Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 2.5 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

Gifts and supplies for the musician

Sanderson Accu-Tuner
Piano Life Saver - Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
Modern Piano Moving
Modern Piano Moving
Piano Buyer Guide
Piano Buyer Spring 2017
Lindeblad Piano
Lindeblad Piano Restorations and sales
Schumann's 4th Finger
Schumann's 4th Finger Enigma Resolved
Who's Online
148 registered (Amin7b5, AmDG, Aloyah, ando, 36251, anamnesis, 35 invisible), 1976 Guests and 11 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Estonia Pianos
Estonia Pianos
Quick Links to Useful Piano & Music Resources
Our Classified Ads
Find Piano Professionals-

*Piano Dealers - Piano Stores
*Piano Tuners
*Piano Teachers
*Piano Movers
*Piano Restorations
*Piano Manufacturers

Quick Links:
*Advertise On Piano World
*Free Piano Newsletter
*Online Piano Recitals
*Piano Recitals Index
*Piano & Music Accessories
*Live Piano Venues
*Music School Listings
* Buying a Piano
*Buying A Acoustic Piano
*Buying a Digital Piano
*Pianos for Sale
*Sell Your Piano
*How Old is My Piano?
*Piano Books
*Piano Art, Pictures, & Posters
*Directory/Site Map
*Virtual Piano
*Music Word Search
*Piano Screen Saver
*Piano Videos
*Virtual Piano Chords
Topic Options
#1894799 - 05/10/12 02:01 PM Non-Pro/Newbie Buying Piano for Family
Just4FunLA Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/10/12
Posts: 3
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
I'm sure this topic has been discussed thousands of times but I just discovered this awesome forum and since I've ramped up my efforts to find the right instrument for my family I'm looking for advice.
I played as a child/teen but haven't touched a piano for a few decades. This means when folks refer to "twangy" feel of the keys or the mechanical of how the keys play, I really have no context. I know what I like sound-wise, the size I can fit in the house (5'3" to 6'1", 5'8" is ideal) and color preference (black satin) but that's about it. I have two boys (4 & 8) who want to try lessons so need something not too delicate and can withstand some hammering. The husband would be satisfied with a PSO (piano shaped object) but I am willing to invest, to an extent, in a good piano. Something with good sound and ideally loud so it can drown out his complaining about what I've spent. ;-)
I've been reading thru the many topics on this forum and some of it is way over my head. I've been surfing the web seeing what's out there and getting a feel for what brands are decent/good and within my price range. I think I'm leaning toward used as long as it comes with a warranty. I feel I'll get a better deal/piano that way.

That said, looking for some simple advice. I am going to one of those "music school piano sales" at Loyola Marymount and in preparation, went into a couple stores to talk with sales people. In one store there were three interesting (I thought) options:
1. 1933 Mason & Hamlin 5'3" baby that was restored and has original real ivory keys (I sort of dig that). The only thing it may need in a few years is hammer pad replacement (hope I'm referring to this right). Asking price was $9995
2. 1977 Yamaha C3 series 6'1" black gloss grand. Asking price $14k
3. Yamaha 5'8" GC2 series black gloss new for $15k (Japanese made)

I was also warned about grey market pianos at these music school sales and was told to check out the item's serial #.

I don't mind taking my time and am open to hiring a tech but not even sure how to go about that or what to pay/offer.

I'm excited to get back into playing and introducing my kids to the piano by bringing a beautiful instrument into the house but I am getting overwhelmed with all the info (esp the technical stuff) and starting to feel nervous. Buying a car seems MUCH easier to me. Oh, and I'm not afraid to negotiate.

So besides thoughts on the above 3 pianos, what's the best way for a neophyte like me to go about this process?

Thanks everyone in advance.

Piano & Music Accessories
piano accessories music gifts tuning and moving equipment
#1894819 - 05/10/12 02:29 PM Re: Non-Pro/Newbie Buying Piano for Family [Re: Just4FunLA]
Rickster Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/25/06
Posts: 10905
Loc: Georgia, USA
Hi Wendy, and welcome to the Piano World Forums!

It is so nice that you are interested in having a piano in your home and introducing your children to piano music. It will definitely enrich your lives, even your husband! Who knows, maybe he will also become interested in learning to play the piano!

