Buying a piano - whether new or used, acoustic or electric - is no easy task. With so many different options and price points, it's definitely wise to do your research before you start your search, and hopefully you will avoid these common mistakes that piano buyers tend to make.
Believe it or not, buying the piano is the easy part. Committing to learning is the real challenge, and actually learning is no easy feat either. You have to make a commitment to really learn (or play) the instrument, and stick with it. The nice thing is that pianos are big, so you will get a daily reminder to play every time you pass it... Just don't let it become a piece of furniture! Depending on your situation, committing to the piano can mean a lot of different things...
If you don't know how to play piano, "committing" might come in the form of finding the right piano teacher. Feel free to sign up for piano lessons in Tigard Not only will a piano teacher give you a real foundation for learning the instrument, but it will keep you accountable so you stick with your goals. Even if you already do play piano, you can still find an advanced teacher that can teach you something you don't know, whether that's a new style, or just helping you take your musicianship to the next level. You're never too old for piano lessons!
When buying an instrument, it is sometimes tempting to find something on the cheaper end of the spectrum, but that most likely will mean sacrificing sound and quality, and will probably end with your piano collecting dust in the corner of your living room. If you don't do your research and end up with a piano that doesn't keep its tune or doesn't sound great, you might find yourself abandoning the piano simply because it's not inspiring to play. Finding an instrument that has a sound and a feel that you really love will keep you playing for years. When buying a piano, you should try to picture yourself way down the road. Depending on the decision you make, you will either end up playing happily ten years later, or spending a fortune to get the hunk of junk out of your living room. This is not an area to think short-term.
If you're looking for an acoustic piano, there are many things that you need to look for. With new pianos, it's a little easier because you really just need to personally like the sound and do a little bit of research into the manufacturer. If you're buying a used piano, you have to make sure that it is in good enough shape that it will last. Read more about buying a used piano and if they have value:
If you're looking for a keyboard, the number one thing that you have to watch out for is whether it has weighted keys. This means that the keys have about the same resistance as a standard piano and are basically harder to press down than a cheap keyboard. You also want to make sure the keyboard has standard-size keys. Some smaller keyboards actually have keys that are more narrow than a standard piano, making them more of a toy than anything else. If you can find a keyboard with these two characteristics, learning on a keyboard is just fine. Keep in mind that if you are going to buy a keyboard, you should make sure it either has built-in speakers or be prepared to buy speakers to connect to it. You should be able to find a weighted keyboard for around $400.
There are a lot of hidden costs associated with having a piano. Besides lessons, books, and tuners, many people don't realize how expensive it is to actually move an acoustic piano. Pianos are very heavy and cannot be moved by one person. I will say, I did once move an upright piano with one friend and a trailer with a ramp, but it was not easy, and it was definitely not fun. I can't imagine it was great for the instrument either. There's a reason that "piano movers" is a business of its own. Moving a piano is very serious business. Moving an upright piano is about $200-$400 dollars. A grand piano is usually $400 and up. If you're planning on moving a piano out of state, this could be thousands of dollars depending on the distance. Make sure you buy a piano from someone who has professional movers or be prepared to find a pro yourself.
Always consult your piano teacher when it comes to buying a new piano. That is what they are there for. They are great sources of knowledge and guidance when it comes to purchasing a new piano. They have a wealth of knowledge and strong opinions when it comes to purchasing pianos. Listen to your teacher and ask them questions. They are also great at sniffing out some great deals for you. They know what they are talking about.
With acoustic pianos, the biggest danger is an instrument with a critical flaw. Sometimes this will be an invisible flaw, so you should definitely do as much as you can to prevent this - researching the brand, checking the sound, and taking a look at the hardware inside the piano. You might find an old piano on craigslist, but you've got to be really careful. You might find a beautiful-looking instrument, but if you look inside, that's where the problems might be. This could be a broken pin block, bad hammers, or simply an apparatus that looks out-of-alignment. These things could actually cost you a lot of money. As lucky as you might get on Craigslist, it is still a bit of a gamble, especially if you aren't a piano expert. Plus you most likely will have to figure out transportation yourself. Piano galleries go through pianos and make sure they are up to snuff, so if you want to be extra safe, and have a little extra money to spend, your best bet is to lean toward a piano gallery.
If you live with other people or in an apartment building, make sure that you know what you're getting into. How is the sound insulation in your building? Will you be driving your neighbors crazy? If this is the case, you might be better off with a digital keyboard so you can control the volume. Within your family, are you on the same page as your spouse about the value of musical education for your child? With such a big commitment, it is really important that everyone is on the same page. Make sure to get a consensus and agree on what the concept is. Sometimes one parent played piano and really loved it and the other doesn't. One wants to get the cheapest thing and the other wants the best sounding grand piano. Does the child want to play the piano or do they feel forced? Do they really have their eye on another instrument? Communication is key, so talk about it before-hand and make sure everyone is on the same page.
The last thing you want to do is just buy the first piano you find. Think about what you really want. Do you want an acoustic piano or do you want a digital piano? Are you more of an upright piano person, or are you dreaming of a baby grand? Do you want to buy a new or used piano? How much are you willing to spend? This is not the kind of purchase you want to make on a whim, so do your research and a little soul-searching before you get out your check book.
Because it is a bit of a commitment, many potential piano owners fall into the trap of thinking about it for too long and letting time slip by. But if you never take the leap, all of that thinking and researching will have been in vain. You don't want to miss out on the opportunity to bring music into your life. Of course everyone wants to get a good deal and end up with an amazing instrument, but at some point you just have to jump in and get to playing. It's really really fun so don't put it on hold forever.
Don't let it happen to you! It's so easy with a big purchase, especially with so many options and variables, and such a big price range. But after these tips, you should be feeling a little more confident about making the right choice, so be brave and rest assured that life with a piano is so much better than a life without one.