his name to Henry E Steinway and founded Steinway & Sons in 1853. Steinway & Sons have received accolades from cities such as New York, Paris and many musical organisations for the high quality of their pianos.

The quality of the product is self-evident and it’s because their pianos take over a year to be built by master craftsmen.  Every Steinway piano is made of more than 12,000 parts. Steinway & Sons build pianos in New York and they also have a factory in Hamburg, Germany. 

The company produces Grand and Upright pianos They have two high-end lines, and two more affordable lines.   The high-end bespoke pianos are Spirio and Heliconia for the customer who wants a real high-end, statement instrument. The two more affordable brands are called Essex and Boston.

Of course, we at Courtney Pianos are aware that these two brands are out of reach for most of us, but let’s all celebrate the high standards these brands create, setting the benchmark for all other companies to aspire to.

If you’d like to know more about your favourite brand of Piano, just email us. We’d be happy to feature other brands.

Celebrating Blüthner Pianos

Celebrating Blüthner Pianos: Courtney Pianos

Courtney Pianos make no secret that we admire the classic piano makes. Blüthner pianos being no exception.

Who could ignore the vast array of stellar talent who chose Blüthner as their preferred piano brand?

Composers such as Prokofiev, Bruckner, Shostakovich Grieg, Dvorák, Debussy, Ravel, Wagner, Mahler, Rachmaninov and Liszt are just some of the high profile names of Blüthner owners.

Over 165 Years of Piano Excellence

Blüthner Pianos is still a family run business, having been established by Julius Blüthner in Leipzig, 1853.

By 1900, Blüthner was the largest piano maker in Germany, producing around 5,000 instruments each year.

Today, The pianos are still made in Leipzig Germany and maintain their worldwide reputation for manufacturing the finest, hand-crafted pianos available.

The Blüthner Sound

Blüthner pianos are renowned for their clear, warm, rich sound. I an interview with Classic FM Radio, Dr. Christian Blüthner-Haessler, the CEO of Blüthner described the Blüthner sound as

“They create a dark, chocolate sound with a sparkling treble” and “having a singing element to them”.

We couldn’t agree more! So what, you might ask is the secret? We believe it’s in the quality of the product and that quality exists because of the company vision and ethos.

Blüthner Longevity

Julius Blüthner Pianofortefabrik GmbH to cite the company’s formal name is a business which has been a successful, family-run company since the 19th century.

That ability to keep going, to be a brand that endures is reflected in the product. Subsequentially, longevity is crucial to the Blüthner company. Their instruments are made to last for a lifetime and beyond. The Blüthner family has adhered to the same traditions and mission since the company was founded.

What Makes Them Sound Different?

When you speak to pianists about what makes them love Blüthner pianos so much, you will get the same answer over and over again.

“It’s the warm sound”, they say, “The Golden Tone” or “The Romantic Feeling”

Blüthner pianos have strings that are single-hitched, as opposed to the standard looped strings. Strings are hitched on a pin, which leads directly onto individual tuning pins by the keys.  Blüthner pianos also have an additional string in the treble, this additional string resonates in harmony with the main notes. This is what creates the rich overtones and “colours” which modulate on the soundboard.”

All that Heritage, Aren’t they old Fashioned?

One might be fooled into thinking that a company with so much history, might be stuck in their ways, but a business with over 165 years of history didn’t remain in business by failing to move with the times.   Far from it! Successful businesses are dynamic, innovative and flexible.  Blüthner move with the times incorporating new techniques, technology and design styles.

For example, They have a brand of digital pianos with models such as the e-Klavier 1-3, Pianette, PRO-88 EX, Homeline, e-volution and e-Grand.  All with different looks and designed to meet the specific needs of modern Pianists.

As if this wasn’t enough, they’ve also combined the traditional with the very best in modern materials to deliver the Stunning Crystal Edition pianos. This fusion of Wood, Iron and transparent acrylic material.

Related Links
Blüthner Electronic Pianos
Blüthner Crystal Edition
Crystal Edition Piano Website

Why People Love A Bechstein Grand Piano

Bechstein Pianos are renowned for their unique sound. The pianos are painstakingly constructed using high-end materials and for over 150 years now the name Bechstein is associated with quality. That’s why we are proud to have Bechstein Pianos for sale.

C. Bechstein Pianoforte AG (also known as Bechstein, is a German manufacturer of pianos, established in 1853.

The Vision of a master craftsman

The company’s founder, Carl Bechstein studied and worked in France and England as a piano craftsman, before setting up his own piano making business. Like most great artisans his first creations were made for other companies, but he dreamed of having his own business.

Bechstein founded his own piano factory on 1 October 1853 in Berlin. He set out to create a piano that was robust enough to able to withstand the great demands imposed on the instrument by the virtuosi piano players of the era, such as Franz Liszt. So right from the early days these instruments were closely associated with the top performers of the day. Any self respecting pianist wanted to emulate their heroes, and so a Bechstein became a status symbol.

