What to Look for When You Buy Used Pianos
Buying a piano of high quality is a great investment, however, the top of the line pianos can be very expensive when being bought new. This is one of the reasons why people buy used pianos instead. Another reason could be that you want something to practice and learn on before investing in a more expensive piano. If you are looking into buy used pianos there are a couple of things to keep in mind to make sure that you do not end up with a “throw-away” piano.
Remember, take into consideration the cost of moving the piano to your home. If you take a chance on a bargain piano on eBay, the chances are that you will have to pay to have the piano delivered to your home. Dependent on the distance, this can be expensive. If the piano you have bought is not fit for purpose, you will then have to pay to have the piano removed from your home before you start looking for a new one! Most older pianos listed on eBay are not fit for purpose, however cheap they are.
You should first and foremost know the size of the piano that you need. You also need to know what you want it for and make sure to get it from a reputable seller. If this is your first piano, the chances are that you do not know the first thing about pianos, and occasionally people selling sub-standard pianos will take advantage of that. You should therefore know what to feel, look for and ask when you have set out to buy a piano.
Look carefully at the piano keys, there shouldn’t be any broken or missing keys. You should also look closely if the keys are levelled or if it has a slight bulge or arch in the middle. The vertical ends of the keys should be square, the piano keys should only go down at about ⅜, any more than that, you will be exhausted playing that piano and it would not work properly. The keys should not be wobbly, that means there’s a missing felt on your piano keys and that requires fixing.
Try to play the piano or if you do not play then take someone who with you who does to test it out.
Make sure to:
Play every key and make sure all of them make a good sound and does not require any further regulation.
Observe carefully if any of the keys are out of tune.
Check carefully for the tuning consistently by playing the same keys with different octaves at the same time. No note should sound like it’s shrieking!
Take a look at the insides of the piano too. Examine the strings and joints carefully. Are the wooden parts in excellent condition? Are there any parts that have been chipped off or broken? Look out for rusting and broken or missing strings as well. Are the hammers and dampers complete? Feel all of the hammers, they should not feel dry otherwise the sound the piano will produce will most likely be thin. There should be grooves on the hammers to make sure that all parts are tight. No bits of the hammers should be missing, no holes on the felt. The hammers should not wobble when playing.
Lastly, inspect the pedals of the piano, not just the pedals but the bridges as well. The pedals should be able to move quickly and not hesitate or pull. It should resist and give when you press into it. Also look at the bass bridge and search for cracks, the larger the crack, the longer the piano was stored in a dry room and this usually affects the tone of the piano. You should finally look at the piano’s serial number to know its age.