The purchase of a used piano does not need to be as difficult as preparing for, and climbing Mount Everest. Over the thirty years I have serviced pianos I have heard many a tale of woe and grief from those that ventured into the used piano market and got stuck in a tar pit of unknowing. If you would like to avoid the tar pit, put these tips to work for you.
First; take the time to become an informed buyer. Get a copy of; The Piano Book, written by; Larry Fine. You can find a copy at your local Library, or purchase at most book retailers.
Second; find a piano technician that will talk with you about the piano you intend to purchase. You should limit your questions to the one or two pianos you are serious about purchasing.
Third; always have the piano inspected before purchase. As a part of the evaluation, have the piano rough tuned. This process will allow the technician to determine if the piano is tuneable, and it will allow the technician to get a feel of the action of the piano. Sticking and malfunctioning keys will be easily spotted. At the end of the process you will know of any problems and the costs to remedy those problems.
Now it is time to go on the piano hunt. This may prove to be the most time consuming part of the process. If you would like to cut some of the time involved, I recommend shopping at your local piano retailer. Most retailers have an inventory of used pianos that will be priced below new piano pricing. Keep in mind, as a rule of thumb you will pay more for a used instrument from a retailer than you will from a private individual. If you do not mind the leg work and time it will require, shopping on line,(Craig’s List for example) or your local news papers are a good source for used pianos for sale by owner. If you have the opportunity to talk to the seller by phone, a few questions to ask the seller are: when was the piano tuned last? Do you have the name and phone number of the person that tuned the piano? Have you used the same tuner over the years, and have you tuned and serviced the piano regularly? The answers that are given can help you screen the pianos you want to invest more time into. If for instance, you are told it has not been tuned for twenty years because no one is using it, you may want to scratch that piano from your list. Try to find those pianos that have a track record of service, and a technician that can vouch for the pianos condition. Those are the pianos to invest your time and energy into.
A final note; avoid the purchase of a piano that will cause the player of the piano to become frustrated and stop playing the piano. Purchase the maximum piano you can afford. Purchase only a piano that can be played without the hassle of notes that do not play, or play only some of the time. Keep in mind some pianos can not be tuned due to age or dryness related damage.
Enjoy the process, take your time, and call your technician before you buy.
Craig S. Cole
Direct Line – 248-624-0940
Website – http://acepianotuninginc.com
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org