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#2674160 - 09/10/17 09:09 AM Help with Purchasing a Pre-owned Piano  
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Hi.

My son (13) has been taking lessons for about 7 years now - we have a digital piano, but the teacher would like us to buy an accoustic piano. My budget is around $600 but I am a frugal person, and usually don't feel comfortable paying more than what I need to. We want the piano to stay with us for about 9 years - till my daughter (now 10 years old) grows up. (Actually, I posted something 4 years ago, but we decided to buy a digital piano).

Looking at the local listings of Craigslist and reading piano advice websites, it appears to me that a bunch of inexpensive options are available, if i have the patience to wait for the right moment. Yes - I know that I have to have the piano inspected by a technician and may even need a little bit of work done. That being said, I want to buy a "good" piano for my son.

And that' why I am turning for advice here. What does "good" mean? Good value for money (= good investment/resell value)? Durability (=minimal maintenance for next 9 years?)? I can understand some of these by reading piano advice websites. But what I don't understand is- is there anything beyond all these that I should consider- e.g. is there personal preference of the player? Or the ease of playing? I do not play the piano - so i don't :get" it. Also, what is the REAL difference between one of these pianos,and, say, a $2000 (second-hand price) piano?? Is it mainly how it feels to the touch of the player?

Frankly, I am a bit lost - I see that used pianos are available starting from $0 (free) to $750 - all within my budget. These are of various makers - and I understand that their conditions are different. But should I get a free Steinway and put in $300 worth of work in it and still have a great piano?? Or a $750 Baldwin which is in great condition?Here is a listing of prices available right now - can you weigh in? These are all console or upright. Note that I don't want a spinet and no space for Grand.

Baldwin Upright (NOT spinet) - $700 (thoroughly refurbished by technicians - apparently in great condition - see two ads below)
https://sfbay.craigslist.org/nby/msg/d/beautiful-baldwinconsolecan/6298029139.html
https://sfbay.craigslist.org/sby/msg/d/baldwin-console-piano-just/6291843393.html
Kimball Upright - $250
Cline 1992 upright - $400
Fuehr & Stemmer Upright grand - $80
Merril - Free
Everett - $900
Sherman Clay - $180
Samick -$800
https://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/msg/d/samick-js-118-piano/6290940385.html


My son went and played the Cline, the Kimball, the Merril and the Fuehr - he liked the Cline. The Baldwin, and the Samick are located far away from where we live - and creates a logistical issue. Is the baldwin bran so good that I could ignore the personal "fit" with my son and just purchase it?

Also, my son really loves to play the piano and is good at it - would he "grow out" one of these pianos, as perhaps his experience/technique improves and should I now spend a few hundred bucks more for a "better" (again, not sure what "better" means)??

I wold love to hear from you all.

Thanks.
Sanhita


Last edited by Searching_Piano; 09/10/17 01:08 PM. Reason: Additional information added
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#2674182 - 09/10/17 10:32 AM Re: Help with Purchasing a Pre-owned Piano [Re: Searching_Piano]  
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If your son is motivated, taking regular lessons and rapidly improving, I suspect he would benefit from something better than one of these used entry-level consoles quite soon.

Once you figure in a tech inspection, delivery, and tuning a few weeks after it arrives in your home, that $600 budget is not really adequate to make a serious improvement over, say, a $600 digital. These prospects look worse when we consider that you're trying to find something that will perform well for the next 10+ years with "minimal maintenance".
It should be noted that there was a model of Baldwin console that was really a spinet on the inside-- lousy drop action and all. Perhaps one of our members from the retail side will see this and mention what model (I just saw one the other day).

A solid used $2,000 upright piano that you keep for 10 years and tune annually is a $300/year investment. Most of us spend more than $25 a month on things far more trivial than such an educational and artistic tool...


Pianist, teacher, apprentice technician, internet addict.
Piano Review Editor - Acoustic and Digital Piano Buyer
#2674192 - 09/10/17 10:58 AM Re: Help with Purchasing a Pre-owned Piano [Re: terminaldegree]  
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Point well taken about the initial cost and that $2000 is almost nothing @per month rate. So if my budget becomes a bit higher, what piano do you recommend? By the way - we live in a house, but our rooms are kind of old-fashioned smallish; someone mentioned that a upright grand may be too loud.

