Buying a used piano allows you to save a lot of money. It may also be the only option you have to owning a good piano on a tight budget. Fortunately, pianos have a pretty good life expectancy, so a used piano that is well maintained could really give you value for money. However, since it does not come with the warranty of a new piano, so you need to take your time and ensure you make a smart purchase.

Here are 8 crucial questions to ask the seller:

  1. Why are you selling it?

It may not sound like an important question, but this could actually be the most important of all.

If you are visiting private houses to inspect the piano, take the time to ask why they have decided to sell this particular piano. Their answers may reveal a lot about the actual health of the piano. Someone selling the piano because they need the money, for example, is likely to have skipped out on ritual piano maintenance. On the other hand, you may find a great steal if the seller is simply moving and doesn’t want to take the instrument. Via TakeLessons

  1. How old is the piano?
used piano
Image Courtesy of Flickr

This question is important because you want to know how long the piano will last. This varies depending on the piano’s age and its use. A piano that is about 10-15 years old and has not been in high-use situations may be a good deal if it has no fatal defects. You’re looking for a used piano – not an overused one!

A note about how long a piano will last — a question I hear every day. The answer varies for pianos almost as much as it does for people. A piano played 16 hours a day in a school practice room might be “dead” in ten years or less, whereas one pampered in a living room in a mild climate might last nearly a century before requiring complete restoration to function again. A rule-of-thumb answer typically given is that an average piano under average conditions will last 40 to 50 years. Via Piano Buyer

  1. Who was playing the piano?
child with piano
Image Courtesy of Flickr

If the piano was played by untrained children, there’s a chance it underwent a lot of abuse because kids generally like to bang on the keys of a piano.

It is crucial to check who the owner of the piano was, since it will greatly determine the condition of the piano. If a professional musician or an advanced-level piano player owned the instrument, chances are that they have kept it in top shape, as opposed to a piano mostly played by a child. Via TakeLessons

  1. Did you follow the maintenance schedule?

Every piano needs to be tuned at regular intervals. Skipping tuning will affect the sound quality, so it’s crucial to check if the tuning schedule was followed or not. Via TakeLessons

  1. Who tuned the piano?

Some owners may ask the neighborhood handyman to tune their pianos to avoid high fees, but this can cause internal damage to the piano if not done properly, which can also affect its sound quality in the long run. It’s best to hire the services of an experienced piano technician, who can check if the piano was tuned recently and assess the overall condition of the piano. If you are buying a Yamaha used piano, hire a technician who specializes in the tuning and assessing of Yamaha used pianos. Via TakeLessons

moving piano
Image Courtesy of Wikimedia
  1. Has it been moved around?

It is important to check if the piano has been moved around frequently, as this could mean potential damage during the move. Ask how many times the piano was moved and how it was transported. It is also a good idea to check if any restoration work has been undertaken on the piano. Via TakeLessons

  1. Where did you store the piano?

There are families that buy pianos that they never use. The instrument is kept in the basement or storage unit, meaning it could have been exposed to humidity, extreme temperatures and even flooding. All these can take a toll on the quality of the piano.

  1. How much do you want for it?
Image Courtesy of Flickr

You’re not getting a freebie, so you need to know how much you need to spend for a used piano in good condition. Bear in mind that you may incur additional costs if you buying the piano directly from its owner rather than a seller.

For instance, you will need to cover the cost of moving the piano.  You’ll also need a professional tuner (who you’ll have to pay) to help you determine whether the seller’s asking price matches the instrument’s value and carry out the necessary repairs. A professional is particularly important when buying from a private owner.

Featured Image: Image Credit

How to Buy a Great Used Piano - Step 1 First impressions and 4 first indicators

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Buying a Used or Restored Piano

piano buyer used piano(This article is adapted from Chapter 5, “Buying a Used Piano,” of The Piano Book, Fourth Edition, by Larry Fine. Steve Brady updated the depreciation schedule and used-piano pricing information. Before reading this article, be sure to read “Piano Buying Basics” — especially the section “New or Used?” — elsewhere in this publication.)

What to Buy: A Historical Overview
1700–1880 – Cristofori Piano

The piano was invented about 1700 by Bartolomeo Cristofori, a harpsichord maker in Padua, Italy.  Via Piano Buyer

5 Tips for Buying a Quality Used Piano

angies list pianoAre you looking for a high quality used piano? It’s the cheap ones that will truly cost you.

Don’t buy a piano that needs a lot of work. There are too many pianos out there that only need minor service to spend money on a piano in poor condition.

To find a solid piano, consider these tips:

Via Angie’s List

Buying a Used Piano

piano world used pianoPrivate 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.

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. Via Piano World