*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:
- Moving and your first tuning (for acoustic pianos) is sometimes included in the price. If not, the dealer will definitely be able to recommend those services!
- Some stores include warranties in the price (either factory or store-based) to cover repairs.
- Many stores have rental programs – an excellent option if you’re testing the waters with lessons. It’s a monthly commitment rather than a lifetime one, and you know where the piano will go when you’re done with it. Plus, some stores will put your rental fees toward a later purchase!
- Piano dealers can recommend a technician/tuner in your area for maintaining your acoustic piano.
- Many stores have trade-in programs: When you buy from them, you can trade in your digital or acoustic piano for a better instrument later on!
- By supporting a piano store, you’re also supporting your local arts community. Piano stores often host events, provide performance venues, and promote local teachers and other talent.
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.