Also, I heard many pianists (actually my son's ex-teacher who is a concert pianist is one example) do practice on smaller pianos but they played on grands on the stage). Any thoughts on that?

#2674229 - 09/10/17 12:39 PM Re: Help with Purchasing a Pre-owned Piano [Re: Searching_Piano]  
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Originally Posted by Searching_Piano
Also, I heard many pianists (actually my son's ex-teacher who is a concert pianist is one example) do practice on smaller pianos but they played on grands on the stage). Any thoughts on that?

I'd say this is likely the case with many trained concert pianist. Not every concert pianist becomes a rock-star-pianist and makes mega bucks. Many trained concert pianist have to supplement their income (if they earn any income at all by performing on stage) by either teaching piano lessons or selling pianos; or, they get a regular day job.

Not to disagree with terminaldegree, who is a successful concert pianist and college professor teaching piano, but not everyone can afford big bucks for an acoustic piano, new or used. A very nice acoustic piano can cost thousands of dollars, or even tens of thousands of dollars; and then you still have to factor in the tuning and maintenance. So, you are correct in that even the best pianist may have and play a modest piano, while not on stage.

I see nothing wrong with buying a modest acoustic, if you can afford to have it tuned regularly. The Cline is a Young Chang grey-market piano, if I'm not mistake, and may be a good prospect for you. And, your son likes it; that is a plus.

Also, if you don't absolutely have to have one of the pianos you mentioned, and you can spend more time searching, you can get a very nice used acoustic piano private sale, if you know what to look for and don't mind waiting and watching; the down side to that is that you would take on the responsibility to have the piano inspected, delivered and tuned. Any piano you buy from a dealer, tech-refurbisher, etc..., you are likely going to pay a higher price. The up side to that is that the piano should be well serviced and in good condition. Of course, buying from a used piano dealer does not in and of itself mean you will be getting a piano in good condition, depending on the seller.

Good luck!

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
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#2674234 - 09/10/17 01:02 PM Re: Help with Purchasing a Pre-owned Piano [Re: Rickster]  
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Thanks for the comments.
My main concern at this point is not the supply of inexpensive pianos at every possible price point neither my access to a technician, nor the time;but, which brand to buy or what characteristic to look for; given my circumstances/needs. Rick - could you tell me, what you meant by "a very nice acoustic piano"? What brand/s? What characteristics?

#2674246 - 09/10/17 01:54 PM Re: Help with Purchasing a Pre-owned Piano [Re: Searching_Piano]  
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Rick,

I never suggested for a second that the OP needs to buy an expensive piano.
The Cline name is currently owned by Hailun as their low cost brand. Long ago, it was made in America. Between now and then, I can't remember who owned the name.

(Stay safe over there, neighbor)

To the OP,

If your son tries pianos at the slightly higher pricepoint, he could probably let you know whether they seem appreciably better than the bottom of the barrel acoustics selling for < $750. Rick makes a good point that a retailer is going to mark up an older used piano to provide for whatever "make ready" that piano needs, plus some sort of profit margin...so they probably picked up these pianos for almost nothing themselves.

I prefer studios and full uprights, pianos that are 45"-52" high. Not smaller pianos where the tonal and action designs are significantly compromised, right from the start. Newer examples of reputable brands are preferable, since most owners (and technicians) bother to do little more than tune vertical pianos occasionally. I generally suggest avoiding pianos that saw heavy use in institutional/teaching settings for several years.

The older, green cover, (even older) blue cover, or other editions of the Piano Book talks about the initial quality of these piano brands and models when new. However, use, environment, and maintenance of these older used pianos is increasingly important than the brand when you're talking about 40-50 year old pianos.


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#2674248 - 09/10/17 01:59 PM Re: Help with Purchasing a Pre-owned Piano [Re: Searching_Piano]  
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Originally Posted by Search_Piano
Rick - could you tell me, what you meant by "a very nice acoustic piano"? What brand/s? What characteristics?

