5 Crucial Questions To Ask Before Buying A Used Upright Piano

Are you looking to buy a used piano in Singapore, but not sure what to look out for?

You may also come across some warehouse clearance sales of second hand pianos, or even cheap pianos on Carousell, but unsure if they are worth the money?

Whether you are a beginner, or an experienced pianist looking for a good resale piano, there are several factors to consider to ensure you make the right purchase and make your money worth. (and not bring home a lemon!)

Here are 5 questions to ask before you buy a second hand piano.

1. How is the interior and exterior condition of the piano?

It is important to thoroughly inspect the condition of the piano for any visible signs of damage or wear, such as scratches, dents, or broken or sunken keys.

Check that all the keys and pedals are functioning properly, and listen for any unusual noises or issues when you play.

If you notice that several keys on the piano are chipped, broken, and can’t be pressed, this could be a sign of neglect or abuse.

And after checking the outside, do open up and check the inside of the piano too – the piano strings, hammers, felts, frame…etc

If the piano is not well maintained, and was placed in places of harsh conditions (poor ventilated area, outdoors in the sun or rain), there may be rusty strings or broken internal parts, which costs a lot to replace them, and may require more frequent repairs and maintenance in the future.

If you don’t know how to check the condition of a piano, you can engage a professional piano technician to assess the piano for you before you buy.

2. How old is the piano?

There are young and old second hand pianos, and you have to know the difference.

For old pianos, they may require more maintenance than younger pianos, due to wear and tear over time. So these may add into extra costs of maintenance.

Older pianos also have older piano strings, and some strings are too old to be tuned or it will snap (your piano tuner will tell you that). So that can be an issue too.

If the piano is an older model or a less common brand, it may be more difficult to find replacement parts or technicians who are familiar with the piano. This can impact the cost and availability of maintenance and repair services.

Older pianos can be cheaper, but can expensive in the long run.

You can verify the age of pianos based on the brand and model of the piano. Pianos from established brands will have its own certificates too.

3. Was the piano played frequently?

You’ll also want to know if the previous owner plays the piano regularly, or if the piano has remained idle for many years.

This is different from the age of the piano.

If a piano is played regularly, it is likely that the piano is also tuned regularly, hence it is well maintained.

If the piano is left idle for years without playing, then it is likely to have many problems. The piano likely be out of tune, keys may be stained, and may even have bugs inside the piano.

Furthermore, if the piano has not been tuned for several years, it will need several tuning sessions to achieve its optimal playing state again.

All these are additional repair and maintenance costs you have to take into account.

4. What is the brand and model of the piano?

There are many brands of pianos in the market, but there are some brands and models which are known for their excellent craftsmanship and sound quality, while others may not be as highly regarded.

Certain piano brands which are more popular has higher demand than those of an unknown brand.

So this may affect the availability of parts and technicians who are familiar with repair of the piano brand. Piano parts and repair for popular brands may be cheaper.

And if you plan to sell away the second-hand piano in the future, it is better to go for popular brands.

From our work at The Happy Pianist, we have interacted with many piano teachers, piano tuners, and also piano dealers. We have seen how certain piano brands fetch higher resale price, and in higher demand than other brands. These popular pianos sell faster too.

5. Is there any warranty?

A piano is not a small purchase. A second hand piano can cost about a thousand to a few thousand dollars.

If you buy your second hand piano from an authorised dealer, your purchase likely will come with a warranty of a few years that will cover any repair or damage to to your piano. Of course, the longer the warranty, the more comprehensive the coverage, the better.

However, if you buy a second hand piano from an individual seller, on platforms like Carousell, you’re unlikely to get any warranty. So if your piano has issues after the purchase, it will be your sole responsibility for the repair or damage.

Pro Tip:

Do take your time to assess the piano before making the purchase. And if you need to engage a piano technician to open up and check the piano condition, please do it.

It is usually below $100 for a piano assessment. This assessment fee will help you avoid buying a lemon and end up costing you more money in the end.

And finally, you have to be comfortable with the person selling the piano. The seller has to be upfront and give you the answers you want, let you try out playing the piano, and let you assess its condition. If the seller shun away from these, then it’s better to skip the purchase.

Above are the 5 questions you have to ask from the seller if you intend to buy the used piano.

Every answer you get will help you make a better choice in getting a good quality second hand piano that allows you to use for years to come, and not one that will need more repairs after purchasing it.


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