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#1849701 - 02/22/12 02:50 PM How much should piano's age concern me?
Yonkers Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/21/12
Posts: 23
I read some old forum posts and some people say to not get pianos older than 20 years old. I'm looking on Craigslist and there is a Yamaha U3 built in 1963 for $3750 and another built in 1974 for $4500. The $4500 supposedly was rebuilt and has another 9 years of a 10-year limited warranty.
Should I just keep looking until I find one built after 1994? Oddly enough, on the Yamaha serial#/age lookup website I don't see any Yamaha uprights builts after 2004. Have they stopped making them?

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#1849706 - 02/22/12 03:01 PM Re: How much should piano's age concern me? [Re: Yonkers]
Wound up Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/04/12
Posts: 65
Well, You are about to get a number of more astute observations for certain. However, Here is my view -- The 20 year suggestion is a good one if you are playiong by the laws of averages, as either in any time more signifigant then that the piano is 'likely' to either have been played alot or worse... not given any attention. If the piano is neglected it can be trashed... though if it ages reaLLy well.. they can be good for 60 years.. Sorry for the confusion but the answer is 'it depends' have the inspected properly before buying as the variance can be quite wide-- I hope that helps! j

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#1849717 - 02/22/12 03:25 PM Re: How much should piano's age concern me? [Re: Yonkers]
jivemutha Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/06
Posts: 528
Loc: Portland, OR
Have patience.

If you're in the U.S. and in a city ("Yonkers" such sounds like you fit the bill), you should be able to get a 20-year-old U3 in good shape (except, typically, for needing the hammers voiced down so it's no longer too bright) for less than $4,500. I just sold a 19-year-old American market U3 outside the Houston area (4 million people) and there were no nibbles till I got under $4,500 and no sale till I got down to $4K. There was nothing wrong with it (except the need for hammer voicing, which again is typical and should not be performed until you get the piano into your place, because rugs, upholstery, and the like may soften the sound to the point where you may not even want to have the hammers voiced). Good luck.

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#1849720 - 02/22/12 03:35 PM Re: How much should piano's age concern me? [Re: Yonkers]
Yonkers Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/21/12
Posts: 23
Patience. I have that. So there are exceptions but in general 20 years is a good number after all.
And a 20 year old Yamaha U3 should be about $4k in a US City.
Thanks.

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#1849738 - 02/22/12 04:07 PM Re: How much should piano's age concern me? [Re: Yonkers]
jivemutha Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/06
Posts: 528
Loc: Portland, OR
Originally Posted By: Yonkers
Patience. I have that. So there are exceptions but in general 20 years is a good number after all.
And a 20 year old Yamaha U3 should be about $4k in a US City.
Thanks.


Only with patience and probably some bargaining. This may vary from place to place.

Also, whenever you buy a used piano--any used piano, the money you spend on having a technician check it out is the cheapest and best insurance you'll ever get. DO IT.

Do it before you write the final check. (Sellers should be asked to take a returnable downpayment with a note signed by seller and potential buyer allowing the potential buyer to get out of the deal within a certain period of time if such an inspection uncovers problems. Have a technician lined up before you start hunting so when you find what interests you, you have a phone number to call right away.)

By the way, getting a good used U3 is a great way to spend your money. They're not expensive (because of the flooded gray market U3s in the U.S.), they're reliable, and they sound pretty good for a full size upright that doesn't come from Germany and doesn't cost your first born child.

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#1849933 - 02/23/12 12:54 AM Re: How much should piano's age concern me? [Re: jivemutha]
Rafterman Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/10/12
Posts: 407
Loc: New York
Are you in Yonkers, NY? You sound like you are starting the same journey I just took with some near mistakes.Two books you should read which made me change my mind on a used piano. Order "Idiot's Guide to Buying a Piano". Read the Larry Fine Piano's buyer's guide.

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#1849937 - 02/23/12 01:03 AM Re: How much should piano's age concern me? [Re: Yonkers]
Rafterman Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/10/12
Posts: 407
Loc: New York
I almost bought an 18 year old used Yamaha U3 built for the North American market when I first got into the market. The seller wanted $5500 firm with no bench. I had gone to a reputable Yamaha dealer with a fully prepped U3 on the floor. I played the new U3 and loved the sound. Then I went to the used dealer and that U3 sounded nothing like the new one. I decided to stretch a few thousand more for the new U3.

I started going to some new&used piano dealers for Yamaha and Kawai. Then I read the "Idiot" book and realized all the sales tactics and ploys that were pitched to me. I was very amused (Not a criticism of the fine sales people). I was 99% commited to a Yamaha U3 when I found this forum and a post by Jivemutha on a Yamaha YUS5. I explored the Yamaha YUS5 and a dealer just had one arrive on the floor. I did and A/B between the YUS5 and U3. I bought the YUS5. Please PM me for any questions. Your comments on here will be stalked by local piano dealers if they figure out who you are.

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#1850059 - 02/23/12 09:05 AM Re: How much should piano's age concern me? [Re: Rafterman]
MrMagic Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/29/05
Posts: 371
Loc: Stettler AB Canada
Here's my experience.

I found an age 80+ piano for a good price from a private seller. Had it inspected by a reputable rebuiler before plunking down the cash, then had them rebuild it. I've been playing it for 3 months now and VERY happy with the results.

The patience here was in waiting for the rebuild job to finish and new strings to stablize.

And yes, I first read The Piano Book from cover to cover, then went shopping for new pianos before I had the funds to buy one. I played many many pianos, so I knew what I wanted.


Edited by MrMagic (02/23/12 09:08 AM)
_________________________
1928 Chas. M. Stieff 6'1" Grand. Major rebuild 2011
1920 Mason & Risch Upright (actually my mother's)
1971 Hammond R-100
Roland KR577
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Roland E20, JV30 (retired)
An old concertina which I can't play

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#1850084 - 02/23/12 09:43 AM Re: How much should piano's age concern me? [Re: Yonkers]
Rickster Online   content


Registered: 03/25/06
Posts: 8069
Loc: Georgia, USA
I’ve only been interested in pianos for the last 6 years or so… not very long. In that short time, I’ve come to the conclusion that some pianos age more gracefully than others, but they all age. Even a low mileage used car has some effects of deterioration /degradation from time and the elements itself.

I’m not sure just how to judge or put a mileage meter on a piano to say it will last so-and-so years without needing rebuilding. It all depends on the piano, the environment it was kept in most of its life, how much and how hard it was played, and how well it was cared for.

It is not unheard of for a 10 year old piano to need new hammers or other wear parts. And, it is not unheard of for a 50 year old piano to have pristine original hammers. What really matters is the condition it is currently in. However, unless the piano has been completely (everything that can be replaced) rebuilt, age has a major factor on price.

To me, and keep in mind that I am not an expert on used piano prices, that price is high for the age of the piano, regardless of condition.

Good luck, and keep us informed.

Rick
_________________________
Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel

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#1850087 - 02/23/12 09:51 AM Re: How much should piano's age concern me? [Re: Yonkers]
mcours2006 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/07/12
Posts: 32
A near 50 year-old U3 for $3750 seems to be quite high, at least compared to what I've seen around here. So is a 38 year-old for $4500. But condition is paramount in all cases.

Patience is a good thing. So is due diligence. But sometimes taking a leap of faith pays off too.

I gave myself six to twelve months to buy a piano, but ended up with an 11 year-old Czech-made Petrof for a great price, without an tech inspection, after looking for two weeks.

A tech has since seen and tuned it. Everything looks and sounds great. I guess I got lucky.

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#1850268 - 02/23/12 03:51 PM Re: How much should piano's age concern me? [Re: Yonkers]
monads Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/23/12
Posts: 160
Loc: CA
I'm in the same boat. I've been a casual browser of these wonderful forums and the information is helpful. At first I was looking at 'used' pianos as well, but upon doing research here, reading Larry Fine's "The Piano Book" I decided to hold off. I really had no idea how the dealership network operates, specially with prices.

I'm not saying there's anything wrong with the 'used' market. It's just best to do you homework first, pick up both of Larry Fine's books and ask questions. I need to get in contact with Rafterman smile

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#1850272 - 02/23/12 03:57 PM Re: How much should piano's age concern me? [Re: Yonkers]
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 20749
Loc: Oakland
One problem with old Yamaha verticals is the cotton thread used for the hammer springs. They deteriorate and break. It is an example of age related problems.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#1850409 - 02/23/12 08:10 PM Re: How much should piano's age concern me? [Re: Yonkers]
Monaco Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/28/11
Posts: 387
Loc: GA
Personally, I would rather have a new Hailun than a 20 year old U3. I much prefer the sound profile of the Hailun. The sound of the Yamaha's is so limited in potential. It's a good sound, but less expressive. IMO.
_________________________
Ben Ereddia
Piano Teacher
Beginning Tech

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#1850416 - 02/23/12 08:16 PM Re: How much should piano's age concern me? [Re: Yonkers]
Dave B Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/01/11
Posts: 1730
Loc: Philadelphia area
Same as cars... look for a low mileage garage kept gem.

