Buying a piano is exciting. You may start piano lessons with enthusiasm and gusto and dream of having your own ivories to tinkle on in the dining room.
One of the most common mistakes we see when aspiring pianists are starting out is they buy the wrong type of piano.
If the instrument doesn’t meet your expectations, your interest in learning wanes and your piano simply becomes another piece of furniture.
To make sure you buy the right piano for you, follow these five tips.
1. What’s Your Purpose?
Pianos can be an expensive investment so consider how committed you are to learning. Do you have aspirations to be a professional musician or is it a hobby? Are you likely to have the motivation to continue playing for years to come.
If you’re buying a piano for your child, are they budding Mozart that will learn the skills to keep them interested in the long-term, or is it just a passing fad?
Unless you’re 100% committed an electronic keyboard might be a better option than a piano.
2. Sound Quality
Whilst sound is subjective, the quality of sound has a significant impact on a learner’s compulsion to continue playing.
The build of a piano determines the sound quality. We recommend purchasing a piano from a recognized brand such as Yamaha, Casio, or Korg.
The type of wood used for the soundboards also influences the sound quality. For example, softwoods such as spruce and cedar are better for transmitting sound so have a lighter sound than harder woods such as maple, mahogany, and rosewood.
Try the piano in the shop before you buy it. If you’re just starting out and don’t feel confident playing in front of strangers, take an experienced player with you so you can decide whether you like the sound.
3. Size and Space
Bigger pianos typically sound better. However, the instrument has to fit in a particular space in your home so don’t go for a grand piano if you’ve only got the space for a standard model.
You don’t want the piano to dominate all the space and render the “piano room” unusable for everybody else in the household.
Like everything in life, pianos are vulnerable to wear and tear and become less effective as they age. Older pianos are typically used and could have taken a battering. Pianos don’t come with ‘one careful lady owner’ sales pitches.
Subsequently, older pianos require tuning services more often – which could end up costing you more than buying a new one.
Second-hand pianos are less likely to come with a factory warranty. Warranties are typically valid for between five and 15 years.
Whilst the design of a piano shouldn’t take precedence over the sound quality, the appearance can influence how often you feel compelled to play it.
Children, in particular, can lose interest in playing the piano if they don’t like the look of it. It’s the same issue they have with vegetables. Whilst some people like a rustic appearance, others prefer the reflective shine of black mahogany.