Most old pianos are pretty much cheap and the reason for this is:
Old pianos are usually in sub-par condition when you find them because of parts having been subjected to wear and tear throughout the life of the piano. This means that each part may require restoration which usually costs a lot of money. Therefore old pianos are cheaply priced to account for the fact that it may cost some money to get them to proper working shape.
With that said, it’s always advisable to get as much detail as possible about the piano before you consider buying it.
You have to pay attention to the descriptions of the conditions that the seller of the old piano describes as this will determine its condition.
Below are some descriptions of conditions:
If the seller of a piano describes the piano to be in mint condition, it means the piano is in excellent condition.
In such situations, the seller may have completely refurbished their old piano to make it look and sound new.
In other situations, the seller may have only replaced the critical parts and gave the old piano a new furnish to make it more pleasant both visually and sonically.
It’s always a good idea to ask for specifics with regard to the work that has been done to improve the old piano.
If the seller of the piano describes the piano to be almost new or like new it usually means exactly that.
In such situations the piano will look appealing with few or no scratches, nicks etc. With an almost new piano you should basically ensure that shows no signs of heavy use.
Plus it should also be in excellent mechanical condition. Doing some thorough inspections can help you in such situations.
If you don’t know how to inspect pianos, it may help you to find an expert that can help you.
A piano in excellent condition usually means it has no visible wear and tear as well as defects.
Such pianos are usually in great shape and sound pretty good.
It may have a few nicks and scratches but not anything too visible to be noticed.
With a piano that’s in excellent condition, you won’t have to do any reconditioning.
If your seller asks you to do so then the piano they are trying to sell you shouldn’t be presented as excellent with regard to condition.
A piano in very good condition should be one that has few minor problems but not really significant enough to make the piano un-playable.
Most pianos like this may have a couple of scratches and a few blemishes here and there but not a lot.
If a seller advertises a piano as good it is most in cases a piano that hasn’t been used in a long time and may be requiring some work to get it to a better condition.
A piano in this condition may still be playable, but may have a few defects here and there.
Such pianos will usually require a little bit of spending on your part in order to get it to a usable state.
It may have accumulated dust due to the fact that it may have not been used in a long time.
Such pianos may also have a few minor dents and scratches.
If a seller advertises a piano to be in fair shape,
you have to be certainly careful in assessing it before you put your money against it.
A piano in fair condition may have both mechanical and non-mechanical defects which is why it’s important to discuss these things with the seller.
In most cases such pianos are usually playable.
The seller should be able to give you a list of all the specific things that need to be fixed.
In such a situation you’ll be able to negotiate prices better taking into account all defects that the piano has.
2 main Reasons why old pianos may be a bad idea
The owners don’t use the piano
Most piano sellers will come outright and tell you they plan to sell you their old piano because they no longer use the piano.
This should raise a lot of questions on your part because the piano will most likely be faulty and may need a lot of repairs.
This is because old pianos not used by owners usually stay unmaintained because the owner sees no sense in maintaining a piano they don’t intend on using.
An unmaintained piano usually means no regular tuning, exposure to varying humidity,
exposure to various things that would have a negative impact on the piano.
This means buying such a piano would mean, agreeing to accept all these risks.
Refurbishing such a piano would obviously cost a lot and could become a burden for you.
Old pianos are also disadvantageous to buy because it usually means their owner intends to move and they don’t plan on moving with it.
What this in turn means is that the piano hasn’t been obviously looked after properly.
With such a piano you should expect that the maintenance is almost below average.
This usually means spending funds to fully make the piano operational.
In situations where the seller intends to move and cannot afford to move with the piano, careful consideration is needed.
You don’t want to spend money on something that will take you a lot of money to make operational.
Old pianos are usually so cheap because they often times require to be refurbished because most have defects.