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Factors to consider in selecting an used piano
Pianos exist by the millions in every conceivable size, shape, style, and condition. Some are still in pristine condition, others are in such bad shape that someone should have hauled them to the dump years ago, but most pianos fall somewhere in the middle.
We will give you helpful information that how to evaluate the quality and condition of an pre-owned piano.
So that you'll have some idea of what you're getting into before you buy it from us type and size, quality,brand name, age, and condition.
Factor 1 Brand name
The brand name is an indicator of the quality of an pre-owned piano, for it implies how expensive and how well-built the piano was when it was new.
These are well known good brand name:
Its quality is excellent but the price is expensive.
August Foerster,Bechstein (Korean Sam-Ick company invested to C. Bechstein and shares the technology.) Bosendorfer, Steinway, Kawai, Yamaha, Knabe, Sauter, Yamaha, and affordable brand names, like Aeolian, Boldwin, Schimmell, Young-Chang, Sam-Ick, Zimmerman.
To be a professional expert pianist we recommend you to buy 1st group brand or if you want to play the piano as a hobby, from the beginner to the advance the 2nd group brand pianos are good enough.
Factor 2 Size and Space
The amount of money and space that you have available for a piano will affect the type and size you choose. The rule here is very simple: pianos with longer bass strings and larger soundboards usually have a better tone, so buy the largest piano you can afford. If you only have room for a vertical, the taller the piano, the better. This means a large upright is better than a studio upright,which is better than a console, which is bet-ter than a spinet.
measured from front of the keyboard to back of lid,with lid closed
(all dimension approximate)
measured from the floor to the top of the lid
(all dimensions are approximate)
Shorter than 5'8"(173cm)
Shorter than 38''(96.5cm)
Between 38" and 44(96.5~112cm)
Between 5'8" and 8'10"(173~269cm)
Between 44" and 51"(112 ~ 129.5cm)
Studio Upright or
Longer than 8'10"(269cm)
Taller than 51"(129.5cm)
If you have room for a grand, consider both the overall length and the feel of theaction. The action in a good-quality medium sized or large grand feels and works betterthan a vertical action does. Also, the sound of a grand is brighter because the soundboard is more out in the open than it is in a vertical. In a tiny, inexpensive grand, however, the action and hammers are typically so light that the action doesn't feel as solid as in a large vertical, although the repetition is better. The tone quality depends upon on the length of the bass strings and size of the soundboard, among other things. A vertical with longer strings has better tone in the bass than a grand with shorter ones. The bass strings in a large upright are about the same length as those in a 5'8" grand, so a grand shorter than this may not sound as good in the bass as a big upright. In a grand less than 5'8" long, the repetition is superior to that of any vertical, but the touch is sometimes inferior particularly in a lower-quality piano and the tone quality is markedly inferior to that of a large vertical. Prioritizing these factors and choosing a cabinet style and finish can be complicated and involves personal preference and opinion. Most pianists and technicians generally agree that the various types and sizes ofpianos can be rated in descending order of desirability as follows: large grand (longer than 6'4"), medium length grand (5'8" - 6'4"),fine-quality small grand (shorter than 5'8"), large upright, studio upright, fine-quality console or inexpensive grand, inexpensive console, and spinet. Consider buying a square piano only for its looks, or if you're interested in recreating pre-1900 popular or salon music. If you want to play classical music on a historic piano,find a grand piano of the appropriate era, and if you're interested in playing ragtime, obtain a goodquality turn-of the-century upright or grand.
Factor 3 The Importance of Age
A brief discussion of age must necessarily contain generalizations to which there are many exceptions; but certain guidelines are useful. Although Victorian pianos are pretty to look at, pianos made after 1900 are bettersounding, more durable musical instruments. The era from about 1905 to 1929 saw the production of many fine-quality pianos. The depression and war era from about 1930 to 1945 saw the arrival of small, inexpensive spinets and consoles, but production of fine-quality grands and larger verticals increased again after the mid-1940's. During the 1970's, the quality of some inexpensive North American piano brands declined, and some manufacturers went out of business. The 1980's saw the simultaneous rlse of both domestic quality and importation of medium- to fine-quality pianos.
