How Old is Too Old?


When buying a used piano, age is one of the aspects to consider. Pianos from the early 1900’s, that have been well maintained, reconditioned or completely rebuilt can be wonderful instruments and preferred by many pianists over brand new pianos. Before you spend a little or a lot of money on this type of instrument, have it assessed by a certified piano technician. If you require assistance in determining the age of a piano, check out our guide: How Old Is This Piano?


What is a Good Make?


There are over 12,000 different makes of pianos. Yamaha and Heintzman are two brands of pianos that most people will recognize. The name alone is not a guarantee of a piano’s condition. I have assessed a 6′ Yamaha Grand that was only 8 years old that needed a new pin block. I have assessed a Heintzman Upright that had cracks in the sound board so large that I could see through them! Pin block replacement and sound board replacement are the most expensive tasks of the rebuilding process of a piano and is not often even considered for an upright piano. Before buying any make or model, the instrument should be assessed by a piano technician.


How Much Money Should I Spend?


As much as you can. I had a colleague who summed it up quite well. You should spend as much on a piano as you would spend on a motor vehicle. A piano that cost under $2,000 is a moped, it will get you where you need to go but eventually you will want a smoother ride. A $25,000 upright piano is like a Harley Davidson and a $25,000 grand piano is like a Honda Accord. A Steinway Concert Grand is like a Mercedes stretch limo with a jacuzzi in it. If you have between $2,000 and $10,000 you will be able to purchase a good used piano. To make sure it is a very good one, be sure to hire a technician to assess it for you just like you would have a mechanic assess a used car before you purchase it.


How Often Should I Have my Piano Tuned?


A piano should be tuned at least twice a year. During the tuning appointments, the technician should conduct a free piano maintenance inspection. There are many aspects to consider for the proper functioning of a fine instrument. For more information on piano maintenance, see our Tuning & Repair section.