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#136584 - 06/06/04 02:05 AM Tune used piano before or after purchase?
zmonster Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/05/04
Posts: 47
Loc: U.S.A.
I suppose one would normally want to tune a used piano after purchase and delivery. However, in my case, I may be purchasing an instrument that's quite old and there's some concern that a few of the pins may not have the necessary torque to hold the tune (which may force me to use larger pins in those holes, or replace the pin block all together sometime in the future).

Therefore, I'm wondering if it would be to my advantage to have the seller tune the piano before I make the final decision to purchase it. The last time it was tuned was 12 months ago. I think I'd like to have it tuned before hand and wait a few days to see how the tune holds before I make the purchase.

If this is a good idea, will the piano hold it's tune during the delivery across the city so that I won't have to tune it again for roughly 6 more months?

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#136585 - 06/06/04 03:10 AM Re: Tune used piano before or after purchase?
zscum Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/02/04
Posts: 18
Loc: los angeles
I can understand your caution. Is there any way you can negotiate with the seller to get the piano fixed before you purchase? If you decide to buy the piano, after it settles in your home, it might be good to get the piano retuned to fit your room acoustics. Some dealers include the first in-home tuning for free.

zscum
P.S. Thanks for your reply to my post ;\)
_________________________
Jean

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#136586 - 06/06/04 04:38 AM Re: Tune used piano before or after purchase?
JoeB Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/03
Posts: 671
Loc: Northern California
If you are worried about the pin block you should consider having your tech check the piano and give you a report on the pin block torque. Having the pins replaced or replacing the pin block are fairly expensive options and a good tech should be able to advise you as to the condition of the piano.
_________________________
"How, Monsieur, you care not for music? You do not play the clavecin? I am sorry for you! You are indeed condemming yourself to a dull old age!" - Fouquet

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#136587 - 06/06/04 10:39 AM Re: Tune used piano before or after purchase?
Rick Clark Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/04/03
Posts: 1810
Loc: North County San Diego CA
Definitely have your own tech evaluate the piano. A piano can easily have a borderline pinblock where it can hold a tuning for a while, but only just barely. What you need is a tech to feel how it is to tune that piano, and report to you on condition.

Usually pianos with bad pinblocks have scores of other problems as well, because wood doesn't go bad only in the pinblock. Practically the whole instrument is wood. And if the climate ruined the pinblock, it ruined a lot of other things, too.

OTOH, if it was last tuned 12 months ago and it is reasonably in tune (and at pitch) now, then you have an indication that the pinblock is holding at least minimally.

As to tuning stability, a lot of old pianos that were heavily/stiffly built and are not too physically messed-up will actually be a lot more stable tuning wise than a much newer one. You can move them across town without too much effect on tuning, unless there is a significant humidity difference between the old location and the new one.

OTOH a flimsy piano such as a cheap spinet or console will generally go out of tune just from the physical act of moving it around, as the whole structure seems to flex when you pick them up at one end, or set them on a dolly, etc.

Regards,

Rick Clark
_________________________
Rick Clark

Piano tuner-technician

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#136588 - 06/06/04 10:43 AM Re: Tune used piano before or after purchase?
Steve Cohen Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 10529
Loc: Maryland/DC/No. VA
Let me slap a dollar figure on this discussion. If the piano needs a new pinblock the likelihood is that you are looking at a minimum of $6000 in work.

DEFINATELYT, have your tech check it out.
_________________________
Piano Industry Consultant- http://www.linkedin.com/pub/steve-cohen/6/b92/b80

Consultant & Contributing Editor - Acoustic & Digital Piano Buyer

Jasons Music
Maryland/DC/No. VA
Since 1937.

www.jasonsmusic.com
My postings, unless stated otherwise, are my personal opinions, not those of my clients.

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#136589 - 06/07/04 08:34 AM Re: Tune used piano before or after purchase?
Manitou Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/08/02
Posts: 1044
Loc: Colorado
(Definitively)

Pianos are not tuned to specific rooms or tuned to sound a certain way, in a certain place. That falls under voicing the piano, which means working with the hammers.
_________________________
Manitou - Pianist - Technician

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