Sunday, October 02, 2011

What You Need To Know About Buying a Piano

Many of the families in my studio are in the market for buying a piano this fall. Like any major purchase, they need objective information before they buy, a commodity that can be somewhat difficult to find. I recently stumbled on Kendall Ross Bean's Guide to the Piano World (Part 1 and Part 2) at Piano Finders, with plenty of information on price vs. quality, factors to look for, construction materials, brands, and vintage. The hour or so you spend reading Kendall's article is well worth it if you're looking to buy a piano. I particularly liked the detailed comparisons of European vs. Asian pianos in the second part of the article, as well as the sections on what to look out for when purchasing:
Often a dealer will resort to a device I call "artificial urgency" to induce you to buy his piano, at his price, today. Events such as fairs; armory, truck, or warehouse sales; "factory outlets;" clearances; and, most recently, the "University sale" (see below) are only a few of the many schemes designed to generate a feeling of urgency about buying right now. Since these events last only a day, or at most, three (if you're lucky), there is an incredible amount of pressure to make a quick, and often, ill-advised, decision. If you buy at one of these events, rest assured that the price that you are paying is above, or at best, equal to what you would probably normally pay for the piano at the dealer's, and that it only seems like you are getting a great deal. It is a common practice at these events to mark up the suggested retail price. Remember too, that if you purchase an instrument while under pressure to make a quick decision, the chances of your contracting that illness known as buyer's remorse are much higher. If you want to buy at a sale, it is best to have already done your homework, to know what you're looking for and what it usually costs for comparison, and to also know your personal values. It might also be wise to have an expert on hand, one who is not in cahoots with the store sponsoring the event.

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