Archive for December, 2012

Looking to buy a used piano on CraigsList? Read before you embark on your journey.

I frequently get calls from potential customers who bought a used piano on an Internet site specializing in used, “for sale” items (i.e.  Quite often, I set up an appointment to tune the aforementioned instrument; only to arrive at their premises to find a freshly-acquired, used piano that is completely unserviceable, or, it needs work that could cost every bit as much as the acquisition.  That is when I encounter one of the most undesirable aspects of my profession.  I have to tell the customer, “Sorry, but I can’t do anything for you.”

Of course, in many cases the customer did get a good piano for a fair price, and that works out well. But a used piano can potentially have a myriad of problems which cannot be addressed within reason. Most of these points are not detectable from a novice’s point of view.  Of course, I try my best to make light of the situation. Perhaps there is an inexpensive alternative to making the piano at least playable. But it always involves compromise.  More often than not, the situation pans out that purchasing this white elephant was a poor decision. Let’s face it; if the piano has serious problems that can’t be fixed without an investment several time s that of the purchase price, it probably would have been better if the customer had simply bought another instrument that is serviceable as-is.

To compound the problem, the customer now has a very large, heavy object that needs to be disposed of. They can’t sell it because they know it is defective. Now, they must figure out how to get rid of this monstrosity that is occupying valuable space in their home.  Weighing in at a minimum of 300 pounds (and that is for a spinet; the weight goes way up from there), more than one person is required to move it. Disposing of it is another issue altogether.

I’m not suggesting that you avoid buying a used piano off an Internet site. Very likely everything will be fine, and the piano could just use a good tuning. My point is this; call a qualified technician to inspect the piano before making a decision to purchase it. That might cost you around $100 or so, but it is worth every penny if their inspection averts a potentially bad situation of having to dispose of a 300+ pound white elephant.