Shopping For A Piano
[ Back To FAQ Homepage ]
Why A Used Piano Can Be Better Than A New One
In the 1920's there were literally hundreds of piano manufacturers and they had to work much harder to distinguish their products from each other. Many pianists believe, for example, that an old Steinway & Sons grand piano that wasn't too badly abused will sound better than a brand new Steinway. Carefully choosing the right old piano to purchase and refurbish tends to be the route that experienced pianists take, knowing the cost of refurbishing will be well worth it.
Advice For Beginners and Parents of Beginners
If you are not sure that you or your child will really "take" to the piano, the best thing you could do is rent a decent, used upright piano with an option to own it. Make sure payments already made count towards the final price of the piano. Go through a large, reputable piano wholesaler/retailer. $50/month is about the going rate.
As you or your child start to develop technique and facility with the piano, you quickly start to discern the way a better piano sounds and feels. The more your technique develops, the more you can tell which pianos respond better to what you are trying to make them do.
After just a few months of piano lessons, you will be able to tell whether you like the piano you are renting. You will be in a better position to ask to rent or try a different piano, and you will have a much better sense of what to look for.
You can also walk into any large store and just sit down and play the same piece of music on a number of different pianos. You will instantly be able to tell which pianos sound better to you.
Pianos: What To Look For
Some disreputable dealers will give you a cheap "deal" on a used piano. But if the piano
needs a lot of extra work, then there are a lot of hidden costs, and suddenly your "deal" is
not so hot.
If the keys are noticeably uneven (i.e. some keys are higher than others), then the piano needs to be regulated. That would cost another $1,000 or more to fix.