Newbie buying a piano. Advice please.

General discussion about piano makes, problems with pianos, or just seeking advice.

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kyte
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Newbie buying a piano. Advice please.

Post by kyte » 09 May 2017, 19:20

Hi,

My children are learning to play and we were kindly given a straight strung 19th Century Cramer a couple of years ago. I'm finding that you have to strike the keys fairly firmly to get notes out of them, and the piano tuner last time said it was nearing the end of it's life. So I'm thinking of buying a better piano, but only have a very small budget (£500-£1k including moving costs) and no knowledge of pianos.

Could any of you give me some advice on what I should be looking out for, please?

Gill the Piano
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Re: Newbie buying a piano. Advice please.

Post by Gill the Piano » 09 May 2017, 22:28

Ideally: overstrung, underdamped, iron frame (very few wooden framed ones left now though) and at concert pitch, with every note working. This still doesn't guarantee it will be worth having as some problems aren't immediately obvious. Might be worth asking your tuner whether s/he knows of anyone selling a piano in your price bracket that they could recommend - kids give up, people don't want to take it when they move house, and so on. If not, whatever you are tempted by, it's worth asking your tuner to vet it to make sure you aren't making a costly mistake. A customer of mine got a really good piano on Freecycle, or Gumtree also has free pianos, but there is far more rubbish than gold on these sites. Do get the piano checked out by a tuner/tech before committing yourself. If the person selling the piano says it has been tuned regularly, ask for the tuner's details and telephone them to make sure the piano fits every criterion on the list above.
I play for my own amazement... :piano;

kyte
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Re: Newbie buying a piano. Advice please.

Post by kyte » 10 May 2017, 07:49

Thank you, that's really helpful.

I'm quite interested in getting a 60's/70's Knight K10. What are the potential problems if it's not been retuned or played for a few years? And are there any problems with the Knights that I should know about, please?

Gill the Piano
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Re: Newbie buying a piano. Advice please.

Post by Gill the Piano » 10 May 2017, 16:56

I tuned a Knight three months back that hadn't been tuned for thirty years (!!!! :shock: ) and it came up a semitone to concert pitch with no broken strings and after a double tuning was holding surprisingly well. The Knights of that era are good solid reliable beasts - IF they have been looked after. Any piano is only as good as the treatment it's received. Piano teachers love 'em!
I play for my own amazement... :piano;

kyte
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Re: Newbie buying a piano. Advice please.

Post by kyte » 11 May 2017, 07:42

Thank you. I think that's what I'm going to look out for then.

Gill the Piano
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Re: Newbie buying a piano. Advice please.

Post by Gill the Piano » 11 May 2017, 19:50

Welmars and Squires and Kembles are worth looking at too.
I play for my own amazement... :piano;

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Re: Newbie buying a piano. Advice please.

Post by Gill the Piano » 16 May 2017, 15:04

But you have to remember that buying a piano from a piano teacher can be like buying a second hand car from a taxi driver...!
I play for my own amazement... :piano;

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NewAge
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Re: Newbie buying a piano. Advice please.

Post by NewAge » 16 May 2017, 19:45

aimeusdietger wrote:
16 May 2017, 10:38
kyte wrote:
09 May 2017, 19:20
Hi,

My children are learning to play and we were kindly given a straight strung 19th Century Cramer a couple of years ago. I'm finding that you have to strike the keys fairly firmly to get notes out of them, and the piano tuner last time said it was nearing the end of it's life. So I'm thinking of buying a better piano, but only have a very small budget (£500-£1k including moving costs) and no knowledge of pianos.

Could any of you give me some advice on what I should be looking out for, please?
A friend of mine was buying a piano a while back and he said that the best place to buy a piano is from a piano teacher or master who has a stash of pianos. These people know the good stuff and they often take care of their pianos hence you will almost certainly get a good deal. My friend got a Knight too and I haven't heard any complaints yet. Best of luck
Your friend may have been lucky, but in general I say he's giving bad advise.
Gill is correct, buying a piano from a teacher who is selling his/hers is potentialy pretty risky, because of the amount of heavy wear it would have been subjected to. Far better to purchase from a reliable dealer (with warranty) or a private sale subject to the piano having been checked out by a tuner/technician (money well spent).
Regarding buying from a "master who has a stash of pianos," this too imho is bad advise. Nine years ago when looking for my 'dream' grand piano, I went to visit an alleged serious seller whom I was told had a stash of pianos. On arrival I was amazed to see that the address was a large chateau (albeit very run-down). Once inside I was even more amazed to see that this person collected upright and grand pianos like many folks collect stamps - there were literally hundreds of grand pianos with legs removed, stacked on their sides. There were some 20 'prepared' pianos for prospective buyers to try. Long story short, it took me a very short time to realise that most if not all the pianos had been stored in very unfavorable conditions - damp/unheated in winter, and without a/c in summer season. That said, I fell in love with a Grotrian which had been superbly prepared, but close-up the piano had seriously suffered in storage, with heavily oxydized strings, and on most of the underside metal fastenings. I met with one other piano seller who also had a stash of pianos. They also left a lot to be desired. Bottom line is, tread very carefully when purchasing a used piano, or find a known, highly recommended dealer.
I was playing the piano in a zoo, when the elephant burst into tears. I said, "Don't you recognize the tune?" He replied, "No, I recognize the ivories!"

kyte
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Re: Newbie buying a piano. Advice please.

Post by kyte » 19 May 2017, 20:51

Thank you everyone. I've ended up buying a Knight K6 from a piano dealer (5 yr guarantee). I really appreciate your advice :)

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Re: Newbie buying a piano. Advice please.

Post by Otto » 19 May 2017, 21:03

I use a Knight K10 for teaching, which I bought new in 1983. If your K6 is anything like my K10 it will do sterling service to grade VIII and beyond.

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