Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 2 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

SEARCH
the Forums & Piano World

This custom search works much better than the built in one and allows searching older posts.
(ad) Pianoteq
Latest Pianoteq add-on instrument: U4 upright piano
(ad) Pearl River
Pearl River Pianos
(ad) P B Guide
Acoustic & Digital Piano Guide
PianoSupplies.com (150)
Piano Accessories Music Related Gifts Piano Tuning Equipment Piano Moving Equipment
We now offer Gift Certificates in our online store!
(ad) Estonia Piano
Estonia Piano
Quick Links to Useful Stuff
Our Classified Ads
Find Piano Professionals-

*Piano Dealers - Piano Stores
*Piano Tuners
*Piano Teachers
*Piano Movers
*Piano Restorations
*Piano Manufacturers
*Organs

Quick Links:
*Advertise On Piano World
*Free Piano Newsletter
*Online Piano Recitals
*Piano Recitals Index
*Piano Accessories
* Buying a Piano
*Buying A Acoustic Piano
*Buying a Digital Piano
*Pianos for Sale
*Sell Your Piano
*How Old is My Piano?
*Piano Books
*Piano Art, Pictures, & Posters
*Directory/Site Map
*Contest
*Links
*Virtual Piano
*Music Word Search
*Piano Screen Saver
*Piano Videos
*Virtual Piano Chords
Page 1 of 2 1 2 >
Topic Options
#322903 - 12/10/07 07:51 PM $500 piano choice?
Alice_61 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/10/07
Posts: 16
Loc: North Carolina
Hi. We want to buy an inexpensive piano for our 7 year old to practice on. Our budget is very tight so we can pay a max of $500 (plus an additional ~$200 to have a piano delivered). In that price range we've mainly seen very old (1900-1930) tall uprights and mid century (1950-1970) (lesser brands) consoles and spinets. Which one do you think would meet our needs best and be the cheapest to maintain? I would prefer a mid century studio size, but they hardly ever seem to come around that cheap. Another alternative would be a new digital piano such as the Yamaha P-70, which would be ~$600.

Thanks,
Alice

Top
(ads 568) Hailun Pianos

piano accessories music gifts tuning and moving equipment
#322904 - 12/10/07 08:16 PM Re: $500 piano choice?
Ken Knapp Offline



Registered: 04/18/06
Posts: 2125
Loc: Pennsylvania
Frankly, at that price you won't find much of a piano unless you're VERY lucky. Not to mention that before buying a used piano it's a good idea to have it looked over by a tech - and that would eat up a chunk of what you have to spend on the piano. In your circumstances, I would consider a digital. I have a Yamaha YPG-625 that serves me well. The YPG-525 is a good one in your price range as well. I've seen some bad reviews of the P-70.

Ken
_________________________
Ken

Piano Organ Depot
http://www.pianoorgandepot.com
Hammond Organ Technician


Top
#322905 - 12/10/07 08:28 PM Re: $500 piano choice?
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 20749
Loc: Oakland
I see Hamilton (Baldwin), Everett, and Kimball studio (45" tall) uprights for sale in that price range from time to time. These date from the 60s and 70s. They may be a bit worn, but if you can find a clean one, they are decent instruments. The less money you want to spend, the more work you need to do to find the piano. Consoles are easier to find in that range, but they are not as good pianos. Avoid spinets.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

Top
#322906 - 12/10/07 11:16 PM Re: $500 piano choice?
Debbie57 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/27/07
Posts: 258
Loc: Kansas
If you don't go digital, keep your eye on the want ads, Craig's List and read the content for estate auctions near you. It's a horrible time of the year for auctions but it's how I found my Kimball console. People almost never bid on a piano because they don't want to move it, or have no place for it, or didn't come there for the piano in the first place.

Mine is 1964 & I paid $50.00. We moved it ourselves. I felt like it was "meant to be" kind of thing as I hadn't had a piano in almost 10 years. The tuner thought it had most likely been "furniture" the exterior and insides were so pristine. Almost no wear on the felts. It needed a pitch raise and nothing else.