I'll be glad to share any knowledge or experience I have with you, (which is not much smile ) but there are much more knowledgeable and experienced piano professionals here... (like terminaldegree :-)

With that said, I'm not exactly a novice either. :-)

What I meant by "very nice acoustic piano" was primarily the cost/benefit advantage you get when purchasing via private sale. You typically get more piano for your money. Which brands? There are some things you can buy where brand really doesn't matter; that is not the case with acoustic pianos. Brand does matter, although you can get a lemon in any brand. I'd look for a pre-owned Yamaha, Kawai, Baldwin, Steinway, Samick, Young-Chang, just to mention a few of the top brands I've actually played; there are others I'd consider a good, reputable brand.

Again, my opinion is subjective and limited. In terms of characteristics, you want a nice feeling action, and medium mellow/brightish tone, not too bright and not too mellow. Also, you want something that is not too old or too warn out. Most people who take a notion they want to buy a nice acoustic piano rarely play it. Hence, you can find a very nice pre-owned piano in like new condition (played very little) if you look hard enough.

Again, my experience is limited, but I have been where you are now, and have learned a lot along the way. I started out modest and moved up the food chain as I could afford it.

Hope this helps!

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
#2674327 - 09/10/17 07:04 PM Re: Help with Purchasing a Pre-owned Piano [Re: Searching_Piano]  
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huaidongxi Online content
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Sanhita, from the listings you linked, is your location in northern Calif ? about a year ago we were looking at used uprights around the bay area, including several on craigslist. from our experience, you will need to be very patient and look over lots of pianos if you have to stay within the budget you've posted, or get very lucky to find a solid, musical, responsive instrument. more than a few folks were attempting to get a couple of hundred bucks out of decrepit pianos that would be seriously compromised even if a few hundred $$ more were put into repairs and tunings. one individual, a conservatory-trained music teacher, was trying to sell a late 1890s Steinway upright for over $3k, which probably would turn into a absolute money pit if anything short of a $10 k+ restoration was done with it, no assurances it would be anything more than an average big upright even then. if you can manage to adjust your budget to the $2k. getting considered, my guess, your pool of more promising candidates would improve substantially.

on the plus side, your son sounds like he plays well enough to understand what a decent instrument should feel and sound like. does he have access to good acoustic pianos, such as his teacher's for example, so he has a mental template ? otherwise, you might well benefit from bringing along someone who's played and/or owned nice instruments to get their impressions. if you have an eye for detail yourself, and inspect pianos carefully, inside, backside, careful examination will also tell you if there are obvious defects, components out of alignment, worn down hammers, and so forth.

this is a great gift you're offering your child, best of luck.

#2674450 - 09/11/17 11:11 AM Re: Help with Purchasing a Pre-owned Piano [Re: Searching_Piano]  
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Realistically, for $600 you're not likely to get anything but trouble. Once in a blue moon you may find a good piano for ten cents on the dollar, but those deals are usually snapped up by dealers the instant they hit Craig's List.

For used pianos, brand name means next to nothing. What matters is what's happened to the piano over the years. Only your tuner/technician can tell you the condition of a candidate piano, and only by inspecting it in person. You're going to need regular tunings, so the best idea is to find that person first and have them on board from the beginning.

Most important, your budget is an order of magnitude too low. Adequate to good pianos are just that expensive.


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#2674461 - 09/11/17 12:11 PM Re: Help with Purchasing a Pre-owned Piano [Re: Searching_Piano]  
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Originally Posted by JohnSprung
For used pianos, brand name means next to nothing. What matters is what's happened to the piano over the years.

This is true, John. However, I would venture to say that the better brands were built with better materials and workmanship to begin with and can weather the storm of life, even in harsh conditions, much better than some of the lesser quality brands. It does make a difference, in my view, although there are exceptions.

I agree that a buyer without much of a budget needs to be very careful when buying. If they can't evaluate the piano themselves, it would be worth sacrificing a $100 or for a tech inspection. If the piano is very cheap or a giveaway, the inspection might not be worth it if a buyer just wants to take their chances and take the gamble.

In my view, there are still risks in buying an expensive piano from a dealer. Yea, the risks are lower, but not zero...

When you have a small budget to begin with, you have to look harder, and be more discriminating. A good example is the current thread about the free Baldwin upright. Free Baldwin... Granted, that is the exception rather than the rule, but the possibilities are out there.

Just my .02

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
#2675142 - 09/14/17 02:25 AM Re: Help with Purchasing a Pre-owned Piano [Re: Searching_Piano]  
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Hi All.

