What Should I Look For When Buying a Used Piano?

Buying a used piano

Buying a used piano can be a smart investment, offering the charm and character of an instrument with history, often at a more accessible price point than a new model. Having tuned and restored many pianos, we understand the nuances involved in selecting a quality used piano, and we’re here to help you make an informed decision. Here are some important things to keep in mind when shopping for a used piano.

1. Understand the Types of Pianos Available

First, familiarize yourself with the different types of pianos. Whether it’s a grand, upright, or a digital piano, each has its own set of characteristics and conditions to consider when used. At Clare’s, we specialize in player pianos, which offer a unique blend of traditional playability with automated features.

2. Check Physical Condition

The physical condition of a used piano matters. Examine the piano’s exterior for any significant scratches, dents, or damages that might indicate rough use or potential internal issues. The keyboard should have well-aligned, responsive keys without any sticking or noise when pressed.

3. Assess the Sound Quality

Play every key to listen for consistency in sound. Each note should sound clear without any buzzing, rattling, or muting. The tone should be even across the board, and the transition from note to note should be smooth. Uneven or poor sound quality can indicate issues with the strings or soundboard.

4. Inspect the Internal Mechanics

The internal mechanics of a piano are its heart and soul. If possible, have a professional technician inspect the piano before purchasing. They can assess the condition of the hammers, strings, and the pin block to ensure everything is in good working order and that the piano will continue to function well in the future.

5. Consider the Piano’s Age

The age of a piano affects its character and sound. Older pianos may have a richer sound but might also require more maintenance. Check the serial number to verify the age and research the model to understand its history and reputation. Clare’s Player Pianos can give you an overview and history for almost any piano you may be interested in buying.

6. Understand the Maintenance History

Knowing the maintenance history of a used piano can provide insights into its condition and the care it has received over the years. A well-maintained piano is likely to have fewer issues in the future. 

7. Think About Future Maintenance Needs

Consider the potential future maintenance that the piano might require. Some older or heavily used pianos may need more frequent tuning, repairs, or part replacements.

8. Try Before You Buy

Always play the piano yourself (or have someone play it for you) before making a purchase. This not only allows you to assess the sound and feel of the piano but also helps ensure that it meets your personal preferences and requirements.

Hire Us to Inspect Your Piano Before Purchase

At Clare’s Player Pianos, we are committed to helping you find a used piano that not only fits your budget but also enriches your musical experience. Our knowledgeable staff is ready to guide you through every step of the process, ensuring that you choose the perfect instrument for your home or venue.

If you’ve found a used piano that you love, but want to be sure you’re not buying a lemon, we recommend our pre-purchase inspection service. We’ll do a thorough inspection and highlight any maintenance or repair issues so you can make a smart buying decision.

Shopping for a used piano doesn’t have to be daunting. With the right knowledge and a bit of guidance, you can find a wonderful instrument that brings music and joy into your life for years to come.

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