Things to consider when buying a second–hand Piano

Whether you are looking for an upright or a grand piano the basic rules remain the same when choosing a Piano. One must consider, both the size and the cost of the instrument to fit ones budget and the room where you wish to house the Piano.

Generally, a larger piano with longer strings will create a much better depth of sound. Smaller instruments both Grand & upright Pianos will produce a lesser quality of sound, due to the speaking length of the strings.

When considering a modern instrument, they are constructed with the bass strings overstrung  which means that the bass strings run diagonally across the piano crossing over the treble string,  this enables the Bass strings to be longer thus giving a longer speaking lent and better quality of sound.

Andy tuning a piano
Buying a second hand piano

 

An older instrument may not have this stringing arrangement, and are generally known as straightstrung Bass section, which means that the strings run parallel to each other which lesser the length of the Bass strings offering a far less quality and depth of sound. Modern upright pianos are underdamped which means that the dampers are located beneath the hammer head, this setup is much more effective than overdamped Pianos.

If you look in the top of a upright piano in an overdamper action, the hammers are below. The dampers, thus giving rise to the name overdamped.

Generally, this kind of piano should be avoided, due to it’s age and performance – response when playing, they could also be very tough to tune or keep their tuning.

On the other hand, a very good quality overdamped upright piano could make a wonderful addition to your home, but I would suggest to get it assessed by an expert first before buying.

If you find an instrument that you like, we suggest that you look over the piano externally, play it and then look inside. The following points should help you decide whether an instrument is worth buying.

  • Check the casework and appearance of the piano for damage, dose the colour of the piano suits your home.
  • Check each key to see if they are level and evenly spaced?
  • Play each key rapidly, to see if they are responding well and not sticking.
  • Check to see if the sound of the piano is Similar across the whole keyboard? Did any notes stand out louder/softer than others.
  • Check the piano for any buzzing, squeaks, of knocking sounds.
  • Check each peddle to see if they are working, without making unwanted noises
  • Always make sure to look inside the piano:
  • Check to see if the action looks intact without missing parts.
  • Check for any damage to both the action and strings, look along the line of strings to see if there are any missing or broken.
  • When considering buying a piano, please make sure you check the instrument, or even better take a qualified piano tuner with you.

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Andy Howard

I am Andy Howard (AEWVH Diploma, MAPTA). I started AMH Piano Services, as I wanted to provide a highly professional piano tuning service to the Greater London area. I completed a three year course at The Royal National College for the Blind, Hereford, in 1992; being awarded a credit in the AEWVH Diploma in Piano Tuning/Technician. I have worked for pianists at all levels, from beginners to professionals. I tune for recording studio’s and theatrical music companies, music teachers, professional musicians, going anywhere the music takes me. I work alongside other industry professional to provide a full spectrum piano service.

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