Choosing a piano for your needs really depends on your requirements. The Following list may be helpful in making your decision.
- Cosmetic Appearance
- General state or repair
- Maintenance required
- Level of playability
Appearance can be an important or less critical issue. If you quickly think about your home and where the piano will go, then you will easily know what you will find as suitable to match your environment. Be careful when selecting a piano if appearance is big on your list, not to be completely swayed without considering the other factors. I’ve meet and serviced several customers over the years that could not resist the “look” of a square grand, only to find that even with large amounts of effort and money, these pianos just aren’t very good.
General state or repair
It is safe to assume, at least in general, that if the piano in question looks good, plays good and sounds good -It is good. Although, if you are not a player, have no “ear” for music or any real sense for a piano the general state of repair may be difficult to ascertain. In this case you may be better to rely on the opinion of others or hire a professional to look at it for you.
Also, keep in mind that some very bad looking pianos play and sound great, and some great looking pianos play and sound terrible. So, you really need to look at the entire picture and decide what short comings, if any, can be lived with or fixed within your budget.
Piano’s have a very wide range in price. You can get one often for the price of having it moved up to hundreds of thousands of dollars. So the simple matter is decide where you are and stay with it.
I’ve had customers that enjoy their Steinway Concert grand in a dining room which has no room in it except for the piano and others that practice daily on spinets and have enough room for a grand piano. The larger the piano, typically the louder it is and the tone is more “open and clear” However, again you need to decide what is important. A large great sounding piano may not be practical for your space and or budget, or a small piano regardless of the convenience may not be what you need to play on regardless of how much room it saves.
All pianos require maintenance, tuning, regulation and sometimes larger issues with the sound board, strings etc, etc…. Generally speaking older pianos will have more issues due to age and wear. New poorly made pianos will also require more fooling with to keep them playable. For beginners, some issues in tuning and playability can be overlooked, however, as students progress a piano that constantly goes out of tune or cannot be regulated properly once so that the action responds as required can become a nuisance and even a good reason to stop playing. So be realistic as to what you are willing to spend yearly to keep a piano playing. This will help considerably in choosing one. I would say that realistically, you should expect to pay a minimum of 200.00 yearly for service on a piano…even a real good one. An if you are a high level player, then I would expect you should triple this figure if you want to keep your piano at it’s best.
What sounds good to one person may not sound good to another. In addition what tone you may like at the moment may not be what you want to hear 3 years from now. In choosing a piano, perhaps it is best to find one that you like the tone and in addition, has a rather even sound up and down the register.
Level of playability
Any piano purchased should at the minimum have all the keys working in the middle registers of the piano. if you intend to play it as is. After that, obviously the better the action and other moving parts such as the damper pedals work, the more likely you are to enjoy it as you progress on your musical journey. If you are using the piano at a professional level, then of course it is just a matter of what you can tolerate on a regular basis from your instrument.
Associate Member PTG