I like to dream about the kinds of pianos folks have here, but the truth is at my beginner skill level, it serves me perfectly. So, they can be found, it just isn't always easy.
_________________________
A Hero is one who hangs on one minute longer. Author: Unknown

Top
#322907 - 12/11/07 09:16 AM Re: $500 piano choice?
I. Bruton Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/20/04
Posts: 861
Loc: Raleigh
Alice,

It's nice to see another North Carolinian on the board. Welcome! Regarding your choices, I seriously think you should look at some digitals. If you're in the Raleigh area, be sure to checkout Sam Ash Music, or Guitar Center. They'll have a good selection in that price range. Besides, you won't have to worry about maintenance issues.
_________________________
I. Bruton
B.A. Music Composition
M.M. Music Education
High School Choral Director
Church Music Director
Pianos owned: Yamaha C3
Pianos at work: Yamaha P22, Kawai K3, Steinway B

Top
#322908 - 12/11/07 10:46 AM Re: $500 piano choice?
Alice_61 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/10/07
Posts: 16
Loc: North Carolina
Thanks very much for your replies! I really appreciate your taking the time to respond to my question.

I find it interesting that two of the four recommendations have been for a digital piano. I am concerned about maintenance and repair costs of an acoustic, so I was interested that you mention it. Also I am concerned that my daughter may not want to stick with the piano. It would cost a minimum of $300 just to get a piano in the door ($200 for moving and $100 for the first tuning). I wouldn't be able to recover that cost if I were to sell the piano. If we had to turn around and sell a digital piano, I don't think that we would take such a financial hit (and would save an annual $90 tuning expense). On the other hand, her teacher prefers, but does not demand, that she play an acoustic.

About the Yamahas: I thought that the P-70, http://www.yamaha.com/yamahavgn/CDA/Cont...RIBUTE,00.html, and YPG-625, http://www.yamaha.com/yamahavgn/CDA/Cont...RIBUTE,00.html, have the same "88 Graded Hammer Standard keys (A1-C7) with Touch Response." The P-70 currently has a $50 rebate and the DGX620, http://www.yamaha.com/yamahavgn/CDA/Cont...RIBUTE,00.html, which has identical specs to the YPG-625 and is on sale at Costco, are both ~$600. An alternative is one of the Casio Privia keyboards, which are slightly cheaper, and an open stock new Korg SP250 that I have found for $650. I have tried the Yamaha P-60 and the DGX620, which both seem ok, but have not seen nor tried the Casio or the Korg.

I did find a Hamilton studio at a dealer but they want $1100 for it. I have a feeling that the history and demographics here (Raleigh area) are not great for finding a studio piano. For that, things were better in the rust belt (Pennsylvania) (where there was a highter ratio of schools in the 60's to the current population).

Thanks,
Alice

Top
#322909 - 12/11/07 11:21 AM Re: $500 piano choice?
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 20749
Loc: Oakland
You will not find a deal on a studio piano in a store, but the fact that they have one for $1100 means that they paid about $500 for it.

If you buy a new digital piano, expect that you will lose at least 30% to 40% of the value walking out of the door with it, just as with anything new. It would also depreciate faster due to obsolescence. A used acoustic from a private party would lose the least value.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

Top
#322910 - 12/11/07 01:10 PM Re: $500 piano choice?
Alice_61 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/10/07
Posts: 16
Loc: North Carolina
I would assume that a decent acoustic would hold it's value. It's just that if I paid $500 for it plus $300 for moving and tuning, that would be $800. If I sold it later for $500, then I'd be down $300 (38% of $800).

Assuming that I hold out for an acoustic for $500 or less and were forced to choose between consoles, would you go for fewer years on it or particular brands?

Thanks,
Alice

Top
#322911 - 12/11/07 01:19 PM Re: $500 piano choice?
Alice_61 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/10/07
Posts: 16
Loc: North Carolina
I'm primariy reading the Raleigh Craigslist, http://raleigh.craigslist.org/search/msg?query=piano&minAsk=min&maxAsk=600. If anyone feels like coaching me about possible pianos from the list, I would certainly appreciate it. Maybe a private message would be better.

Thanks,
Alice

Top
#322912 - 12/11/07 06:48 PM Re: $500 piano choice?
OperaTenor Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/13/06
Posts: 2371
Loc: Sandy Eggo, California
Alice, this is probably the safest bet on the entire list:

1956 Everett

Everetts were some of the sturdiest pianos built in their time. You should have a tech check the piano over, but it ought to be a safe bet it won't need restringing or other major work to get it playable.
_________________________
Happiness is a freshly tuned piano.
Jim Boydston, proprietor, No Piano Left Behind - technician
[url=www.facebook.com/NoPianoLeftBehind]www.facebook.com/NoPianoLeftBehind[/url]

Top
#322913 - 12/11/07 07:45 PM Re: $500 piano choice?
Alice_61 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/10/07
Posts: 16
Loc: North Carolina
OperaTenor,

Thank you very much for the information about the Everett piano. It's a little far (60 miles) but I'll look into it.

