How to Buy A Used Piano

Posted by Steve Howard on Jan 15, 2020

In today’s article from Howard Piano Industries I will be giving you some ideas, tips, and hints on what to look for when you’re purchasing a used piano. The most common place to look for a used piano is on Craigslist or through other online channels such as Facebook. So, I will go through some of the criteria, because if you are looking for a piano for the first time you might not know what kind of piano you should be looking for based on your budget.

The first thing you will need to do is determine the amount of money that you would like to spend on a piano and being sure that the amount is realistic for your needs. If your kids are just starting out, you don’t have to spend a fortune, but you want to at least make sure that it is a functioning piano so that they can practice without too much frustration.If you get a piano with a lot of mechanical problems, it will be discouraging for them and they won’t want to play it. You might find a piano that needs a little work that you can get for a very good price. It’s even possible that you can do the repairs yourself, and we have many YouTube videos available for free to help you with that: Piano Tuning & Repair Videos

Be sure to take a good look at the soundboard of the piano to see if it has any cracks in it. Make sure that all the keys work, and that it is relatively clean inside. Mice can take up residence and you don’t want that as they can do damage to the action parts in a piano.

You will need to determine what kind of piano that you want in your home. Do you want a grand piano or an upright piano? If it’s a grand, should it be longer or shorter? If it’s an upright, should it be taller or a spinet piano which is shorter? Obviously, the longer, or taller the piano, the better sound you are going to get out of the piano. With a spinet piano the sound and the feel of the action isn’t going to be nearly as nice as a larger upright piano, especially if it’s older. You will benefit from a console or studio piano if you are going in the direction of an upright, so keep this in mind when looking for a piano. Taller doesn’t require more room in your home but it might cost a bit more. The same rule will apply with a grand piano. A longer piano will deliver a much nicer sound, not to mention, a grand piano will offer a better action for playing. Don’t forget that the piano that you purchase will have to be moved to your home. You’ll either need to move the piano yourself or have a piano mover do the job. This may influence what size piano you will purchase.

As for your budget, you need to determine how much you want to spend. In most cases, you get what you pay for, but there are times when you can get a very good deal on a piano that someone really needs to get rid of. It might not be that old or it might be in mint condition, but they just need it out of their house. These are the kind of deals that you want to look for. You might even get a piano for free just for moving it out of their house for them. Most often these aren’t the greatest pianos but sometimes you can run across a decent one. It is realistic to find a decent piano, not a high-end piano, but something that is good enough to start out with for somewhere between $150 - $500. You might consider having a piano technician go out and look at a piano for you if you aren’t confident in choosing for yourself. I have done this for my customers, and it can save you a lot of money and trouble to just pay a small fee to have this done before you make your decision. That way if it does need work the technician can give you a quote if you don’t feel confident to do the repairs yourself.

Transporting the piano is something that you will want to take into consideration when you are looking to make a purchase. Pianos weigh approximately 100 pounds per foot and are difficult to move without the proper equipment. It is best to have a piano moved by a professional, but you can move an upright piano if you have the help. You will want to call around to some moving companies to get a quote for this service.Here we show a video of how we move console pianos: How to Move a Vertical Piano

You might find an old turn of the century piano, a very tall upright, for free if you pick it up.This might seem enticing, but I can tell you that they are very heavy and difficult to move. In most cases they have very worn out parts as they really are very old. You will want to be very careful if considering one of these pianos. I have had customers call me for tuning only to find out that the free piano that they brought home can’t be tuned. In some cases, the strings break just attempting to tune them. If a piano is under 30 years old, most often it will be in pretty good condition if it has been cared for properly. Usually, if the cabinet is in good condition you can tell that the piano has been cared for. Sometimes the piano just sat in a home for 30 years never to be touched or tuned. If its environment has been good, it will probably just need a few tunings and minor adjustments from sitting for so long. You’ll still want to be sure to look inside. How do the hammers look? Is the inside clean? How is the soundboard? Do you like what it looks and sounds like? Will it look good in your home? You won’t want to get it only to find out that you don’t like it when it arrives.

There are advantages to buying a used piano from a piano store. In most cases the piano will have been gone over by a qualified technician to make sure that everything is in good working order and in some cases, delivery will be included.The thing to consider when purchasing a piano from a dealer is that in most cases, you’ll pay quite a bit more for a piano of comparable quality.

Buying a piano can seem like a daunting task, but with the right research you can find a good piano that will serve you and your family well.Music in the home certainly can be a blessing.