Why Are Pianos So Expensive?

Feb 11 · 5 min read

I’ve been lately thinking about upgrading from my upright piano to a grand piano. I’m really excited and have been doing a bunch of research, but I’ve been wondering, why are pianos so expensive?

Pianos are so expensive because they are one of the largest instruments and they are made of costly materials and assembled by hand. That much quality lumber simply costs a lot of money and that is before all the labor and craftsmanship.

Are Pianos Always Expensive?

If you're like me and you've been looking for a new piano you're probably wondering why are new pianos so expensive? There are actually many reasons why pianos are so expensive. The real question is, are pianos always expensive? Luckily for you the answer is no!

If you go into piano galleries, you might think that all pianos are expensive. But that's actually not true. It's kind of like if you go to a car dealer you think every single car is expensive. But of course we all know this isn't true. Very similar to cars, piano galleries or piano dealers are the most expensive places to buy a piano. It's really great because you're getting a brand-new super high quality piano the same way going to a car lot can be really exciting, but it's definitely not the best place to buy a piano. Or at least not the best place to buy your first piano.

Same way as when you were a teen and you wanted to buy a car you most likely didn't go to a car dealership to pick up your very first car. So if you're in the market for your first piano probably shouldn't go to a piano gallery either. I've been teaching private piano lessons in Beaverton for years. I've taught some truly great students on second hand pianos.


How To Find Affordable Pianos?

So at this point you're probably wondering, how am I supposed to find a piano if I'm not going to a piano dealer? Don't worry there are plenty of ways to get an affordable piano.

The way I bought my first piano was on Craigslist. I paid $200 for a great spinet piano. Of course I had to move the piano to my house, so I used a U-Haul trailer behind my Volkswagen Jetta. It actually only took me and one other person to move the piano and it wasn't too difficult. This piano is great, it was in tune and it held its tune. All the keys worked and there wasn't any cosmetic damage to the piano. I love this piano! Another way to find an affordable piano is you can always adopt someone's piano. I know it sounds hard to believe but there are websites like www.pianoadoption.com More people are giving away credible pianos for free! I have a few friends that have used this website and have had great results. Lucky for us, pianos take up a lot of space and when people stop playing them they often want to make more room in their home or apartment. If you have ever wondered why so many people have pianos you can check out this article:

Seriously, check out this website and you will find incredible grand pianos for free! There are descriptions of what condition the pianos are in and how old the piano is and maybe even a little bit about the history of the piano. This is a great way to get a very cool vintage piano for free. The nice thing about pianos is they do not move that much so a piano can sit around and not get damaged. So it can be hard to believe, but you can find a hundred year old piano that looks beautiful and is in great condition, if it's been tuned semi-regularly of course. Plus you will even find pianos on this website that are very ornate and can make a very beautiful addition to your home, if you like that type of thing.


What is the Average Cost of a New Piano?

Maybe buying a used piano was in your style, and you really are in the market for a new piano. The first thing to know is there are three main types of pianos, spinet, upright and grand pianos.

A spinet piano is the smallest and cheapest of the pianos, then comes the upright piano which is the mid-range in midsize piano. Last but of course not least is the grand piano which is the largest and most expensive piano. They also make Baby Grand pianos.

You could find a new spinet piano for less than a new upright piano. Spinet pianos are just a little bit different from upright or grand pianos and they can be a little bit tougher to tune. The average cost of a new upright piano is $3,000 to $6,000. Of course they can be much more expensive than that and a high-end new upright piano can be $7000 to $10,000.

A new grand piano can cost anywhere between $7000 to $30,000. Now you can see why I was making all those car comparisons! Grand pianos can be much more expensive than $30,000 oh, but those are definitely not for the average person's home.


Are Expensive Pianos Always Better?

At this point you're probably thinking, wow I didn't realize a new piano was so expensive are they really worth it? Are expensive pianos always better than free pianos?

The answer is, it depends. I'm going to continue with the car analogies because they're so apropos. Is an expensive car always better than a cheap car oh, not necessarily. It depends what you want in a car and it's the same thing with pianos. It depends what you want in a piano.

A free piano that's been taken care of can be just as good as a new piano. Actually in some cases an older piano can even be better. Some of the best violins are hundreds of years old. It all comes down to craftsmanship and care. Just like with cars, some years the manufacturer puts out a model that's just not that great, it's the same thing with pianos. So don't always think you're getting the best piano if you're going to the piano gallery and buying a brand new piano.

Just like many things, you can stumble upon real treasures for free if you look. This is why people go to garage sales, cuz you can stumble upon a lost masterpiece. The same thing is true with Craigslist in pianos. Someone might have inherited the beautiful grand piano from their grandmother and it's been sitting in their house. The most important thing is that the piano is taken care of, which means it is tuned on a semi-regular basis. depending on temperature fluctuations in humidity fluctuations the piano might need to be tuned more often or less often.


What If I Can't Afford A Piano?

So I've already talked about the fact that there are plenty of free pianos out there, but you still have to figure out a way to move them to your place. This can cost hundreds of dollars. If that's still too much money for you, you can always buy an electric keyboard. They make many different levels of electric keyboards and there are plenty of options for under $100. Ideally you would buy a keyboard with weighted keys but those can be a little more expensive.

But if you're a total beginner, something is better than nothing. The next thing you should think about when buying a keyboard is if the keys are the correct size and how many keys the keyboard has. This is probably the most important thing to consider when buying a keyboard. Ideally it has 88 keys and the keys are standard size. It definitely feels completely different to play it if the keys are not weighted but you can still learn a lot of music without weighted keys!


Thank you so much for reading this article. I really love teaching and writing about piano. I have a few other articles on this site if you are interested in checking them out. I truly find a lot of meaning in writing these articles.

Cloe Haynes
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