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#2080257 - 05/10/13 09:19 AM Musing on an acoustic piano  
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sinophilia Offline

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Italy
First of all, I'm not posting this in the piano forum because it's unknown territory for me, and then it's still just a thought, nothing concrete...

Once in a while I find myself thinking about acoustic pianos. I usually put the thought away because I like to play with the headphones on (I have a hard time concentrating and that helps) and then there's the tuning, etc. Still, I keep looking at classifieds, eBay, and the like. Last week I saw a very old German upright at a flea market, priced €600; apart from a broken key, it looked alright. And there was somebody nearby selling a Challen piano for €200!

On one hand, I'm tempted by these "bargains" - and old European pianos have a special charm in my eyes - but I'm aware that I'd probably end up spending much more to have it fixed. So I look at more recent second-hand Yamaha's and Kawai's, and I see that I could get a reconditioned U1 Silent for little more than €3,000. Or a non-silent model for less, all with a 5 to 10-year guarantee.

The acoustic would have to be placed in my house in the country. It's a terraced stone house and it's quite humid in winter - no heating system yet (I am slowly renovating it). There's plenty of room upstairs and a high wooden ceiling, so that even a concert grand wouldn't look out of place there, BUT there's just a narrow staircase to go up. I doubt even a small upright would pass through. And here my dreaming stops.

Still... I know I'll get one one day. Anybody would like to add some clarity - or more confusion - to my thoughts? wink


Diana & Wally - Yamaha W110BW
To create a beautiful sound, one must imagine it at first and then learn to produce fluid physical motions that breathe life into music. (Shirley Kirsten)
http://soundcloud.com/sinophilia
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#2080287 - 05/10/13 10:25 AM Re: Musing on an acoustic piano [Re: sinophilia]  
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Mark... Offline
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If the upstairs has a decent size window they can use a crane to get it in the upstairs.

#2080297 - 05/10/13 10:48 AM Re: Musing on an acoustic piano [Re: sinophilia]  
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sinophilia Offline

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The house was built in the 17th century and has small windows. There could be a way, actually, since part of the floor is currently missing in one of the rooms... but then this room has no doors to the rest of the house! I should have bought a piano before rebuilding the roof laugh


Diana & Wally - Yamaha W110BW
To create a beautiful sound, one must imagine it at first and then learn to produce fluid physical motions that breathe life into music. (Shirley Kirsten)
http://soundcloud.com/sinophilia
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#2080304 - 05/10/13 11:06 AM Re: Musing on an acoustic piano [Re: sinophilia]  
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casinitaly Offline

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How narrow are the stairs?....How high is the ceiling as you go up the stairs?

If you take the legs off the grand( which is often done for moving), then you could turn it on its side to go up the stairs. It is probably only about half a metre deep.

****
I have a Yamaha Silent and love it.


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#2080306 - 05/10/13 11:11 AM Re: Musing on an acoustic piano [Re: casinitaly]  
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sinophilia Offline

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Originally Posted by casinitaly
I have a Yamaha Silent and love it.


I was just going to ask you about your piano! I would certainly get an upright, I could never justify the expense for a grand, although the esthetics would be great.


Diana & Wally - Yamaha W110BW
To create a beautiful sound, one must imagine it at first and then learn to produce fluid physical motions that breathe life into music. (Shirley Kirsten)
http://soundcloud.com/sinophilia
[Linked Image]
#2080313 - 05/10/13 11:30 AM Re: Musing on an acoustic piano [Re: sinophilia]  
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casinitaly Offline

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Originally Posted by sinophilia
Originally Posted by casinitaly
I have a Yamaha Silent and love it.


I was just going to ask you about your piano! I would certainly get an upright, I could never justify the expense for a grand, although the esthetics would be great.


Mine is smaller than the "U" series - It is a P112N - which actually isn't made anymore! It would be similar to a B1 Continental Style (no legs in front). A B1 is 109Cm high, mine is 112 high.
I find it has a very full tone, much richer than you'd expect from such a small piano, and certainly more than enough for someone who lives in an apartment!

