So you decided to buy a used acoustic piano that could stay with you for a lifetime.
That’s really great. But buying a used acoustic piano is like buying a used car. There are so many details. Fist of all ask your piano teacher about his opinion and sources.
If you didn’t find a piano teacher here are some tips to find a good one.
You must be careful and look into the smallest technicalities so that you get the best deal and own a piano that you could practice on for years to come.
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Buying new vs used acoustic piano:
Buying a new piano is a really good option for some people.
The best thing about new pianos is that you don’t have to inspect anything or go through the hassle of inspecting it.
But on the other hand, you may get a better brand or a bigger piano with less money spent when you buy a used acoustic piano.
So to make sure what you really want, go play and listen to both options.
Some used pianos are really worth buying if you stumble upon a good deal.
Some used acoustic pianos aren’t really that used.
You could find a used acoustic piano in a mint condition with half of the price of a new one.
Some people got their pianos and never played on them.
So if you want to find a good deal please follow this guide and be patient.
Where to look for a second-hand piano:
The best way to find a used piano is from a friend or a family member you trust.
If you trust the buyer then you are halfway through.
If you don’t have this option then go to a local shop near you. (You could search for “Piano stores near me” on google maps).
Go to the store and check both the new and used acoustic pianos.
Taking a look at new pianos will let you understand what you expect from a used acoustic piano. Also ask about the prices of the new pianos. We will talk about the prices later on.
Facebook groups are also a really good place to find used acoustic pianos.
Go check as many pianos as possible, play with them, take a video while you play on them. This may take some time. But trust me you will not regret it when you own the piano of your dreams.
What to ask when you meet the seller:
As I mentioned before, the person selling the piano is an important aspect of the deal.
If you feel that you can’t trust this person. Then think again before dealing with them.
Here are some questions to ask the person willing to sell the piano.
- How old is this piano?
A piano could live for 100 years and more. But a very old piano will probably need some costly maintenance. So make sure what is needed and how much it will cost you.
- What is the brand, serial number and model of the piano?
We will talk about the best brands later. But for now ask about the model and the serial number and go check it online to make sure the year of the piano and the country it was made in.
It will tell you a lot about the piano. Most sellers won’t know the year that the piano was made.
But the serial number will tell you exactly.
- Who used this piano before?
If the piano was used by a concert pianist before. Good chances that they played the piano regularly and took care of it.
If the owner of the piano neglected the piano. It will most probably be left without tuning nor regular maintenance.
Also some school, church and hotel pianos are played too much and not taken care of. So try to avoid these kinds of pianos too.
How often was the piano tuned?
This is a very important question. Tuning the piano will affect its sound dramatically.
There is a saying that “the more you tune the piano the less you need to tune it” which means if you tune your piano regularly it will keep its tune.
- What is the reason you are selling it for?
Are they moving out to a smaller space? Are they upgrading? Do they need the money?
These questions are so important when buying a piano.
The answers will make you decide whether it’s a good piano or not. This “interview” with the seller will tell you a lot about the piano.
What to listen to when you buy a used piano:
This will probably happen to you, but when you go to buy a used piano you will find it out of tune. Don’t buy a piano that is out of tune.
Don’t let anyone tell you that it will sound perfect when you tune it.
A detuned piano could hide lots of problems. Always demand to listen to a tuned piano.
A detuned piano is going to take more than one time to tune it back.
Download a tuner app on your phone and go check whether the keys are in tune or not.
Note: The standard pitch set by the ISO was 440 hertz for the key A4. Some old pianos can’t be tuned to 440 hertz. This will be a problem when you play with backing tracks and other instruments.
It is always preferred to go by the industry standard.
If the piano is tuned. Listen to the treble. Is it too bright? Is it too thin? The treble must shine in your ears. It must sound right.
Listen to the bass notes, are they dead? Are they dull? The bass notes must give a “full” sound that is clear and pleasant to the ears.
Moreover, listen to the middle part. It is the most played part of the piano.
So if you like the sound of this part you will be more likely to practice more because you like the sound of what you’re playing.
Also listen to any buzzing, check the source of this buzzing, and see whether it’s a big problem or not.
WHAT to look for when buying a second-hand piano:
- Strings: is there any rust around the strings? If the answer is yes then this is not good news.When you try to tune the piano the strings may break. Or you might need to change all of the strings.
- Soundboard: In a grand piano, to check problems with the soundboard, you want to have your phone flashlight facing the soundboard and someone else underneath the piano.
P.S.:If you find a big light from the cracks, then it is a really big problem. On the other hand, if you find small cracks it’s fine. It is normal due to aging.
- Hammers: Are the felt worn ? Are they flat and you see deep grooves in them? The hammers are replaceable but it may cost you a bit.
- Keys: are they ivory? Are they yellow? Broken plastic? The keys are something that will cost too if you replace them.
- The finish: is this the real color of the piano? Some people may have changed their color. This is not a good sign.
If the piano looks good. Maybe a few scratches here and there. If you could live with it then it’s no problem.
- Keys: Play every single key and check if one of them sounds weird or sticks.
Check the pedals:
You may not know the importance of the pedals as a beginner. But the pedals will come in handy as you progress.
The most commonly used pedal is the sustain pedal. Most pianos have 3 pedals. But some old pianos have 2 pedals.
The functions of the pedals are different sometimes. So ask what every pedal does and check to see if it is working.
Ask about the bench that came with the piano:
Most of the time the piano bench won’t be available with old pianos. But always ask about it. You would be lucky to find the bench in good shape.
If the piano legs are the same as the piano itself. Then this is a good indicator that the piano has been taken care of.
Best used piano brands:
There are a lot of piano brands out there. Most of them are not good, there are few piano brands that will hold their value in the long run. Here are some of them:
Yamaha, Steinway and sons, Bösendorfer, FAZIOLI, C Bechstein, Steingraeber & Söhne.
How much should I pay on a used piano?
It depends, a used grand piano won’t be the same price as a spinet (Never buy a spinet).
Some people may give you a piano for free. So the most important thing is to get a good piano within your budget. A piano that is worth your investment.
Get a technician to check it!
When you really like a piano and you are willing to buy it.
Call a piano technician first and let them go check it with you before sealing the deal. A piano technician’s trained eye may look at things that won’t ever come to your mind.
Most piano technicians will make you pay for this visit. But spending a few bucks to save lots of money is a great investment.
Buying a piano is a great deal, it may stay with you for a really long time. Make sure you feel good about it.
Make sure you get a piano moving company to move it. NOT A FURNITURE company.
I hope this was helpful and if you have any questions, or tell us what you think about us. Leave a comment below.
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