When buying a second-hand piano, whether you are looking for an upright or a grand, the basic rules remain the same when choosing a piano. You must consider both the size and the cost of the instrument to fit your budget and the room where you wish to house the piano.
The Piano Sound Quality
Generally, a larger piano with longer strings will create a much better depth of sound. Smaller instruments, both grand and upright pianos, will produce a lesser quality of sound due to the speaking length of the strings.
When constructing a modern piano, manufacturers overstring the bass strings, allowing them to run diagonally across the piano and cross over the treble strings. This design feature enables the bass strings to be longer, resulting in a longer speaking length and a better quality of sound.
Buying a Vintage or Modern 2nd Hand Piano
An older instrument may lack this stringing arrangement, which is generally known as a straight-strung bass section, where the strings run parallel to each other, reducing the length of the bass strings and offering a lower quality and depth of sound. Modern upright pianos have an under-damped design, with dampers located beneath the hammerhead, making this setup much more useful than in over-damped pianos. In an overdamped action, the hammers are below the dampers, giving rise to the name overdamped.
It is advisable to avoid this type of piano due to its age and performance response when playing. They may also be resistant to tuning or maintaining their tuning. On the other hand, an outstanding-quality, over-damped upright piano could make an excellent addition to your home. However, I recommend having it assessed by an expert before making a purchase. If you find a piano that you like, we suggest examining the piano externally, playing it, and then inspecting the inside.
2nd Hand Piano Purchase Check List
The following 10 checkpoints should help you decide whether an piano is worth buying:
- Decide Which Buy? New or Used Piano?
- Check the casework and appearance of the piano for damage. Does the colour of the piano suit your home?
- Check each key to see if they are levelled 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 or softer than others?
- Check the piano for any buzzing, squeaks, or knocking sounds.
- Check each pedal to see if they are working without making unwanted noises.
- Always make sure to look inside the piano for damage, wear, and tears.
- Check to see if the action looks intact without missing parts.
- Check for any damage to both the action and the 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 piano, or even better, take a qualified piano tuner with you.
Qualified Piano Tuner in London
My name is Andy Howard, and I am a professional piano tuner in London. If you are thinking of purchasing an expensive 2nd hand piano and need a professional to help with the purchase, then I am at your disposal. If you have any questions, then please don’t hesitate to give me a call on 07500 661581.