If you want to hear what the Silent feature sounds like, you can check out my previous submissions to the recitals,(Keep in mind that a better pianist would be able to make it sound even better. )

http://recitals.pianoworld.com/wiki/index.php/Category:CASINITALY_%28Cheryl%29

The ones that are from the Silent feature are

Nov 2010- Les Plaintes d'une Poupée
Aug 2012 - Rigaudon & Entrée
Nov 2012 Romanza & Little music box
Feb 2012 Soft Shoes Blues
May 2012 Kabalevsky Waltz



Mine has 2 jacks for output - nice for recording, as I can wear headphones and record to the computer, a reverberation dial and volume dial.

There are no extra "voices" only piano.



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#2080337 - 05/10/13 12:15 PM Re: Musing on an acoustic piano [Re: sinophilia]  
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It`s amazing old (vintage) pianos go for so little. Other tiny stuff, like brooches or small furniture sell for loads at auction.

I bought an old Broadwood for £300. Too old to be used on top o` the line classics. But very serviceable, and fun. My Lady did Chopin on it, me Beethoven (easy version lol)

You will get back what you paid for it if you buy on ebay - as long as the delivery distance isn`t great! Try one out first. They are serious fun and steeped in history . . you`ll get a decent name on the lid as well!


"I am not a man. I am a free number"

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#2080344 - 05/10/13 12:23 PM Re: Musing on an acoustic piano [Re: sinophilia]  
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You do know that when you start thinking about it you can't stop till you've got the piano, don't you?

That's why I will never start thinking about getting a grand ... wink


  • Debussy - Le Petit Nègre, L. 114
  • Haydn - Sonata in Gm, Hob. XVI/44

Kawai K3
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#2080352 - 05/10/13 12:42 PM Re: Musing on an acoustic piano [Re: sinophilia]  
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Originally Posted by sinophilia
Anybody would like to add some clarity - or more confusion - to my thoughts? wink


While I'd definitely look at the used/rebuilt market when buying an acoustic piano, realize that many pianos you'll find on classifieds sites aren't worth the money. That goes double for most "free" pianos.

If you are patient, you could definitely stumble across an awesome value, but to do it right, you should hire a piano technician to check any prospective purchase.

These ads almost invariably say something like "Just needs tuning," but the posters are usually not pianists and usually haven't kept the piano well maintained. A technician will be able to see if the piano is capable of holding a tune--the pin block might be shot, for instance--or if it has severe cracks in the soundboard/plate or if it is salvageable at all.

Your €300 bargain might end up needing €3000 of repairs to get to a playable state (above and beyond the €200+ you'll need to have the piano moved) and it suddenly won't be such a bargain. In the face of that, paying a tech €30 to look over your prospective purchase -is- a bargain.


Whizbang [Linked Image]
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#2080354 - 05/10/13 12:45 PM Re: Musing on an acoustic piano [Re: Whizbang]  
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I reckon if you get a cheap grand, you`d fix it yourself. Can`t imagine a named piano would be so difficult to patch up to a decent playing standard . . .Look at the adhesives we have now - you can repair ANYTHING!

And who knows? An old piano; an old violin . . .it`s in the sound. Even an old Stratocaster goes for a fortune . . .

Last edited by peterws; 05/10/13 12:46 PM.

"I am not a man. I am a free number"

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#2080388 - 05/10/13 02:32 PM Re: Musing on an acoustic piano [Re: sinophilia]  
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4evrBeginR Offline
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Reconditioning a $500 piano is almost never worth anyone's time or money. Upright pianos, especially, are never worth the effort when they reached their time. They are machines with maximum useable life of 40 to 50 years, and meant to be replaced.

Unlike a grand piano, an old upright does not have any part worth saving that contribute to the performance as an instrument. To restore and replace all the old parts by hand cost far more than buying a new upright, and not much could be helped by any amount of reconditioning for something so old that is only worth $500.

There is definitely a price point where a digital is better than acoustic. I think $500 digitals are far and away better than any $500 acoustic, but at $5,000, not so much, and at $10,000, not at all. Unless you have the budget of at least $2000-$3000, the digital has completely taken over that end of the market because they are clearly better at that price range new or used.


Art is never finished, only abandoned. - da Vinci
#2080460 - 05/10/13 05:13 PM Re: Musing on an acoustic piano [Re: sinophilia]  
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I just know that your second story with that big room needs a nice big balcony. Of course, a nice big patio door going out. smile

Then you can get yourself a nice Kawai KG2. It is true that many a nice grands have never been played much.

