Piano Piano Piano Piano

Advice on Buying and Caring for Piano

Buying a Piano

People have different requirements when purchasing a piano.  The type of piano you choose will depend on who it is for and how often it will be played - from a complete beginner to a serious professional; the space available in your home; the appearance of the piano in terms of a piece of furniture and the amount of money you wish to spend.
The price you pay will in general determine the quality of the instrument, but the purchase of a good piano is seldom, if ever, a bad investment. Every piano has an individual character in terms of touch and tone, so choose one you have tried which feels and sounds right for you.

Buying New

This should not be a problem, providing you find a reputable retailer, offering you a guarantee, delivery and tuning.

Buying Secondhand

Don't be tempted to buy a "cheep old piano" for a beginner, which could be worthless or even dangerous.  The guidelines given below are intended to help you evaluate a piano you are interested in buying. Even if it appears to be mechanically sound, as  a piano has over five thousand parts, it is always advisable to consult a qualified piano technician. Such a person can tell you what repairs may be necessary, at what cost, and if the selling price needs to be negotiated. Buying privately through the internet should only be done with the advise of a qualified piano technician in the area of the sale and a reputable, insured remover should be sort.
CASE - Look for scratches, dents, missing pieces of veneer and evidence of woodworm both outside and inside the piano.
KEYS - Look for any unevenness and chipped or missing keycovers. Play all the notes to find any excessive side movement or sluggish keys which may stick down.  Also when you play listen for clicks, buzzes, squeaks, rattles or notes ringing on, which suggests faults inside the piano; listen if it sounds badly out of tune.
PEDLES - Push them up and down to see if they work properly and listen for any squeaks.
IRON FRAME - Avoid pianos without a metal frame inside.
STRINGS - Look for any missing or rusted strings (total string replacement is very costly)
TUNING PINS  (hold top end of string) - Look for corrosion around them and for cracks in the wood in which they are fitted.
ACTION (working part of the piano - look for broken or missing parts; parts spaced unevenly or not in alignment; badly worn or moth eaten felts.
SOUNDBOURD (wooden panel directly behind the strings) - Look for cracks and splits.

Caring for your Piano

Your piano is an investment that needs to be cared for properly; so it will last for years and will sound and play well.  The guidelines below will help you to do this and remember that a qualified piano technician will always be happy to advise.

Tuning and Maintenance

Your piano is designed to sound its best when regularly tuned to A440 pitch, which matches the pitch of other instruments. To maintain this a piano needs to be tuned twice per year, even if it is not played very much.  A piano may require a larger pitch adjustment to restore tuning stability, which will involve more time and expense, if the piano has not been tuned regularly or has been in excessively dry or humid surroundings. The working parts of you piano are affected by wear and tear, and also need servicing every so often.

Cleaning the Case and Keys

Pianos are finished with a variety of materials designed to protect the wood and enhance its natural beauty.  The case only needs to be dusted with a dry, clean, soft cotton cloth to avoid scratches. Keys may be cleaned with a slightly damp cloth then wiped with a dry cloth.  Use polish sparingly, but avoid using spray polishes and polish containing silicone. Do not attempt to clean the inside of your piano or oil any squeaky parts these need to be addressed by a qualified tuner technician.  Also do not put anything containing liquids - flower vases, pot plants, drinks - on top of your piano, since a spillage could cause serious and costly damage.  Other objects on the top may cause unwonted noises when you play the piano.

Piano Location

Ideally , your piano should be positioned in a "lived in" room where relatively even temperature and humidity help to prevent the components swelling drying or shrinking and so maintain tuning stability.  Excessive heat, cold or moisture are likely near all heat sources - radiators, pipe or air vents; in direct sunlight; on outside facing walls and under windows. If you have under floor heating you must stand your piano on a sheet of polystyrene backed with aluminium foil. A low wattage dehumidifier can be installed by a piano technician to help with damp conditions, and a simple humidifier can help counteract the drying effect central heating has on wood.   

Your piano is a valuable and treasured instrument, so only entrust it to competent professionals.