Thanks for the comments. One follow up question - I got a copy of The Piano Book - it does have history of many pianos; but I don't see any rating or evaluation of the brands. Could someone provide me any website or resource that I can use to have a ballpark idea of the quality of a brand? Someone gave me this link - but I see that this table does not include all pianos. Also, do you agree with this evaluation given on this website?
http://www.stevespianoservice.com/Free-Online-Piano-Repair-Instruction/chap-3.htm

#2675223 - 09/14/17 12:28 PM Re: Help with Purchasing a Pre-owned Piano [Re: Searching_Piano]  
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I have, for example, The Piano Book. I also have the Spring 2017 supplement. It has the information you're looking for. Keep in mind that while the Fine books discuss used piano shopping, I think the rankings are somewhat current while reflecting the brand's history. And do read the explanation regarding the rankings and what they actually reflect. Moreover, condition is king. There's no use buying a reputable brand if the example you get is a beater and you can't budget a rebuild.

I am far from an expert. But piano buying strikes me as fraught with disappointment and financial peril. And miracle finds seem few and far between. If my budget were extremely tight I think I would be looking to get a hard negotiated deal on a new Yamaha AvantGrand N1 which is sure to soon be superceded by an N1x. Or the upcoming Kawai Novus NV10 or outgoing CA97. Depending on just how tight the budget was. Such propositions strike me as a better deal than a ultra low priced used acoustic grand.

Just my non-expert thoughts and impressions. Good luck.

Edit: the Piano Bool supplement is free online at www.pianobuyer.com
And if I wasn't clear -- I think I would look at new digitalis with real or simulated grand actions rather than what you've considered. I'm 100% certain others will have a different opinion. So I'm sorry there's likely to be no clear consensus for you. Though I could be wrong.

Last edited by Agent88; 09/14/17 12:33 PM.
#2675234 - 09/14/17 01:08 PM Re: Help with Purchasing a Pre-owned Piano [Re: Searching_Piano]  
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Rickster Offline
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I think there is a lot of good advice for Searching_Piano here in this thread...

And, as far as consensus goes, Agent88, (why not 007?:-) is absolutely right. There is a great deal of diversity and differences of opinions here on PW, and the collective knowledge and experience here is fantastic. If all the opinions were the same, it would be pretty bland around here...

That said, in regards to brands, there are lots of them. Depending on how far you want to go back in time, I would venture to say there are hundreds of different brands. Some from the same maker, some stencils, some top-of-the-line makes, and other economy makes. Many piano manufacturers here in the US have gone out of business long ago. Of the US makers, I believe there is only Steinway, M&H, and Charles Walter remaining. There may be others, I'm not sure.

I agree with JohnSprung in that when it comes to low-cost used pianos, brands do matter, but is not as important as it might be with a higher budget, where the options are many.

My first acoustic piano was a lowly Cable 40" console. It served me well to get started and because it was a gift from my late mother, I gave it to my 14 year old granddaughter, who still has it. Next, I bought a very nice Kohler & Campbell 46" studio upright from the late 1960s. I paid $600 for it and it was in excellent condition, from the original owner along with the original receipt where her mother bought it new back in the late 60s. Plus, I got a nice brass music desk lamp in the deal that I still have, although I did sell the piano after a few years to upgrade again.

Now, the Cable and the Kohler & Campbell brand is still around, but made in China where most pianos are made on earth these days. There are other older brands names that are still around but made in China, where they were once owned by the company who made them. Story & Clark, Hobart-Cable, Schumann, and many others, old brand names sold long ago and now made in China, which in and of itself is not a bad thing.

Also, there are a lot of new names on the block, but would not likely be among the lower cost used pianos on the market today. Most used pianos sold by dealers and tech-refurbishers are over-priced in my view. But, again, that is just my opinion.

Although it does not give the ranking of quality and reputation, you can visit the Bluebookofpianos web site and look at all the different brands that have been made over the years. There is a boat-load of them.

Again, if you want a good used piano in a hurry, visit some of the dealers in the area. If you want a real, acoustic piano, rather than a weighted-key digital, at a low cost, you may need to look harder and in the nooks and crannies that most shoppers never think to look.

Craigslist pianos are mostly used piano dealers posing as private sellers. Same with eBay. So, a lot of caution is in order.

