The value and worth of a used piano depends upon a number of factors. The most vital factor that could actually price out your used instrument is its overall condition including interior as well as exterior. Only a technician qualified for assessing piano’s condition can look at your instrument and have complete details of it to fairly determine the value/price of this instrument. However for all those who may want to inspect a used piano and would want to find out its worth, here are some important tips and ways following which you would be able to get a track of cost of a particular piano.
Condition of Used Piano: The main aspect of inspecting a used piano is determining its condition. Condition is inspected in two ways exterior and interior.
Used Piano Exterior:
When you look at a piano with the aim of determining its condition, the first thing that you would notice will be its overall exterior condition and quality of the instrument. Any potential buyer will be discouraged to buy a used piano that has a damaged exterior. Not only a damaged exterior will affect look of your piano but it may have negatively impacted issues deep inside it such as quality of sound production, tonality and other areas.
Some serious issues that an exterior damage may indicate include:
Keyboard with Keys Chipped or Twisted: As we talk about exterior of a piano, one of the most important component would be keyboard of a piano. If by looking at the keyboard, you notice that keys are chipped or broken or showing age; there could be serious problems inside.
- Inspect the piano by striking keys multiple times and test them at different lengths and tempos.
- Some problems that may appear can include irregular buzzing sound, off-pitch keys, abnormal vibrations, sound of two notes with one key pressed or the key may not be producing any sound at all.
Pedals not Responding Well: Another issue that may be found with a used piano is the pedals system. One must carefully inspect to see if the pedals are moving and responding properly. A damaged piece may have pedals with lost muscles and they may get detached from their instrument. Some pedals may not be moving at all.
So it is thus important to check each pedal separately with the keyboard and pedals should be performing their jobs properly. Even if you will not be using pedals initially, anything that is damaged around your pedals may soon begin to give problems to your instrument.
Any rusting, limping or sticking of pedals should be carefully examined and reported when buying a used piano.
Damaged Finish of Piano: Check the overall finish of the piano for any cracks, scratches, muddiness or any other problem in finish. These damages to the outside finish of your piano are usually caused by:
- Direct sunlight
- Excessive humidity
- Sharp objects used or many other reasons.
Just make sure that these damages to the exterior finish may not have affected with interior of your piano. Such damages can even negatively affect interior of your piano that could result in a sound impairment.
Piano with Uneven Support: Some pianos may have unsteady supporting legs. Check if any screws are loose and you can tighten them. However in some cases it may not fix that way and you may need to get its wood replaced. This is an important safety concern as any wobbly legs piano can cause further damage to the instrument and may hurt you too.
Used Piano Interior:
Once you are done examining the exterior of a used piano, now move on to any abuse that the piano may have faced on its interior. Some serious problem areas are always a damage in interior as it directly affect the quality of sound production and range of your musical instrument.
Damaged Soundboard: A grand piano usually has a soundboard under it and in an upright it would be at the back. This is a large piece of wood. Any cracks and damage on this wood can result in strange sounds produced rom piano.
- Make sure that soundboard has all its reinforcement ribs attached to it. Any missing ribs would result in odd vibration so keep a close ear on such vibrations when assessing soundboard.
- Soundboards have a bridge that holds all the strings. Any crack or damage to the bridge may result in a buzzing sound and playing piano in the same condition may cause even more damage.
Damage related to Hammers: Hammerhead of a piano are covered with the aid of felt. Any damage or wear to felt would result in compromising the timbre underneath. Strings as they hit hammers through worn felt would be harsh and would cause damage to wood. Check for any such damaged by careful listening and inspection. You should not try to fix the detached felt to the hammer again with the help of glue as it is done with lots of pressure applied and it would not fix that way.
Condition of Pinblock: Pinblock is a piece of wood located along the bridge and its responsibility is for holding tuning pins of strings in their appropriate position. Any damage to this piece of wood can cause the pins to loosen which would result in a bad sound effect. Just make sure that the quality and condition of pinblock is good before giving any used piano a green buying signal.
Condition of Keys: Checking the exterior of keys is not sufficient in order to make out if a particular used piano would work well for you. You should check all the keys at different levels of volume and each one of them should be producing proper sound. Keep your ears on it as you check them and any key silent would might be broken, stained or chipped. Also check if any key is producing strange sound. Alignment of the keyboard should also be carefully checked so that you can justify if piano would have some significant value.
In order to determine the value of a used piano in true sense, apart from a careful inspection you would need to determine following information too:
- Serial Number of Piano: You can find serial number of piano on a mental plate near keyboard or Pinblock. If you are unable to find the serial code, you can contact a piano technician.
- Name of Manufacturer and Date of Manufacturing: This information can be found on any component of your piano and many manufacturers even publish this information online.
When you are done with collecting all of the information above, you will be able to better evaluate a dollar amount for used piano. All these relevant details will prove helpful to you in making out whether a particular used piano purchase is viable or would your money go to waste. Whether you will be using this piano for practicing or performance, it is important to completely inspect and assess ins and outs of a used piano.