Selecting Your New To You Piano

How to Select your New to You Piano

By James Grebe

          The purchase of a piano is a major acquisition, and it pays to ask all the right questions before commitment. After purchase, a piano, like other things that are made to last, requires a certain amount of preventative care to ensure it’s long life.  Keep in mind that after purchase, it will take a certain amount of money to keep it performing properly.          The first decision to be made is how much can be spent on the instrument.  If bought from a dealer, you will be paying sales tax on your purchase.  You should not have to pay for any repair, moving, or tuning fees.  If bought from an individual, you will be paying for repair, tuning, and delivery and at the same time receive no guaranty or pay sales tax.  Normally the piano from a individual should be lower in cost than the same piano in a store.          Used pianos can have many names that may be unfamiliar to you.  Most people can only name a handful of piano brands off the top of their head. Do not be dismayed by a name  unfamiliar to you. There have been many manufacturers that have gone out of business not because of inferior quality but because of unfavorable market conditions.  When you see the piano for the first time, write down the name and serial number and style and call me.  I can tell you a number of facts about the piano with just those 3 facts.  While you have the lid up, check the top of the pin block for separations or water stains.  Look to make sure the action is all there and look for straight lines in the alignment of the parts.  While playing it note-by-note, note how uniform the volume and tone quality are.  Do all the hammers go back to rest at the same speed or are there some that lag behind?  Do you see any rust or corrosion?  Are the hammers wore down so that the striking surface seems flat?  Is the action noisy or difficult to control? Ask how long it was since it was tuned  to A-440 and by whom? It should have been within the last 12 months.  If not, expect that it may need a pitch raise, which will cost you extra money. Does the case have obvious signs of abuse, like cigarette burns, deep gouges water stains?  Are there rodent droppings inside the case in the bottom of the piano? BEWARE of piano made in the 40’s and 50’s that have plastic parts.  They will need to have the parts replaced. Never buy anything on the first trip. The first trip is just a fact-finding mission. If the person is giving you the rush act pass it up.  Please call me if you have any questions about anything before you buy.  If the piano seems to fit your qualifications put a down payment on it with the stipulation that you will have it inspected by me or another piano technician before final payment is made.  I charge a modest fee for inspections, but the long-term reliability is what is at stake.

          If you follow these suggestions you will get a piano worth having and worthy to be kept in good condition.

Copyright,2008/Yesterday Once More Publications, James Grebe

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