Interested in buying a used piano? Shopping for one on Craigslist?
Most people are not familiar with the inner workings of a piano and might not be able to tell if a certain piano is worth the amount it’s being sold for, but here's some help.
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If there is ANYTHING wrong with the piano it's probably best not to buy it. For the additional cost of fixing it, you can find a better piano that doesn't need repair.
Pianos appear on Craigslist every day and they seldom are sold. If you are willing to spend between $500 to $1,000 dollars, you can get an upright piano that’s in near perfect condition and will last your children their lifetime (if taken care of).
Many parents, however, spend between $0 and $300 dollars on a used piano that often times is more or less a piece of junk. They then spend a few hundred dollars more to try to fix it, but the truth is that it may never work as well as a quality piano that's in good shape. Students can become easily discouraged when they play so well on their teacher’s piano but play so poorly on their piano at home. A piano that is in poor condition will simply not function as well as the piano teacher’s piano.
If you are interested in buying a used piano, here is what you need to look for inside the piano:
Piano strings should be shiney and free from rust. Hammers should be clean and either white or off white. If strings are rusted they will likely break during tuning and if the hammers are old, discolored and well worn they will make a dull sound when hitting the strings.
The piano should have a pleasant sound. Sit down and press some keys, even if you don't know how to play. If it sounds terrible, consider buying a different piano. Even if the owner tells you it needs only to be tuned, remember a piano that hasn't been tuned in years is probably also in need of repair.
All the keys should work during rapid repetition. Hit each key 3 or 4 times rapidly. If the key is not able to play each note repeatedly, consider buying a different piano.
Step on the right pedal and play some notes. If the notes do not continue to ring while the pedal is pressed, consider a different piano.
Key tops should be white and not cracked, broken or missing.
If the piano has obvious exterior damage such as large scratches or water rings from people having placed cold drinks on the instrument, consider buying a different piano.
Look at the brand name of the piano. names that are familiar are good. Baldwin, Kimball, Yamaha, Kawai, Steinway are going to be a better purchase than a brand name you've never heard of before.
You should avoid purchasing a Spinet piano . The term spinet should not be confused with upright. There are many upright pianos that are not spinet pianos.
Unless you specifically want to purchase an antique piano for its exterior appearance, you should always avoid antiques. We can all agree that they are beautiful, but they are seldom in a playable condition and often need thousands of dollars of repair work.
Need to move an upright piano?
Although I am not a piano mover and have neither a truck nor a trailer, I do have experience moving pianos and know the correct methods. Upright pianos weigh between 300 to 800 pounds. Despite their massive weight, pianos are surprisingly easy to damage, especially the front legs of an upright piano. This is why it's often easier to go ahead and hire a professional piano mover. Also, If you have any long flights of steps between where your piano is now and where you're going to move it, chances are it may not be possible to complete the move without a professional piano mover. And when it comes to grand pianos, it's not very likely you'll be able to move any grand piano on your own without a professional mover. Attempting to do so will only end in either damaging the piano or injuring yourself.