Do you really want a piano?
As strange as that may sound, many people buy a piano for its look and forget that a piano is a musical instrument. Many pianos are fine furniture, some with investment potential. It is however, first and foremost an instrument for the making of beautiful music.
How to get your money's worth in your piano purchase.
Choosing the right piano at the right price can be very difficult. Ask yourself these questions:
- How much are you willing to spend?
A good quality piano whether new or used is an expensive purchase. Determine your limit before you start looking as the differences in the prices are overwhelming.
- What size is right for you?
Pianos come in two basic shapes. Verticals (uprights) and horizontal (grand's). Grand pianos which include "Baby Grand's" take up more space and usually cost more. The larger the piano, the better it will sound. Many large vertical pianos have better sound quality than small grands. Buy the largest possible piano for the space and budget.
- Who will be using the piano?
The more proficient the player the more the quality of the piano is an issue. Someone who plays occasionally might be happy with a lesser instrument. Whereas a student will need at minimum, a piano that is completely functional, capable of being tuned at A-440 standard pitch, and must be able to hold that tuning for a period of time. An instrument that falls short of the expectations of the musician will not promote a willingness to practice and will result in a poor musical education. It is more fun to practice on a good instrument than a bad one.
- What brand is best?
The answer will be extremely subjective as there are many subtle differences. The buyer must keep in mind their budget and needs when choosing brands. Do not let dealers talk down a certain brand just because they do not carry it in their store. When looking for used pianos especially older ones, there are literally hundreds of different pianos brands that may be available. Mainly the condition of the piano should out-weigh the name brand in your decision A piano that once was great may need much work to bring it back to its original glory. Reconditioning is a solution to returning that once great piano to it's original vibrancy and value. Make sure if your buying a restored instrument from a rebuilder to get a warranty or guarantee on the piano.
- Where to buy?
Dealers usually carry different brands in different price ranges. They also have used pianos they have taken on trade. When shopping for new, look for quality and price not necessarily only by brand. Choose a dealer who is knowledgeable and has a good reputation. If you are unsure of the dealer or are considering a used piano from a private party then find a technician that can give you a professional evaluation about any of the pianos which you are looking. Money spent on the technicians time will be money saved in the long run especially if the piano has problems you may have missed. You will also need this technician to service the piano on a regular basis and they can determine it's quality and longevity from the very start.
- What to look for in a used piano?
Here are some basic hints when looking at a potential piano for purchase. Play each key to make sure they all sound and play. Make sure the keys do not stick. Listen to how it sounds, is it pleasing to the ear? Be sure the pedals work. How does the case look? Look inside the piano. Are there cracks in the metal plate? If so stay away. A minor crack in the soundboard is not such an issue and rarely affects the tone. Ask about the maintenance history. Play the piano, even if you are a beginner. Do you like the way it looks, feels, and sounds? Remember, this piano will probably be with you and your family for a long time to come.