It’s hard not to be curious about extremely affordable deals on pianos we may sometimes see at stores that don’t specialize in them, such as warehouse or big box music stores that sell many more guitars than pianos. Steinway, for example, designs Boston and Essex brand instruments that are sold at more affordable prices. These instruments are not made by Steinway, they are assembled by Asian manufacturers to the company’s specifications or design.
Sometimes called consumer grade instruments, a piano may be advertised "as designed by" a better-known company with a stellar reputation. Consumer grade instruments are manufactured to meet a certain price range, which guarantees that quality is much more dependent on the price of materials, method of assembly, and location of the factory than on the much higher standards of direct-made pianos from the best manufacturers. Even less-reliable, some third party makes and brands can be manufactured by one factory at one time, and another factory at another. These instruments are almost impossible to research to determine their quality and value. They can also make service and part availability a challange.
Shopping for something that will be in your home for a lifetime shouldn’t be all about price. When you have only a few choices at a certain store, you automatically rule out the instrument that could be best for you and your family. You should investigate the instruments that are not just "designed by" or house brands, but are truly made by the world’s great instrument-makers. You can also run into trouble while buying from a store that doesn’t specialize in musical instruments. A legitimate dealer will offer a warranty, backed by technical services, as well as an exchange and satisfaction guarantee if you are in any way dissatisfied.