Thanks,
Alice

Top
#322914 - 12/11/07 08:24 PM Re: $500 piano choice?
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 20749
Loc: Oakland
_________________________
Semipro Tech

Top
#322915 - 12/11/07 08:40 PM Re: $500 piano choice?
OperaTenor Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/13/06
Posts: 2371
Loc: Sandy Eggo, California
BDB's third pick, the other Everett is the other safest bet on the list - I hadn't noticed it earlier. It's actually a better piano, being a studio rather than a console, an excellent piano at that price.

Splurge!

\:D
_________________________
Happiness is a freshly tuned piano.
Jim Boydston, proprietor, No Piano Left Behind - technician
[url=www.facebook.com/NoPianoLeftBehind]www.facebook.com/NoPianoLeftBehind[/url]

Top
#322916 - 12/11/07 09:45 PM Re: $500 piano choice?
Alice_61 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/10/07
Posts: 16
Loc: North Carolina
BDB and OperaTenor,

Thanks a ton! I sent inquiries about the Baldwin and the second Everett and I'll follow up by phone tomorrow. If you want, let me know if you see anything else.

Thanks!!!,
Alice

Top
#322917 - 12/13/07 09:36 AM Re: $500 piano choice?
Alice_61 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/10/07
Posts: 16
Loc: North Carolina
I have an appointment on Saturday to see the Everett console or studio, http://raleigh.craigslist.org/msg/489250149.html It was made in 1983. Is this a good age for this piano? It is ~47" tall so does that make it a studio? It doesn't look like it has the toe blocks, which I'm used to seeing on a studio.

The Baldwin was no longer available.

Thanks,
Alice

Top
#322918 - 12/13/07 10:19 AM Re: $500 piano choice?
OperaTenor Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/13/06
Posts: 2371
Loc: Sandy Eggo, California
Hi Alice,

Yes, I think that qualifies it as a studio. IIRC, there wasn't really a bad Everett studio ever made, so that age shouldn't be much of a concern. It would be great if you could have a tech check it out when you go to see it, but that will cost you money.

Good luck, and I hope this turns out to be a winner for you.
_________________________
Happiness is a freshly tuned piano.
Jim Boydston, proprietor, No Piano Left Behind - technician
[url=www.facebook.com/NoPianoLeftBehind]www.facebook.com/NoPianoLeftBehind[/url]

Top
#322919 - 12/13/07 12:48 PM Re: $500 piano choice?
Alice_61 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/10/07
Posts: 16
Loc: North Carolina
OperaTenor,

Thank you very much for the help. I am reading The Piano Book and have my fingers crossed. I would love a tech to inspect it, but since it is such a drive, that would be pretty expensive.

Thanks,
Alice

Top
#322920 - 12/13/07 12:56 PM Re: $500 piano choice?
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17698
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
Alice, you could always find an RPT in the city where the Everett is located. An inspection will still cost you in the $75 - $100 range, though. Whether it's worth it depends on how risk averse you are and how upset you'd be if, hypothetically, you bought the piano only to discover the pin block is shot and it won't hold a tune.
_________________________
Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica

Top
#322921 - 12/13/07 01:03 PM Re: $500 piano choice?
RonTuner Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 1579
Loc: Chicagoland
Good luck!

Tone...

If the piano is out of tune (probably) listen for tone from bottom to top - even if you can't play. Do the low notes produce a note, or is it a dull "thunk"? Can you hear a clear pitch at the top? Are there any single notes that sound like two notes playing together?

These can all be warning signs - hopefully this will be a good one! At this price range, (if you don't like this one) it's best not to be in a rush. There are always more pianos out there.
_________________________
Piano/instrument technician
www.ronkoval.com
@ronkoval

my piano videos:
http://www.youtube.com/profile_videos?user=drwoodwind


Top
#322922 - 12/13/07 01:04 PM Re: $500 piano choice?
Rickster Offline


Registered: 03/25/06
Posts: 8069
Loc: Georgia, USA
Hi Alice,

In my quest for a good used piano I came across this info on upright sizes:

Spinet – 35” to 39”
Console – 40” to 44”
Studio – 45” to 47”
Full-size upright – 48” to 50”
Professional upright – 51” to 54”
Older upright grand – 55” to 60”
(All sizes approximate, of course)

Also, that Everett Studio looks like a nice deal to me, if it checks out Okay.

