Kiddie Koncierge: Buying a Piano
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Kiddie Koncierge Piano Buying Thoughts
Updated October 12, 2010
There is a dizzying array of pianos out there in all tone, finish and
cost ranges. If you research your purchases like we do, you might
appreciate the following article. It puts a lot of the piano buying
issues into perspective: www.pianofinders.
Our thoughts on the process are:
- Don't rent. If you are going to invest in lessons, you are, to
some degree investing in the probable long term
commitment to music. That is not to say that you need to
invest in a $30,000 Steinway, but you might as well put your
resources into equity as it were.
- Buy used. So you don't rent. That doesn't mean that you
have to buy new either. You can buy a perfectly decent
instrument for about $600-1,000. Below $500 and you are
starting to get into some serious wear or tonal issues.
Above $500 you start getting into better instruments.
Between $1,000 and 2,000 you can get a downright
respectable piano. Above $2,000 you are getting into nicer
finishes, brands, and baby grands, and grands. There are
a number of places around the Bay Area that will sell you a
good to great used Piano. D&C Pianos on San Pablo Ave.
in Berkeley , and Piedmont Piano in Oakland are two
places that we ave check out.
- Be patient. unless you have a fat checkbook and don't care
about price, you should count on spending some time
shopping the pianos. That is one of the downsides of
buying off of Craigslist or eBay. Unless you know exactly
what you are doing, you can get a load of garbage. You
don't know how hard the piano has been played, you don't
know how well it had been taken care of, you don't know if it
was in an accident (joking, but you know what I mean), etc.
Plus, when you buy off of Craigslist, you are seeing one
instrument at a time whereas buying from a store, you can
see a bunch of them in one place at a number of price
points. You may pay a little more at a store, but your time is
- Ask the sales people to play the instruments you like. If you
can play, all the better, you can tell what sounds and feels
good. If you can't, the people who sell these instruments
CAN and will if asked. That is great on two fronts: one it is
a pleasure to hear someone who know how to play make
these things sing and it also gives you an idea of how they
are supposed to sound.
- Choose the store where you buy the piano from carefully.
We liked D&C because they have the following policies: 1)
they recondition the pianos they sell so they know the
instrument, 2) if you buy a used piano and, at any time,
wish to upgrade, they will apply the FULL price to the piano
you upgrade to (provided of course, you buy it from them),
3) they will tune it and 4) they will deliver it - all within the
sales price of the piano. So you basically negotiate the "out
the door" price. Just like buying a car. If your used piano
store won't do that, maybe you should look around a bit
- Don't give in to the emotional sales pitch. The guys at
Piedmont Piano tried to pull the high status sale on us
saying that it is a crime to go cheap on this investment in
your child's future. Blah blah blah. Listen, it's all fine and
good if it isn't your money but it is ours and we care about
- Stores will also have recommendations on teachers. Take
advantage of this. Piedmont Piano also has their own
stable of teachers that you can hire. Their prices aren't bad
at $40 a lesson.
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