This is a list I have come up with of my top 5 favorite pianos available right now. If money were no object, and I had a huge house, I would buy all of them, no hesitation. If you even have the money for one of these, you're very lucky. I've been fortunate enough to tune, work on, and play hundreds of different pianos, and these are at the top.
5. Yamaha CF6
Of course Yamaha makes thousands of pianos per year for the global market, but the CF6 is a far cry from their practice room pianos. The CF series is a small group of hand made pianos produced for the finest musicians and stages. The CF6 is bright, cool, and delivers a ton of power. When you pair that with some of the greatest musicians in the world, it's a recipe for success.
4. Schimmel 230
The Schimmel 230 is a bone shaker! Sitting behind the keys is like diving with great white sharks. An artist will take you from calm and cool to a booming cannon fight between the English and a pirate ship. Little dainty pianos, beware! This piano is not for wimps.
3. Steinway & Sons B
It's said a great Steinway may be hard to come by, but don't worry if you can't tell the difference. I liked the first one I sat down at. The B is a smaller package than other pianos of this size, slightly narrower, seemingly softer, but the range of this piano is almost magical. There are characteristics when you play that almost seem like the piano is playing back to you. Like calling out loud on a mountain lake, the sound rolls around and eventually is called back. If you think of sound in terms of color, you'll find the whole spectrum here.
2. Bosendorfer 200 CS
Bosendorfer makes only a handful of pianos per year (250?) Your standard is the 225 and the 280. Those are the classic gothic style, sharp edges, extra keys, shiny black, etc. In the 200 you still get the dark tone and power of the others, but in a sexier package. The 200 is matte black, has a rounded tail, and a more interesting music desk. When you play on the keyboard, many people describe the feeling as not really having the control to play the way they want. "It's not you, it's me." Imagine getting behind the wheel of a brand new Dodge Viper when you usually drive a Prius V. You're going to run into the wall. It's just so powerful. If you find one of these, you'd better clear your schedule.
1. Fazioli 228
In one word, "Perfection." Fazioli Pianoforte is the youngest maker of pianos on this list, or on any list, but they use their youth to their advantage. The design is modern, the factory is more like a laboratory than a wood shop, and they don't approve of a piano unless everything is exactly perfect. When I hear the Fazioli 228, I think of shades of white, white clouds drifting slowly, white linens blowing in an open window, little white bunnies. Everything is perfect and pure. But it's not boring in any way. Listening to the Fazioli is like talking with an old friend, it comes effortlessly, and flows naturally, not rushed. And if you want to take it up a notch, pour the drinks straight and let your heart soar!