I paid $600 for a 1968 model Kohler & Campbell 46” Studio in great condition, played the heck out of it for a year and sold it for $650.

Hope this helps and best of luck with your piano search.

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

Top
#322923 - 12/13/07 03:32 PM Re: $500 piano choice?
Alice_61 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/10/07
Posts: 16
Loc: North Carolina
Thanks very much for your help, everyone. Finding a tech in the town where the seller is a good idea, but the town is pretty small so I doubt there is a tech there. I think I will reread the inspection chaper of The Piano Book and pack it, a flashlight, chromatic tuner, etc. and do my best.

What about an Everett would make it sturdier and a safer bet than other brands?

Thanks,
Alice

Top
#322924 - 12/13/07 07:01 PM Re: $500 piano choice?
Rickster Offline


Registered: 03/25/06
Posts: 8069
Loc: Georgia, USA
Hi Alice,

The Everett brand has a pretty good reputation from what I have read, but to answer your question, (in my view) there are so many brands out there that one brand does not necessarily stand out all that much more than another, especially at a $500 price point. Once you do a good bit of shopping around, you will see what I am talking about.

Also, if you feel the need to make a decision on purchasing a used piano without a tech inspection, here is what I would do:

Follow Ron Tuner’s instructions and play each note carefully to listen for a clear tone and a good sustain (the longer the better). Listen for consistent tone from one note to the next.

Look under the bottom of the keyboard and locate the foot-board/kick-board; this panel is designed to come off easily and is usually held securely with a flexible metal stop; push up on the stop and gently pull on the top of the foot board and remove it from the piano. There are usually two small wooden dowels to secure it at the bottom. Once removed, you can inspect the bass bridge and most of the treble bridge as well as much of the sound board. With your flash-light, look for cracks or splits in the bridge(s) where the bridge pins are located; check for splits or cracks in the sound board. You can get a good look at the sound board from the rear of the piano also. Look for excessive rust on the strings.

Next, open the top lid and take a good look at the felt hammers and the action. Look for deep groves in the strike point of the hammers and for moth damage or other broken or missing parts. If every thing looks clean, straight and in order, you are probably Okay.

On the keyboard, wiggle the keys slightly from side to side to check for key bushing ware. They should move slightly but not a lot. Check for sticky keys or excessive clicks or knocks when depressing or releasing the key.

Please keep in mind that I am not an RPT and any advice I have given you is worth what it has cost you \:D .

Also, keep in mind that there are some risks involved in buying any used piano without a thorough inspection from a professional piano tech. But at a $500 price point, you're not really risking all that much, right?

Best regards and best of luck with your search.

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

Top
#322925 - 12/13/07 07:20 PM Re: $500 piano choice?
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 20749
Loc: Oakland
If the Everett sounds reasonably well in tune, and if all the notes play fairly evenly, I would say go ahead and buy it. The chances of something major being wrong with it if passes those tests is slim. If you can talk to the last tech who worked on it, that would improve the odds even more, provided that he or she does not hedge words too much. If you want to be absolutely safe, then hire an independent tech. But to save money, look at the piano first, and decide if this is the one you want. If you have a tuning fork or some other tone standard, take it along to see if the piano is close to pitch.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

Top
#322926 - 12/14/07 09:06 AM Re: $500 piano choice?
Alice_61 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/10/07
Posts: 16
Loc: North Carolina
Rickster and BDB,

Thanks very much for the inspection tips and other advice. How deep would the grooves in the hammer felts be when you would be concerned?

Thanks,
Alice

Top
#322927 - 12/14/07 10:36 AM Re: $500 piano choice?
Rickster Offline


Registered: 03/25/06
Posts: 8069
Loc: Georgia, USA
Hi Alice,

Even a new piano that has been played a moderate amount will have some slight indentions or groves in the strike point of the hammers. What you don’t want to see are groves that are a 16th of an inch or deeper. This is generally a good indication as to how much the piano has actually been played; if it has been played a lot, deeper groves, if it has been played a little, very shallow groves.

Of course, a good piano tech can file/reshape worn hammers to refresh them to last a while longer and sound better. This is usually part of the voicing of the hammers.

Again, I’m not a piano tech; I’m just a guy who is interested in pianos and tunes/services my own instruments.

Best regards,

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

Top
#322928 - 12/14/07 01:05 PM Re: $500 piano choice?
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2837
Loc: UK.
Just a thought from a piano teacher's perspective.

