With a little bit of piano refurbishing a second-hand piano can be an affordable way to get your first piano, but there are other reasons to invest in a used piano beyond saving money. For example, some people prefer the tone of older pianos, and others prefer an aged look for their cabinet. Regardless of why you might be interested in a used piano, there are a few guidelines that you should be sure to follow. In this blog post, we’re going to explore some of the things you should double-check while shopping around, to help make sure that you get the instrument you want. Read on to learn more!

Trade Me vs Music Shops

These aren’t your only two options of course, but the basic division is important to consider—do you buy direct from the previous owner, or through a store? There are actually benefits to both, which we’ll cover here.

Music Shop

When you buy from a music shop you have the advantage of talking to the salesperson, who is more likely to be knowledgeable about pianos than the previous owner—although that’s not always the case! Music stores may also have a warranty that they are willing to extend to a used piano. Even though the instrument is second-hand, pianos are big purchases, so some may still offer a warranty. Each stores warranty policy could be completely different though, so it’s up to you to investigate if they apply, and what they entail. 

You should also ask what work they’ve done to prepare the piano, including tuning. If they haven’t already tuned the piano, they might provide tuning after a sale. If they don’t do either, you can always find other experts like the team here at Piano Corner to help you tune your new instrument.

Private Sale

When you buy privately, you’ll typically be able to secure a piano for a better price, so budget is your biggest concern, private sales are possibly the way to go.

It’s a good idea to ask how long the seller has had the piano and if there were any owners beforehand. Asking about the piano’s general history can be useful too, as it pays to know if it’s ever had any major repairs done in the past. This may not affect the playing of the piano now but it could become relevant when it is serviced again in the future, and it can be very helpful to technicians to know what previous replacements or repairs have been made. 

You should also ask about the last time it was tuned. If it hasn’t been tuned in a while, it’s not necessarily a dealbreaker—the main reason to ask is that if it’s been several years since the piano was last tuned, parts may have warped, and you might not be interested in paying for any repairs you didn’t sign up for when shopping around. That said, if you know what you’re looking for, there are some incredible finds out there that are worth any amount of repair and restoration. 

You can also always hire a technician to come in and look if the seller hasn’t hired one already. If the seller is happy to permit it, we can give you a rundown of the work a used piano might need before you buy, so you can make a better decision. 

Make sure you play it!

A piano is one thing you should never buy without ‘trying it on’, so to speak. There’s nothing worse than buying a piano and realising that one key is dead! Always try out the piano in person and be sure to test every single key. 

Pay specific attention to the bottom of the piano’s keyboard. Even if the higher notes sound okay, the bass notes often provide the best clues toward the health of the strings. If they sound muddy or odd, it’s best to get an expert to check out the interior.


Be wary of antiques

There’s a big difference between a used piano and an antique piano. A lot of private sellers will say that a piano is antique if it looks particularly old, but real antiques are very rare. It’s not impossible to find a genuine antique out there, but chances are high that most of them are just very old, and in all honesty, they might end up costing you more than they’re worth.



Get peace of mind with Piano Corner

Need help evaluating a used piano? Talk to the experts here at Piano Corner—we can help ensure that you’re getting exactly what is being advertised. We can also help you when it comes to restoring, maintaining, or repairing a used piano. 

Want a grand piano, but don’t want to pay full price for a brand new one? Fallen in love with a specific old piano? Our grand piano restoration services are an affordable way to get your hands on a concert-quality instrument for a fraction of the price. Contact us today to find out more!