Don't forget the dehumidifier. smile


Ron
Your brain is a sponge. Keep it wet. Mary Gae George
The focus of your personal practice is discipline. Not numbers. Scott Sonnon
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#2080473 - 05/10/13 05:55 PM Re: Musing on an acoustic piano [Re: sinophilia]  
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Originally Posted by sinophilia
First of all, I'm not posting this in the piano forum because it's unknown territory for me, and then it's still just a thought, nothing concrete...



Since it is just thinking aloud, why not consider a bigger house, preferably with ocean or mountain views to see from your new grand piano


Problems with piano are 90% psychological, the other 10% is in your head.

13x[Linked Image]
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#2080476 - 05/10/13 05:58 PM Re: Musing on an acoustic piano [Re: rnaple]  
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Originally Posted by rnaple
I just know that your second story with that big room needs a nice big balcony. Of course, a nice big patio door going out...


We added an upstairs deck with a patio door in order to get the bathtub I wanted.

In fact, one of the main reasons for getting the house in the first place was to have a better place to play the piano!


Having power is not nearly as important as what you choose to do with it.
– Roald Dahl

#2080543 - 05/10/13 10:15 PM Re: Musing on an acoustic piano [Re: sinophilia]  
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Getting the piano into the house is a onetime thing--humidity is forever. smile And humidifiers/dehumidifiers are a pain.

We have dry winters and humid summers and a house with an open floor plan, which would mean whole house humidifiers/dehumidifiers. But I'd still love to have an acoustic.


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#2080608 - 05/11/13 03:31 AM Re: Musing on an acoustic piano [Re: earlofmar]  
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sinophilia Offline

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Originally Posted by earlofmar


Since it is just thinking aloud, why not consider a bigger house, preferably with ocean or mountain views to see from your new grand piano


Well then I'd love a farm in Scotland... talking about humidity!


Diana & Wally - Yamaha W110BW
To create a beautiful sound, one must imagine it at first and then learn to produce fluid physical motions that breathe life into music. (Shirley Kirsten)
http://soundcloud.com/sinophilia
[Linked Image]
#2080610 - 05/11/13 03:46 AM Re: Musing on an acoustic piano [Re: sinophilia]  
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Originally Posted by sinophilia


The acoustic would have to be placed in my house in the country. It's a terraced stone house and it's quite humid in winter - no heating system yet (I am slowly renovating it). There's plenty of room upstairs and a high wooden ceiling, so that even a concert grand wouldn't look out of place there, BUT there's just a narrow staircase to go up. I doubt even a small upright would pass through. And here my dreaming stops.

Still... I know I'll get one one day. Anybody would like to add some clarity - or more confusion - to my thoughts? wink


I would fix the house first before getting a piano, at least the place where the piano goes. Heating, humidifier etc.

I suppose you can make a hatch in the wooden floor?


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#2080613 - 05/11/13 04:12 AM Re: Musing on an acoustic piano [Re: wouter79]  
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sinophilia Offline

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Originally Posted by wouter79

I would fix the house first before getting a piano, at least the place where the piano goes. Heating, humidifier etc.

I suppose you can make a hatch in the wooden floor?


The house is actually two adjacent houses that will have to be joined by a door somewhere, one is habitable (I live there 5 months a year), the other not yet, and my plans change by the hour... but the piano is definitely a factor I am keeping in mind. Then once in a while I also think I'd like to move abroad, but then this house was my grandfather's grandfather's house so I will always keep it even if I don't end up living there for good. It's complicated...


Diana & Wally - Yamaha W110BW
To create a beautiful sound, one must imagine it at first and then learn to produce fluid physical motions that breathe life into music. (Shirley Kirsten)
http://soundcloud.com/sinophilia
[Linked Image]
#2080640 - 05/11/13 06:00 AM Re: Musing on an acoustic piano [Re: sinophilia]  
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Originally Posted by sinophilia
Originally Posted by earlofmar


Since it is just thinking aloud, why not consider a bigger house, preferably with ocean or mountain views to see from your new grand piano


Well then I'd love a farm in Scotland... talking about humidity!


As a Scot now living in the very agreeable Australian climate I can attest the only reason the human body is "waterproof" is so people could live in Scotland.


Problems with piano are 90% psychological, the other 10% is in your head.

