Used Piano Guide

A pre-purchase inspection can save you hundreds and maybe even thousands of dollars. Several clients of mine can tell terrible stories of purchasing a used piano and paying to have it moved in only to find that it would not hold tune and needed such major repairs that it was not even worth the money to fix the piano. How can you tell if a piano has a cracked pin block or a broken bridge? Only an experienced technician can diagnose some of the major problems that could be lurking in a used piano. You definitely want to know whats going on with the piano before you have it sitting in your living room. I can help you with that. Also, you should know that there are tons of great pianos out there on the used market for any budget. Finding the right one is key. I can help you find the perfect piano and give advice on brands, models and any other issue that can arise during your search.

First! If you would like to SAVE MONEY and TIME, watch my FREE online tutorials to help you understand what to look for when you are looking at a used piano.

First 4 Indicators of a Good Piano
You can get a great idea of a piano in about 2 minutes by just sitting down and playing it. Look at these 4 things to get your first impression: Case, Keys, Tone and Feel

How to Open the Upright Piano
I show you how to open up the piano to look inside.

Inspect the Bridges and Soundboard Underneath
You must take a close look at the bridges on the piano. On the upright, they are located under the keys, so you must remove the bottom panel. It is very easy! If you look close and see any cracks in the bridges, be very careful. I see this all the time! It affects the tuning stability and the tone!

Inspect the Soundboard from the Rear
Take a look at the structure of the piano from the back. Make sure there are no large cracks in the soundboard or the piano struts. Look for separation of wood or anything unusual.

Inspect the Hammers and Tuning Pins on the Piano
Take a close look at the hammers and make sure they are all straight and not badly worn. Small indents in the felt are ok, but deep groves will affect the tone. Check for rust on the strings and tuning pins. Rust can cause strings to break and it means the piano has been in humidity!

Difference Between Uprights and Spinet Pianos
Spinets are no longer manufactured! The action in a spinet is not as nice and requires more work. A spinet piano was popular in the 60′s and are small and fit well in your house! It is easy to find one for very inexpensive. They are ok for beginners but because they are smaller, they have poor bass tone and the tone and tuning is not as nice. Here is how you can tell in 1 minute if the piano you are looking at is a spinet!

How to Inspect the Grand Piano
Inspecting the entire grand piano from the bench is easy to do. Just remove the music stand and open the lid. Watch this video to see exactly what to look for. (Don’t forget to crawl underneath to inspect the whole soundboard!)

Stay Away from Old Antique Pianos
Be aware! Many people will “give” you an old piano and then you will have a big heavy piece of junk! These older pianos have many problems, cost a lot to move, cost even more to tune and repair. Then, you are left with a piano that will never again be a fine instrument without 3-5,000 worth or restoration. Watch this

2 thoughts on “Used Piano Guide

  1. Just purchased a Baldwin piano, made in 1981 and noticed the bridge had two screws in it , but does not effect the sound, or function of the piano. Paid 400.00 for piano. It looks like at some time the bridge had come unglued and screws were used to secure it. Will I be able to resell it when I am ready to get a new one?

    1. If it has been repaired by a good technician, it should be fine but I would have to see it. When the bridges crack and pull away from the soundboard, the sound of the piano is drastically changed. An old piano can always be sold but it isn’t always the best investment. That is why I encourage you to have a pre-purchase inspection before the purchase.

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