How to Tell the Age of Piano
Although a few piano owners can tell you the exact day, month, and year that grandma bought their piano, and a few others will proudly show you the original bill of sale written in 1921, many people have no idea how old their piano is. Some will admit their ignorance, but many others will exaggerate the age of a piano, in the mistaken belief that the older it is, the better it is. With other misconceptions
(like "solid oak" cabinets, "upright grands," and "solid brass frames") many people think their pianos must date back to the 1800's.
Many pianos contain elaborate decals inside the lid advertising the dates when their manufacturers won various awards and medals at world's fairs, expositions, or trade shows. At most of these events, every piano entered won some sort of award.
Patent dates also frequently appear somewhere inside, often cast into the plate. These dates might have helped sales people to convince prospective buyers that the manufacturer was old and reliable, but in no instance do they tell the actual age of a piano. For example, Kimball was still using beautiful decals depicting medals won in 1857 inside the lids of pianos manufactured well over a hundred years later.
Actually, the vast majority of pianos extant today came out of the factory doorsafter 1900. The best way to date a piano, unless an original invoice or other paper work exists, is to look up the serial number in factory production records. In most vertical pianos, you can find the number stamped in the front of the pinblock in a small "windew" in the plate under the lid, rubber stamped on the plate under the lid, or stamped outside on one upper back corner.
In a grand, you can find it stamped into the pinblock under the music desk, on the back of the keybed, or'rubber stamped on the plate. If you can't find a serial number in a particular piano, the following guidelines will help you figure out the age of an North American vertical.
Certain styles, veneers, sizes, and shapes of vertical piano cabinets had their specific periods of popularity in North America just like furniture and automobile styles. By knowing when these styles were popular, it is possible to come up with an approximate estimate of age.
These guidelines only apply to vertical pianos, because grand cabinets didn't undergo the constant evolution that vertical cabinets did.
The dates are only approximate, and there was some overlap from one period to the next, but an experienced piano dealer or technician who has observed details of hundreds of pianos can usually date a vertical piano by its looks within about years.
Factor 4 Preservation (Most important thing)
On the other hand, the brand says nothing about the state of preservation of an old instrument . A badly abused 1st group brand might be worth less than a weIl-preserved one somewhat in 2nd brand piano.
Now it's time to check the condition before buy it.
The condition of a piano depends on the condition of its thousands of individual parts, many of which can't be seen without completely disassembling the piano. This time we will tells you how to diagnose the condition of the parts without complete disassembly.
First, check the piano from the outside.
Pull a vertical piano away from the wall, or look under the bottom of a grand, to see if any glue joints of the back iframe or cabinet are coming apart. This is less common in grands, but in verticals exposed to extremes of humidity and dryness, it isn't unusual for main glue joints in the back to come apart.
In extreme cases, the pinblock of an upright piano comes unglued and the string tension pulls it forward from the back structure.
If the frame is falling apart, the main structural portions of the piano will need complete disassembly, major woodworking, and regluing.
Have the owner remove all plants, piles of music, figurines, pencils, and coffee mugs.
Then, with the owner's permission, remove the cabinet parts that come off.
Plan in advance where you'll stand dirty cabinet parts so the dirt won't get all over the walls and rug, arid so they won't fall over if a child or large dog bumps into them.
While removing cabinet parts, note their condition.
Are panels badly warped?
Is veneer or crossbanding unglued? Loose veneer and warped and cracked pieces suggest that a piano has been subjected to extremes of humidity and dryness.
Is the bottom of a vertical piano still glued together, or do large cracks and loose screws let it bend downward whorl you use the pedals?
Are the legs of a grand loose and wobbly?
Are all casters supported solidly by their sockets, or are some of them leaning
over, with the wheel dragging on the bottom of the case or leg?
How much woodworking will it take to put the cabinet in good-looking, structurally? is in the sound condition? A few loose spot veneer aren't hard to fix, but if the veneerand underlying crossbanding are loose all over, it is literally easier to build a new cabinet than to repair the old one. Scrutinize the finish on the cabinet.
