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8 Big Mistakes to Avoid While Buying Your First Piano

First-time buyers can feel overwhelmed when shopping for a piano. Don’t worry. I rounded up common mistakes to avoid while buying your first piano.

Nothing gives you a sense of accomplishment quite like learning an instrument. And learning the piano is one of the most challenging but immensely rewarding.

The best (and the only) way to learn it is to get hands-on, though. Which means you need to buy one. However, many first-time buyers make common mistakes when they buy their pianos.

A high-quality piano can be quite expensive. You don’t want to waste your money buying something you don’t need.

Top 8 Mistakes First-time Piano Buyers Make

Buying a piano is a major commitment. The last thing you want is to buy one and realize it’s not right for you. Here are some mistakes you should avoid when buying your very first piano.

1. Buying One Without Research

One mistake many first-time piano buyers make is buying one without proper research. Look, I get it! Learning the piano is very exciting. And you can’t wait to buy one for yourself and start practicing.

However, without proper research, you might end up with a bad one. Or worse, you will end up with one with so many features you won’t need.

This means you could have saved money on your first purchase. Fortunately, there’s a silver lining here – you’re reading this article. So, you’re already one step ahead of those who don’t research.

2. Not Having a Budget

The second mistake you should avoid is not budgeting for your piano purchase. If you take a “go with the flow” approach with the budget, you might spend more than you need. The opposite is true as well.

You can buy a cheap one just because it was cheap and end up with a horrible piano. However, when you sit down to set up a budget, you will inherently answer many questions for yourself. It will make your decision easier, and you can purchase a piano more purposefully.

For example, what kind of piano do you want? What is your skill level? Do you want to buy a digital piano? Asking yourself these questions will help you create a framework for yourself.

3. Buying One Without Asking for Advice

The third biggest mistake you should avoid is not asking experts or experienced players for advice. If you already have a piano teacher, they should be the first person you ask for which model to buy.

They’re professionals with loads of experience with different types of pianos. Moreover, they’re teaching you. Therefore, they know first-hand what your strengths and weaknesses are.

So, your teacher can advise you on which piano to buy. Experience is a big deal when playing the piano and buying one.

And it’s safe to assume that a teacher has experience because they also had to buy their first piano at once. Why not learn from their experience and avoid the mistakes they might have made?

4. Getting a Poor Piano Because It Costs Less

Buying a particular model because it costs less is an easy way to shoot yourself in the foot. Just because a piano costs objectively less doesn’t mean it’s good value.

A very cheap one could end up being unusable. You could have gotten a substantially better model if you had spent a little more. What might happen is you’ll need to buy one that’s at least halfway decent. As a result, you could have to pay for your piano twice.

Of course, some pianos can cost over $5,000 or even $10,000. Those are for professionals. Not for first-time buyers. But an excellent option like a Roland FP-30X Digital Piano will be a much better value for money than a cheap one you find online.

5. Paying for Features You Don’t Need

A very easy way you could end up overspending on a piano is by buying a very high-end model. Unfortunately, more often than not, they come with fancy features you don’t need – at least not for now.

You get technical specifications and get hung up on things like the best piano loved by professionals and whatnot.

However, if your skill level is at a lower level, there is no point in paying for those high-end features. Buying a high-quality electric piano with a decent build, sound, and durable keys is all you need.

6. Not Reading Reviews

This is the age of information. A quick google search will give you tons of results for piano reviews. And in different price points too. You’ll be remiss if you don’t read these reviews by people who have used the product first-hand.

There might be a specific model of piano that interests you. I am sure tons of articles on the internet will review that exact model. Thus, you should always read up on some reviews before buying.

Also, don’t just read a single review. Read a couple. This will allow you to look at it from different perspectives. And each review might have a different take on it. Moreover, their experience with the piano could differ.

7. Not Considering Maintenance and Moving Costs

There are some hidden costs to buying a piano. For example, an acoustic piano must be tuned at least 2 times a year.

If you get it professionally tuned, it could cost you a lot of money. Also, if your area is more populated, finding a skilled piano tuner will be easier.

