Dr Piano Tells All 



Buying a New Piano

Buying a new piano is, for most of us, a significant life experience.  It's right up there with going to your senior prom or watching your child's first step.  For many of us, this is the big mid-life crisis purchase; instead of buying the fancy sports car, we're buying the piano that makes angel music.  I'm talking here about buying a top tier grand piano, but much of what I'm going to say applies equally when buying an entry level upright new from a dealer.

Whether you are investing a lot of money or a little, I feel it is a good idea to get as much information as you can tolerate (and I know that this varies greatly from person to person), without going bonkers from information overload.  I am not talking about features.  I am talking about how the piano sounds.  I am also talking about how the piano feels.

When you are trying to decide what kind of sound you like, listen to a number of CD's of piano music.  Listen critically and try to identify whether you like something mellow, or something bright; something focussed or something awash with sound.

If you yourself play, try out various pianos in different showrooms to get a feel for how it would be to play the music you are accustomed to on each piano.  If you don't play, bring along your child's piano teacher or a competent friend who can give you feedback on each candidate.  For your own sake and that of the dealer, pick times when other people aren't swarming all over the showroom so that you can savor the experiences with different pianos.  Take your time; don't let anyone try to rush you.  If the dealer is giving you a hard time, mentally cross that person off your list and either come back when he or she isn't in the showroom, or give your business elsewhere.  Do not be intimidated.  It is your right and part of the pleasure of the experience to be discriminating and critical.

When considering whether or not to buy a piano from a long-distance source, like eBay, please inspect the piano before you buy, if it's not too far away. If you can't see it or hear it yourself, and still want to consider it, send a qualified professional piano technician who has no stake in the outcome to inspect it for you. Ask that person to use either his/her smart phone or a video camera to take detailed pictures and videos of how the piano sounds.  If they can't or won't do that, find another technician.  This will (hopefully) save you from making an expensive mistake.