5 Unusual Things To Consider When Buying A Used Piano

5 Unusual Things To Consider When Buying A Used Piano

Buying a used piano doesn’t mean you have to scour online resources to find a good deal. When you buy from independent sellers, you’re always taking a risk. 

  • You have nothing to compare it to
  • They don’t offer any type of guarantees
  • They won’t tell you the history
  • Are you really getting a fair price?
  • Is it something that will give you playability for years to come?

Luckily, there are a few unusual things you can look for that will ensure you are purchasing a high quality piano. 

Look for the serial number

You’ve probably grown accustomed to looking for VIN numbers when you buy a used car. You can use it to find out all kinds of information about its history, including if it’s been in a wreck. While pianos aren’t tracked in the same manner as a car, the serial number can tell you its age. If you can’t find it, it’s a good indication someone is trying to hide its history. It may have been a less-than-stellar refurbishing job, or simply a homeowner trying to do the work themselves. 

Ask for tuning records

If an independent owner has had the piano in their home for years, they should be more than willing to share their maintenance schedule with you. How often has the piano been tuned? What work has the piano technician performed over the years? It can also help you continue the schedule, and maybe even point you in the direction of the technician who already understands the nuances of the piano you’re buying. 

Play every note

People naturally gravitate to middle C. They may place their hands on it and run through a scale or two. But what about the other keys? Sit down and run through all of them. Play them all one at a time and listen to the tone they create. Do you hear a clue that it’s in anything but stellar condition? You should also run through all the keys while pressing the right pedal to check the repetition. 


Do a thorough walk-thru of the entire piano, inside and out. Look for small cracks in the structure. Look for missing pieces on the inside. Look for varying qualities of artistry, which can tell you it’s been rebuilt by someone who didn’t understand quality. Even if you don’t understand the workings of a piano, you can usually pick out differences in quality. 

Bring a technician with you

Depending on the price tag of your purchase, it might be a good idea to bring a piano technician with you. They may see things you won’t. It also gives them an opportunity to assess how well a piano has been cared for over the years, and what it would take to keep it that way in the future. 

Are you ready to buy a used piano? Do it the right way and you’ll ensure an instrument you’ll love to play for years to come.