Moving pianos is expensive too. Typically moving companies don’t include relocating pianos in the total bill.

In addition, moving a piano requires expertise and also purpose-built equipment. Typically, it costs around $400.

You may be tempted to get someone willing to do it for cheaper. But you might regret it if they damage your piano during the process. So, it’s always better to pay a professional to do it.

These additional costs are something you should think about too. But, unfortunately, many people buy a piano without thinking about these things and get surprised. Fortunately, an electric piano doesn’t have many hidden costs in the long term.

8. Forgetting to Explore Financing Options and Promo Deals

Let’s talk about money. The last big mistake people make when buying a piano is not discussing financing options with the seller. A high-quality piano isn’t cheap. However, sellers know this. And most probably then not, the store offers financing options.

Always check to see whether there are ways you can finance your purchase. You might be able to pay the piano off in monthly installments. Also, with financing, many doors open up. You can jump to a higher-end model since you don’t have to pay the whole amount simultaneously.

However, keep the 5th point I mentioned in mind. Don’t overpay for a piano with features you don’t need and won’t use.

Should You Consider Buying Second-hand?

If you want to save some cash on your first piano but still want a good model, buying one used is a viable option. I won’t disregard the option of buying a used piano. Good piano brands make their products last.

These pianos hold their value for a long time too. If you find a seller that takes good care of their piano, you can buy it second-hand and use it without worry. You can get a higher-end model for a lower price than buying a brand-new one.

However, be careful though. Buying used pianos is a slippery slope. You might end up with a fantastic deal or get scammed if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Here is where some advice from your other piano-playing friends and teacher will come in handy. They could even give you leads for reputable second-hand sellers. Here are some things to check for buying used:

The Brand

Brand value is significant when it comes to pianos. Reputed brands produce good quality pianos that last for a long time.

Moreover, they give you some peace of mind as well. Even if you aren’t buying used, I will insist on buying a brand-name piano.

Check out brand names you recognize. Yamaha, Steinway & Son, Wm. Knabe & Co and others are big names in the scene. If your seller has one of these used pianos for sale, they’re probably in good shape.

How Long Has it Been Used For

The average lifespan of a piano is about 50 to 65 years. Of course, some premium handcrafted pianos still perform like a charm even after 70 years. But those are very rare.

At the low end, a well-maintained piano from a well-known brand will last 20 years or so. But I don’t recommend you buy a used piano that has been in use for that long.

How well the piano was maintained is more important than how long it was used. When you’re talking with the seller, ask them how they maintained it and how long it has been in use.

Do a Quality Check: Look for Rattles, Out of Tune Keys, and Buzzing Sounds

This part is where you need to call for some reinforcements. If you’re buying your first piano, chances are you could be more comfortable diagnosing problems and assessing their condition.

Take someone knowledgeable with you to give you a verdict on the condition. Everyday things you need to look for are any kind of buzzing sounds or rattles.

Out-of-tune keys can be problematic as well. However, some parts can be replaced or easily fixed. Others are either very expensive and difficult to fix or outright impossible. Here’s a list of parts you can fix:

  • Hammer felt
  • Soundboard (cracked)
  • Missing strings
  • Cabinet blemishes
  • Loose tuning pins

The above parts are often repairable. But depending on the extent of the damage, you should still be careful. If the used piano has the following parts damaged, then avoid purchasing it:

  • Hammers
  • Pinblock
  • Piano bridges

Wrapping Up

Having a piano with the right features and specifications will make your learning experience more enjoyable. However, don’t sour the whole process by rushing into purchasing a piano and ending up with a bad one.

Avoid the mistakes I mentioned above, and you should be good. And remember, asking for expert advice goes a long way.



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About Joseph Timmons (9900 Articles)
I am the Father of 5 and a "Would Be Philosopher of Idiocy" - Author and Writer for several Blogs and Online Magazine. Review Journalist, Musician and Audio Buff. Follow Me and I'm Sure to Entertain.

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