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Thursday, 23 April 2009 13:11

What do you look for when you buy a piano?  This is one of the most important questions you can ask if you want to purchase a piano or a keyboard to practice or to play on.  Let me start with assuring you that if you want to play serious piano, there is nothing like a real piano.  You do get wonderful keyboards and clavinovas.  Some of them have weighted keys, pedals and a lot of different sounds, and I don’t have anything against it.  But for the piano purist there is just nothing like the sound of a real piano.

For one thing, on a real piano, the sound is not generated by a speaker, but by a real string.  The dynamics and vibrations of a string cannot be replicated by a speaker (although some electronic pianos have wonderful sounds).  The feel of the sustain system, the pedals and even the keys on an acoustic piano also has no equal.

Some tips on buying a piano:

Grand Piano Beware of babygrands.  Many people buy a babygrand on looks, or they buy it just to have a “grand piano.”  The fact of the matter is that a babygrand’s sound is inferior to a large upright or even to many normal sized upright pianos, mainly because the length of the strings is actually shorter than that of a large upright piano.   Besides that, babygrands are notorious of going out of tune.

If you can afford a good grand piano (more than 5.5 feet in length), you will buy an investment.  To me it is important that an instrument must be played.  There are few things in life that is worse than having a beautiful piano in your house or church and no one plays it.  If you have such a piano, let us know.  One of the best names in grand pianos are Steinway & Sons.  This is a concert piano for the real professional.  Some other excellent names are Yamaha (Japanese), Bechstein (German), Bosendorfer (German), Ibach (German), Baldwin (U.S), Mason & Hamlin (U.S), Kawai (Japanese) and most other German makes.

If you are looking for an average piano, you could seldom go wrong if you buy a good German piano.  Some pianos even have German parts.  A German pedal system is normally good and durable.  Yamaha’s are in general excellent quality.

One of the most important things to look for is if the piano has a steel frame.  Some pianos have wooden frames.  Besides that they have an inferior sound, they go out of tune quickly.

Beware of too old pianos, even if they have a steel frame.  A very old piano (older than 50 years) may be a nightmare, because their parts will start to give in and they will rapidly go out of tune.

Beware of buying a piano that comes from a very damp climate.  The dryer the environment the longer a piano will stay in a good condition.  Huge temperature fluctuations can also shorten a piano’s lifespan.


Upright PianoIf you already bought a piano, there are two important things to keep in mind:

Play on the piano often.  A piano that is not played on regularly gets out of tune or their stings and parts can dust up.

Preferably, keep a piano against an inner wall of your house (especially if you have a brick house), where temperature fluctuations are the least.