Common Mistakes About Buying A Piano On Craigslist

Common Mistakes About Buying A Piano On Craigslist

I was perusing a few websites the other day, and came across a forum filled with people talking about their experiences with buying a piano on Craigslist. It had a variety of questions, and an equal amount of comments.

If you’re in the market for a used piano, I’m sure you’ve come across these sites too as you do your research about the piano industry. And they give you hope about finding a “great deal” with a little bit of searching. You’ll be able to provide your family with great entertainment and make an investment in your child’s music education for very little money. What could be better than that?Common Mistakes About Buying A Piano On Craigslist

So is Craigslist a great place to find a piano?

There may be a “gem” waiting for you to find it, but more than likely, the answer is no. And the reasons are often written by the ones giving the advice.

“We bought a piano off of Craigslist last year. It’s not in great shape, as the owner had painted it. We haven’t gotten it tuned – just can’t afford it right now. Our girls are playing it on their own and I’m happy to have the music in our home. But we’ve paid to had it moved twice – the moving fees have definitely cost us more than the piano is worth.”

Reading between the lines, the piano is nothing more than a big toy. The piano is very low quality, probably doesn’t carry a tune if you attempt to play a song.

“I got an upright, I think it’s from the 1930s. We picked it up ourselves (me and a friend) by renting a trailer from U-haul. It wasn’t hard to move, and we had it across town and up in my apartment in no time. I brought a friend in to tune it and she said it was in perfect tune – it hadn’t been tuned in 20 years. It does need to have a couple of keys glued back into place, and she suggested adding new wool under the keys, which I plan on doing myself very soon.”

Sounds like the perfect deal, right? Yet there is a lot left unsaid in this comment.

If a piano has been neglected enough to have missing and damaged keys, chances are the internal workings of the piano are in even worse shape. A piano is a finely tuned instrument. Strings must be in proper working order in order to create a proper sound. And repairing a piano isn’t as simple as gluing the keys back into place. If you’re using a piano for decoration, glue away. But if you want it available to create beautiful music, there is an art to restoring a piano to it’s proper working condition.

“We got our piano on Craigslist for my daughter to learn. I want to make sure she likes it before we invest in something more. We paid a couple hundred and moved it ourselves. It’s not perfect but it works for us now.”

I like to compare this by giving an example about a child learning soccer. Would you buy a flat ball and expect your child to practice to see if she likes it before investing in a better ball? Would you send her out in flip flops before you invest in great shoes? Of course not. Yet that’s what parents do when they expect their child to learn on a piano that is not up to par. If you can’t produce a sound that is pleasing to the ear, you have very little stamina to want to continue making music. And once the desire is gone, there is little you can do to make them keep practicing.