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Purchasing a New or Used Piano

Four important points to consider when purchasing a new or used piano.

A piano generally is considered to be one of the big ticket purchases or investments we make in our lives.
It is important to spend the time by researching properly and taking your time doing due diligence.
Of course the following points are only basic bare bones fundamentals to help guide and assist you, but they will provide you with what to look for when you are in the market to purchase a piano.


A piano must be capable of tolerating a variety of different styles of music and players.
Look for a piano that possess pleasing mid-tones with good balance in the higher and lower registers.
Avoid a piano that has a metallic sharp edged bite to it.
Look for a piano tone that is well balanced and uniform through its entire range.

Tuning Stability

Realize that no piano will stay in tune indefinitely, no matter who manufactured it or whether it is a grand piano or upright. But a well made piano will stay in tune for a fair length of time.
A new piano though requires frequent tunings within its first year or two.
Perhaps a couple times a year and then once a year after that. Of course the more it is played the more often it will need to be tuned especially if the student is practicing upwards to 2 to 3 hours a day.
Once a year is fine if a 30 minute to 45 minute practice schedule is maintained.

When buying a used piano, ask about its history from the seller if it is a private sale.
Most good tuners provide documentation inside the piano on their card or inside the piano bench.


Look for a piano that has a even action throughout the entire keyboard.
Avoid pianos that have uneven tone or touch, you or your teacher-tuner should be able to determine if the piano has a consistent and even quality throughout.

The piano should have a comfortable and even response. The touch is a vital and critical area to assess before you make the final decision.

Brand This is an area that has changed dramatically over the years, the manufacturer landscape is quite different then it was 30-40 years ago.
Phone up piano tuners or technicians and ask them their opinion about who they feel provide the best pianos.
Ask them if they know anyone who is selling a piano privately, or who they would recommend as a dealer.

Some other points:
Perhaps study up about the aspects of piano size, string length, sound board, bridge and frame at your local library. When purchasing new make sure you buy from a reputable dealer who stands by their product and make certain by checking out their background. Perhaps make arrangements with your piano teacher or their piano tuner to help you decide once you have narrowed down your search.

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Good Luck!

Updated Sept 21 , 2008

Night Krawler Blues Station 280 at KIAC and IACmusic.com
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Bryon Tosoff, Piano-Theory Teacher, white rock surrey BC