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#1851164 - 02/25/12 12:21 AM Re: How much should piano's age concern me? [Re: Yonkers]
J Ruggero Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/26/08
Posts: 18
Loc: Raleigh
The word "rebuilt" is overused in my opinion. If I had a nickel for every time I have had a customer tell me they had their piano "rebuilt " some years ago, I would be a rich man. The trouble is that most of the time, the hammers were filed and bridal straps replaced. Maybe new damper felts but that is about it. I am especially suspicious when I see a vertical advertised as "rebuilt " simply because they don't carry enough value to warrant more than a restring and a new set of hammers. Buyer beware.
_________________________
John Ruggero RPT
Ruggero Piano
Raleigh,NC
A third generation technician based buisness representing: Bosendorfer, Fazioli, Bluthner, Mason & Hamlin, Schimmel, Estonia, Charles R. Walter, Vogel, May Berlin, Hailun, and others.
www.ruggeropiano.com

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#1851873 - 02/26/12 04:23 AM Re: How much should piano's age concern me? [Re: Yonkers]
Yonkers Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/21/12
Posts: 23
So I went to a local dealer today. They had a selection of used and new pianos around my price range. The Yamaha U3s they had were also around 1968-1972 range but their price was $5995 versus the $4500 I found on Craiglist. Of course they say theirs is restored but I doubt they do much to it. And they do offer a 10-year warranty and full value trade in. I'm not sure how much that is worth either.

Got to try some used Yamaha U1, U2, Kawai 50" and 52" (not sure model). They also let us try some other brands I had never heard of before but have now since read up from the forum Search function. They had us try a Pearl River (forgot to take picture of price tag), Brodmann CE118 ($4990), Brodmann PE121 ($6690), Taylor London TU133 ($5990).

My son liked the last two the best. Not surprisingly they were the most expensive. Hehe. He also played some on this big grand piano and told me he really liked it. Turned out it was some $130k Bechstein. lol

From my untrained ears it seems that the Yamahas and Kawai sound brightest. I had read that term on here but wasn't sure what I meant until I was able to compare it side by side at the store. The Pearl River seems more mellow. And the Brodmann and Taylor seems to have a fuller sound.

Seems like Brodmann's have a pretty good reputation on this site. After researching Brodmanns I see Hailun are supposedly comparable. Unfortunately they are not a Hailun dealer so I will have to go check that out at another time.

What are you guys opinions on a Brodmann versus a used Yamaha? Also, what do you think is the value of a 10-year warranty and a full value trade in? Right now they're $1500 more than what I can find on Craiglist.


Edited by Yonkers (02/26/12 04:25 AM)

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#1851920 - 02/26/12 07:59 AM Re: How much should piano's age concern me? [Re: Monaco]
Roger Ransom Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/19/05
Posts: 1227
Loc: SouthWest Michigan
Originally Posted By: Monaco
The sound of the Yamaha's is so limited in potential. It's a good sound, but less expressive. IMO.


Pay attention to the IMO here.
_________________________
Laugh More
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#1851928 - 02/26/12 08:54 AM Re: How much should piano's age concern me? [Re: Yonkers]
Monaco Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/28/11
Posts: 387
Loc: GA
Meaning pay no attention to the opinion, or pay no attention to the modifier "IMO"???
_________________________
Ben Ereddia
Piano Teacher
Beginning Tech

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#1852484 - 02/27/12 11:05 AM Re: How much should piano's age concern me? [Re: Yonkers]
Yonkers Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/21/12
Posts: 23
Anyone have an opinion on a Brodmann versus a used Yamaha? Also, what do you think is the value of a 10-year warranty and a full value trade in? Comparing two apparently similar used pianos, is it worth paying $1500 more from a dealer to get those two things?

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#1852489 - 02/27/12 11:21 AM Re: How much should piano's age concern me? [Re: Yonkers]
Monaco Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/28/11
Posts: 387
Loc: GA
Full value trade in? Only if you get a good deal TWICE and you know that you want to buy a piano from this particular dealer in the future. A full value trade in limits your buying possibilities (assuming you want to exercise your trade in option.) I wouldn't pay extra for it.
10 year warranty? $1500? Seems to be about 25% of the purchase price. That's a lot to pay for insurance. Others have more experience with this, but my opinion is that as long as you have a good tech check out the instrument to begin with, the things covered by the warranty rarely go wrong anyway. I follow Clark Howard's advice and almost never purchase extra warranty coverage. That being said, a piano from craigslist would have no support at all. But if you have a good tech check it out, there would have to be a LOT of problems to justify $1500 worth of repairs. The question is going to come down to the condition of both pianos. If one is in significantly better shape than the other, it might be worth $1500 more on that measure alone.
_________________________
Ben Ereddia
Piano Teacher
Beginning Tech

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#1852512 - 02/27/12 12:17 PM Re: How much should piano's age concern me? [Re: Yonkers]
monads Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/23/12
Posts: 160
Loc: CA
I believe you also have to be consciousness of 'Full Trade-In Value' and the dealer terms. Sometimes it means you also have to spend a certain amount of $$$$ to qualify for their Full Trade-In option.
_________________________
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#1852518 - 02/27/12 12:23 PM Re: How much should piano's age concern me? [Re: Yonkers]
Yonkers Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/21/12
Posts: 23
Yeah, I did ask what the requirements were for Trade In but verbally the saleslady said nothing. Which I don't believe because then theoretically I could just come back after a couple of years and buy a new piano for only whatever price increase has happened in the two years. Which might be just inflation 2-3% a year?

