May 3, 2016

Buying a USED PIANO in Phx, AZ

Rich Austin shop 4

UPDATED REVIEW - August 1, 2017 - USED ACOUSTIC & DIGITAL PIANOS...Should you buy one? Buying a good used acoustic or digital piano can be tricky at the very least and possibly a big disappointment, unless you know what you're doing! After 40 years in the music business playing professionally, teaching thousands of students, and having experience on pianos that few other people have had, I can personally tell you that buying a used piano, especially in Arizona, is like buying a used car...you cannot always "judge the book by its cover." You really need to know what you are doing or be able to trust someone who can help you make that decision who knows what THEY are doing!



hot dry sun az One of the reasons for difficulty in knowing if a particular used piano is a good choice is because defects in pianos can be hidden or intermittent (it only occurs occasionally which is usually difficult to detect), or you just don't have enough personal experience to know what's good and what is bad. Both digital and acoustic pianos are very complex instruments and when you subject them to a hot, dry climate like we have here in Arizona, that can create even more problems as anyone here can tell you. Too much humidity in acoustic pianos over a period of time can also create bad, on-going issues.

pinblock
As an example, when you want to buy a used acoustic piano, do you know the humidity content in the piano or the lack of it? Are there any small, hard to see cracks in the soundboard or pinblock (the block of wood that the tuning pins are in) that can lead to expensive repairs down the line? Do any of the keys stick from time to time when played or are the dampers worn out or improperly seated and adjusted so each note plays cleanly and properly? Do you know if the piano can stay in tune for a reasonable period of time or will it need constant attention in that area due to the fact the piano has loose tuning pins you may not be aware of?

floppy drive
As for a digital piano, those instruments are electronic and the older the piano is, the more problems the piano might have. Perhaps certain functions don't work but you may not discover that until you have taken it home, and then it's too late. Also, older electronic pianos obviously use old technology and in many cases, are not compatible with today's digital music world. For instance, a digital piano using a 3 1/2" floppy disk drive is obsolete because of that technology and reduces the value of that digital piano in a big way. Music midi files are now saved to USB flash drives and SD cards, and for good circuit board reason so you definitely want to use that technology whenever possible. Some of the keyboard actions used in older digital pianos wear out quickly or don't perform properly because improved technology and construction was not available in those days. Perhaps an important circuit board is ready to fail but there are no more to be had from the manufacturer and then your piano is likely worthless! But these things may be hard for you to determine if you don't know what you are looking at when it comes to used digital pianos. Just because the acoustic or digital piano may be a popular brand name such as Yamaha, Roland, Kawai, Steinway, Korg, Technics, Casio, Kurzweil, Suzuki, Samick, Young Chang, or other popular piano names, that doesn't mean they don't have known problems in some of their models over the years.

cracked soundboard
It can be VERY expensive to repair a piano depending on if you can still get parts for it or if it will need constant service due to cracks or flaws in workmanship or electronics that you couldn't originally detect. Just because the piano has been sitting in someone's home or store for a while without much use doesn't mean that it will work right or sound good over time Some repairs can be minor without need to worry about it or some can be major, but unless you have someone evaluate that piano for you who you trust, you could be "opening a can of worms" that that you cannot put away, and could cost you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars to repair depending on exactly what it is.

buyer beware So the bottom line is, BE CAREFUL! Extra dry weather, extra humid climates, unknown factory defects that are no longer covered because the used piano has no warranty are all reasons a used piano can come back to bite you in the end. That doesn't mean however there aren't good used pianos being sold, it just means "buyer beware." Also, just because a person buys a NEW piano doesn't mean there won't be problems with the new piano because some of them are just designed and built poorly in the first place. But if you are buying from a reputable piano dealer, a trusted private party, knowledgeable piano technician, or you just know what you're doing, then you should be able to find a good used piano for a reasonable price. However, before you buy any piano anywhere, contact me first and I can give you helpful free advice and also show you how you can save even more money on your purchase.

*No matter where you live in the US or if you happen to live here in Arizona in the "valley of the sun" including Phoenix, Scottsdale, Glendale, Cave Creek, Carefree, Anthem, Tempe, Chandler, Mesa, Gilbert, Queen Creek, Laveen, Goodyear, Ahwatukee, Avondale, Litchfield Park, Buckeye, Surprise, Sun City, Peoria, Wickenburg, and other valley locations...

Please email me at tim@azpianowholesale.com or call 602-571-1864 during my posted studio hours.

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