You mentioned that your daughter might not stick with it. I hear this concern a lot from parents whose kids are starting lessons. It's a bit of a catch 22 situation. Nothing will put her off faster than a bad piano. For this kind of price you would be very lucky indeed to find a decent piano. You get what you pay for most of the time. I would not say it’s impossible and that Everett in the picture could turn out to be a bargain. Just be careful, if you don’t know what you are looking for you could end up with a lemon. Is there any way you could take someone with you who plays?

My advice is often to look for a lightly used digital around a couple of years old. That way you don’t suffer the depreciation and it will be easy to sell on providing you stick with well known names like Yamaha, Kawai, Roland etc. If all the notes work it is unlikely that there would be anything else wrong with it. You should easily find one in your budget.

Another possibility would be to look into renting with an option to buy later if she does take to it. This way you get a decent piano without the risk. It might cost a bit more in the long run though.
_________________________
Pianist and piano teacher.

Top
#322929 - 12/15/07 02:24 PM Re: $500 piano choice?
Alice_61 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/10/07
Posts: 16
Loc: North Carolina
I wound up looking at two Everett studios this morning: the 1983 home model that I linked previously and a late 1950's institutional studio that I found at a piano mover's shop. I used the inspection checklist in Fine's Piano Book. The 1950's one had been in a church and was in pretty good shape considering, but the keys seemed to have some sideways looseness.

The home model was badly out of tune but was in very nice cosmetic condition and appeared to have very little wear on the hammers, etc. The parents had bought the piano 4 years ago and never had it tuned. I can understand why the daughter lost interest in the piano; as much as liked the feel of the keys, I couldn't stand the out-of-tuneness. It had been on the market for a while, so maybe the out-of-tuning had scared off other potential buyers. The clincher on the deal was that the owner agreed to find a friend and help us load the piano on our truck, saving $175 for a mover. He also came down a bit on the price, so we stayed within our budget. We still have to figure out how to unload the piano at our house.

So, thank you very much for helping us find this piano! I am very pleased to have found such a nice piano, given our modest budget. I expect that we'll be happy with it for many years to come.

Top
#322930 - 12/15/07 02:51 PM Re: $500 piano choice?
Rickster Offline


Registered: 03/25/06
Posts: 8069
Loc: Georgia, USA
Hi Alice,

Congratulations on your new-to-you pinao. Be very careful unloading it and get as much help as you can. If you were closer to my location I would be glad to come and help you unload it.

I love to see the happiness that a piano can bring to a family!

Best regards,

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

Top
#322931 - 12/15/07 06:22 PM Re: $500 piano choice?
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 20749
Loc: Oakland
Congratulations. I hope that your story will inspire others to think that their piano is out there at their price.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

Top
#322932 - 12/15/07 09:10 PM Re: $500 piano choice?
Alice_61 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/10/07
Posts: 16
Loc: North Carolina
Rickster,

Thank you for the willingness to help.

BDB,

Ah, that piano was out there, but it was you very nice people who pointed it out to me!

Thanks so much,
Alice

Top
Page 1 of 2 1 2 >

Moderator:  Ken Knapp, Piano World, Rickster 
What's Hot!!
HOW TO POST PICTURES on the Piano Forums
-------------------
Sharing is Caring!
About the Buttons
-------------------
Forums Rules & Help
-------------------
ADVERTISE
on Piano World

The world's most popular piano web site.
-------------------
PIANO BOOKS
Interesting books about the piano, pianists, piano history, biographies, memoirs and more!
(125ad) Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
Sheet Music
(PW is an affiliate)
Sheet Music Plus Featured Sale
Download & Print Sheet Music Instantly
sheet music search
sheet music search

sheet music search
(ad) HAILUN Pianos
Hailun Pianos - Click for More
(ad) Lindeblad Piano
Lindeblad Piano Restoration
Who's Online
169 registered (36251, accordeur, acortot, A Guy, 46 invisible), 1764 Guests and 27 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Forum Stats
74223 Members
42 Forums
153544 Topics
2250260 Posts

Max Online: 15252 @ 03/21/10 11:39 PM
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Piano Learning Myths...
by evamar
17 minutes 52 seconds ago
Yamaha U3FS
by Piotr Dydycz
Today at 10:34 AM
Uneven key balance
by Beemer
Today at 09:25 AM
Antique Piano Shop from TN
by IPDRPT
Today at 08:52 AM
Piano song requests?
by kent2012
Today at 08:19 AM
(ads by Google)

Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
| Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World | Donate | Link to Us | Classifieds |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter | Press Room |


copyright 1997 - 2014 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission