How to buy a good used grand piano?

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financial.freedom
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How to buy a good used grand piano?

Post by financial.freedom » Sun May 22, 2016 3:43 pm

We're novices who like to play, want to get a piano for our child who will be starting lessons soon, and are thinking of budgeting 7-10k for a used baby grand piano.

For that price, we have found several pianos online in our area. We liked the sound of a 6'1" Yamaha G3 piano we saw in a store for about 10k. When I looked it up online, that piano is discontinued and some state that pianos made in Japan and shipped to the US may not last as long. It is a little scratched up and about 50 years old, so my other concern is that it might need major repairs in the next 15-20 years we plan to own it for.

They are willing to come down on the price some, but nothing stated firmly yet. But at this point, I'm thinking of moving on to another piano because of what I've read online.

My questions for the BH pianists:

1. BRAND: Is Yamaha a good brand for baby grand pianos? We also saw a Kawai that was nice but the sound wasn't as great. We saw a Baldwin that we liked, but it was above what we want to spend (14k). Steinway is nice, but probably out of our price range. Any other good brands for this price range that we should look into?

2. USED VS. NEW: Is buying used an okay way to go? From what I've read, some pianos do not depreciate much but others say that it can be a good way to get a nice piano for a more reasonable price. Is 50 years too old? If we want a piano that will be good for 15-20 years what year models should we be looking at?

3. WHERE TO BUY: We've been looking online and at showrooms. Any other places we should check? I've thought about Craig's list but seems less efficient unless we narrow it down to a specific model we like first. Then I assume we'd have to find a certified piano technician to check it out.

4. SIZE: We have enough space in our living room for about 6'4" at the most. The sizes we like at the showrooms ranges from 5'4" to 6'1". I've read that the sound quality declines for models smaller than 5'0", not sure if that is true.

5. LOCATION OF ORIGIN: The dealer said that it doesn't matter whether the piano was made in Japan, Europe, or the US. Online, I read that Yamaha made in Japan is less desirable and may not last as long. Is a Yamaha (or other brand) made in the US better than a Yamaha made in Japan?

Any thing else we need to think about?

Thank you in advance!
Last edited by financial.freedom on Sun May 22, 2016 3:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

mrc
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Re: How to buy a good used grand piano?

Post by mrc » Sun May 22, 2016 3:50 pm

I had a Yamaha baby grand for a while. Were I to do it all over again, I would go with a high-end electronic. Much smaller. Much cheaper. And it will stay in tune. As you probably know, grand pianos have about a million parts, many made of things like felt, wood, and leather. They are expensive to maintain. An electronic with a high-quality action will suit all but the most discriminating musician.
If it’s not long term it’s small talk

financial.freedom
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Re: How to buy a good used grand piano?

Post by financial.freedom » Sun May 22, 2016 3:56 pm

mrc wrote:I had a Yamaha baby grand for a while. Were I to do it all over again, I would go with a high-end electronic. Much smaller. Much cheaper. And it will stay in tune. As you probably know, grand pianos have about a million parts, many made of things like felt, wood, and leather. They are expensive to maintain. An electronic with a high-quality action will suit all but the most discriminating musician.
Thank you for the reply. This is true. It might be a little too small. We have space-planned our living room and need it to occupy at least the space that a 5'0" baby grand would occupy. Also, I don't like the idea of plugging in a piano and having a digital screen with buttons. We already have a digital keyboard in another room.

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Flobes
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Re: How to buy a good used grand piano?

Post by Flobes » Sun May 22, 2016 3:59 pm

Here's a previous thread you might find helpful:

Baby Grand Piano

mrc
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Re: How to buy a good used grand piano?

Post by mrc » Sun May 22, 2016 4:00 pm

I'm talking about something like this Yamaha. Small screen for the controls, but it looks like a piano. A nice oriental rug will define the space well. Plus, with the smaller piano, you'll have room for the rest of the string trio. :D
If it’s not long term it’s small talk

sport
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Re: How to buy a good used grand piano?

Post by sport » Sun May 22, 2016 4:39 pm

What about this digital grand piano from Costco?

http://www.costco.com/Artesia-AG-40-Bab ... 19532.html

cadreamer2015
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Re: How to buy a good used grand piano?

Post by cadreamer2015 » Sun May 22, 2016 5:25 pm

I had a Baldwin baby grand piano for over 30 years. I loved the action and the sound, the physical sensation of playing a real piano is better and more tactile than even the best electronic keyboard. That said, on our last move the buyers of our house said they'd be interested in buying it. I did a quick search on-line and found that a reasonable price might be $650. They had their piano tuner look at it (it wasn't in great shape), and they said they wouldn't pay anything for it, but we could leave it if we wanted. Which is what we ended up doing. It would have cost us well over $1,000 to move, store, and move the piano. I have several electronic keyboards that I play much more often (I'm a recreational playing-out musician).

Real grand pianos are great. But, unless they are top brands (Steinway, Bosendorfer, etc.) you can hardly give a used one away. I would suggest hiring a piano tuner (get a reference or check Angie's List), telling him what you are interested in, and having him go with you to check out some used pianos you see on Craigslist. S/he should check the action, strings and make sure the sound board is not cracked. You might pay the piano tech a few hundred $, and a piano mover several hundred $, but I think you could get a very nice piano (not a Steinway) for a few thousand - much less than the $7-10K you have budgeted.
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Theoretical
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Re: How to buy a good used grand piano?

Post by Theoretical » Sun May 22, 2016 5:30 pm

This site is an absolute must: https://www.pianobuyer.com

We bought my wife a baby grand last year, and this site was key to us making a good decision. She is extremely proficient as a pianist and demands a high level of sound and technical prowess. I have a tin ear, but I was able to help her by learning and mastering as much of the technical details as I could so that she could focus on the sound and action, especially since she has mild carpal tunnel issues.

1. BRAND: Is Yamaha a good brand for baby grand pianos? We also saw a Kawai that was nice but the sound wasn't as great. We saw a Baldwin that we liked, but it was above what we want to spend (14k). Steinway is nice, but probably out of our price range. Any other good brands for this price range that we should look into?

Yamaha or Kawaii are good brands. Boston is Steinway-designed and made by Steinway, so a used one can be a good choice. Rebuilt pianos from the 1920s and 1930s can be excellent (we have a restored 1919 Steinway), particularly Baldwin, William Knabe & Co, Chickering, and Mason & Hamlin. Japanese pianos are excellent (often superior in build and quality control to modern American brands), and many South Korean pianos are proving to be of good value and quality. Avoid Chinese-made pianos, which includes many previous American brands, because the quality control is spotty and the focus is on having a pretty piece of furniture at the cost of both long-term value and manufacturing quality. You have to be really careful about rebuilt near-antique pianos. They can be great and they can also be complete nightmares for costs.

2. USED VS. NEW: Is buying used an okay way to go? From what I've read, some pianos do not depreciate much but others say that it can be a good way to get a nice piano for a more reasonable price. Is 50 years too old? If we want a piano that will be good for 15-20 years what year models should we be looking at?

All pianos depreciate a lot at first, but the difference is that some brands (Steinway/Yamaha/Kawaii/Monster European pianos) stop depreciating and keep up with inflation. One note, in case one drops to your price range, avoid 1960s Steinways unless the action has been rebuilt, because they introduced a teflon component that ended up ruining part of the action over the long haul.

Another factor to consider is how important are the aesthetics vs. the quality of the action? The reason I ask is that some minor aesthetic damage can cut the price of an otherwise perfect or A- instrument by quite a bit. My wife's piano has a few nicks and scratches, but it saved us almost 20%, and for a piano that ended up being of even higher quality than when we purchased it thanks to discovering its action had been fully rebuilt instead of tweaked.


3. WHERE TO BUY: We've been looking online and at showrooms. Any other places we should check? I've thought about Craig's list but seems less efficient unless we narrow it down to a specific model we like first. Then I assume we'd have to find a certified piano technician to check it out.

Look at Registered Piano Technicians and rebuilders as well. Reputable, established dealers can be a real asset. More importantly, try every piano you possibly can and make sure you don't buy it sight unseen (unless you are buying digital).


4. SIZE: We have enough space in our living room for about 6'4" at the most. The sizes we like at the showrooms ranges from 5'4" to 6'1". I've read that the sound quality declines for models smaller than 5'0", not sure if that is true.

For any piano, the size really matters for the bass section, especially until you reach 5'7" A 5'0" or less piano is seriously deficient in the bass section and is inferior to the largest upright. It's a DRASTIC difference. Does it have to be a grand? For your budget, a top of the line Yamaha U3 upright piano that's only 5-10 years old is well in your range, and the sound quality is up there with a smaller grand. The downside of an upright is (1) it's not as pretty and (2) the action is fundamentally different than on a grand.

5. LOCATION OF ORIGIN: The dealer said that it doesn't matter whether the piano was made in Japan, Europe, or the US. Online, I read that Yamaha made in Japan is less desirable and may not last as long. Is a Yamaha (or other brand) made in the US better than a Yamaha made in Japan?

Grey market Yamahas supposedly have been designed using wood for the damp Asian climates, and don't handle American climates well. Other people think they're fine.

btenny
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Re: How to buy a good used grand piano?

Post by btenny » Sun May 22, 2016 6:02 pm

Yamaha is a good brand for both regular pianos and digital pianos. You can find all kinds and version on EBay from all types of sellers. See below for a sample of listings. Personally I own a Yamaha Clavinova CDP-309P digital grand piano and digital keyboard. We bought ours used about 5 years ago from a private party. We love it. My wife plays the piano and I listen to pre-recorded songs and full concerts via the external USB port. We went digital for our second piano as we also have an older upright cabinet grand piano that never stays in tune. We have to tune this regular piano 1-2 times a year if we want it to be in tune.

We have been told by our piano tuner and others that a regular piano will not stay tuned if you take it to higher altitude towns. We live in Lake Tahoe which is 6200 feet. He told me cities like Tahoe, Denver and Salt Lake were tough on pianos. One of our friends has a regular grand and plays wonderful. He says he has to have it tuned every 3-6 months. So we decided on a Digital Piano Keyboard.

http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R4 ... a&_sacat=0

https://reverb.com/item/2021307-yamaha- ... fgodwEoH_w

http://usa.yamaha.com/products/musical- ... uct_lineup

beezquimby
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Re: How to buy a good used grand piano?

Post by beezquimby » Sun May 22, 2016 6:23 pm

Strong disagree. From my experience I have never played on a digital that even comes close to the sound and more importantly the feel of a regular piano. I'm sure there are some but at the price point you may as well get a regular piano.
mrc wrote:I had a Yamaha baby grand for a while. Were I to do it all over again, I would go with a high-end electronic. Much smaller. Much cheaper. And it will stay in tune. As you probably know, grand pianos have about a million parts, many made of things like felt, wood, and leather. They are expensive to maintain. An electronic with a high-quality action will suit all but the most discriminating musician.

beezquimby
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Re: How to buy a good used grand piano?

Post by beezquimby » Sun May 22, 2016 6:29 pm

The most important thing to do is find someone who knows how to play piano and have them play it. I played quite a few pianos that were terrible before I found a used piano on Craigslist that has been great, yes I paid around 1K. (Baldwin upright)
financial.freedom wrote:We're novices who like to play, want to get a piano for our child who will be starting lessons soon, and are thinking of budgeting 7-10k for a used baby grand piano.

For that price, we have found several pianos online in our area. We liked the sound of a 6'1" Yamaha G3 piano we saw in a store for about 10k. When I looked it up online, that piano is discontinued and some state that pianos made in Japan and shipped to the US may not last as long. It is a little scratched up and about 50 years old, so my other concern is that it might need major repairs in the next 15-20 years we plan to own it for.

They are willing to come down on the price some, but nothing stated firmly yet. But at this point, I'm thinking of moving on to another piano because of what I've read online.

My questions for the BH pianists:

1. BRAND: Is Yamaha a good brand for baby grand pianos? We also saw a Kawai that was nice but the sound wasn't as great. We saw a Baldwin that we liked, but it was above what we want to spend (14k). Steinway is nice, but probably out of our price range. Any other good brands for this price range that we should look into?

2. USED VS. NEW: Is buying used an okay way to go? From what I've read, some pianos do not depreciate much but others say that it can be a good way to get a nice piano for a more reasonable price. Is 50 years too old? If we want a piano that will be good for 15-20 years what year models should we be looking at?

3. WHERE TO BUY: We've been looking online and at showrooms. Any other places we should check? I've thought about Craig's list but seems less efficient unless we narrow it down to a specific model we like first. Then I assume we'd have to find a certified piano technician to check it out.

4. SIZE: We have enough space in our living room for about 6'4" at the most. The sizes we like at the showrooms ranges from 5'4" to 6'1". I've read that the sound quality declines for models smaller than 5'0", not sure if that is true.

5. LOCATION OF ORIGIN: The dealer said that it doesn't matter whether the piano was made in Japan, Europe, or the US. Online, I read that Yamaha made in Japan is less desirable and may not last as long. Is a Yamaha (or other brand) made in the US better than a Yamaha made in Japan?

Any thing else we need to think about?

Thank you in advance!

montanagirl
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Re: How to buy a good used grand piano?

Post by montanagirl » Sun May 22, 2016 6:43 pm

Hopefully you're not in a Piano Desert as I am. Here, it's no use buying anything other than Yamaha or Steinway for resale value, maybe a real US Baldwin too. Otherwise you have to go all over the place trying out pianos the way the author of Grand Obsession did, and hope it sounds similar when you get it home. We have one certified tech here. If you're in a big market like Dallas or LA you should have a lot of bargaining power to drive down the ridiculous list prices.

A 6 footer is not really a baby grand as I understand it from Larry Fine's Piano Buyer, which is the bible for these things. I thought baby grand was 5' or less.

Also of course you should be consulting at pianoworld.com.

btenny
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Re: How to buy a good used grand piano?

Post by btenny » Sun May 22, 2016 6:54 pm

Oh and I forgot. If you put the piano in the living room where it gets a lot of sun that will dry out the sound board and mechanisms and kill the sound over time. Good pianos need shade and cool air and some moisture in the air. My SIL has her concert grand in a bedroom with curtains over the windows.

Good Luck

malabargold
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Re: How to buy a good used grand piano?

Post by malabargold » Sun May 22, 2016 9:43 pm

Yamaha C3 is a good choice (sound opens up at C3 and
Above)
Disklavier is nice, enables one to practice while
quiet for others
New pads every 10-15 years. Tune every 6 months
Buying a piano is a lot like buying a car, bargain, bargain

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corner559
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Re: How to buy a good used grand piano?

Post by corner559 » Mon May 23, 2016 2:15 am

I played classical piano for 20 years and have had a Steinway, Baldwin, Kawai and Yamaha electric piano. I would absolutely not recommend the electric pianos. They do not have the same nuanced feel as a real piano. The only reason to go this route is if you're limited on space and money.

Choosing the right piano is very personal and it depends on how you feel when playing it. Things to think about... How is the touch (i.e. do the keys feel stiff or loose)? Is the overall sound tinny or rich? Muted or loud? Etc.

I was not a huge fan of the Kawai. The keys were too stiff and the sound a little too glaring for my taste. Steinways are expensive for a reason. The materials and workmanship are top notch. The touch on the one I had was absolutely perfect and the sound was incredible. I'd go with a Steinway if you can find one in your price range. I also wouldn't go too old. A piano isn't like a violin. They don't always age well and the ones that are old require lots of up-keep to keep them sounding their best.

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corner559
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Re: How to buy a good used grand piano?

Post by corner559 » Mon May 23, 2016 2:15 am

btenny wrote:Oh and I forgot. If you put the piano in the living room where it gets a lot of sun that will dry out the sound board and mechanisms and kill the sound over time. Good pianos need shade and cool air and some moisture in the air. My SIL has her concert grand in a bedroom with curtains over the windows.

Good Luck
Good point. Sun will also bleach the wood over time.

mrc
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Re: How to buy a good used grand piano?

Post by mrc » Mon May 23, 2016 10:01 am

We're novices who like to play, want to get a piano for our child who will be starting lessons soon ...
I still say a high quality digital instrument is something for OP's family to consider, especially given the cost and upkeep required for any baby grand.
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Jazztonight
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Re: How to buy a good used grand piano?

Post by Jazztonight » Mon May 23, 2016 10:39 am

Let me weigh in with the opinion that a digital/electonic piano is not what I personally would buy.

I'm a professional musician and have played on many types, brands, and styles of pianos and keyboards.

In my opinion, if you play the piano, the digital keyboards just are not the same. They can try, but they just don't make the grade, even the "best" of them.

Sure, you'll save on maintenance, tuning, repair, and so on, but you'll lose on sound quality and the beauty that only a real piano can provide.

I own a Yamaha studio upright I bought new over 30 years ago. I have it tuned and maintained regularly, and it's as wonderful today as it was when I bought it. I also own or have owned 3-4 electronic pianos (for gigs), and none compares to a real piano.

My advice is to read all of the links regarding buying a used piano, find out which are the best ones, buy from either a reputable dealer or expect to have a repair person check out your private purchase, and you'll have an instrument that's more than just a piece of furniture. (My sister owns a lovely antique square grand piano; it won't hold a tune and I couldn't bear to play it ever. Nice conversation piece, though.)

Finally, there are a lot of cheap, junky pianos out there that are not worth buying. Take your time and be careful. Yamaha is a good brand in general. Others are good too. Good luck!
"What does not destroy me, makes me stronger." Nietzsche

Theoretical
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Re: How to buy a good used grand piano?

Post by Theoretical » Mon May 23, 2016 11:03 am

I think the key questions to ask yourselves are this:

You said you two are novices. How strongly do each of you want to increase your proficiency, and to what level would you aspire?

What if your child hates the piano and is not very good at it (even with practice)?

Are you primarily buying furniture or a musical instrument?

Are you prepared to put in the money to keep the piano tuned and maintained - $200-300/year depending on your climate - typically at least 2 tunings for the seasonal changes.

Oh yeah, and there's lots of grand pianos available for a few hundred bucks, moving costs only, or a couple of thousand dollars for a large high-end brand. Avoid those like the plague, because those pianos likely will require a massive rebuilding that will cost more than an equivalent.

For our Steinway, it came down to 2 very nice pianos (identical model but different years). One was about 2/3 the price but would require about $10,000 in rebuilding costs because it had never been rebuilt. It still worked but was easy to knock out of tune. The other was right at the very top of our budget, but had been rebuilt to a very high level in the 1980s and was only in our price range because of moderate cosmetic wear and tear, but had otherwise been given plenty of care.

The other thing to consider is that if it will be in a living room near a window that won't be shaded, strongly consider a black matte piano, as it is (a) the cheapest, (b) is a classic, and (c) is least vulnerable to sun/window damage. That said, avoid it if you can, especially if the windows are not double paned.

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Re: How to buy a good used grand piano?

Post by amazonchic » Mon May 23, 2016 1:06 pm

I am a pianist. My B.A. is in music and I've been teaching piano lessons for 17 years. I own a 4'10'' Ridgewood that has been a bad investment turned decent.

A couple things to keep in mind:

Brand: you will want to have the primary pianist in your home play on the pianos you are considering. Some people prefer the sound of a Yamaha or Kawai to a Baldwin or Steinway. I prefer a softer touch, more muted sound (Steinway or Baldwin) vs. a brighter sound (Yamaha/Kawai). However, every single piano sounds and feels a little different. It comes down to personal preference. My tuners over the years confirmed that most people prefer a brighter sound right now, but that hasn't always been the case historically. All the brands you mentioned, and others, could work fine for you if the instrument you select is one you will enjoy playing on.

Used vs. New: avoid craigslist unless it is a reputable seller who has had the instrument cared for. This means regular tunings and hopefully a climate controlled environment. The quality of the cabinet is less important than the quality of the guts. For what you are looking to spend, you could ask a local tuner/technician to check the instrument over. This may cost around $100 (varies depending on geographic region) to see if the soundboard is cracked, if it can even maintain a tuning for 6-12 months, etc. Depreciation isn't as important as age of the instrument. I have heard that a piano's life span is 30 years because after that it needs so much work to replace parts and maintain the instrument it isn't worth it. I do not know for sure that this is true. Many people trust Larry Fine's book, "The Piano Book" as a great resource for what to look for in new and used purchases and how to maintain your instrument. His website is https://pianobuyer.wordpress.com/.

Where to buy: you can talk down the price of a retailer. I sold pianos for 1 year. Most consumers aren't aware you can negotiate price. Sticker price is only a starting point.

Size: my piano is smaller than 5'0'' and yes, what you heard is true. Pianos under 5'0'' are less desirable and more suitable as a piece of furniture than a piece meant to be played on extensively. I did not know this when buying my piano, so I've used it for teaching and it's worked fine. Had I to do this over again, I'd have tried to buy a piano a little larger. The premise behind this is that the smaller pianos don't get as much range of dynamics and the response can be less intuitive. My piano was a lemon from the start and the retailer refused to work with me on a warranty or repairing the broken strings that came with the instrument. I found good tuner technicians over the years who got my instrument up to par for my needs. I will replace it eventually when I can afford a better grand. Also, the general idea is to buy the largest piano you can afford that can fit into your space.

Location of origin: this is up for debate depending on who you talk to. Again, make sure whatever you purchase is an instrument that will work for you (or the primary player (s) in the family). This can be partly personal preference.

The www.pianoworld.com blog is great for getting feedback on certain makes and models, if you have time.

This investment will provide more liklehood that the investment in lessons will be money well spent. If you hate playing on a low quality instrument, you will quit sooner.

I hope this helps you find an instrument you will play on for years to come. Please let us know what you end up purchasing!

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Re: How to buy a good used grand piano?

Post by btenny » Mon May 23, 2016 1:13 pm

Amazonchic.

Please tell us if the lighted key teaching thing on electronic keyboards and pianos is a good deal for students or not? I saw some of these features on some instruments and was not sure if they were a good idea or bad.

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Re: How to buy a good used grand piano?

Post by beezquimby » Mon May 23, 2016 1:47 pm

completely useless.
btenny wrote:Amazonchic.

Please tell us if the lighted key teaching thing on electronic keyboards and pianos is a good deal for students or not? I saw some of these features on some instruments and was not sure if they were a good idea or bad.

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Re: How to buy a good used grand piano?

Post by psteinx » Mon May 23, 2016 5:51 pm

btenny - The first keyboard I bought for my kids (other than maybe true toys they had when younger), was a $150-ish Casio model with lighted keys. I thought maybe they might teach themselves using the feature. I don't think it was too useful, ultimately.

After a few months, two of my kids still had interest in the keyboard, and we started them on lessons. Two or three months after that, Christmas was coming, they were liking the lessons, and there was pressure to get a better keyboard or piano. I looked around some at real pianos, but settled on a nice Roland digital, for maybe $1400 or so.

The initial keyboard, after a little while was cross loaned to a family at our church who's kid had lost interest in guitar. One of our kids messed with the guitar for a while. At some point, and I think we ended up buying a guitar for her, too (can't remember, maybe that bought guitar ended up in storage over our garage?)

I'm not certain what became of the cheaper keyboard - maybe sold, given away, donated to charity.

Was it a waste of ~$200 (150 for the keyboard plus some for a foldable stand and bench)?

In my opinion, no. Our kids usage of it showed some sustainable enthusiasm for the instrument, and I would have been quite reluctant to buy the pricier, better model, without that.

Now we're about 4 years on. One of the kids dropped piano lessons and playing after 2 or 3 years. The other is still going. This latter has had a fairly high level of musical interest in general - piano (ongoing), guitar (stopped a while back), cello (stopped near end of current school year), and coming soon, a wind instrument (clarinet?) Will she go to Julliard? Highly unlikely. Will she even maintain the lessons and playing for the next 10-20 years? Hard to say. So be it...

(Link to a longer version of our musical instrument escapades I posted a while back.)

jlawrence01
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Re: How to buy a good used grand piano?

Post by jlawrence01 » Mon May 23, 2016 6:33 pm

What I know about pianos is underwhelming.

However, there are a number of dealers who lease new pianos to Conservatories of music and universities. After a few years, they get them back off lease and are sold at a significant discount. As I am not a musician, I really do not know all of the particulars although I have heard of several sales of the like when I lived in the Chicagoland area.

A few Google searches may provide you with more particulars.

Zendelta
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Re: How to buy a good used grand piano?

Post by Zendelta » Mon May 23, 2016 6:49 pm

Disclosure: musician who has played chamber music with many pianists but not a pianist myself.

If you are near a major metro area with a symphony/opera/ballet, there may be auctions for their used pianos which are quite nice-- makes Steinway an option.

Good for you for passing on the gift of music to your child.

beezquimby
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Re: How to buy a good used grand piano?

Post by beezquimby » Mon May 23, 2016 7:10 pm

Seems odd people are recommending considering a Steinway. Seems like way overkill and unnecessary for what was being asked.
Zendelta wrote:Disclosure: musician who has played chamber music with many pianists but not a pianist myself.

If you are near a major metro area with a symphony/opera/ballet, there may be auctions for their used pianos which are quite nice-- makes Steinway an option.

Good for you for passing on the gift of music to your child.

Steven in NC
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Re: How to buy a good used grand piano?

Post by Steven in NC » Mon May 23, 2016 8:03 pm

I would recommend that you at least consider a digital Yamaha. We bought a new CVP-601 and our sons teacher protested loudly but it was the right decision for us. 2 years later it sounds as good as the day we brought it home and no need for ongoing tuning. :happy

Zendelta
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Re: How to buy a good used grand piano?

Post by Zendelta » Mon May 23, 2016 8:05 pm

beezquimby wrote:Seems odd people are recommending considering a Steinway. Seems like way overkill and unnecessary for what was being asked.
financial.freedom wrote:Steinway is nice, but probably out of our price range. Any other good brands for this price range that we should look into?

I don't think you caught that OP is already considering Steinway except for price. If they wanted to really look at it as an option, auctions are just another mechanism to get there.

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jimmyq
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Re: How to buy a good used grand piano?

Post by jimmyq » Mon May 23, 2016 8:16 pm

beezquimby wrote:Seems odd people are recommending considering a Steinway. Seems like way overkill and unnecessary for what was being asked.
Not necessarily if the OP is willing to consider an upright. A used reconditioned Steinway upright is within their price range.

beezquimby
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Re: How to buy a good used grand piano?

Post by beezquimby » Mon May 23, 2016 9:25 pm

I googled that model 5-6K price. Just wondering why you wouldn't just get a regular piano for that kind of dough? Also wondering if that model "really" does feel like a regular piano.
Steven in NC wrote:I would recommend that you at least consider a digital Yamaha. We bought a new CVP-601 and our sons teacher protested loudly but it was the right decision for us. 2 years later it sounds as good as the day we brought it home and no need for ongoing tuning. :happy

madbrain
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Re: How to buy a good used grand piano?

Post by madbrain » Mon May 23, 2016 10:15 pm

A piano is very personal. I would recommend you take a look at the PianoWorld piano forums.
See http://pianoworld.com and
http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthre ... Forum.html .

Personally, for $7k - $10k, I think you will have too many compromises for a grand piano.
It will either be too small (under 5ft), badly maintained, or too old, or otherwise low-quality.
With enough time spent looking (by that I mean many months, 3-6), you might get a decent grand around 5'6" for $12k, or a very nice one for $15k.

