The Pros & Cons of Buying a Used Piano
A piano’s value depends on many factors, and used pianos have a longer list of factors to consider. “Used” doesn’t always mean economical, so it’s best to set a budget while getting a good idea of what you’re looking for in a piano.
Pros of Used Pianos:
- The voice of a quality used piano ages well. While the timbre of a well-kept piano may evolve over time, it shouldn’t develop a contrasting tone (which happens with some poorly-made new pianos). Be sure you can schedule regular tune-ups to help maintain sound quality.
- You could stumble upon a great deal. Some private sellers are in a rush to sell their instrument – whether because of a move or disinterest – others might not be price-savvy, or may simply want to sell a great piano for a low price. But be careful; low piano prices are often too good to be true. If you want to risk buying a suspiciously-priced piano, bring a Registered Piano Technician along for the visit.
- The history behind an antique piano is alluring if not mysterious; just be sure it’s been a positive one. A properly-kept piano has a life span of 30-60 years, so don’t be shocked to learn the owners purchased the instrument a decade or two ago.
- Sampling is a great way to get to know pianos, and you should test as many as possible. If you’re unhappy with the sound of a piano, don’t be afraid to move on. This time must be spent discovering your personal preferences, and learning to appreciate quality.
- You need a flexible budget. A high-end used piano will cost you more money up front. A good, yet lesser-known used piano may need some extra work (or at the very least a fresh tuning). Expect to see used pianos for $800 on the same page as a used piano for $35,000.
- You could get ripped off. While this is also true on the sales floor, it’s safe to assume that not everybody selling a piano has known how to care for it. Always check for common signs of piano damage, and seriously consider hiring a professional to help you.
- Mold growth can impair health, especially in children. If left in the right conditions, a piano can quickly become home to bacteria and mold colonies. When visiting a used piano, be conscious of any unfavorable piano room conditions.
- Used pianos are more susceptible to stress, because they’ve experienced more of it. Repeated moving, fluctuating climates, and even loud playing can cause problems with tuning, and can all lower the value of a piano over time. You need to find out as much as possible about its history; learn 8 questions you must ask before buying a used piano.