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Inspections for new piano

Posted By: subarus

Inspections for new piano - 02/03/02 06:11 PM

Hi.. Is it advisable for me to hire a tech to inspect a brand new piano I am considering to buy ?

I realise that the quality of the piano depends on the brand, model and factory of origin.. also conceivable a good dealer would have done some inspections when they received their stock..

I also realise that most piano comes with decade long manufacturers guarantee.. therefore is inspection of new piano by buyers tech really necessary ?

Thanks in advance
Posted By: reblder

Re: Inspections for new piano - 02/03/02 11:56 PM

Yeah, you should because even among the finer brands of piano the very one you have in mind buying could have some problem however minor that might be.

Mark Mandell www.pianosource.com
Posted By: T2

Re: Inspections for new piano - 02/24/02 05:45 AM

Booklady, interesting post. I must admit a fundamentally different attitude towards preparation of pianos than you. I feel stronlgy that it is a dealer's responsibility to put the piano in good enough condition for me to evaluate it. If a dealer does not do so and I'm serious about the piano I'll give them a chance to put their house in order. If they won't assume what I view as their responsibility I simply cannot do business with that dealer. I don't know if this is fair or not because I haven't talked to any dealers about this, but it is how I feel.

That issue aside, consider the cost of the search itself. (I actually figure in the value of my own time and the opportunity cost for that time as well.) I submit to you that there is a point of diminishing returns when looking at the economics of buying pianos using your method. If you spend too much money having your own tech prep a bunch of pianos you may be spending more money than you need to.

I was in a similar situation in a piano search in Northern California where I couldn't find well-prepped instruments in many of the brands in my target price range. After examining the cost of having my tech. work on a piano vs. the price of cheap airline tickets I reasoned that I could get on a plane for less money and go on a 'piano safari'.

Maybe your price points vary, but a piano tech. runs maybe $100/hour, and that would have got me prep on one piano.

Alternatively, for $150 I chose to fly round trip Seattle (or L.A.) and see many pianos. Add $24 for a car rental and $6.00 for gas. During that day I played 8 well prepped instruments, a couple of which were breathtakingly beautiful.

Once I made a purchase decision, which I did that day, however, I had an additional expense, shipping a piano back to my locale. Moving charges varied from $250 to $1000 and varied widely in quality. Note that the most expensive movers didn't have the best reputation. The dealer helped me, and it turned out that the people offering the $250 rate focus exclusively on pianos moved across the country and use heated trucks (an issue in winter). Yes, I did have to compromise on delivery time by a few weeks to get that rate.

Bottom line: I hope your search nets you a great piano. Perhaps the info. above might give you a different way to think about the options you have available to you.


Posted By: Brian Lawson, RPT

Re: Inspections for new piano - 02/24/02 08:28 PM

As a Basic guide for regulation on an upright (vertical, with you having the top door open and looking at the action. Touch a key, there should be direct response between that moment and the hammer moving, else lost motion. Slowly pressing the key, the hammer then travels toward the string, and lets-off about 2mm before touching the string and then goes into check about 10mm away from the string.

For a Grand, it is similar, except the drop of the hammer after let-off, about half that, then into check.

Hope this helps rather than confuses.
Posted By: T2

Re: Inspections for new piano - 02/25/02 11:12 PM


It sounds like we pursued two different approaches to the same fundamental problem, a scarcity of well-prepped instruments and an abundance of poorly prepped ones. I hope you get a good one. Please let us know.
Posted By: Brian Lawson, RPT

Re: Inspections for new piano - 02/26/02 05:35 PM

Certainly not a lack of Piano techs who can and do prep and are willing to give their opinion.
Posted By: T2

Re: Inspections for new piano - 02/27/02 09:58 PM

Congratulations, booklady!! That's great to hear.

I bought a 51" upright by a German Company called Wilhelm Steinberg that had been fitted with an action designed by Darrell Fandrich but made by Renner. I had some free in-home voicing and regulation after delivery that made me happy too. It is still settling a bit but sings beautifully.

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