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What to look for when buying a used piano?

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We see a lot of second hand pianos on a weekly basis as we often part exchange customer's pianos when they purchase a new one, move old pianos from one house to another or take them away when they are beyond repair.

We have recently taken away an old piano for a customer who purchased a new upright piano and have some good examples of typical problems or pitfalls to look out for when considering buying a second hand piano.

Loose Pins

Loose Pins

If you look at the picture to the left you can see dotted chalk marks above the tuning pins.  These are common indications that the piano has loose pins.  Tuners often leave these marks for future tunings and other tuners to warn them about the pins being loose.  This is definitely something to avoid if you are considering buying the piano as it will cause you nothing but problems in the future.  There are methods to try and fix or tame these problems but there is never a complete solution.

Sometimes you can knock the pins back in place to try and create more friction.  Other methods include using a product called 'Pin Tight' which effectively locks the pins into place, or using a larger tuning pin to fill up the now larger hole.

Another method sometimes used is wedging veneer into the hole to try and make the gap smaller and try and make the pin 'bite' against the veneer and stay in place (see image below - middle pins have veneer wedged in).  All these methods are temporary (bodge) solutions which at best will extend the life of the piano by a few months.

Veneer Tuning Pins

Split Soundboard

Another common problem with particularly older pianos are cracks or splits in the soundboard as show in the image below.  Splits can cause many problems.  They can cause the piano to vibrate and ake 'buzzing' noises when playing and they also deteriorate the quality of sound as what was originally one piece of wood resonating now has a split or crack in it!  Although cracks and splits can sometimes cause no problems at all it is alway wise to steer away from pianos with these problems when looking at buying a used piano.

Soundboard Split 

Of course none of our second hand pianos have these problems.  We only source the best quality second hand pianos, and every used piano we sell has been through our workshop and always comes with a guarantee.  We don't want to have to come round your house to fix a problem (of course we will if we need to!) so only sell the best quality to ensure you will not run into these problems!