*Need a refresher on the types of pianos? Check out How to Shop for Pianos!
So you have an idea of what to look for in a piano – namely, 88 weighted keys and touch sensitivity. Now, how do you find it?
Well, there are three main options for buying a piano or keyboard: a specialized music store or piano dealer, a private seller, and online.
Piano Dealers and Stores
Stores are great because you can try out many different pianos at once. Not only will you be supporting a local business, you’ll get the most assistance throughout the process! Dealers have a wide range of acoustic, digital, and hybrid instruments to try out. They’re experts who can help you figure out the best piano for your needs. Since they take care of their inventory, you can be assured that any piano you buy is already in good working order. Here are six reasons to work with a piano dealer:
Perhaps you have a friend, family member, or acquaintance who’s getting rid of their piano. Maybe you saw a listing online for a low-priced or even free piano. However, buyer beware – especially if a piano is listed as “free!” Often, “free” and “cheap” pianos are anything but. They might have been poorly stored, neglected, or need serious repairs.
Also keep in mind the hidden costs of buying privately: YOU will be completely responsible for moving, tuning, and (if needed) repairing the instrument. If the piano was not well-maintained, it might cost more to repair it than to simply buy a better one.
One more consideration if you’re going acoustic: Talk to a piano tuner. They might know of pianos for sale or even have a few of their own. Plus, you should have a tuner check out the piano(s) you’re interested in to make sure they’re worth buying.
Shopping online has its advantages: You can easily compare prices from different sources, shipping is organized by the seller, and you can often read reviews before buying. However, we’d recommend buying online after you’ve decided what brand and model instrument you want. Go to a store (if possible); test out the pianos, take notes, and then look online for deals.
The same “hidden costs” associated with private sellers apply here, too: Shipping can cost a few extra hundred dollars, and for acoustics, you’ll have to find a tuner yourself.
Time to Go Shopping!
In short, we highly recommend working with a piano dealer first, if possible. Most large urban areas have at least one, so do a quick online search! Of course, not everyone has easy access to a piano store. That’s where online shopping and private sellers come in. Ask around – chances are, someone in your circle knows someone with a lead on a piano!
Next time, we’ll break down how much a piano actually costs, from purchase and beyond. Happy shopping!