I feel very inadequate to be giving advice to anyone here, but I do have an opinion, and my advice is worth at least what it cost! smile

In my view, with the exception of the new Yamaha, the two pre-owned pianos are overpriced. Like you, I too like real ivory keys on vintage pianos (two of my pianos have the real, one-piece ivory keys, my vintage Yamaha grand and my vintage Kawai upright). Either of the pianos you mentioned would be good prospects, if the prices are negotiable.

Here is what I would do if I were you… contact a qualified piano tech in advance and let them know you are shopping for a pre-owned piano; get an estimate on an inspection and a tuning and how quickly they could be available to inspect a prospect for you. Next, contact a mover and get an estimate on a move and how soon they would be available upon notification of a possible purchase.

Next, canvas all the advertising sites (Craigslist, eBay, local news paper, Piano World, local dealers, etc…) and see what is available currently. Think about the size and brand you prefer… and don’t be afraid to try brands you have never heard of. You will find something that appeals to you in terms of tone, touch and appearance.

Enjoy the process and get ready to rock-n-roll with your new-to-you baby grand piano! smile

Good luck and keep us informed!

Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel

#1894832 - 05/10/12 03:05 PM Re: Non-Pro/Newbie Buying Piano for Family [Re: Just4FunLA]
Steve Chandler Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/18/05
Posts: 3217
Loc: Urbandale, Iowa
Good advice Rick,

To get back to some of the things Just4FunLA mentioned. School sales are worth avoiding, They tend to be high pressure sales at prices no lower than normally offered. Grey market pianos can be a good value, however, they're not for the faint of heart nor the inexperienced. This is where a good tech can really help.

You live in one of the most competitive piano markets in the country. Any deal offered should be better than anything available anywhere else in the USA. Have you looked at Kawai? The GE-30 would be close to the GC2 and many here like it. Of course an RX1 or RX2 would be better. Have you looked at any Chinese pianos? Brodmann, Hailun, Ritmuller and a few others have won some respect on this forum. The more options you have the more leverage you'll have in negotiating.

What style music do you play? How big is the room the piano will reside in? Have your children begun taking lessons? Tell us more about your experiences with dealers.

One last bit of advice, keep good notes about every piano you consider seriously. This information should include the serial number of the piano you try. Every piano is different and if you like the showroom model then that's the one you buy. You don't want them to substitute a lemon for the one you loved in the showroom.

Good luck and enjoy the shopping process.

#1894842 - 05/10/12 03:22 PM Re: Non-Pro/Newbie Buying Piano for Family [Re: Just4FunLA]
musica71 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/04/08
Posts: 509
Loc: Bend, Or.
WHAT does Grey Market mean??
Musica 71

(ad ) MusicNotes.com
sheet music search
#1894856 - 05/10/12 04:00 PM Re: Non-Pro/Newbie Buying Piano for Family [Re: Just4FunLA]
Rickster Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/25/06
Posts: 10905
Loc: Georgia, USA
WHAT does Grey Market mean??

An obscure street term used to identify or define pre-owned pianos that were originally marketed and sold in other countries besides the US or Canada and then shipped to the north America (US & Canada) to be resold as refurbished or rebuilt pianos… I think. smile

Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel

#1894924 - 05/10/12 05:37 PM Re: Non-Pro/Newbie Buying Piano for Family [Re: Steve Chandler]
Just4FunLA Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/10/12
Posts: 3
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
Hi Steve,
Thank you for your response. To answer some of your questions, the style of music is both classical and contemporary (Genesis, Journey, Lionel Ritchie...don't judge). The room is a rectangle about 12-feet wide by 20-feet long. The kids have not yet had a lesson so their first one will be to NOT BANG ON THE PIANO WITH A HAMMER, TOYS OR OTHER SHARP OBJECTS!
Kawai's seem to have a really great rep so have been paying close attention to them. I went to a second piano store today that has amazing reviews on our local Yelp. He confirmed what's been said here about the "school sales" being high-pressure and over-priced so I called and cancelled my appt. Sounded like a waste of time. This guy, Pierre of Pierre's Pianos in West LA, actually gave me a different idea. He recommended going a little on the cheaper side (he has a 5'1" Shaffer & Sons from the 80s for $5600 including 10 yr warr on parts and labor)) and see how the family uses it. See if the lessons stick and if I stick with my lessons. Give it a year or two and if after then, everyone's enjoying it and feels ready for an upgrade, then the price I paid for it ($5600) will applied toward my upgrade.
I'm now realizing many dealers do this but some with "rules" like you have to spend X to get the full value of your piano toward the new one, etc...but Pierre said he doesn't apply those kinds of rules. He also was not high-pressure at all and suggested I still go to the piano sale at the school so I could see how bogus it is.
So where I'm at now is sort of reconsidering and possibly going a little cheaper but ok then depending on how the piano fits in our lives either upgrade in a year or two or keep it as a PSO.

