4 Things To Look For When Purchasing a Second Hand Piano

4 Things To Look For When Purchasing a Second Hand Piano

When it comes to buying a new piano for your home, you might start by thinking of a brand new model. But with a little research, you might start dreaming of a used piano instead. 

There are many advantages to purchasing a second hand piano. Let’s start with value. 

All you have to do is search online, and you’ll find a variety of options ready and waiting for you. Search Craigslist, and you can find people offering used pianos for free. Before you fall for these ads, take a little time to learn more about the value of the instrument. In some cases, investing in a second hand piano can be a good investment. If you’re not careful, you can bring home something that will cost you even more down the road. 

Remember, a piano has over 10,000 moving parts in an acoustic piano. To ensure each piece works together to provide beautiful music, it takes a high quality instrument to ensure every detail is doing its part. 

Strings and soundboard

The heart of a piano begins with the way the piano creates sound. That can’t happen without the strings and the soundboard. The strings create over 18 tons of pressure as they are stretched into place within the pinblock. This steel and copper wire is taut perfectly to create the intended sound. Over time, these wires need to be tuned to create the right amount of tension to continue bringing the proper sound. If these strings are neglected for any length of time, they might not be repairable, meaning the only way to correct it will be through replacement. 

The soundboard provides the proper structure to take the string vibrations and reflect it as the tone. Created from wood, this board can become richer and warmer in tone as it ages. However, if the piano is neglected, it can lose its tonal quality.

The piano keys

This is one of the first things most buyers look at, but it’s important to give them a second look. Are they dirty or discolored? If you look between the keys, it can help you further determine overall health. If the keys are subjected to moisture, they might be warped or damaged. Well maintained piano keys should be smooth to the touch, and responsive as you press them down and release them. If you feel sticking, it could be from broken action or worn hammers. 

The piano – inside and out

One of the easiest ways to determine the overall quality of a second hand piano is with a visual inspection. Check out the cabinet. Open the top and peer inside. Do you see scratches, dents, damaged hinges, broken parts, or neglect? You can often tell if neglect is trying to be covered up. 

It can also be a good indicator if you can trace the piano’s history. Can you follow where the piano has been throughout its life? Was it well cared for? Did it have ongoing maintenance? A red flag can come from a comment of “I don’t know.”

Play the piano

The piano isn’t designed to be on display as artwork. It’s intended to be played. So play it. Sit down and play a favorite song. Just starting? When you work with a dealer, they are happy to put the piano into action and help you hear the tonal quality of each piano you consider. 

Overall, if you’re interested in music, you already have a tonal quality you like to hear. By investing in a second hand piano, you can often get the rich tones of a well cared for instrument, at an affordable price. 

When will you bring home your new piano and start playing?