When making a piano purchase we are often asked whether it is better to buy a new or pre-owned piano. Our response is to point out that it is a very subjective question based on one’s circumstances, personal tastes and budget. In fact we believe there is no definitive answer. Everyone is different and each piano is different. The key is to find the right piano to suit you!
The following tips are excerpts from the Australian Piano Buyers’ Guide. Request your free copy for future reference here.
New pianos generally have a clearer tone, particularly important in helping young children learn accurate aural skills. They also come with comprehensive warranties, ensuring you receive a quality piano and reassurance it will remain at a high standard. New pianos each have their own personality and characteristics and will suit one individual, but not another. So it is best to try as many as you can, preferably side by side, to compare brands and choose the sound you prefer.
The sound or tonal qualities of a piano are generally directly related to the scale design. Scale designing involves calculation of the string speaking lengths, diameters, tensions and the determination of the string layout. A good scale design imparts to a piano its particular tonal character and timbre and enables the discerning pianist to shape sound.
When buying pianos, Fine explains that many factors affect the price. The consistent high quality and durability of the more established brands like Schimmel from Germany and Yamaha from Japan, who have both now been manufacturing pianos for over 100 years, has earned them a reputation which ensures their prestige, popularity and investment benefits if you purchase new, due to their high resale value.
Pianos made in the more recently emerging economies of Korea, China and Indonesia, are more affordable and also produce excellent quality pianos. They are also keen to prove their merit with long warranties on new pianos i.e. Beale provides a ten year warranty and Alex Steinbach, a lifetime warranty for the original purchaser! Yamaha Music has more recently set up factories in other parts of Asia and has therefore remained competitive in their pricing with the more affordable piano manufacturers.
Some people prefer pianos with a history, or the character and style of a previous time (e.g. Edwardian, Art Deco) to better suit their home. Some particularly love the more mellow, nostalgic sound of an old piano.
Larry Fine has addressed the question whether to buy a new or used piano, extensively in his excellent publication, ‘The Piano Book’. He says, ‘…good quality pianos, new or used, are made of better raw materials, prepared to more exacting tolerances and stricter standards of production.’ The difficulty of course is making sure you choose a good quality piano .
Fine says, ‘…when buying a used piano generally more time and care is needed to find what you want. It is especially important to buy from a well respected dealer or to have a competent piano technician to inspect the piano before you buy.’ For this reason, Hutchings Pianos personally inspect all secondhand pianos prior to purchasing and they provide a five year store warranty on all pre-loved pianos.
Electronic or digital pianos cannot perfectly imitate this living sound, which has evolved over a period of centuries. They do however have other redeeming qualities e.g. eliminating the need for tuning and maintenance, plus an ability to transfer data to computer, so they may be more practical in a variety of circumstances.
Come and visit us, or call. At Hutchings pianos our approach is to help our customers better define their preferences and requirements, thereby helping you to choose the right piano and achieve the greatest possible satisfaction from your piano. We also provide first hand experience of a range of different pianos, which we believe is the best way for buyers to make an informed decision.
For further information click on the link below to request a copy of The Australian Piano Buyers’ Guide. We will post this 36 page booklet with diagrams, explanations and useful tips to you free of charge.
Reference: Fine, Larry. The Piano Book – Buying & Owning A New or Used Piano (4th ed), Brookside Press, Boston Massachussets <a