#1894941 - 05/10/12 06:07 PM Re: Non-Pro/Newbie Buying Piano for Family [Re: Just4FunLA]
Jonathan Alford Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/10/11
Posts: 372
Loc: Colorado

I think the dealer is recommending a good thing- maybe go cheaper at first. That said, I don't think I would pay 5600 for a 25 year old 5' grand.

Check Craigslist for better deals - keep in mind you need to get a tech you trust to check out any used piano you may purchase. He or she can see items of concern we would never know about until a problem arises.

Good luck,


#1895033 - 05/10/12 09:03 PM Re: Non-Pro/Newbie Buying Piano for Family [Re: Just4FunLA]
Greg88 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/25/09
Posts: 85
Loc: Ludlow, Kentucky
Since none of your family really plays the piano at this point, you might want to consider something less expensive. A lot of people buy pianos with the best of intentions (for themselves, their children or both) and then end up with a big (expensive)furniture piece that just sits there. The used pianos you mention seem fairly expensive. You can buy an excellent new grand for those prices from any of the Chinese manufacturers and a very good smaller grand or vertical for even less.
Hailun pianos are remarkable instruments for the money as are Pearl River, Hallet and Davis, pianos made by Samick and Sejung...so many choices that will probably serve your family as well as a Yamaha, especially in the early years of lessons and perhaps for life, and cost much less money. Don't buy a grey market (or any used piano) without having a tech check it out. Best of luck with your search and have fun!
Schumann Grand by Samick (1990)
Howard Grand by Baldwin (1941)
Yamaha Clavanova Digital

#1895037 - 05/10/12 09:11 PM Re: Non-Pro/Newbie Buying Piano for Family [Re: Just4FunLA]
KurtZ Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/13/10
Posts: 1600
Loc: The Heart of Screenland
About piano "buy back" schemes. From the FAQ

How does piano buy back work?


(Fellow W. L.A. denizen)
One who does what the Friend wants done
will never need a friend.


#1895881 - 05/12/12 07:02 PM Re: Non-Pro/Newbie Buying Piano for Family [Re: Rickster]
Just4FunLA Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/10/12
Posts: 3
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
Hi Rick,

Thank you for your advice. Question, I went to another piano store that has amazing reviews on Yelp (I know these can be faked) and the store owner was the one who recommended I go a little cheaper a first to see how the piano assimilates ino the family. He has a 1987 Schafer & Sons SS-51 baby that is $5695. He will include the bench, delivery and tax. He also offers 10-year parts and labor warrantyhe did not hard sell both times I went back. The piano looks almost perfect and where it's not he's fixing. it sounds nice (to my layman's ears) as well. Some here say the price seems high and to have a tech check it but f it's under warranty why fi I still need to pay a tech to check it? If something's wrong, won't he repair if it's in the contract?

Just want real opinion on the price. I'm sure I could find va private seller maybe a grand cheaper but without warranty, free in home tuning and delivery, plus paying a tech to check out the private seller one, I'm not saving all that much in the end. Unless you tell me the Schaffer & Sons mid-80s (some say made in Korea thn and not good) should not go or more than $4k max, then I'll keep looking. I'm beginning to feel overwhelmed already with all the info out there. I'm thankful for these forums and everyone's wisdom here.


#1895893 - 05/12/12 07:46 PM Re: Non-Pro/Newbie Buying Piano for Family [Re: Just4FunLA]
Rickster Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/25/06
Posts: 10905
Loc: Georgia, USA
Hi Just4FunLa,

I’m afraid I’m not a pro, but, again, I do have an opinion. smile

It has been my experience that most any decent baby grand piano that is not 50+ years old is not going to be priced much less than $3K… that seems to be somewhat of a threshold or benchmark price; Although real bargains do come up occasionally, that has been my observation.

