Falling at the first fence
There are many approaches when buying an upright piano. As I have already
mentioned, the number of people who have simply gone for something that
“looks nice” on an internet auction site, to then be told that their prized purchase
is both worthless and untuneable, is depressingly high.
I’ve lost count of the times that I have been confronted by customers’ costly
mistakes. In those instances, we are then looking to mitigate the cost of purchase,
including cost of replacement and the trouble and expense of disposal (not all tips
take pianos) for example.
Start at the beginning
The purchase of a piano is uniquely difficult due to its mechanical complexity (some
5,000 moving parts). There are some very good older instruments still in existence.
I can think of several pianos that I tune, which are still very serviceable and that still
produce a beautiful sound combined with an even touch. However, these are the
exceptions, rather than the rule. Some of the oldest viable pianos date back to the
early 1900s but other than a handful of well maintained, high quality instruments,
most have already given a working life. Indeed, some older instruments have even
been converted into rather fetching book cases or wine cabinets and now perform
much better as a result!
So avoid buying an old instrument – think about buying something that is not
much more than say, thirty years old. This alone will not guarantee success of
course, but it represents a good starting point.