One of the many ways to find an affordable piano is through flea markets and even on Craigslist, although you need to take some precautions when it comes to buying from a private seller through online means or a flea market. Some of the pitfalls of private sellers is that the piano has the potential of being in disrepair and might be marked up too much for its actual price. But, there are ways you can make sure you don’t pay too much for a broken piano.
A piano flea market might seem like a great idea to pick up an inexpensive piano, but here is a checklist to remember (or take with you) to make sure the piano you want isn’t a complete lemon:
Most important of all, check that all the keys are in working order. This means both broken and jammed keys, as both will be costly to replace or repair. If you aren’t allowed to try out the keys, then it’s time to skip out on this piano, unfortunately.
Check the chords on a traditional piano, if at all possible. These cords are what the hammers hit to create the piano’s unique sound, but, bad chords can mean a poorly performing piano. This also could potentially be an expensive replacement in the future, much like broken keys.
How are the pedals doing, if the piano has any? If they’re loose, not responding, or simply broken, then try to assess the damage. Pedals can be fixed and don’t have to cost a fortune, but it’s good to know just how much it needs to be repaired.
When it comes to a piano flea market, it is good to check the quality of the wood with older and vintage pianos. If there are signs of wood rot, missing or chipped pieces, or overall bad wood quality, it could potentially be a bad sale.
With digital pianos with screens and extra features, try to make sure everything is in working order. Is the screen working? Are all the patches working? How about the in/out cables? Make sure the technology in a digital piano is all in working order.
If you’re looking to purchase a name brand piano like a Steinway, then try to get proof of documentation to make sure you’re actually getting what you want and not a fake piece. This could mean a difference in hundreds or even thousands of dollars!
If you’re interested in purchasing a piano for yourself or as a gift, it makes sense to save money by going to a piano flea market or trying to find a used one on Craigslist. While you can find great deals at both, you also need to exercise caution. I’ve known far too many people spend lots of money on a piano only to find out it was broken beyond repair or they would have to invest another hundreds of dollars into the piano to fix it. It’s always a good idea to get a thorough piano inspection done before a purchase.
If you’re still unsure, it’s perfectly fine to go to a piano store and check out the pianos in the store in order to see the differences between brands as well as to see the difference between a nicely refurbished piano or one not worth the price.
Have you ever tried to buy a piano from Craigslist or a flea market? How was the experience?