Buying a used piano can indeed provide the purchaser a great savings. That old, forgotten, beautifully crafted such and such may be out there and it could be the deal of the decade. This is true… but buyer beware…
The reality is, that if you are buying a PSO (piano shaped object) Craig’s List may be your best friend. If a cool looking piece of antique furniture is your envy then shopping for a used piano can be done, especially if you like the shopping experience, in a variety of ways which may not include the local piano dealer.
Flea markets, Craig’s List, little local papers, estate sales, church basements and old warehouses can be a great resource if age, style, and nostalgia are your only need.
Now let’s inject playability and practical use into the equation: There are 10,000 working parts in the average piano.
If having an instrument that works well and will allow you to play it (that is if learning and/or musical expression are important to you) then as the old Wizard of OZ quote goes, “Now that’s a horse of a different color!”
There are simple, tell tale signs about the age of a piano such as how worn the felts are, how the action responds etc., that will allow a person to get some sense of “how many miles” are on it. There are however, secondary things which only a technician can determine. Many times purchasing a used piano can be akin to buying a used car; sometimes it works out great, often times you inherit a lemon and a new batch of repair bills you didn’t bargain for.
That, my friends, is a less than inspiring learning or musical experience.
Although I write for Miller Piano Specialists (and have supreme confidence in the advice you would receive on our show room floor) I am also confident that any person who works with pianos on a daily basis will give you better advice about an important decision than a “soon to be past owner” wanting to unload an old something they no longer have any use for.
At Miller Piano Specialists we learn the history of each used piano we agree to trade for and inspect them individually to assess their proper value and proper practical applications. We additionally perform or inform people about necessary repairs we have identified and are sure they are considered on the front end of their purchase. Used pianos at Miller Piano are tuned and cared for by certified technicians who are well versed in pianos of all models and ages.
We help eliminate surprises and that has a fantastic value! (Unless it’s the Lottery, financial surprises aren’t typically a good thing.)
So, is buying a used piano a good decision? Yes it definitely can be. The best way to know you are getting what you are bargaining for and something you can depend on to give you what you need inside a reasonable budget, is to visit with a specialist… my suggestion is a Miller Piano Specialist.