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andrew's avatar

I'm thinking of buying an upright piano off of Craigslist, is there anything I should know?

Asked by andrew (16375points) August 7th, 2010

Those 13 years of piano lessons shouldn’t go to waste. I think it’s about time to get a piano back in my apartment—anything I should consider when looking for instruments on Craigslist?

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14 Answers

lillycoyote's avatar

Well, you should exercise the same care you would in buying anything on Craigslist or anything similar. Certainly, you should look it over and play the instrument. Ideally, I think you might want to have someone like a piano tuner, or someone (a professional piano tuner could probably give you a pretty good overview of the piano’s state/status), look it over before you buy it, like you might have a mechanic look over a used car before you buy it. You are going to pay a certain amount for the instrument, you will probably pay to have it transported to your home, and, if it turns out to be a piece of crap, you will have to pay someone to remove it from your home. A piano is a pretty big thing and people don’t haul them around for nothing. It might be worth it to have a professional look the thing over before you buy it; that’s pretty much the gist of it.

Afos22's avatar

If you can fit it in your apartment door..

YARNLADY's avatar

I agree with @lillycoyote Take a professional piano repair person with you to perform the inspection. It will be well worth the fee if you are paying anywhere from $2,000 to $20,000, which is what I see on S.F. Craigslist right now.

I suggest you buy from a reputable used piano store instead. You will find a much better selection and price range.

Buttonstc's avatar

Believe it or not, more than once I’ve seen a piano or organ in the free section.

More than I would have ever thought. (This was in Philly over the space of several years).

If you’re not in a big rush, you might get lucky.

BarnacleBill's avatar

You can get deals on used instruments, but as @lillycoyote said, you really need to have it checked out by a piano tuner before you buy it. Perhaps a good question to ask a seller is who the tuner is that they use, and when was the last time it was tuned. The problem that you run into with used pianos is that they could need new felts or that some of the wood on the inside could be warped from moisture.

We have a 1960 Yamaha studio upright that was purchased used from a music store for $2000. They took it in on trade from someone who upgraded to a bigger piano. The store refelted it and tuned it; it came in perfect shape inside. It has a gorgeous full tone. Which brings up another consideration—different brands of pianos sound differently, as do the style of piano.

Cruiser's avatar

You should know the comparative value of the instrument you are looking at. Moving a piano is no small feat either and knowing the cost of moving it or two gorillas with moving straps to be able to lift and carry the piano. I’m sure you will know enough about playability of the piano. I recently invested in a set of used drums through Craigs list and was every happy with the buy, but I did my research on the drums and came out with a great deal. Have fun playing your new piano!

perspicacious's avatar

Yes. No payment until you pick up the piano.

john65pennington's avatar

I would never purchase any item that i could not physically touch and test first. once a piano is delivered to you, what assurance do you have that it will be as offered? what would it cost in shipping and handling to send it back? probably more than the cost of the piano. i would never purchase any item that i could not physically touch and test first.

jazmina88's avatar

Whats wrong with electronics? Do you like playing wholesome? Think of all the sounds you can experiment with with a keyboard.

Just sayin.

Seek's avatar

Get a big enough truck. Someone bought my antique upright, and dumped it around the corner, smashing it to a million pieces. I cried.

Cruiser's avatar

@jazmina88 When my upright grand imploded from age, I bought a Roland with all the digital gizmos and stuff thinking the kids would utilize all that gadgetry….nope. I love a certain style of piano playing that only acoustic pianos can justify…. alas, I miss my upright grand more than I ever imagined.

syz's avatar

My ex bought a pre-civil war, square backed grand piano at auction and we discovered that it had a broken sound board when we got it in the house. It became an over-sized and expensive coffee table. I too would encourage taking a piano tuner along with you.

actuallery's avatar

I’ve got a pianola for sale and it comes with the scrolls however, the piano service man said it would cost about $800 to repair worn out keys and retune it. He also said it would only sell for about $700 as it would lose it’s tune after a short period. it seems to need a full reconstruction. What I’m saying, is, you need to make sure that what you are buying is the real thing and is properly tuned and there is no water damage which can drastically affect the sound.

dxs's avatar

@Cruiser Exactly! lurve
I had a keyboard and have had one (two, really) since I started piano. One day, when I went to play an acoustic, it was sooooo different. My hands glided and felt so much less choppy than they did on my keyboard, a Yamaha P-85. Therefore, I suggest getting an upright piano. Watch out tho—If you want a decent piano, pay the price. It may cost more to tune one that to buy one in need of tuning. I myself honestly don’t care if a piano is out of tune. at least somewhat in tune, unlike my 112-year-old piano at my summer office. I do care if all the keys actually work, though, but as long as I can scrap out some sort of “melody”, I’m satisfied. Steinway is a nice brand. There’s a store right near the Boston Common where I go all the time to play on a real piano. They’re really nice. If you’re on Craigslist, perhaps consider going to look at the piano before actually buying it if you can.
sorry if this response is too late; I figured better late than never.

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