Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Free Pianos

Do NOT buy a piano without consulting a Registered Piano Technician. The used piano business is FAR WORSE than the used car business!

With the economy the way it is, many parents are looking for real bargain pianos. They search the classified ads, Craig's List, Buy & Sell Online, and other piano resource pages.

Piano seller ads (I should say: "Run as fast as you can" if you see some of the wording for ads below.)
1. Leaving the country - must sell now!
2. House just sold - piano free!
3. 80 year old piano in perfect condition. A few notes don't work and pedal needs adjusting. Perfect for the beginner.
4. Old piano. Selling as furniture.

Thinking that cheaper is better (because nobody wants to spend money if their children may lose interest in playing the piano), parents sometimes look for the cheapest piano.

I get calls all the time from customers who have been given (or found) a free piano. Immediately, my heart sinks because I am all too aware of the dangers of "caveat emptor" - Let the buyer beware.

Here is a list of the questions I ask:
1. What is the name of the piano? From the name, I can tell where the piano was made. Hopefully it was produced for the North American market.
2. I ask what the serial number is so I can find out the age of the instrument.
3. When was the piano last tuned? There should be a business card in the piano (just under the top lid) or the seller (giving away the piano for free) may know who the tuner was.
4. I ask the customer to play all the notes chromatically (from the lowest bass note to the highest treble note), and I listen over the phone as they play. I can immediately deduce most problems (but not all) just by listening to the notes (some notes may not work).
5. I ask the customer to take camera phone photos behind the piano, looking down inside the piano from the top and a photo of the front of the piano.

If I get good feedback from answers to the above questions, I will probably set up a time to do a piano appraisal.

The BEST book of information on how to buy a piano: http://www.pianobuyer.com
It is free to view online!


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