Not sure I've helped any here, or just rambled on, but those are a few of my thoughts on brands....

A nice 88 weighted-key digital might be the best bang for the buck, if you need to act quickly. Also, when the really good buys on nice used pianos pop up, you also have to act quickly, or the dealers and tech-refurbishers will.

Good luck!

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
#2675488 - 09/15/17 12:15 PM Re: Help with Purchasing a Pre-owned Piano [Re: Searching_Piano]  
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Hi Searching Piano,

You've received some good advice in general. I'd just like to reiterate a few points. As a non piano player buying for your son you are at a significant disadvantage because you can't evaluate a piano as a musical instrument yourself. I believe step one is bring your son's teacher along. While there is some danger that the teacher may have a relationship with a dealer, the only risk is you might pay a bit more. You will get a nice acoustic piano, because it is in your son's teacher's interest that he have one. Your budget is woefully low, $2000 is about the bottom for a decent upright and dealers have financing options so there is a way to afford more than $600. At $2000 the option of a digital piano is a viable one.

What you don't want to do is buy a poor musical instrument. The older a piano the less brand matters. When you get to 40 - 50 years old condition means far more and only a technician can properly assess that. A good player can tell if the action has detritus in it or is worn out (that's where your son's teacher can be helpful), but the condition of the sound board and tuning block is best left to experts. That is why the usual advice is find an instrument where you like the tone and touch and have it inspected by a pro. Doing anything different than that is nickle and diming your son. You don't want to be penny wise and pound (as in Sterling) foolish.

#2676003 - 09/18/17 08:29 AM Re: Help with Purchasing a Pre-owned Piano [Re: Searching_Piano]  
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Originally Posted by Steve Chandler
What you don't want to do is buy a poor musical instrument. The older a piano the less brand matters. When you get to 40 - 50 years old condition means far more and only a technician can properly assess that. A good player can tell if the action has detritus in it or is worn out (that's where your son's teacher can be helpful), but the condition of the sound board and tuning block is best left to experts. That is why the usual advice is find an instrument where you like the tone and touch and have it inspected by a pro. Doing anything different than that is nickle and diming your son. You don't want to be penny wise and pound (as in Sterling) foolish.

Hi Steve,

Your advice is good, as always. But I do have one comment to make that may not be agreeable with everything you said. You said, and I quote, "That is why the usual advice is find an instrument where you like the tone and touch and have it inspected by a pro. Doing anything different than that is nickel and diming your son. You don't want to be penny wise and pound (as in Sterling) foolish." To say that Searching_Piano is nickel and diming her son if she doesn't heed your advice is kind of an emotional insult and a typical sales pitch/tactic used by many used piano dealers.

Your points are valid, and your advice is good; but to say that she is basically "cheating" or "mis-treating" her son is kind of out of line, if you ask me.

I'll give you an example: I teach HVACR at a small community technical college. I've been teaching for 25 years now. I had a text-book salesman to tell me once that by not selecting his company's text-book I did not have my students best interest in mind and was doing them a dis-service. That comment infuriated me and I told the salesman that I would not select/buy his book under any circumstances under the sun because of that comment and that my students were and always will be my first priority. There are lots and lots of different technical text-books on the market and many of them have basically the same material in them. I took the salesman's comments as a major insult (although it was basically a sales-pitch) and could not believe what I was hearing.

So, whatever choice Searching Piano makes in regards to her selection of used or new pianos, to say she may be nickel and diming her son was rather harsh in my view.

Again, this is absolutely nothing personal, and I have always enjoyed your comments and participation here; this happens to be one time that I disagree, at least in part.

Just my .02, for better or worse. :-)

All the best,

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
#2676187 - 09/19/17 12:18 AM Re: Help with Purchasing a Pre-owned Piano [Re: Searching_Piano]  
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Hi Sanhita,

I'm a little late to the party, but wanted to share some thoughts from a teacher's perspective.

First I am happy to be involved in the process when one of my students is searching for a piano. I realize every teacher is different, and shockingly there are some who know very little about the instrument itself. But I encourage you to keep your son's teacher in the dialogue.