With that said, you will pay more from a dealer because they are in business to make a profit on the pianos the sell, whereas a private seller is just looking to get rid of the piano for whatever reason… that is the bottom line, and there is nothing wrong with that. Chances are, you might find a similar piano from a private seller for somewhere around $3K, or maybe even less; but then, you would need to pay for an inspection, the move and a tuning and regulation, or whatever else might need to be done, which would likely be somewhere around $600 on the low side.

If the dealer has a good reputation, and you say you have checked Yelp, with positive feedback, in my view, if the dealer has serviced and regulated the piano and is offering a warranty, and the price includes sales tax, moving and a post-move tuning, the asking price is not outrageous, but is likely the going retail price.

As far as the piano being made in Korea, it has been my experience that the Korean made pianos of that era are not bad pianos.

As far as having an independent tech to check out the piano at the dealers before you buy it, yes, you will have to pay extra for that… ($75 to $100?) the dealer shouldn’t mind. Whether or not this is financially prudent, that is your decision.

One other bit of advice you might want to consider, for just a little more money, you might be able to buy a new, entry level baby grand of various brands made in China. That too, may be something to consider.

In the end, only you will know if the piano and the purchase, feels right to you.

Good luck!

Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel

#1895902 - 05/12/12 08:03 PM Re: Non-Pro/Newbie Buying Piano for Family [Re: Just4FunLA]
Peter K. Mose Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 1974
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
Wendy, the price of a piano technician to give your potential instrument the "once-over" is small and worth every nickel. I don't know the going rate in LA, but I'd be surprised if you couldn't find someone to do this for less than $200. What you say about the warranty/free repairs makes sense in principle, but you are not buying a $50 popcorn maker here, and you don't want to ever get into warranty issues in the first place. They are unpleasant grey areas of piano retail life that can be avoided upfront with an inspection from an independent tuner/technician.

There are many purchasers who will even engage a piano technician to check out a new piano, so I would absolutely do so with a used instrument. No matter how compelling or charming the dealer is.

You are on the right track, though. I'd agree that there's no harm even in going to the school sell-off, but leave your checkbook and credit cards at home. And remember that this purchase could easily take you a couple of months of investigating, even if you confine yourself to dealers and skip the world of Craig's List and its brethren.

One more thought: you won't want to go through all this hassle again in another 1-2 years to trade up. Buy the best piano you can afford right now. (You could hire a local piano consultant to guide you through all this. I do it for people here in Toronto.)


Moderator:  Ken Knapp, Piano World 
Pearl River
Pearl River Pianos
What's Hot!!
New Forums Location & New Piano World Site
Why Do You Play The Piano?
Posting Pictures on the Forums
on Piano World

Piano Classified Ads
Pierce Piano Atlas

Sweetwater Hiring Keyboard Player!
Sweetwater Hiring Keyboard Player
Grotrian Concert
for Pianoteq out now
A. Geyer Pianos
A. Geyer Pianos
Piano Acc. & Gift Items in
Piano World's Online Store
In PianoSupplies.com ,(a division of Piano World) our online store for piano and music gifts and accessories, party goods, tuning equipment, piano moving equipment, benches, lamps Caster Cups and more.

Piano Wire Music Wire Piano Strings

Free Shipping on Jansen Artist Piano Benches
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Kawai warranty issue on a new ES8 only 35 days old.
by RayES8
04/29/17 11:29 AM
[Question] Beginner's Study Plan and Areas of Focus
by uptick
04/29/17 09:39 AM
Backing tracks and tutorials...
by NordicKeys
04/29/17 08:26 AM
The Minute Waltz
by luckiest_charm
04/29/17 05:12 AM
Three iOS Piano Comparisons
by Jonky Ponky
04/29/17 02:59 AM
Sheet Music Plus
Sheet Music Plus Featured Sale
Forum Stats
87,549 Registered Members
44 Forums
179,277 Topics
2,620,434 Posts

Most users ever online: 15,252 @ 03/21/10 11:39 PM

Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter |

copyright 1997 - 2017 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission