C3 Piano Services Ltd the Experts in Keeping your Piano Healthy
Considerations on acquiring a piano
It makes sense to take care when acquiring your piano.
If you or a member of your family are learning to play the piano, the experience will be much more enjoyable when practicing on a good quality instrument with a pleasing tone and a responsive touch.
Your new piano is an investment. Unlike many other large purchases such as cars or appliances, a good piano will keep its value for many years. Be very careful if you considering buying from the Internet. Always go and look at it with a piano tuner-technician.
A piano is a major piece of furniture as well as a musical instrument, which you may well keep for forty to fifty years. So think about the colour and style of the casework.
New or Second-hand, and How much should you spend?
We strongly advise you to buy a new or nearly new piano. You should pay as much as you can afford for technical quality. However some second hand pianos may have value added beyond its technical quality as a musical instrument, e.g. a famous person may have owned it previously or it may be a very attractive piece of furniture. These days’ new pianos are so inexpensive that normally it is only worth refurbishing the above or pianos of sentimental attachment.
When buying a second-hand piano, be very careful. Unlike violins and some other instruments pianos deteriorate over time. Many pianos will not have been maintained regularly and often cost more to recondition than buying new. While restoration may be possible, many of the spare parts are no longer available and have to be made by hand; this is likely to be costly. When buying an older second-hand piano; be wary of claims of restoration, often this may only indicate that it has simply had the case work done up, or minimal repairs to the action; take your time don’t be rushed in to buying; employ a piano tuner to give their professional opinion on its condition. If the piano is out of tune it may be because it can’t be tuned. It is quite acceptable to ask the vendor to have the piano tuned before deciding whether to make an offer.
Pianos –depending on the original build quality– are designed to last approximately ten to fifty years, the lifetime of the piano may be longer or shorter depending on how well it has been tuned, maintained and treated. Because many pianos are far older than fifty they should be treated with extreme caution. On the other hand older pianos can be more desirable as antique pieces of furniture rather than for their playing quality. An old piano should be seen as analogous to a vintage motorcar.
If you can possibly afford it, buy a new piano, from a reputable dealer who has been in business for a long time and who offers you a manufacturer’s warranty.
Rent or Buy?
Renting a piano avoids spending a large sum of money up-front, if the piano does not suit, you can just return it without much loss.
Remember, that the monthly rental fee will not be your only expense. You have to pay the piano moving charges at the beginning and end of your rental and pay for periodical visits from the piano tuner. Some retailers offer a rent-to-buy option, which means you can have a trial period before you are committed to purchase.
Buying a piano means that you will have purchased an asset. A new piano should retain its value for many years.
Traditional Acoustic Piano or Digital Piano?
Digital pianos have some advantages such as being able to make other keyboard sounds –including the organ, harpsichord, etc.– and background rhythm –e.g. drum sounds– to accompany your playing, and the ability to record your performance. Digital pianos do not need to be tuned and they are lighter and easier to move than acoustic pianos.
However, digital pianos still cannot match the tone and touch of acoustic pianos. Most music teachers require their students to practice on acoustic pianos as there are techniques that cannot be practiced on digital pianos; if you already have a teacher, check their preferences.
Digital pianos often have fewer octaves, and only last for four to six years before signs of degeneration begin, and as a result don’t retain their second hand value.
Where to Position the Piano in the home?
Think where you are going to put the piano. Consider how climate and environment affect the piano. It may not be possible to complete all the following guidelines.
TEMPERATURE: A constant 18 to 21 ° C (65 - 70 ° F) is ideal.
HUMIDITY: Ideally, 45 - 60 % relative humidity.
Don’t place your piano near a radiator or other heat source. Don’t permit the sun to shine directly on the piano. Don’t place your piano near an outside door or window. The above are often responsible for tuning instability and other serious problems.
Do consider a separate room for your piano as this will make it easier to maintain a suitable environment. Do have your piano regularly tuned and maintained; it is cost effective, minor problems can be set right before they become major faults.
For more information see our leaflet “caring for your piano” or contacted:
C3 Piano Services