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Considering getting a Piano


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#1 aChocLover

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Posted 08 October 2011 - 03:08 PM


I'd like to buy my DDs an upright piano, but as they're only beginners (DD1 has been playing for a year, DD2 starts next year), I was thinking I could buy a second-hand one or a cheap(er) student one. We currently only have a full-sized keyboard that they practice on.

But I have absolutely no idea what I'm looking for/at. wacko.gif

What questions should I ask; are there better brands for beginners; what is the maintenance like for a piano - how regularly should it be tuned etc and how much does servicing cost?

Any advice is greatly appreciated!


#2 ♥ Emsie ♥

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Posted 08 October 2011 - 03:11 PM

I can't help you with your questions sorry, but something I recently learned that I thought was worth mentioning is you can't transport a piano yourself or with normal removalists, you have to get special piano removalists
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#3 greenwich

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Posted 08 October 2011 - 07:11 PM

We have a piano, it was DH's grandmothers (DH plays - I don't), so I can help with some of the ownership questions but not the purchasing questions sorry. I'd probably ask your DD's piano teacher for some advice.

Emsie is right, you either need specialist piano removalists to move it or some removalists have the equipment to do so.

It is important that the piano is placed on an internal wall of the house (but I can't remember why sorry - I think it has to do with sound quality). We get ours tuned every year, but I'm not sure of the cost as MIL pays for it as part of DH's birthday present every year. You should also get them tuned about a month after you move them as apparently the road noise can be heard in them.

Happy shopping!

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#4 bluenomi

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Posted 08 October 2011 - 08:23 PM

Once you get them they are impossible to get rid of again! My parents have 2 and are constantly trying to give me one but I don't have the room. I learned piano for years but it isn't really worth getting one unless you know your kids are going to be playinf for a long time and have plenty of room for it.

The cost a lot to move, a lot of tune (my parents both need tuning at the cost of $1000 for one and $500 for the other) and take up space. If you put them in the living room, be prepare to hear them constantly practicing.
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#5 Puggie

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Posted 08 October 2011 - 10:08 PM

My family have an upright pianola. It costs about $250 - 300 to have tuned as the pianola mechanism has to be removed first. Apparently it's coming to our new place when it's built. So now where to put it...

My ILs have an upright grand and it's about $200 to tune - a bit more if it also has a pitch raise.

If your piano was going to be played often but not all the time probably once a year would do it for tuning (maybe PM squeaza as she'll know for sure)

#6 squeaza

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Posted 08 October 2011 - 10:23 PM

I know a bit about them wink.gif

With regards to what to get to start with, there is a huge range of pianos out there, and the best thing you can do is set a budget, and find someone who plays the piano reasonably well to go shopping with you!

The best uprights, which I would say are Kawai and Yamaha ones, are around the $10-15K for the largest ones. The smaller ones of these brands are better than other brands on the whole, but still not as nice as the bigger boxier black uprights. Treated well, a good one will last years and years, with fairly minimal maintenance.

Something which has become available in recent years are very good second hand pianos that have been shipped from Japan, where families don't like keeping things for long, and since everyone wants new ones there is no second-hand market there. We know a guy who owns a shop full of these here in Melbourne, and I have helped a few friends buy ones from there - one bought one for her sister in Sydney because even with $600 of shipping costs, it was still FAR cheaper than buying a conventional second-hand one. For example, a Yamaha U3, which I have, is around $16K new and this guy has some nice ones, used but very little so, for $3-4K. There are also a lot available second-hand through ebay and trading posts etc. but you'd want to try them, with someone who knows what they're on about.

Re: tuning - I get mine done 1-2 times a year, and mine get very heavy use. 1 time a year is standard, and probably will cost around $120 dollars maximum. If you leave it for years and let the pitch drop, then it can get costly to get back up, or impossible with some older pianos. If you get it tuned reasonably, it should never need any other maintenance - I've broken strings in performances, but never ever in practise, and it takes a particularly huge amount of force to do it biggrin.gif




QUOTE(greenwich @ Oct 8 2011, 08:11 PM) View Post



It is important that the piano is placed on an internal wall of the house
(but I can't remember why sorry - I think it has to do with sound quality). We get ours tuned every year, but I'm not sure of the cost as MIL pays for it as part of DH's birthday present every year. You should also get them tuned about a month after you move them as apparently the road noise can be heard in them.

Happy shopping!


I haven't heard about what walls to put them on. I guess if you have particularly draughty walls, or damp, then it'd make a difference, but we've got two on external walls and my mum has her teaching piano of 26 years on an external wall, with no ill effects.

They do take a month or two to settle after moving, so don't get them tuned straight away as Greenwich said.