By 1870, with endorsements from Franz Liszt and Hans von Bülow, Bechstein pianos had become the must-have piano in many concert halls and private mansions.

In just 17 years, Bechstein had positioned them selves as industry leaders across the world along with other piano makers, Blüthner and Steinway & Sons.

Bechstein has been known as a maker of bespoke artcase pianos since the 19th century. Artcase pianos tended to be commissioned by interior designers for royal palaces and stately homes.

Bechstein hired artists and craftsmen to produce special pianos, lavishly decorated with gold, hand-carved details, and hand-painted art on the piano case.

Today, some of the artcase Bechsteins are now museum pieces, whilst others trade well at musical-instrument auctions, mainly in London and New York.

Famous classical musicians who composed on Bechstein pianos include Edvard Grieg, and Maurice Ravel, Lipatta

Bechstein, Still relevant today

Bechstein pianos are also popular with more contemporary composers and musicians too. Bob Dylan is mentioned on many Bechstein dealers’ web pages as a regular Bechstein player. Dave Stewart of The Eurythmics, The Beatles, David Bowie, Elton John, Lou Reed, Carly Simon and Supertramp all recorded music using the Bechstein concert grand at London’s Trident Studios.

That particular piano is over a century old and much sought-after for its sound. It became one of the most frequently recorded instruments in rock history. It was used in the studio from 1968 until the mid-1980s, and has since been sold at auction.

The late, great Freddie Mercury, of the British rock band, Queen, played a Bechstein piano on the best-selling album A Night at the Opera.

The music video for Elton John’s “Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word” features John playing a white Bechstein grand. But why are they so popular? This video gives some insight.

Given that Bechstein pianos are still so popular with performers today, it’s little wonder that the pianos, whether grand or upright are still highly sought after instruments.

Bechstein Pianos for sale

If you’re an admirer of these fantastic instruments, then you’ll be pleased to know that as well as offering a wide range of piano brands for rental, Courtney Pianos, Oxford also have a number of Bechstein Pianos for sale.

So you too can have the chance to own the unique sound of Bechstein.

How Much Does Piano Restoration Cost?

One of the most common questions we are asked online is “How Much Does Piano Restoration Cost?” Before we lay out the rough costs of piano restoration let us explain our process before any work starts:

restoring piano action keys and dampers
Upon receiving an enquiry for restoration we will find a suitable time to view your piano either at your home or if that isn’t possible, we arrange for the piano to be collected and then inspected at the Courtney Pianos workshop in Oxford.

It is sometimes possible to make a remote assessment of the work required. If you have access to a digital camera, please photograph the broken or damaged area of your piano and email us the photos. Provided that we can see enough detail,  we will report back to you with our initial thoughts.

Once the piano inspection has been carried out a conversation will take place in which we will ask you what areas are most important to you as the owner of the piano. Some people ask for a full internal restoration only.  This means that the piano will play superbly but the cabinet is left in an unrestored condition.

Most people, however, choose to have a combination of internal and external work on their instruments, after all, they do tend to stand out within most people’s homes.

When you have given us the instructions about the areas of work to be carried out we will produce a detailed quote. Ninety-Nine times out of 100 our piano restoration quotes will give you the full and final price.

Occasionally there will be some internal and unseen issue happening in the piano that is impossible to see on the initial inspection. If this happens it will be explained and discussed in total transparency.

These ‘hidden’ problems are rare but if they do occur we will do our best to keep any additional costs to a minimum. We will not proceed without your consent.

Getting Your Piano Restored

After you decide to go ahead with the piano restoration, we will collect your piano and it will come to our workshop in Oxford where the refurbishment and restoration work will be carried out.

We do not send your piano abroad to be worked on, unlike some other companies who prioritise their profits over the quality of the craftsmanship. We prefer to keep everything in house because we believe in overseeing all the work carried out in our name.

How Do You Fix Pianos?

During our Piano restoration process, your piano will move through our workshop where one team will work on the soundboard, frame, repining, restringing etc.

Next, it will then move to the polishing department to apply the finish you desire and at the same time, the action will be completed. The piano is then re-assembled, regulated and tuned, and will receive its final checks, before being returned to the destination agreed.

Along the way, if possible, we encourage you to come in and see the stages of restoration and watch your piano be transformed.

Restoration Costs

Our costs are fully transparent but they do vary based on your piano. The piano size, piano design and the condition of the piano are factors that will change the price.

Below is a ballpark figure for a piano in an average condition:

  • An upright piano is £4,000 to £4,500
  • For a baby grand, £6,000 to £6,500
  • For a boudoir grand £7,500 to £8,000
  • For a larger grand, from £9,000

For more information about piano, restoration costs check out our Piano Restoration FAQ if you don’t find the answer give us a call for a chat on +44 (0)1865 790 400