13x[Linked Image]
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#2080654 - 05/11/13 06:54 AM Re: Musing on an acoustic piano [Re: earlofmar]  
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sinophilia Offline

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Originally Posted by earlofmar
[quote=sinophilia]As a Scot now living in the very agreeable Australian climate I can attest the only reason the human body is "waterproof" is so people could live in Scotland.


Please next time you post a recording include a spoken part, I love the Scottish accent! I got married in Glasgow. And yes it was raining wink


Diana & Wally - Yamaha W110BW
To create a beautiful sound, one must imagine it at first and then learn to produce fluid physical motions that breathe life into music. (Shirley Kirsten)
http://soundcloud.com/sinophilia
[Linked Image]
#2080663 - 05/11/13 07:28 AM Re: Musing on an acoustic piano [Re: Stubbie]  
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I once had an 1885 Carl Ecke uprigth- bought because I was searching for one as their sound, I thought, was great.
It was fine in Durban S.Africa where it is always humid; BUT when I took it up to Zimbabwe the pin block dried out .
It is now in Melbourne Australia so I hope it has recovered.
Any Aussies who wopuld like to comment on Melbourne's humidity?

#2080671 - 05/11/13 07:43 AM Re: Musing on an acoustic piano [Re: sinophilia]  
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Originally Posted by sinophilia
Originally Posted by earlofmar
[quote=sinophilia]As a Scot now living in the very agreeable Australian climate I can attest the only reason the human body is "waterproof" is so people could live in Scotland.


Please next time you post a recording include a spoken part, I love the Scottish accent! I got married in Glasgow. And yes it was raining wink


lol about the accent. But to be honest I don't like my Glasgow accent, it always sounds too course to my ears. But I do like the east coast accent (perhaps I am biased as I was born in Dundee)


Problems with piano are 90% psychological, the other 10% is in your head.

13x[Linked Image]
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#2080687 - 05/11/13 08:11 AM Re: Musing on an acoustic piano [Re: sinophilia]  
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Originally Posted by sinophilia
...It's complicated...


It sounds wonderful!


Having power is not nearly as important as what you choose to do with it.
– Roald Dahl

#2080688 - 05/11/13 08:12 AM Re: Musing on an acoustic piano [Re: earlofmar]  
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Now would that be a farm or a wee croft in the Shetland isles ? LOL

Scotland, four seasons in one day and that is nae joke. We have a lovely wind chill factor.
Whereaboots in Glasvegas ?


It will be happened; it shall be going to be happening; it will be was an event that could will have been taken place in the future. Simple as that.
#2081030 - 05/11/13 07:15 PM Re: Musing on an acoustic piano [Re: sinophilia]  
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4evrBeginR Offline
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Originally Posted by sinophilia
The house is actually two adjacent houses that will have to be joined by a door somewhere, one is habitable (I live there 5 months a year), the other not yet, and my plans change by the hour... but the piano is definitely a factor I am keeping in mind. Then once in a while I also think I'd like to move abroad, but then this house was my grandfather's grandfather's house so I will always keep it even if I don't end up living there for good. It's complicated...


Hate to say, but for this sort of situation, something like the Yamaha AvantGrand or NU1 is a better solution. They may not be the best things musically, but they solve a lot trouble fussing and babying an acoustic instrument in a tough environment where you just aren't there to do it all the time. My mother has a country house, and wanted a piano to hear the grandchildren play when we visit, and while she was resistent to a digital at first, I was able to convince her that the AvantGrand is the best alternative in this situation. It was a huge relieve when she agreed because I simply do not have the energy to maintain another piano, and deal with all the humidity and temperature swings in a place that's not always lived in.


Art is never finished, only abandoned. - da Vinci
#2081373 - 05/12/13 11:36 AM Re: Musing on an acoustic piano [Re: 4evrBeginR]  
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sinophilia Offline

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Thanks for the information, it is a matter of concern. Having never had an acoustic piano I don't know how costly and demanding can be to keep one well maintained. I don't know if I will ever live in that house all year round, so I might also have a look at "hybrid" pianos.


Diana & Wally - Yamaha W110BW
To create a beautiful sound, one must imagine it at first and then learn to produce fluid physical motions that breathe life into music. (Shirley Kirsten)
http://soundcloud.com/sinophilia
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#2082106 - 05/13/13 07:38 PM Re: Musing on an acoustic piano [Re: sinophilia]  
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Here is some advise that will contradict much of what you have already been given. Playing an acoustic piano will be a different experience compared to playing your Casio. Don't think of it as getting a better keyboard instrument, think of it as getting a different keyboard instrument.

