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Piano Selection & Care

5 Tips on Finding a Piano

Buying a piano is a big decision and may be something you purchase once or twice in a lifetime. We want to give you some helpful tips so you feel confident when you are shopping for a piano.

The most important things to consider when buying a piano is price, sound, feel and the look. After reading through these simple tips, you’ll know the most important basics of how to make the right choice in buying a piano that’s right for you.

1. Price

Pianos range from just a few hundred dollars to the price you would likely pay for a house!

Buying the cheapest used piano you can find, may actually end up costing you more than a new digital piano or upright piano in the long run. If you find an old used piano that someone is selling for free to around $700, you’ll want to bring a piano tuner with you to make sure it’s worth it. Get a quote on how much it will cost to tune and fix any problems and ask the tuner how long he/she thinks the piano will last.

Old cheap pianos can have problems like loose tuning pins, broken straps or springs and even older plastic parts that will crumble. (As a piano technician, I’ve replaced sets of old plastic piano parts that have crumbled. It costs between $200 and $400 to replace those plastic parts.)

Some of the benefits of a piano dealer is that any used pianos they sell will be tuned, repaired and ready to play. Also, most piano dealers will allow you to trade in your piano at the price you bought it for upgrading to another piano. Another benefit is if you get a new piano, you’ll have a warranty on the piano plus usually a tuning and delivery is included.

If you are looking for a piano to start kids in piano lessons and you don’t have a lot to spend, a digital piano may be the right way to go. In the last few years the technology has improved so much that digital pianos now feel and sound like regular pianos. You don’t have to tune digital pianos which will save you a lot of money in the long run.
(The price of a regular tuning is around $90. Pianos are required to be tuned once or twice a year or more if the piano is played a few hours a day.) 
Also, kids really enjoy the extra features that digital pianos have. Kids start looking forward to practicing the piano. Also, the headphone option is very valuable for parents if you know what I mean.

2. Sound

Every acoustic piano (regular piano) varies in sound. You can find the sound you like by comparing pianos side by side. Go to a piano dealer and have the salesman play the same song on a few different pianos of your choice. Then you can start getting a feel for the kind of sound you like.

Generally, the longer the strings in a piano, the better and louder sound it will have. Find the pianos that are in your price range and compare the sound. You may like a brighter sound, or you might like the softer warmer sounds. Everyone has a different preference and different styles of music sound better with specific tones of the piano.

Something to consider is, where the piano will be in your home. The piano will most likely sound louder in the home than the piano store because of the size of the room. If you have wood floors and mostly hard surfaces in the room, the piano may echo and sound quite loud compared to carpeted rooms and soft surfaces on furniture.

If a piano you purchase sounds different when in your home, don’t worry. You can tell the piano tuner to adjust the piano accordingly. This method is called “voicing”. A piano tuner can make the piano brighter or softer to your liking. Most digital pianos have controls to change the sound as well and you can do that yourself.

3. Feel

All pianos vary a little in the feel or touch of the keys. Keys on some pianos are a little harder to push down than others. Grand pianos and some newer digital pianos have keys that are weighted or feel slightly heavier at the bottom or bass, and gradually get lighter and easier to push towards the top.

Try playing some scales or just play all the notes one by one on different pianos to see if you can feel the difference in the keys. Grand pianos can be adjusted for a lighter or slightly heavier feel. There isn’t a lot of difference in the feel of the keys for beginner players, but as a pianist gets more experience, they will begin to have a preference.

4. Look

Last but definitely not least is the look of the piano. You may have this piano forever so it’s important that you enjoy looking at it. For some people who may not play the very much, the look is the most important to them.

A piano is a beautiful piece of furniture and can compliment your home very nicely. There is a good chance that your piano will long outlast the rest of your furniture so you may want to think about possible future changes in the design of your home.

Regular pianos have been in style for over 300 years now. There are certain colors that have always been popular like the black and cherry finishes. If you have all oak furniture than you would probably want a piano with an oak finish.

Something to try is taking a picture of the room you’d like the piano in. Than you can bring the picture and hold it up against different pianos. If you are wanting a grand piano but you’re worried about the size, the Piano Gallery has a cloth pattern that shows the outline of different sizes of grand pianos. You can borrow the pattern to place it on the ground in your home and determine the space needed for the grand piano.

5. Helpful Resources

We want to give you all the info you need so you are excited and ready for your first piano purchase. A great place to learn more about what piano to buy is www.PianoWorld.com. Piano World is the largest piano forum on the internet. Also, you can contact the Piano Gallery. Our staff has some of the most knowledgeable experienced professionals you’ll ever find. Among us are professional musicians and piano technicians and they are very friendly.
We hope this has been helpful information to get you started on your journey to getting a piano.

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