Daily Archives: July 23, 2018

2 posts

I found a free piano on Craigslist, should I take it?

Be very wary of those so-called free pianos on Craigslist or any other classified ad sites. Why? Because nothing is free especially for a piano. Let me break down the cost of a free piano:

  • Piano moving: It costs around $150-$300 for a professional piano mover to move a vertical piano and $250-$500 to move a grand piano. Do NOT try to move piano by yourself. Not only is piano heavy, it is also very tricky to move. If you move the piano by yourself and anything goes wrong, you will (a) damage the piano, (b) damage the property of the seller or yourself, (c) probably hurt yourself. Remember to hire an “insured” piano mover and not just any mover.
  • Piano tuning: A free piano is almost guaranteed to be seriously out of tune. (A side note, Craigslist sellers usually say, “The piano hasn’t be tuned for a few years but it is still pretty much in tune.” It is a BS, don’t believe it.) A regular tuning costs around $100-$200 but a seriously out-of-tune piano will need more than one tuning to get back in tune, which means you will spend at least $200-$400 for tuning.
  • Repair: Most free pianos will have a few keys that do not respond and probably strings that are broken or rusted. You will need a piano technician to repair the piano before the piano can be tuned or played. Prepare to spend at least a few hundred dollars to repair a “free” piano.

If you add up all the cost, it will come to around $1,000. For that kind of money, you can get a decent new digital piano. If you add a little more, you can get a decent used acoustic vertical piano from a reputable piano dealer or piano technician/rebuilder who will not only delivery the piano for free, give you a free tuning, and possibly provide a warranty between 1 to 10 years in case anything goes wrong.

Conclusion: Forget about the free piano; they are not free, really.

This is one of the articles in a series called “Piano Buying Guide for Parents of Young Students“. You can find other articles of the series through this link.

When should I choose a digital piano instead of acoustic piano?

Digital pianos do have advantages over acoustic pianos in a few areas:

  • A digital piano can be played silently with headphones whereas most acoustic pianos cannot. Except for a few Yamaha models, most acoustic pianos cannot be played silently. If you live in close proximity with other people such as in an apartment or you plan to practice piano late in the night or early in the morning, a digital piano will be a much better fit than an acoustic piano. Actually, a high percentage of acoustic piano owners, including ourselves, also own a digital piano because of digital piano’s ability to play silently.
  • Acoustic pianos need more space than digital pianos. You can literally place a digital piano anywhere in your house as long as it has access to electricity. Acoustic pianos, on the other hand, need careful placement for acoustic reasons. A vertical acoustic piano is usually placed against a wall, and it may be more difficulty than you think to find an empty wall in a house. A grand piano may look like it needs a lot of space but in my experience it is no more than a upright piano needs.
  • Digital pianos are generally lighter and easier to move around. Some digital pianos can be carried around in your car, which is impossible even for the smallest acoustic piano.
  • Digital pianos need no maintenance whereas acoustic pianos need regular tuning and servicing. Acoustic pianos need to be tuned at least once per year and possibly twice per year, which will cost you between $100 to $400 per year. Digital pianos are always in tune and never need tuning. Acoustic pianos are made of wood, steel, and wool. These parts will eventually break down and you will need a piano technician to replace broken strings, worn out hammers…etc. A typical acoustic piano can last about 50-60 years, and at that time, you can either spend big money to rebuild the piano or give it to your child for free and make it her problem! Digital pianos, on the other hand, are usually irreparable. Because digital pianos are made of electronic parts and companies always come up with new models year after year, replacing a digital piano is almost always cheaper than repair a broken digital pianos.

This is one of the articles in a series called “Piano Buying Guide for Parents of Young Students“. You can find other articles of the series through this link.