Buy the most expensive piano you can afford. Saving money by buying cheaper musical instruments usually produces dissatisfaction.
a good hand made acoustic piano will generally hold its value well
a digital piano will depreciate quite quickly as technology continuously improves
will it physically fit in your room
for beginners, it is usually recommended a large studio model upright of at least 45 inches - with pianos, bigger is better.
most brands have a model (usually the height is the model number, 121cm 108cm, 115cm, etc.), and you will find that all brand names have a model in the same height. The price is usually around the same or maybe $500.00-1000.00 difference. The difference in price does not mean that the more expensive one is any better or is going to last any longer or need less tunings each year.
is the rich, resonant sound quality that emanates from a well-crafted piano
tone through the full range of musical expression… powerful, delicate, short, long, fast, or slow. Whatever the dynamic requirement, the piano must respond with clear and expressive tone that reflects the player's intentions.
you might only buy one piano in your lifetime, so it makes good sense to go to all the piano stores and comparison shop. Different makes have different tonal qualities. Tone colour may be affected by the tuning of the instrument, so to make a comparison; instruments should be at the same pitch.
It's important to determine in advance what kind of piano sound you like: mellow, brilliant, loud, soft. Then, when you go shopping, take a pianist with you and ask for his feelings about each piano he plays. Listen to low, middle and high notes. And, don't forget to try out several pianos of each brand and model. Often, depending on the make and price range, there are surprising individual differences and you want to find the one that exactly suits you. (Then, note the serial number to make sure the same one is delivered to you.)
depends also on acoustic features of the room
hand made European pianos tend to have better tone than the Japanese/Chinese pianos
the responsiveness & feel of the piano
the hammers in a grand piano are returned to rest by gravity and the mechanism has many more parts, which allow for much greater repetition speed.
the heavier touch of a grand piano may make it more difficult for small hands of young children
a light touch may make it difficult for a student to then do exams on a heavier touch grand piano
Kawai's are known for their ultra-responsive touch
strength & durability:
a grand piano must be able to support over forty thousand pounds of string tension.
a well-built piano will serve its owner for 50 years or more.
buy a piano favored by most music institutions (conservatories and universities). They know by experience which are the best, most trouble-free pianos.
the 8 second test:
Play the note C6 (C two octaves above middle C). The sound should last about eight seconds. If it does not, there may be a serious wood problem.
In all pianos, metal struts reinforce the plate. The action of a piano has a separation with one hammer striking on each side of the strut. These are called the bass-tenor and the treble breaks. If you play the two keys on either side of the break simultaneously, the sound should die away evenly on both notes. In the case of the bass-tenor break, the sound should last around 24 or 25 seconds. IF the sound decays quickly on one note, there may be a wood problem. Repairs may be expensive or impossible.
An object of beauty animates the senses and expresses symmetry, elegance, splendor, and refinement & assists in maintaining its value.
Satin finishes are generally easier to care for than high gloss. Most pianos being manufactured today have polyester finishes. Furniture polish should not be used.
attention to detail:
the small improvements in design that make it more pleasurable
Warranty varies on new pianos from 3-5 years, to 10 years to a Lifetime Warranty. The longer the warranty the better off you will be because the manufacture is willing to provide a warranty like this to their instrument, which means they are certain that the piano will be fault free for the warranty period.
buy a piano made by a reputable company, one which has a good production volume, and offers a manufacturer-backed warranty.
2nd hand pianos:
Unlike wines, pianos tend to deteriorate with age. The tone in the last stages is soft and dies away quickly. There is no such thing as a piano that is 'good enough to start on'. When Johnny quits his lessons, it may be because it was too hard for him to practice on the old clunker that someone gave you. Many pianos have had hard use, and infrequent service for most of their lives.
you would be wise to enlist an independent piano tuner to assess the piano. A piano technician can appraise an instrument using specialized tools to check the torque of the tuning pins. The minimum recommended torque is 40 inch/lbs. Anything lower may not allow good tuning stability. Replacing tuning pins is a major repair. The tuner should evaluate the piano and give the prospective buyer a list of necessary repairs.
One of the pianos to try and avoid is the “over-damper” pianos. These usually have problems with the damper mechanism and have been found to be a lot of hassle to repair by tuners and technicians.
It may not be wise to purchase a 'drop' action or spinet piano. The repetition of the action is often too slow for all but the simplest pieces. A repair that takes only a few minutes on a full size piano may take over an hour on a spinet.
Be aware that there are a lot of second-hand pianos being imported from Asia and you really need to “proceed with caution” on these as many have been excessively used in schools, etc.
When purchasing from a store or a private piano tuner make sure that they have some type of warranty which include the pin block, frame, soundboard. The person selling these instruments should be able to place a 5 year warranty on the above. Also make sure that the piano is tuned in your home after delivery, this is usually done about 1 week after delivery with a new piano and should also be done with a piano that is second-hand .
unlike new pianos, when it comes to buying a 2nd hand piano more than 30 years old, the brand name will make a HUGE difference in the quality of the instrument and also the purchase price.
look for a water line, if the piano has been flooded, it may be a bad buy.
Play each key several times in a row. If a note fails to sound or will not repeat, the mechanism may need repairs or adjustments. If there is buzzing, the soundboard may be cracked.
Play each note in turn from the bottom to the top. Are there any dramatic changes in pitch or tone colour? If there are, the instrument may need to have strings or hammers replaced.
maintaining a piano:
The piano is a highly developed and complicated piece of equipment. It contains about 240 different lengths of high tensioned wire. These lengths of wire make up to 85 to 88 notes spread across the music tonal range. For each note there exists a mechanism which in the upright piano contains up to 14 different moving parts and in a grand piano up to 22 moving parts per note. This means that there is around 2000 moving parts in a piano!!
Since the piano must be maintained at a specific tension to achieve a good musical sound the matter of maintenance becomes an ongoing process. If you play the piano several hours a day and work to a performance standard you may need to have your piano tuned frequently. This could be mean that your piano would need to be tuned 5-6 times a year, or more!!
A finely tuned and functioning instrument will make practice and performance much easier and encourage students to practice more because their instrument is performing at its best. It will also give you peace of mind that your investment in the piano will last.
You should realize that a piano will never stay in tune, no matter what brand it is or if it is an upright or a grand. However, a piano that is manufactured to a high standard and using better materials will stay in tune for longer periods.
keep in mind that a new piano will require several tunings throughout the first 2 years. This is usually every 3-4 months until the strings and pin block have time to ‘wear in’ and settle down.
music.txt · Last modified: 2019/01/15 09:13 by gary1