20 tips on how to buy a used piano

20 tips on how to buy a used piano

Learning the piano is a fun and joyous experience. Finding the perfect instrument is difficult. Here are 20 tips for piano lovers to find the perfect piano.

  1. Decide that you are really going to want outlearn. A piano is a significant cash investment. Make sure you will use it for a long time.
  2. Pianos have a moving cost. Factor this into your purchase.
  3. Pianos, like cars, need to be maintained. Ensure you tune your piano once or even twice a year.
  4. Adding to thing is additional maintenance called regulation. A piano has thousands of moving parts. These parts will suffer from wear and tear and need to be maintained. Set aside funds to do this every few years. It will depend on the amount of work the piano does.
  5. Don’t buy a used piano from a music school or conservatory. They will have been played hard and not really maintained (see point 4). These institutions turn over pianos every year as regular capital expenditure.
  6. Ask your piano teacher for advice. Piano teachers have been playing for many years and on many different pianos. Some piano teachers will know a lot about pianos, so don’t forget to ask.
  7. Do some research and have a budget. You will get what you pay for. New pianos are expensive for a reason. The well known brands (Yamaha, Kawai, Steinway) can be expensive, but they have a history and a level of quality that is worth the cost.
  8. You need to inspect the piano. Play it and look inside. Are there any broken strings? Look at the strings and hammers. Is there rust on the strings? A little surface rust is normal but a lot indicates there could be a problem.
  9. Look at the hammers. Are there very deep indents on the hammers where they hit the strings? That’s excess wear. Look closely at the higher note hammers. There should only be 3 clear indents. If there are more or they are blurred it means the hammer is moving about and not striking the strings accurately. This is a sign of wear and tear.
  10. Look at the exterior of the piano. Are there signs or dings and scratches? How the piano looks can be an indication of how well it has been looked after.
  11. Look at the bottom of the piano. Inside and outside. Are there signs of water damage?
  12. Check the frame of the piano near the tuning pins. Do the strings sit high on the tuning pins or are they close to the pin block? This may indicate the pin block is worn and has been hammered in to keep the tuning pins tight.
  13. Look at the strings. Are they covered in dust and dirt? Look the bass strings. Is some of the coiled wire around them starting to unravel? This indicates old strings and they will need to be replaced.
  14. Check the sound board. Are there any visible cracks? You can easily see into and under a grand piano to check the condition of the wooden parts.
  15. Check the legs of the piano, particularly a grand piano. Ensure they are solid and the piano doesn’t wobble. Check that the leg screws are all there.
  16. Check for wood borers. These insects leave tiny little holes in the wood. You don’t want wood borers.
  17. Check the keyboard and the keys. Are there any chips in the keys? Be careful. Playing on a chipped key can slice your finger open. 
  18. Check the keys. The actual keyboard keys are usually have plastic keys. Are these all still in place and no movement or wobble present? Do all they keys have their white covers?
  19. Do the pedals work? Check that they are functioning correctly.
  20. Check the serial number and then research it on the internet. You can find the age or year of manufacture of the piano plus which factory of country it was manufactured in.
  21. Bonus Tip: If in doubt, have a piano turner inspect the piano and give you a report (for a cost). If you are going to spend several thousand on a piano, ensure you have done your due diligence.

— 20 tips on how to buy a used piano —

© iteachpiano 2021

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