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Tuning and servicing pianos in Austin and Central Texas since 1952.

Buying A Piano
When purchasing a piano, either new or used, the more you know the happier you will be with your purchase. Before you start shopping, do your homework.

Buying A New Piano

Everyone likes to have something new rather than used. However, as you will discover, new pianos are quite costly. Keep in mind as you search for a new piano that there are almost always a number of used pianos for sale by individuals. If you do not become impatient in your search, and if you understand some facts about pianos and if you have a qualified technician to help you, you can find a used instrument that meets your requirements.

  1. Decide what type of instrument best fits your needs-consider the size of the space where you are going to place the instrument, and think about what finish-ebony, walnut, mahogany, glossy vs. satin finish, etc-will match the surroundings.
  2. Determine the maximum amount you can pay for the piano-you can expect this number to increase somewhat, as you begin to shop around and learn more about the price of new instruments. Retail dealers almost always offer a rent-to- purchase plan, which lets the buyer rent the piano for, say, six months and then, if the buyer wants to keep the piano, apply part of the rental fees to the purchase price. Under these plans, the instrument will cost more in the long run, but these plans do allow the purchaser to "back out" of the purchase during or after the rental period.
  3. Learn something about the different makes or brands of pianos that you can choose from. Your piano technician can suggest what brands tochoose from and which ones to avoid. Be aware that some technicians are paid by dealers to send them prospects. You want advice from a technician that is not obligated to a retailer.
  4. Investigate the retail dealers before you visit them. The Better Business Bureau, your technician, piano teachers, anyone who has recently purchased a new piano-these are all good sources of information.
  5. When you start shopping, keep in mind that different types of pianos sound differently. So do different brands. In fact, two pianos of the same make and model will sound different from each other.
  6. Take your time. This is a major item that you and your family will live with for many years. If you find a piano you really like, talk with your technician or piano teacher before you make a final decision.
Buying a Used Piano

Before you start looking for a piano, decide your price-range and what type of instrument you want.(Keep in mind that you will probably have to hire someone to move the piano.) There are still a number of old upright pianos around, most of which should be junked because of neglect and the ravages of the environment over the years. Few spinets have adequate tone and touch. They are, however, the least costly, compared to other types.

click here for moving info

When shopping for an instrument, the buyer should be familiar enough with pianos to make at least a preliminary judgement about the condition and quality of the piano. To do this, visit with a trusted piano technician, get some tips on what to look for and which brands to avoid.

One of the very best places to look for a piano is in the classified section of the local newspaper. The information you will want, at the outset, should include:

  1. The manufacturer of the piano.
  2. The type-spinet, console, grand, upright, etc.
  3. The age of the instrument.
  4. Whether or not it has been tuned and/or played regularly (Remember, sometimes people just don't know these things-an inspection by a competent technician can better help you determine whether a piano has stood unused for a long time, and whether or not it has been properly maintained).
  5. The price-more often than not, the price will be somewhat negotiable.

When you go to inspect the piano, go armed with your acquired knowledge, and be alert to the general surroundings and the impression they give you as to how the piano might have been cared for or abused. Pay attention to the location of the piano-you are going to have to have it moved . Movers charge extra for getting a piano out of a back bedroom or down a flight of stairs. (It's not likely in this part of the country, but a piano in a remodeled basement or other room might have been put there before the remodeling was done, and it might be impossible to get it out.) Don't try to move it yourself, unless the pianos is very small, in an easily accessible location, and you have adequate people and equipment to move it-leave it to the pros. Your technician and the Yellow Pages are the best sources for locating a competent piano mover.

After you have examined a few instruments, you will become more knowledgeable and confident. You don't want the expense of having several pianos inspected before you make a decision, so your ability to eliminate those that don't "fill the bill" will save you money. Once you have found an instrument that seems to fit your needs and budget, HAVE IT INSPECTED by a qualified technician (hopefully one who is not a representative of a retail piano dealer).

The more pianos you look at, the better you will be at it. Remember also-as with many things in life, beauty is only skin-deep. An attractive instrument could very well be junk on the inside. BE CAREFUL!

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