QUOTE(bluenomi @ Oct 8 2011, 09:23 PM) View Post


The cost a lot to move, a lot of tune (my parents both need tuning at the cost of $1000 for one and $500 for the other) and take up space. If you put them in the living room, be prepare to hear them constantly practicing.


That is crazy money for tuning, unless they've been let get ridiculously out of tune. We use one of the top tuners here, and he'll do two of mine for $200.

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#7 Puggie

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Posted 08 October 2011 - 10:30 PM

QUOTE(squeaza @ Oct 8 2011, 10:23 PM) View Post

That is crazy money for tuning, unless they've been let get ridiculously out of tune. We use one of the top tuners here, and he'll do two of mine for $200.

Can you PM me their details? I'm going to need someone to do the pianola.

Also if you know anyone who restores pianos/pianolas? I suspect ours has been moved too many times and neglected too long to be worth the time and money of fully restoring it. But if it can be brought back to its former glory I'd love to <3

#8 greenwich

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Posted 09 October 2011 - 07:18 AM

QUOTE(squeaza @ Oct 8 2011, 10:23 PM) View Post

I haven't heard about what walls to put them on. I guess if you have particularly draughty walls, or damp, then it'd make a difference, but we've got two on external walls and my mum has her teaching piano of 26 years on an external wall, with no ill effects.

They do take a month or two to settle after moving, so don't get them tuned straight away as Greenwich said.
That is crazy money for tuning, unless they've been let get ridiculously out of tune. We use one of the top tuners here, and he'll do two of mine for $200.


We live in an old renovated-several-times-queenslander so maybe that makes a difference? My music teacher MIL told me that, so I'm just blindly following her advice and didn't really ask why (I'm not the musical one in the family).

Thanks Squeaza for the info on tuning. I was starting to feel sick that MIL was spending $1000 a year on tuning a piano that hardly gets played at the moment. $100-ish is much more reasonable.

Sorry to hijack your thread aChoclover.

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#9 aChocLover

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Posted 09 October 2011 - 09:49 AM


Hijack away tongue.gif I'm learning so much!

Thank you so much to everyone who has responded! I didn't realise there was so much to consider!

Greatly appreciated! x

#10 L C

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Posted 09 October 2011 - 12:37 PM

I'd love to get a piano wub.gif My parents got one when I was in HS - I played for about 10 years or so, from late primary school through to yr 11 when lessons dropped off a bit due to my workload.

The piano they got was a big old upright being used as a bar piano, being sold as the bands generally brought their own electric ones with them and they had no room for the old thing - my parents picked it up for a steal of $400 (I think - it was about that, anyway). It was in tune before the move, it was re-tuned after we moved it in, and apart from one key (in the lower octaves - I can't remember which one exactly!) going noticeably out of tune during the initial summer months, I think it's only been tuned once or twice, for around the cost you mentioned, Squeeza.

From memory, I think the 'having on an interior wall' thing is to do with the fluctuating temperature of having it against an exterior wall, because of the outside temperature affecting the tone/tune/pitch more so than if it was on an interior wall. But if it's getting tuned regularly then it wouldn't make a difference - I think.

This thread is just making me miss my old piano wub.gif I might have a look around for a secondhand one for us now...

#11 bluenomi

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Posted 09 October 2011 - 07:17 PM

QUOTE(squeaza @ Oct 8 2011, 11:23 PM) View Post


That is crazy money for tuning, unless they've been let get ridiculously out of tune. We use one of the top tuners here, and he'll do two of mine for $200.


One is an 1840s baby grand that hasn't been tuned since who knows when and has been shipped over from the UK where my parents bought it and is in really bad condition. The other is an upright that hasn't been tuned since I stopped learning piano over 15 years ago and has been moved 3 time and spent 6 years in storage in the time. My parents don't treat pianos well!
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#12 anica789

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Posted 10 October 2011 - 04:04 PM

I bought a used grey market Yamaha U3 (with 10 year warranty that I pushed for!) to teach from home on a few years back. I agree with Squeaza that Yamaha or Kawai are the brands to go with.

If you want to know the details of the grey market dealer I bought from (Clayton area) just PM me.

Oh, and the internal wall thing is due to there being greater temperature fluctuations if place at an external wall, which can effect tuning (as the strings are expanding and contracting more).


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#13 ~Bella~

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Posted 12 October 2011 - 02:56 PM

Oh i would love to buy a piano! I want to have one around for Emmanuel to learn as i deffinitely think he has music running through him, or he can learn flute i dont mind though hubby might laugh.gif . Our house is probably too small but hey if i had the chance id get one.

Piano's are cheaper then servicing my flute ph34r.gif And they're 50 times bigger then it laugh.gif

Piano's that are looked after keep their value as well.

Naomi ohmy.gif It's musical instrument abuse laugh.gif !!!! How i would love a baby grand blush.gif
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