To Sell Your Piano

By James Grebe

So, you have decided to sell the piano.
Remember what is was that first attracted you to it in the first place? Was it the sound of its’ voice? Was it the feel of it to your touch? Was it the presence of its’ magnificent design? Was it the exquisite look of it?
Remember that what attracted you to it, will most likely attract the next person to own it. Do your best to do justice to get it as close as possible to her in its’ original condition as it was in the beginning.
In order for your piano to be shown in the best possible light it should be very well tuned to the pitch of A-440 Hz and should have a copy of her maintenance record, who provided the service on the top of her pin block or in a prominent place when you open her lid. If she hasn’t had regular service, now is the time to begin with the most recent tuning date. This gives the potential buyer and idea of how well you have maintained ‘their’ potential property. If it has minor problems, have them taken care of before you show her. You do not want to have to explain why there are sticking keys or a note that does not work.
Your piano should be as clean as the day she came to live with you. Get out the vacuum and clean as much inside as you can get to, including the back and bottom area. After that get a damp rag and wipe off those same places. Damp does not hurt anything except steel strings and felt. Clean the keys. If the piano has brass hardware polish it. From the store, if the piano is a vertical, you can get some lemon solid air freshener. Break it up and lay it in the bottom of the piano so that when the lid is opened you get a nice fresh lemon scent, rather than a tired musty odor. If there are any scratches, you can get some touch up markers from a refinishing store to blend them out. When all this is done you can give the piano a sparingly polishing with pure lemon oil polish. These same things apply to the bench and while you are at it tighten up the nuts holding on the bench legs.
The best person to sell your piano to is someone you already know. If you know a piano teacher, let them know that you have a piano for sale and that there would be a small reward for helping you sell it. You want to exhaust all the possible people you already know before you offer it to strangers. Price the piano at a reasonable level so you have negotiating room, but not so high that you scare people off before you begin. You may consult with me for a possible price.
If you decide to sell to a dealer or tuner, remember the price you are offered is a wholesale price, not retail. Whoever buys the piano should have it removed by a bonded and insured piano mover, not a group of friends. You do not want someone to be injured in your home moving it because of legal ramifications or damaging your property.
The way most people sell a piano is through advertising and that is the part that has changed most in recent years. It used to be the best place to advertise was in the weekend newspaper. Most other places turn out to be a waste of time. A good start for the ad is brand name, finish, piano type, matching bench, just tuned. It does no good to negotiate price on the phone, they need to be present. The simpler, the wording, the better. If someone calls you can go into further info. Only when they seem interested do you give your address and they should only come during daylight hours and again, do not be alone. If the price they offer is not up to your expectations, take their name and number so you can re-contact them if you change your mind. It may be there could be a stream of people who will walk away. You will have the choice to call them back to take their offer. It is up to you whether to take an offer or wait for other propects. In recent years, people use E-Bay or Craig’s List on the Internet. Using these methods invites more caution. There are many “crazies” trolling around out there. Never speak or write using the words I or me but always us or we. Never be alone when someone comes over to look at it. Never let the piano be moved without full payment in cash with no deals of partial payment or anything that involves you giving change back.
Following these guidelines will allow you to sell your piano at a price you can live with and not put you at risk.

© Copyright 2018 James Grebe. All rights reserved.