Buying a piano for the first time - dos and don'ts

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Buying an acoustic piano is an important decision as these are state-of-the-art instruments that not only require a big budget but also enough space to place them inside your house. Therefore, unless you’re serious about picking this instrument or you have someone in your family who loves playing, there are other smaller instruments you might want to consider first.

If you remain firm, here are some things to take into account to end up with the right product.

Where it’s made is not that important

Often enough, people think that a good piano only originates from Europe or Japan and that everything that is sold outside includes cheap knock-offs or low-quality materials. However, this is not true.

When it comes to the piano manufacturing industry, how it’s made is more important than where it’s made. Great brands have set up their factors all over the world, not just in Austria, Germany, or the Czech Republic.

Indonesia, Korea, and even China have good factories that are closely monitored by their parent companies to maintain the highest standards of quality and sound accuracy. For instance, the Yamaha B1 acoustic piano is made in Indonesia to keep its price low and make it an appealing investment for first-time players.

The ultimate costs

Since pianos are heavy and sensitive pieces of equipment, moving them around, carrying them, installing them, and looking after them periodically costs money. One of the biggest mistakes most first-time buyers make is to not consider the ultimate costs of owning this instrument.

Restringing your piano will cost several hundreds of dollars while tuning it can cost up to $175 and should be done at least once a year. The instrument itself is costly, so if you cannot afford to drop a few thousand dollars at least, it would be best to look for another instrument or stick to an electric keyboard.

Even moving it locally can cost up to $400, whereas international shipping or having your product shipped from another state can take several weeks and increase the costs by $2,000.

That being said, owning an acoustic piano is a long-term investment that doesn’t come cheap. If you choose price over quality, you may end up breaking the instrument easier or finding that it’s useless after a few months.

Consider a reconditioned acoustic piano

If you cannot keep up with the maintenance costs of this instrument, you can also opt for a reconditioned item. Fully-reconditioned acoustic pianos sound even better than the new ones thanks to the wood’s age and will only increase in value in time, should you look after them properly.

However, finding such a piece is not easy, and we don’t recommend trying it without asking the opinion of an expert. Keep in mind that a piano is much more than meets the eye so, unless you know exactly what you’re looking for, you may end up with a flawed instrument.

Look for old instruments online, in special vintage shops or fairs, and take into account that, the cheaper the price, the more adjustments you’ll have to make to turn it to its original sound and tuning.

Rent a piano

If you’re not sure how long your or your kid’s enthusiasm will last, instead of buying a full-sized piano and spending a little fortune on it, you can choose to rent one. Several rental businesses allow you to choose from a variety of instruments and brands, according to your preferences or your level of expertise.

There is also the option of classes at art clubs, community centers, and even churches. Most of these classes are given for free by volunteers but you can also hire a tutor and get the most of your new hobby.

Finally, don’t forget to invest in some piano books to learn the basics and even look for video tutorials and online classes. The key is to find something that you are passionate about and motivates you to continue your passion, and become better at it.

Again, for those who are just trying out new things, renting a piano might be the perfect solution, unless they want to fully commit and have space in their house for a full 88-key piano.