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Is a free piano worth $700 (moving/tune up costs)?
#1167588 03/23/09 10:03 PM
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I am a mother of 3, ages 9, 6 and 4. I was offered a piano for free and was thinking about taking it and having my kids try some lessons. Piano lessions are my idea, but would say that my oldest seems enthusiast and my 6 year old said he would like to try it too.

The piano is a Yamaha Spinet and it is about 40 years old. It has not been played/tuned in many years, but does not appear to have any major problems. I am thinking that it will cost me about $700 to have it moved (about 1 hour and down one large set of steps) and tuned up, but I am not sure if it is worth it. Can anyone advise me on this?

Also, if I don't go with the "free" piano, what is the price range that for a good beginner piano and does it make sense to buy something used?

Thanks!

Re: Is a free piano worth $700 (moving/tune up costs)?
momwhoisclueless #1167593 03/23/09 10:18 PM
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A good keyboard (you can buy one for less than $700) is a good way to test children's interest.

Spinet pianos have a bad rep around this place. The only good thing I can offer is that, when moving the one my bride-to-be owned, if you drop it, it doesn't seem to make much difference to how it played.

But that was a very long time ago.

PS--Sometimes we take pianos too seriously. Get the kids interested in music, and you the furthest thing from a clueless mom.


Re: Is a free piano worth $700 (moving/tune up costs)?
Seneca #1167615 03/23/09 10:43 PM
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I would be hesitant to buy a 40 year old spinet that has not been played or tuned in a long time unless a piano technician indicated that the piano has no major problems. However, this one is "free;" that still doesn't indicate that it's going to be playable for any reasonable length of time.

I am more interested in knowing why you think that moving such a small piano would involve $700.00 in costs; that seems exhorbitant to me. I had a 6 foot 3 inch grand weighing 800 pounds moved from Philadelphia to Western Canada for $750.00.

Regards,


BruceD
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Re: Is a free piano worth $700 (moving/tune up costs)?
momwhoisclueless #1167802 03/24/09 09:12 AM
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Originally Posted by momwhoisclueless
The piano is a Yamaha Spinet and it is about 40 years old ... but does not appear to have any major problems.

Don't take this the wrong way, but ... you probably aren't able to judge what problems the piano might have. You really need a piano technician to take a look and make the determination.

That would cost money, which might seem silly considering that the piano is "free". But you'll still want to know how much work the piano will need. Spinets are at the low end of the piano world, and at age 40 it might need more work than you're willing to pay for. Beyond any repairs, it will surely need a pitch raise after all these years ($100-$150), and another tuning not too long after that. Then another tuning twice a year.

Quote
I am thinking that it will cost me about $700 to have it moved (about 1 hour and down one large set of steps) and tuned up, but I am not sure if it is worth it.

Whoa! Way too much. Assuming you're in the US ... $100 would be more reasonable, assuming this is a local move. Spinets aren't that heavy. Too heavy for you and me :), but manageable for the "big boys" who heft things for a living.

If you're really prepared to spend $700 to move a piano, why not spend that on a good digital piano? You can find decent units for $700. And, if you consider the extra money you would have spent tuning and fixing up the spinet, you could instead put $1000-$1300 and get a really nice digital.

Re: Is a free piano worth $700 (moving/tune up costs)?
Horwinkle #1167813 03/24/09 09:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Horwinkle[quote
I am thinking that it will cost me about $700 to have it moved (about 1 hour and down one large set of steps) and tuned up, but I am not sure if it is worth it.

Quote
Whoa! Way too much. Assuming you're in the US ... $100 would be more reasonable, assuming this is a local move. Spinets aren't that heavy. Too heavy for you and me :), but manageable for the "big boys" who heft things for a living.


$100! You'll NEVER see it moved for that! It isn't the weight as much as the "bulk". A reasonable move with a flight of steps would be $250-$350. The rest of The $700 would surely be spent on pitch raises, tuning and some regulation.

Personally I don't think it is worth the investment in a 40 year old Yamaha spinet.


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Re: Is a free piano worth $700 (moving/tune up costs)?
Steve Cohen #1167831 03/24/09 10:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Steve Cohen
$100! You'll NEVER see it moved for that!

I already have seen it.

Re: Is a free piano worth $700 (moving/tune up costs)?
Horwinkle #1167865 03/24/09 11:27 AM
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This sounds like a perfect oportunity to explain my recent story on getting a free piano. I was given a free piano from my old highschool I went to. The piano was left in a boiler room in the school and hardly touched for the last 20 or so years (until recently when it was moved into the drama room so possibly was used during that time frame). I called a few technicians but one had this certain knowledgeable voice. He was upfront, honest and told me not to keep my hopes up. He had seen many many pianos from schools and more often than not they are not worth the effort.

Either way, I paid $50 for an inspection and he was astounded. THe outside cabinet was in bad condition (because of heat and the fact that it is 94 years old the varnish has come off in a lot of places and there is wood chips here and there. Students carved into the piano with profanity and a bunch of other stuff. Either way, the point was that despite the fact that the outside looked bad, the inside has been kept unusually well. No soundboard cracks, Original action, with somethings repaired but most was original, original ivory keys and strings. Very little was done.

