Robert Estrin - piano expert

How can you tell if a piano is "fake?"

An important topic for anyone interested in buying a piano

In this video, Robert talks about how often instruments are sold as made by famous brands, when they are actually just "fakes." How can you distinguish between a fake and a genuine brand piano? If you are interested in buying a valuable piano or want to learn more about the subject, this video is for you.

Released on March 25, 2015

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DISCLAIMER: The views and the opinions expressed in this video are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Virtual Sheet Music and its employees.

Video Transcription

Hi, and welcome to and The question today is, "Is your piano a fake?" Now that is a heck of a question to ask, and I hope I haven't offended anyone.

But the fact is here in the Los Angeles area there are a lot of piano auctions, and I've been hearing from people going to these auctions that there was a whole slew of people who have Steinways that really aren't Steinways. And unsuspecting buyers who are not really that knowledgeable. They see the Steinway name on the front and a lot of the auction houses you can't really closely inspect the pianos. And some instruments of unscrupulous dealers are putting the Steinway name on the front and people bid these things up and they might have no idea what they're getting. Which I think is literally criminal.

So how can you be sure that your piano isn't a fake? Well, you might look at the front and see the name on there and think, "Ah it's got to be," but you know that can actually get the decals of any piano brand. They are readily available on the internet. And it's important for refinishers to be able to put the name of the piano back on the fallboard when the piano is refinished. So there is a legitimate need for these decals. But how do you know for sure that the piano is real then? Well, it's very simple, you look inside and all pianos have the name cast into the plate if they're real.

Now, I say if they are real, and this gets into stenciled pianos which I've talked about before. You can reference my video on that. There are many imported pianos that come from these huge factories in Asia, and they come in with no name on the plate at all. And then you'll see the name and it will seem like it's part of the plate but you tap it you'll realize that it's a little piece of plastic the same color as the plate. And that, of course, is just a stencil brand. They're trying to market a low level piano to make it have a more palatable name on the front instead of some Asian name that you've never heard of. And that's a legitimate importer's right to do that.

But what about a rebuilt piano? To be sure you're looking at the authentic piano the name, is always cast into the plate. It's part of the plate. And you can see it by going inside the piano, and you can see and you can feel the letters. Tap it to make sure it's not a piece of plastic so you know it's the real deal. And that's the way and the only way you can be 100% sure that the piano you have is really what it says in the front.

Thanks so much for joining me and thanks for bringing the question, and we'll address them in future videos for you. Thanks for joining me here at and
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Comments, Questions, Requests:

Robert Mroch on March 25, 2015 @10:03 am PST
Robert thank you for wealth of knowledge you share!
Norman on March 25, 2015 @8:24 am PST
Thank you Robert, that was very helpful.
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