Is it acceptable the way it is, A beautiful piano finish takes a lot more work thanthe type of finish that is acceptable on other furniture.
After checking the outside for structural and cabinet defects, turn your attention to the inside.
First check the plate carefully for cracks. Common places for cracks to occurinclude the areas around the tuning pins or plate screws, under the pressure bar, in front of the capo bar or agraffe area in a grand, and across struts or beams. If you find any cracks,don't buy the piano.
Is the soundboard still glued to the liner all the way around the perimeterer?
are allribs glued tightly to the soundboard?
Is the soundboard craked? Small cracks aren't important, but large ones usually accompany sections of soundboard unglued from the ribs, making the piano sound like a bad loud- speaker.
Is the soundboard buckled away from the ribs? This condition takes major work to repair properly?
If the piano has a bass bridge apron, is it still one piece?
Are the bridge and apron glued together?
Are the bridges in?good condition, or do they have cracks and splits ill the wood surrounding the bridge pins?
Recapping or replacing a bridge is usually worthwhile only in a valuable piano.
Check the strings and tuning pins.
Are the bass strings clean, or are they rusty andcaked with dirt and corrosion?
Are the treble strings, pressure bar, and tuning pins so rusty that the strings will break during tuning? A certain amount or tarnish Isn't important.
Actual rust means the piano should be restrung.
Are there any shiny new strings amidst a section of old rusty ones, indicating that more old strings are ready to break?
In what condition is the pinblock?
In a grand piano, you can inspect the bottomlayer afrer you remove the piano action. (Besure this is okay with the owner)
The bottom lamination of the pinblock doesn't tell you how tight the tuning pins
are, but it does tell you if the whole pinblock is falling apart.
In some vertical pianos, you canl see part of the face and upper edge of the pinblock, but in others, you can't see any of it.
Has the pinblock been "doped" with pin tightener, indicated by dark stains on the pins or plate?
Or has a previous technician driven the pins in until the music wire coils touch the pinblock or plate? These are signs that the piano will have to be restrung before it will stay in tune.
If the pins are original and are somewhat loose, in many cases the problem can be solved with a "DamppChaser Piano Humidity Control System" or equivalent installed in the piano.
If the pins are original and are too loose to hold, it is sometimes possible to restring the piano with larger pins.
If someone has already restrung the piano and the oversize pins are loose or squeaky, the piano probably needs a new pinblock.
This is a major job, particularly in a vertical piano.
Next, check the condition of the key-board and piano action.
Are the keytops in good condition? How are the fronts of the keys?
Are the keys warped, with the front leaning to one side and the back to the other?
How are the hammers? Look down on the striking surfaces from above to see how much felt remains at the bottom of the deep grooves.
Original hammers are usually uniformly a little bit dirty:carefully reshaped hammers are uniformly clean. Poorly reshaped hammers have irregular clean and dirty areas with flat spots and crooked surfaces that keep them from producing a good tone.
How are the center pin bushings?
The key bushings? Do hammer butts and other action parts wobble and click?
Some clicks occur simply because of loose flange screws,
but others are a consequence of worn bushings and other cloth and felt parts.
How are the bridle straps?
Was the piano ever wet inside? One give away is the presence of bright red streaks where the dye from red felts has r'un onto adjacent parts.
If there is extensive water damage inside, don't buy the piano.
To check the general condition of the action, play all the way up and down the keyboard, playing each key first very softly several times and then very loudly several more times.
This test will make obvious such things as hammers hitting the wrong strings, loose bass string windings that buzz, clicking action parts, broken, noisy, or loose keys, and unisons that play more than one note at a time, indicating very loose tuning pins.
If someone else repaired the piano previously, what is the quality of the repairs?
Poorly shaped hammer's and crooked key tops, for example, detract from a piano's value.
Shiny metal and light-colored wood action parts usually indicate goodcondition; rusty metal and dark colored action parts imply moisture damage. If a piano has an unglued frame, unglued orcracked cabinet parts or veneer, a broken plate, rusty metal parts, large cracks in the soundboard and bridges, loose tuning pins, worn-out or moth-eaten hammers and action felts, severely warped keys, clicking action parts or keys that play more than one note.