Buying a Piano – FAQ

Whatever reason you have for wanting to buy a piano, sound advice can be a bit difficult to find on the internet. However, since you have managed to find this posting you are well on your way to finding what you are looking for.

You should first decide if you want a traditional acoustic piano or a digital. You also need to decide whether your piano should be an upright or a grand. Digital pianos need no tuning and usually take up less space, but their sound quality will degrade after about five years to seven years. Digital pianos are known to be particularly prone to mechanical failure and do not tend to be considered as serious competition to the acoustic traditional instrument digital pianos seek to emulate.

When buying a grand or upright piano it is crucial that you get expert professional advice – this can often be found from a piano tuner or piano teacher. If you aren’t able to get a piano tuner or piano teacher to come with you to the piano store – you will particularly need to choose a piano store that has been established for many years and is a well known piano retailer with plenty of recommendations and testimonials from their satisfied customers.

Q: Should you invest in a new or second-hand piano?

A good piano outlet will generally offer pianos from the following categories; New, Fully Restored or Pre-owned (second-hand). A very good fully restored piano from a good maker can cost more than a modern new piano. At the other end of the price scale you will generally find the old second-hand or modern second hand pianos. New upright pianos can also cost less than the fully reconditioned pianos. Ultimately your decision will depend on whether you like the tone, feel and the look of the instrument. If you want a piano to be an impressive piece of furniture that will go well with the decor in its intending setting you will most likely be happier with an older piano. If you are buying for a child to practice a mid-range new piano will suit you best.

Q: What should you buy for a beginner?
A: Mid-Range New / Rental piano

A poor, cheap piano will almost definitely be bad for a beginner and can actually put them off wanting to play piano. Mid-range new pianos are smaller than old pianos and will generally go well within the modern setting of most people’s homes. An old fully restored piano certainly has the character to make a dramatic change to the look and feel any room but they can require a little more maintenance and care than a new model would need. Centrally heated houses tend to be a little too dry for antique pianos – if you are considering an antique piano you should be more careful about knowing the history of the restored instrument, whether the original tuning pins have been appropriately replaced for example, since these factors are important in order to establish whether a humidifier should be put into the room with the piano to keep it in pristine condition.

Q: How often should I tune my piano?
A: 1-2 times a year

It is generally advised that an acoustic piano should be tuned twice a year, once in the summer and once in the winter. The reason for this is because what puts the piano out of tune is fluctuations in temperature. Once a year can sometimes be sufficient with older pianos. The cost of tuning varies according to the piano and the time needed to tune.

Q: How much space does a piano need?
A: Upright average width ~150cm.
Height varies from 85-150cm.

The size of an upright piano ranges between 85cm and 150cm tall. As a general rule the larger the piano the richer the tone due to the longer strings and larger soundboard. However, consideration should also be given to the room and acoustics of the room in which the piano will be housed because a large piano may overwhelm a small room. The piano’s width is generally about 150cm and there are normally seven and a quarter octaves on the keyboard (88 keys), there are smaller pianos available with fewer keys. Before you venture out to find your piano you should measure not only the space you wish to utilise for your piano, you should allow for the space it needs to get it in. It may also be useful to take pictures to bring with you of any passageways, doorways or staircases or small spaces which the piano removal men will need to negotiate.

Q: How much do they weigh?
A: Varies between 170-270kg

The average upright piano can weigh anything from about 170kg to 270kg. This normally depends on how large and how old it is. The older pianos tend to be larger but lighter, the modern pianos tend to be heavier as wood is being replaced by MDF composites.

If you,

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