Information you need before you buy
Buying a Used Piano
Also see our NEW SECTION on Buying a Piano courtesy of The Acoustic & Digital Piano Buyer |
(by Larry Fine & Alden Skinner)
Private Part Sales
If you decide to buy a used piano from a private party, enlist the aid of a tuner-technician. There's often a fine line between a "real find" in a used piano and a piece of junk. And that fine line may take the form of a hairline crack in a vital part of the piano or in some other technical flaw. The tuner-technician is really the only person qualified to tell you whether a used piano is worth buying. (For a tuner-technician near you, see; Piano Tuners .)
Don't pay the technician his or her fee for looking at the first used piano you hear about, though. Shop around. Some dealers, rebuilders and technicians have good buys in used pianos, but for the most part you'll be looking at pianos in private homes.
Inspect the Piano
Inspect a used piano at least as rigorously as you would a new one. Try every key with the right-hand pedal depressed to check the tone, and make sure the keyboard, pedals and hammers don't stick or squeak. Bring a flashlight and open the top. Look to see that all the hammers and strings are there and in good condition. Make sure the hammers aren't moth-eaten or string-cut, and check for rust and dirt.
Ask who has had the piano; if it was a serious pianist, the instrument probably got good care. Write down the brand name and serial number and ask your technician to find out how old it is.
(Or, see the section titled " How Old is My Piano?" on Piano World for a simple fill in form to submit for information on the piano's age.) the safest buys tend to be no more than 20 years old. Old pianos can be refinished, but it is tedious work.
Moving the Piano
When you find a likely piano have the technician inspect it. If he approves, arrange to have it delivered by a moving firm that specializes in pianos. (See Piano Movers for a list of professional piano movers in your area). Don't allow the movers to "keyboard" the piano, or remove the front part to make it fit through the door. Measure the piano against the doors it must pass through in advance.