Piano Costs: Music to the Ears or a Headache?

  • Mark Edwards ·
  • August 6, 2021

Cheap second hand pianos for sale are an attractive prospect. If you’re looking for a piano to replace an old instrument or to help a child learn to play, you’re likely to be tempted by some of the cheaper used options on the market. It’s important to know the pitfalls of buying cheap pianos from independent sellers.

Looking at online adverts and those in local papers, it’s not difficult to find pianos on offer. Sometimes they’re offered free to good homes or, otherwise, they’re fairly cheap. When compared to the prices asked by piano dealers, you might be tempted to throw caution to the wind and buy the cheaper instrument. After all, how different can one piano be from another? Well, the answer is very different. The sound quality on older acoustic pianos, whether they’re upright or grand pianos, can vary greatly depending on a number of factors. For instance, if the piano’s been neglected or hasn’t been regularly maintained, restoring it to full working order may be costly and that’s something that you, the buyer, have to manage.

On the other hand, looking at second hand pianos for sale from reputable dealers means that you’re assured of some level of quality. You’ll know that the piano has been brought up to minimum standards and you’ll also be guaranteed delivery in an appropriate manner. Nothing can damage a piano more quickly than unqualified people trying to move it from place to place. So, if you’re looking at pianos for sale, try bigger dealers before trusting an ad in the local paper. Make sure you also factor in any other costs. For example, you may want to read up on how to defend yourself against noise complaints with a noise monitoring device, as you don’t want your neighbours to get irritated by your constant playing!

The Cost of Piano Restoration When Replacing Action Parts and Keys

The cost of piano restoration massively varies from one piano to the next. It all depends on the overall condition of the piano and what type of work it requires during the restoration. For example, it may need structural work or casework or, alternatively, the bulk of the damage may be to the action parts and keys.

Piano restoration requires knowledgeable craftsmen to undertake it. This is true whether your piano needs huge amounts of restoration work and numerous repairs or whether it just requires freshening up a bit. If your piano is going to be too costly to restore, a competent professional will explain that from the beginning and advise you on your options. At the end of the day, this is your piano and if you still wish to have it restored despite prohibitive costs, that’s your choice. Restoring the internal mechanism of pianos can either be a simple job or a longer one depending on the amount of work involved. Sometimes work only takes a day and can be completed in your home.

Alternatively, the piano may need to be removed to a workshop. When the restoration of your piano has been completed, remember to take on board all the advice you may have been given about protecting your piano in the future. One of the most important pieces of advice for older pianos is that they are susceptible to dampness from modern living issues such as central heating and double-glazing. Installing humidifiers can prolong the life of your restored piano for you.

The Cost of Piano Accessories

You may also want to consider buying a few accessories when buying a piano. These accessories aren’t expensive on their own but can add up. 

A piano stool is necessary for sitting at your piano. Not any stool will do – specialist piano stools are built for the height of a regular piano and contain storage inside for music books and sheets. These are another cost that you may want to consider if you’re going to be learning music from sheets – the cost of piano books. The cost of these depends on the type of music you want to learn.

There are lots of gadgets you can buy to assist your playing. Metronomes can help you to learn to play to a rhythm. Alternatively, you can look into drum machines if you want to play along to more complex and realistic rhythms – you can check out this site to find out more about drum machines.

Finally, there is recording equipment and software. If you decide you want to record some of your music from home – which more musicians are doing in this day and age – you’ll want to get a decent microphone and download some music production software. Avoid spending money on top-end gear if you’ve not been playing piano for long.

The Cost of Tuning a Piano

Piano maintenance is important to the longevity and good sound of your piano. Part of this maintenance is piano tuning. However, with the average piano needing tuning at least twice a year, the cost can soon mount up. For this reason, many people consider attempting to tune their pianos themselves. The main problem with this is that it is not as cheap, or as easy, as most people think it will be. Firstly, you will need to have all the right tools, and secondly, you will need to have a lot of time to spare. In terms of time, consider the fact that an expert with years of experience is likely to take around two hours to tune a piano. Then you need to consider your skills. Just because you can play the piano, or choose the right one from all the pianos for sale, does not mean you will be able to tune one. Just getting the vibration even slightly wrong will leave the piano out of tune. And this is not even the worst that could happen. Things go wrong, even for professionals, so think how much more likely you are to end up breaking a string, or getting a tool stuck. Then ask yourself if a professional is worth the cost.

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