Your goals are somewhat misaligned with your budget. You have a 13 year old son, who I'm assuming is pretty serious about piano otherwise we wouldn't even be talking about it. $600 normally doesn't go very far in a piano purchase. That's the bad news.... but I don't mean to throw cold water on anything. I know sometimes we can't spend more. Just so you do understand more of the market, $15,000 - $20,000 is a reasonable budget to buy a nice used grand. $2,000 - $4,000 can get a nice used vertical. Of course one can spend way more than that, but generally in a CA market that's enough money to have some options.

But let's assume you can't spend more. Is it possible to find something nice, reliable and musically rewarding to play? Yes! I find these bargain pianos tend to fall into several categories:

1)The large vintage upright that has had restoration work or has somehow survived the ravages of time. The sound from these large pianos is really quite amazing when they are in good condition, and the action can be fine too. You would absolutely need a full evaluation (from a technician/rebuilder) before owning something like this. You mention buying and old Steinway and spending $300. It might require $30,000.
2) Stencils that people can't recognize. The Cline you mention might be an example of this. Some of the old Sherman Clay pianos were great. I've played a Sherman Clay grand that was actually a Steinert. The Steinert was a lesser known brand, but really good. One of my friends was selling a piano that was basically a Yamaha C2 (I think) but stenciled as something I'd never heard of.
3) Something with finish damage. I saw a rather nice Knabe grand one time that was available for $500. It wasn't the old golden era, but it was a very reasonable piano. The problem was, the finish was ugly - sunfaded, scratched, etc. But you could dress that up with a strategically placed drop cloth, or potted plant, etc. Some of these pianos have a finish "only a mother could love", but a maybe a 13 old boy could love them too.

Best wishes - keep us posted!


Pianist and Piano Teacher
#2676190 - 09/19/17 01:00 AM Re: Help with Purchasing a Pre-owned Piano [Re: Searching_Piano]  
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musicpassion Offline
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Pianist and Piano Teacher
#2676319 - 09/19/17 04:07 PM Re: Help with Purchasing a Pre-owned Piano [Re: Rickster]  
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Steve Chandler Offline
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Originally Posted by Rickster

Your advice is good, as always. But I do have one comment to make that may not be agreeable with everything you said. You said, and I quote, "That is why the usual advice is find an instrument where you like the tone and touch and have it inspected by a pro. Doing anything different than that is nickel and diming your son. You don't want to be penny wise and pound (as in Sterling) foolish." To say that Searching_Piano is nickel and diming her son if she doesn't heed your advice is kind of an emotional insult and a typical sales pitch/tactic used by many used piano dealers.

Your points are valid, and your advice is good; but to say that she is basically "cheating" or "mis-treating" her son is kind of out of line, if you ask me.

Rick, thank you for being candid. You are absolutely right, it was out of line. I believe I was responding to what I saw as Searching_Piano's reluctance to accept what we were telling her. Be that as it may I still crossed a line and appreciate you pointing that out (albeit reluctantly).

#2676341 - 09/19/17 05:51 PM Re: Help with Purchasing a Pre-owned Piano [Re: Searching_Piano]  
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Aspiring Offline
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Aspiring  Offline
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Hello, Searching Piano --

I don't see that anyone has mentioned the Piano Technicians Guild. Here's a link to their site:

http://www.ptg.org/4DCGI/Directory/RPT/Person.html

Members have to pass a rigorous test to be a member. Just type in your zip code and up pops a of list of RPTs in your area. Then you can click on individual names and check out their specialties. You'll probably find a bunch of people who have expertise in the area of appraisals and referrals. You'd have to pay a fee, of course, but I think it's possible that, among all their customers and colleagues, you will find something that will stun everyone here.

Best of luck on your noble quest.

Aspiring

#2676390 - 09/19/17 08:42 PM Re: Help with Purchasing a Pre-owned Piano [Re: Searching_Piano]  
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Searching_Piano Offline
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Hi.
Thanks for all the advice you all gave - e.g; including reading the Piano Book, taking my son's liking of tone/ease of playing; and raising my budget, going to a bunch of used piano dealers.

I have done them all.

Here is what I found:

Used pianos come in ALL shape, size and prices. Just having a $2,000 budget is not going to help me land on a great used piano - it is not that as soon as I go up that budget there is suddenly a great selection of "good" (whatever that means) pianos out there. When I went to these 5 used piano stores stores, I saw pianos of WIDE variety/condition/make - sometimes same brand, different price at different stores - probably due to different condition. The price at stores vary from about $700 to $1900. As a matter of fact, I could not see anything significantly better at $2,000 - I have to go above $3500 or so to get a new piano. Some stores had newer (but used) Samicks and Kawais at $1500-$1900. Used good Yamaha and Kawais are above $2500.

