Purchasing a used upright piano does not have to be nerve-wracking undertaking. A number of useful tips can help steer you in the right direction, limit any mistakes or bad decisions, and assure that you obtain the best value. Before you purchase a unit, it is worthwhile learning a few significant things about upright pianos:
Upright pianos are also known as vertical pianos and the name is a reflection of their sizes, which are categorized from the smallest (36 inches) to the largest (5 feet) units. In general, the bigger the upright is, the richer the sound will be. Nonetheless, with today’s advanced technology in piano engineering, you can come across smaller pianos that emit deep, richer tones.
Therefore, if you are thinking about buying a vertical piano, it is essential to choose one that is based on your size preferences and tonal quality. When choosing a used upright piano, you need to keep in mind that while the tonal quality may be akin to a grand piano, the touch response of the vertical piano will never be similar to that of a grand piano.
Things to Know about Used Upright Pianos
You should find out more about a used upright piano before you even consider buying it. Not many people take good care of their pianos and more often than not, they decide to sell their musical instrument because they are no longer interested in maintaining it. Thus, you need to examine the piano fully prior to paying for the unit.
1. Do all the notes play well or are the keys sticky?
When you are buying a secondhand unit, it is imperative to ensure that all the keys are in good condition. Make sure that the piano plays the notes well and that the keys are not sticky. Even if they are, you can easily fix them by hiring a reputable RPT to look at them. Fixing sticky keys may cost about $20 for each key and you may need to pay an additional calling fee of $35 to $50.
2. Is the piano stored in a damp area?
This is something that you do not have to worry about, especially if you are buying a used upright piano from a highly regarded piano dealer. Reputable piano dealers will always make sure that they thoroughly check the secondhand units before they even place them in the showroom. However, if you are visiting a private seller, you need to make sure that you ask where the piano has been stored all this while.
Storing a piano in a damp area, for instance the garage or the basement can ruin the instrument. The storage condition can cause the piano to lose its felts and the hammers can become unglued. Moreover, you may find ugly molds appearing in the soundboard and other areas. Eventually, you will end up with a used instrument that requires costly repair work.
3. Do the notes buzz when they are played?
Keys or notes may emit a buzzing sound, but this is not necessarily a bad sign. It can simply mean that the piano strings need winding or replacing. It can also mean that there is a piece of hardware in the upright piano that may have become loose. Make sure that a technician looks at the piano before you finally decide to purchase it.
4. Is the piano in tune?
One of the most important things you need to know about the used unit is the tuning frequency. How often did the owner tune the instrument? If the owner played the piano regularly, it should be tuned at least three times a year. However, once a year would suffice if he does not play it daily. This is an essential piece of information to find out before acquiring it.
Would you prefer to buy a used piano as your very first instrument?