Then you don't have to worry about getting something old and cheap. Even if it doesn't stay in tune very well or its action has seen better days, you will be amazed at how wonderfully its sound fills your old house. When you want accuracy, you will play the Casio. When you just want the pure joy of playing, you will shift over to the old acoustic. Oh yes, some day in the future you will want to upgrade that piano, but you will do it reluctantly and with a tear in your eye.

#2087346 - 05/23/13 10:44 AM Re: Musing on an acoustic piano [Re: sinophilia]  
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sinophilia Offline

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sinophilia  Offline

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I'm back from a quick tour to the music shop... those Celviano's and Clavinova's just don't cut it for me! The one I liked best? A Steinway & Sons grand that didn't look huge or out of reach at all... but no, I didn't ask the price! grin


Diana & Wally - Yamaha W110BW
To create a beautiful sound, one must imagine it at first and then learn to produce fluid physical motions that breathe life into music. (Shirley Kirsten)
http://soundcloud.com/sinophilia
[Linked Image]
#2087400 - 05/23/13 11:51 AM Re: Musing on an acoustic piano [Re: 4evrBeginR]  
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Originally Posted by 4evrBeginR
Reconditioning a $500 piano is almost never worth anyone's time or money. Upright pianos, especially, are never worth the effort when they reached their time. They are machines with maximum useable life of 40 to 50 years, and meant to be replaced.

Unlike a grand piano, an old upright does not have any part worth saving that contribute to the performance as an instrument. To restore and replace all the old parts by hand cost far more than buying a new upright, and not much could be helped by any amount of reconditioning for something so old that is only worth $500.

There is definitely a price point where a digital is better than acoustic. I think $500 digitals are far and away better than any $500 acoustic, but at $5,000, not so much, and at $10,000, not at all. Unless you have the budget of at least $2000-$3000, the digital has completely taken over that end of the market because they are clearly better at that price range new or used.


I just really cannot agree with this post at all. All digital pianos sound digital. Some may sound better than a mistreated acoustic, but even a decent acoustic sounds better to me than any digital. I bought a used Sohmer for $500 that is in fantastic shape that could not be touched by a digital piano. Great deals on acoustics are out there, you just have to be patient and willing to have it inspected by a tech, taking the risk of him telling you to wait for another.

#2087630 - 05/23/13 07:41 PM Re: Musing on an acoustic piano [Re: johnnysd]  
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johnnysd, I have read your post, here:

quoted material:
Reconditioning a $500 piano is almost never worth anyone's time or money. Upright pianos, especially, are never worth the effort when they reached their time. They are machines with maximum useable life of 40 to 50 years, and meant to be replaced.

Unlike a grand piano, an old upright does not have any part worth saving that contribute to the performance as an instrument. To restore and replace all the old parts by hand cost far more than buying a new upright, and not much could be helped by any amount of reconditioning for something so old that is only worth $500.

There is definitely a price point where a digital is better than acoustic. I think $500 digitals are far and away better than any $500 acoustic, but at $5,000, not so much, and at $10,000, not at all. Unless you have the budget of at least $2000-$3000, the digital has completely taken over that end of the market because they are clearly better at that price range new or used.


I just really cannot agree with this post at all. All digital pianos sound digital. Some may sound better than a mistreated acoustic, but even a decent acoustic sounds better to me than any digital. I bought a used Sohmer for $500 that is in fantastic shape that could not be touched by a digital piano. Great deals on acoustics are out there, you just have to be patient and willing to have it inspected by a tech, taking the risk of him telling you to wait for another.
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In Canada you get a Yam P95 for $600. which is a great digital. But more interesting is - if you ask people if they are learning/playing classical or anything else - they say they are playing everything else - except at night they play a digital to practice classical. I am not sure how much you would have to spend on a digital that anybody would want to play classical music on as an equal or replacement for an acoustic.

I understand why everything is made to be replaced and not repaired including pianos. Everything in the 60, 70s and possibly the 80s was made out of metal and everything today is made out of plastic mostly so it is a different world.

The best thing about a digital is that almost everybody on the planet has access to a piano(digital) for a very low cost so they can learn and play a piano because digitals are small, weigh 40 pounds and at its worst can be stored under a bed.

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