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#1852556 - 02/27/12 01:57 PM Re: How much should piano's age concern me? [Re: Yonkers]
KurtZ Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/13/10
Posts: 774
Loc: The Heart of Screenland
At my dealer, full value trade in only applies if the retail price of the new piano is double that of the trade-in piano. That's wasn't told to me verbally. It's in the page of legalese that's on the back of my invoice. Most trade in policies also allow for deductions for wear and tear but what constitutes "more than normal" wear and tear are poorly defined. Up in the stickies, at the top of the forum there's an article about full value trade-ins.

Facing the same dilemma, and with a similar budget, I wound up with a new premium line Young Chang 48.

Kurt
_________________________
I just wanted to be just "a" guy. That's enough of a life.

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#1852747 - 02/27/12 08:27 PM Re: How much should piano's age concern me? [Re: Yonkers]
Sparky McBiff Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/09/10
Posts: 1112
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
Originally Posted By: Yonkers
Anyone have an opinion on a Brodmann versus a used Yamaha? Also, what do you think is the value of a 10-year warranty and a full value trade in? Comparing two apparently similar used pianos, is it worth paying $1500 more from a dealer to get those two things?


I think Brodmann is the best piano out of China. For some reason the Brodmann sound really impresses and when I was shopping I (initially) had a bias AGAINST Chinese pianos.
For ME I would take a Brodmann over a Yamaha any day.
(I'm not a fan of the Yamaha sound).
_________________________
Hailun 198







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#1852873 - 02/28/12 12:51 AM Re: How much should piano's age concern me? [Re: Yonkers]
Yonkers Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/21/12
Posts: 23
Do you guys find that Larry Fine's guidance of 20-30% off his SMP a good starting point for negotiating? So if I went with a new Brodmann PE-121, he has the MSRP listed at $8390 and SMP at $6590. My local dealer has the list price at $8480 and the sale price at $6690. Close enough.
If I did 20% it would be about $5300 and about $5000 if I did 25%. Does that sound about right? And do dealers normally include delivery, the bench, initial tuning, and extra tunings in that price?

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#1854618 - 03/01/12 11:59 PM Re: How much should piano's age concern me? [Re: Yonkers]
Yonkers Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/21/12
Posts: 23
Didn't want to start a new thread just on the pricing of the pianos so can anyone comment on me question above?
Is 20-25% off the list price of a new Brodmann piano at a dealer a good goal to negotiate down to?

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#1854665 - 03/02/12 01:52 AM Re: How much should piano's age concern me? [Re: Yonkers]
monads Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/23/12
Posts: 160
Loc: CA
Originally Posted By: Yonkers
Didn't want to start a new thread just on the pricing of the pianos so can anyone comment on me question above?
Is 20-25% off the list price of a new Brodmann piano at a dealer a good goal to negotiate down to?


The calc is not that straight forward unfortunately (which probably explains no response to the last question).

If it were me I'd go in and offer $5,500 to meet in the middle. My calc:

MSRP $8390 at 30% = 5873
SMRP $6590 at 20% = 5272

This is just me though. Normally included in the sale price of a piano is:

- the piano itself
- the bench
- free local delivery
- free 1st in home tuning

Sales tax is added on top of the final sale price. Hope this helps. Negotiating can be somewhat subjective.


Edited by monads (03/02/12 01:53 AM)
_________________________
My music_website at http://www.OdysseyofaG.com

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#1854673 - 03/02/12 02:21 AM Re: How much should piano's age concern me? [Re: Yonkers]
Yonkers Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/21/12
Posts: 23
Thanks. That gives me an idea at least. I had no idea how to use those numbers.

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#1854923 - 03/02/12 01:36 PM Re: How much should piano's age concern me? [Re: Yonkers]
monads Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/23/12
Posts: 160
Loc: CA
No problem. Let us know how it goes and/or what you end up purchasing.
_________________________
My music_website at http://www.OdysseyofaG.com

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#1854985 - 03/02/12 03:26 PM Re: How much should piano's age concern me? [Re: Yonkers]
gabi Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/01/12
Posts: 10
Loc: Romania
Edited by moderator... SPAM


Edited by Rickster (03/02/12 04:09 PM)

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