So one of my questions to you is - what brands/types/models did you all have in mind when you suggested I should raise my budget to about $2000 to get a "good" piano?

Secondly - On Craiglslist I found a number of pianos between $500 and $800 - which are newer. Of course I have to add another $350 or so for technicians, moving etc. Here I noticed that increasing my budget helped me move out of the 100 year old uprights or old spinets. Here is a list I now have, and I would love to hear your comments on the specific ones:
1. Kawai console from 1991
2. Kohler & Campbell from 2010
3. Schafer & Sons studio from 1989
4. Baldwin console from 1991 or 92
5. Young Chan from 1990s

Excepting the Baldwin all are in generally pretty good shape - they are with the original owners - some even have receipts. Do you think any of these pianos (based on the brand and date of manufacturing) any "good"? ( Sorry - but I still don't know what is "good" piano - but I can say that these seem to be newer models at decent price.)

I would love to hear form you all - and a HUGE THANK YOU to all of you, including those who are criticising me :-) :-) I am learning everyday.


#2676396 - 09/19/17 08:53 PM Re: Help with Purchasing a Pre-owned Piano [Re: Searching_Piano]  
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twocats Offline
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Portland, OR
I think a used Yamaha P22 might be a piano to look for in your budget... it was one of the ones I considered when I first moved from a digital piano to acoustic (for myself; my family had a Yamaha upright when I was growing up). You might want to search within a price range that's a bit higher with the intention of negotiating.


2001 Petrof 125 -> 2002 Petrof IV -> 1999 Bosendorfer 225 (meow!) 🐱
#2676448 - Yesterday at 03:00 AM Re: Help with Purchasing a Pre-owned Piano [Re: Searching_Piano]  
Joined: Dec 2012
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musicpassion Offline
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musicpassion  Offline
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California, USA
Originally Posted by Searching_Piano
Secondly - On Craiglslist I found a number of pianos between $500 and $800 - which are newer. Of course I have to add another $350 or so for technicians, moving etc. Here I noticed that increasing my budget helped me move out of the 100 year old uprights or old spinets. Here is a list I now have, and I would love to hear your comments on the specific ones:
1. Kawai console from 1991
2. Kohler & Campbell from 2010
3. Schafer & Sons studio from 1989
4. Baldwin console from 1991 or 92
5. Young Chan from 1990s
Ugg. Although I have a soft spot for Kawai verticals these are all very modest, entry level pianos. You seem to keep gravitating toward this kind of thing.

In general, look for a bigger piano. The console size was never intended to be a very serious instrument. Some studio size pianos are, and otherwise 46" and above - a full size upright - will give you the sound of a quality instrument.

Quote
( Sorry - but I still don't know what is "good" piano - but I can say that these seem to be newer models at decent price.)
Why are van Gogh's paintings great? What is special about a Michelangelo? Music is art. A good piano can produce beautiful tone. I posted a whole list of pianos that have the potential to create beautiful tone, but you seem to have ignored what we are trying to tell you. Everett verticals were very capable, beautiful instruments. Vose and Sons built some truly beautiful pianos. Some of these pianos were every bit as good as Steinway when they were manufactured. Certainly they could be unplayable heaps by now. That is true, and it's the hard part of trying to find something nice on a limited budget. There can be gems out there, however. One of my students found an original condition 1926 Mason and Hamlin AA grand piano. Now, to be sure it cost more than your budget, but what a stunning instrument!

It would be difficult for a piano to ever rise above the intentions from it's original manufacturing. If it was desgined to be a simple piece of furniture ocassionally played it's never going to be more than that.

Maybe it's worth asking how much did this instrument cost when new? Obviously inflation will need to be accounted for, but maybe that question can open some understanding. Going back to the example from my student, a Mason Hamlin AA was (and still is) a very expensive instrument. It was built to compete with the best pianos in the world. Given some good attention from a rebuilder that '26 M&H would smoke all but the very best pianos currently made...and it would give those a run for it.


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