Either way, despite all the school pianos he seen in the past he advised that IF I was willing to keep it it would cost $250 to move giant upright from the school to my home. In additional it will cost $550 dollars to tune, repair what needed to be repaired in the action, clean, align, etc.... as well as repair some broken and cracked key sticks. Basically $550 to get the piano up and running. He added that it would cost $2500 to restore the outside and it would be recommnded to replace the strings, hammers, and dampers as well as the keys to enjoy the full beauty of the instrument but that is something I am not interested in right now.

So, where does this all lead? *DRUM ROLL* It is definitely recommended to have the technician inspect the piano. The prices above are in canadian dollars and I am aware that my technician charges a relatively low rate compared to others so looking around would be your best bet. Once the techncian has apprvoed it see what he says about adjusting the action (aligning, cleaning, repairing, etc..) and how much he would charge for that. A lot of times you have to pay for a used piano and then ontop of that pay all the extras so the fact that this piano is free means you are ahead of the game IF the technician approves.

I would always recommend a real piano over a digital one. Digitals are great, don't get me wrong. I own a YDP-121 which I have used for the past 8 years but as soon as I started playing on a real one, the difference is uncomparable (spinet or not). You feel the hammer movements as you press the keys, the expression is amazing. Even though digital pianos are weighted it is still not comparable. It took me three days of playing 2-3 hours a day for me to get used to playing my songs again on an actual piano.

Since this is a starter piano, if the technician approves, and the price is right to get it up and running properly (if needed) it would be a great deal. Would you happen to have specifics on the brand, the serial number? Can you post some pictures maybe? Be prepared to pay $50-$100 for inspection (would not pay more than $100), $200-$350 for the move (maybe $100 if you do get a someone with a great price but its hard to find), and between $300-$600 to fix up the action if that is needed. These prices are very average but usually this is standard to get the piano into a playing condition, especially if it is old and has not been used or maintained for qutie some time. Let us know what your final choice is smile

Last edited by mike_klein5; 03/24/09 11:41 AM.

Michael Klein
Willis & Co. (MFD: January 1915) & Yamaha YDP-121 (MFD: 2001)
Re: Is a free piano worth $700 (moving/tune up costs)?
Horwinkle #1167964 03/24/09 02:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Horwinkle
Originally Posted by Steve Cohen
$100! You'll NEVER see it moved for that!

I already have seen it.


It take 2-3 men and a truck to move a piano. They need to be insured.

Assuming only 15 minutes in travel time to the site, another 30 minutes to carry the piano down and secure it in the truck, another 30 minutes travel time to the new location and another 15 minutes to off load it and carry it in, and a final 15 minutes travel back to base and you have an elaped minimum time of about 2 hrs. That's 6 man/hours with a 3 man truck.

Don't forget that the owner of the moving company needs to pay for the truck, gas, insurance and make a profit on the move.

I haven't seen a professional mover charge less than $200 for a move with a flight of stairs since the 80's!


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Jasons Music
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Re: Is a free piano worth $700 (moving/tune up costs)?
Steve Cohen #1167993 03/24/09 02:50 PM
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I’ve moved a few upright pianos myself (with some assistance from my two stout sons, both better looking and more intelligent than me grin) and I have hired a professional piano mover twice. I paid $350 to have my grand piano moved and the guy was a thorough professional. He knew what he was doing and didn’t put a scratch on the piano. I must say I didn’t mind paying him. I paid $250 to have my Petrof upright moved, and again, it was money well spent.

So, assuming $250 for the move and another $250 for tuning and adjustments, should be about right. That leaves a $200 tip. grin

Take care,

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
Re: Is a free piano worth $700 (moving/tune up costs)?
Rickster #1273716 09/23/09 08:22 PM
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If your not sure if your children are interested in learning piano you may want to take the free piano. If they become more involved you can always purchase new quality piano around $3,000 to $5,000.

Good Luck!


Casey D. Saliba

Steinway Hall - Dallas/ Fort Worth/ Plano
Steinway Piano Gallery of Houston
www.steinwaypianos.com
Re: Is a free piano worth $700 (moving/tune up costs)?
Casey Dan #1273731 09/23/09 08:36 PM
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Why are you responding now, to a question asked and answered 6 months ago?


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Re: Is a free piano worth $700 (moving/tune up costs)?
Casey Dan #1274035 09/24/09 10:11 AM
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Quote
I am thinking that it will cost me about $700 to have it moved (about 1 hour and down one large set of steps) and tuned up, but I am not sure if it is worth it.

Yamaha spinet pianos actually were fairly decent pianos. The last one we had here sounded better than many other average run of the mill used console pianos.

A few observations:

1. You mention moving the piano down a flight of steps. Hopefully that's at the present location rather than down into your basement. I'd encourage you not to put it there.

2. Have a piano technician evaluate the piano before you buy it and get a quote on moving the piano. Don't take the piano then find out what it might need. It may very well need little work or it could need to be re-pinned with over-sized tuning pins, etc.

3. Consider setting your sights on a better piano if your budget allows it.

Parents often wonder what happens if the kids loose interest in the piano. The other side of that is what happens if they do very well.

As others mentioned you could look at a decent lower end digital piano with weighted keys as an alternative. The cost would be in the $600 - 1700 range but you wouldn't have the $170-200/year tuning costs for 2 tunings/year.

Another option is renting a piano with an option to buy - with credit towards purcahse if a dealer in your area offers that.

Still if finances are limited the piano you asked about is worth having it checked and you considering it.


Glenn Grafton
Grafton Piano & Organ Co.
Souderton PA
877-GRAFTON (877-472-3866)
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