Johnnys Piano Tuning & Service
Piano tuning and minor repair at affordable prices
About Buying Pianos
A piano is a lifetime investment - Price alone does not make up for the years of enjoyment produced by a quality piano. Invest in a good new/used piano and you will reap the rewards for a lifetime. 25 or 30 year old used pianos have plenty of life left to provide years of lessons and playing enjoyment. 

While it is wonderful that those turn of the century upright grands are still with us, many times these pianos if they have not been properly rebuilt by a qualified rebuilder can be like a car with 200,000 miles on it. (Engine shot, transmission gone, brakes about to fail - you get the idea)

The Best piano -  is the piano that pleases the player. Touch and tone are very personal judgements and what suits one person is not necessarily the best for another. It does not profit the buyer to purchase a piano based on price if the player does not respond to the playing characteristics and tone of the instrument.

I often advise folks to go to piano dealerships and just tryout pianos of different makes and models.  Don't be in a hurry to make decisions. Find the brand of piano that suits you best, then consider purchase.

Buying a Piano
  • New vs Used -  buy new if possible.  You will get more choice of wood and cabinet styles, a warranty, and a piano that will probably outlive you.
  • Brand Names -  trusted names like Baldwin, Steinway, Kawai, and Yamaha are pianos of proven excellence.
  • Age -  can usually be determined by the serial number found inside the piano often near the top center when lifting the piano lid. On grands look for the number on the plate often in the middle under the music rack, or stamped on a plate strut.
  • Structural integrity - the soundboard, pinblock, plate, and frame integrity are a must for piano performance.  Other things that will make a difference are action regulation, string condition, key bushing condition, signs of rust on metal parts or non functioning keys or pedals. I suggest that you have a perspective piano purchase checked out by a professional tuner/tech who can evaluate these issues for you for a fee.
  • Parts availability - must be considered in purchasing any piano as due to the long lifespan of pianos you will be faced with trying to repair the instrument at some point even if it is years from now.  Name brand pianos are usually well supported with warranties and parts availability.  Low quality pianos or imported pianos that are not well supported in the US can present considerable issues in obtaining parts even when new let alone 50 or 60 years down the road.
  • Auction and buying "lists" - Craigslist, Ebay, and other buying or auction lists are like the worlds biggest garage sales.  For every person who finds a great deal, many more end up with unusuable instruments or instruments with needed repairs that exceed the value of the instrument. If you are going to use lists like these, you need to know what you are looking at and the chances of getting an instrument in good condition. Never buy a piano unseen or unplayed.  If you use a list, respond to local ads that you can visit in person and never give money or even a deposit until you have seen and played the instrument.  If you need assistance beyond that, consider giving a deposit and calling a local piano tuner/tech to evaluate the instrument for you.
  • Sales technicques - are you buying a piano or a "story".   So many pianos today are sold because someone generates a story or immediate need for you to buy.
    • We're moving
    • College/Warehouse sales
    • Grey marketed pianos
    • Yes - FREE pianos
The word again is "buyer beware".  I still recommend that piano purchases be made at trusted sources and with professional help from piano tuner/techs. For some excellent advice from a National source both on brands and prices check out Larry Fines "Buyers Guide" .  It is available online for free to view or you can purchase paper copies for a fee.

For additional help:   

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About Buying Pianos
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