In your budget, it would make more sense to get an upright with a large soundboard and high-quality action. The quality of the action is the main reason to get an acoustic piano vs electronic, IMO. Personally, I love the german Renner action, which I had in my first piano , a Schimmel GP169T . I now have a Schimmel K280T, also with the Renner action.

A tall upright with a 48" to 52" inch sound board will often have better sound quality than a baby grand.
My guess is for $10k, you will easily be able to find a tall quality upright with a Renner action. Say a Schimmel, Seiler, or other German brand. And even for $7k, you should have some choices, if the piano is not a recent model year (older than 10 years, and out of warranty).

Always see the and play piano in person. And get it evaluated by a CPT, regardless whether it's new or used. If buying a new one, get the one you play in the showroom - don't get an "identical one" delivered from the factory. There can be wide variations in quality between units.
A lightly used, but broken-in piano can often sound much better than a brand new one that hasn't gotten any use yet.

financial.freedom
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Re: How to buy a good used grand piano?

Post by financial.freedom » Fri May 27, 2016 3:10 pm

Thank you for all of the replies!

Great links for further reading too!

We are taking our time looking at different pianos, learning more, and hope to find one that fits our needs soon.

Thank you again!

inbox788
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Re: How to buy a good used grand piano?

Post by inbox788 » Sun May 29, 2016 12:08 am

beezquimby wrote:Strong disagree. From my experience I have never played on a digital that even comes close to the sound and more importantly the feel of a regular piano. I'm sure there are some but at the price point you may as well get a regular piano.
mrc wrote:I had a Yamaha baby grand for a while. Were I to do it all over again, I would go with a high-end electronic. Much smaller. Much cheaper. And it will stay in tune. As you probably know, grand pianos have about a million parts, many made of things like felt, wood, and leather. They are expensive to maintain. An electronic with a high-quality action will suit all but the most discriminating musician.
What price point? $500? $1000? more? You also may want to take into account the resale value to decide what is a better choice for you. Digital pianos have come a long way and are still evolving. Ah, I see you're looking around $7-10k, which is ballpark used for:

http://usa.yamaha.com/products/musical- ... mode=model

I went with a digital piano around $500 about 5 years back and couldn't be happier. It's been moved by me 3 times and it's probably still worth $200-300 used. The $500 wouldn't have paid for tuning and moving for same period, not to mention what kind of piano goes for under $500 (used assumed).

I am looking for a replacement, and around the $1000 price point, I'd probably still go digital. I've expanded my budget to $2500-5000 for an acoustic upright and I'm looking at some used Yamaha and Kawai as a baseline. Would consider other brands.

Jags4186
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Re: How to buy a good used grand piano?

Post by Jags4186 » Sun May 29, 2016 5:09 am

Unless you really want a baby grand buy a new Yamaha U1 or U3. They are professional upright pianos and are considered the best upright you can buy. Also, will save you a few $1000.

Great great machines.

cbeck
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Re: How to buy a good used grand piano?

Post by cbeck » Mon May 30, 2016 1:03 am

I used to be a piano tuner-technician some years ago in New York City. I can tell you that all of the above advice is either wrong or beside the point.

The OP is unable to evaluate the condition of a used piano, which is a technical, not a musical matter. The best approach is to find a piano that you like to play and whose sound you like. Then, if you can afford the price, hire a registered tuner-technician to evaluate it. Specifically, he will do a test tuning to determine if the pin block is cracked or otherwise unable to hold a tuning. If so, it could be repaired, but it would be expensive. He will also check for cracking at the bridge, which can also be expensive to repair. Cracks to the soundboard, however, are unimportant, unless they buzz in which case the buzzing can be corrected cheaply. Damage to the action is not likely to be prohibitively expensive, unless extensive.

Since only a piano technician can tune a piano, only a piano technician can determine if the piano will hold a tune.

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Thrifty Femme
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Re: How to buy a good used grand piano?

Post by Thrifty Femme » Mon May 30, 2016 6:44 pm

See if your local university is looking to sell any pianos. I get a notice every couple of years.

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