Purchasing a piano is an important decision and one that can be intimidating. With so many different types of pianos available, whether you’re looking at acoustic or digital pianos, it can be difficult to know which type will best suit your needs. Before making the purchase, there are several key things to consider in order to make sure you get the perfect instrument for you.
The six most crucial elements when buying a piano include sound quality, action feel, size, and weight, durability, and longevity, features offered by the manufacturer, and overall cost.
It’s important to assess each factor carefully before committing to a particular model or brand of piano in order to ensure that your investment is worth every penny spent. Each element should be considered carefully in order for you to make an informed decision about which type of piano is right for you.
1. Sound Quality
Different models and brands will have varying levels of sound quality and tonal color, so it’s important to take some time to listen to several different options before making a decision. Make sure the tone you hear is pleasing to your ears and fits with the type of music you want to play.
In fact, if you opt for one of the high quality pianos, you will want to make sure you have the best sound quality available. To do so, listen for an even sound throughout all 88 keys of the piano when you press each key. Generally speaking, due to the higher value of a piano, ensuring sound quality is a must!
For example, when I recently bought a new digital piano for my daughter, I did quite a bit of research online before taking her with me to the store. She was able to play half a dozen pianos in the store and listen to each of them. She has more musical ability than I do and choose the piano that sounded best to her.
2. Action Feel
The action of a piano is how the keys feel when you press on them. This can range from very light and easy to play, to heavy and hard. Generally speaking, people tend to prefer a lighter action as it is easier on the hands and fingers. However, if your goal is to develop strength and technique, then choosing one with a heavier action might be the right choice for you.
If you are purchasing a digital piano, you’ll want to look for a piano with weighted keys. These keys feel more like the keys on an upright or grand piano. If your child is learning to play piano on a digital piano, having weighted keys will make it easier for them to transition to an acoustic piano for recitals, lessons, or other occasions.
Test out a few pianos to determine which action feels best for you and your needs. In addition, many pianos now have the option of adjustable action weight so you can customize it to your preference.
3. Size and Weight
The size and weight of a piano are also important factors to consider. Upright pianos tend to take up more space, while digital pianos are more compact and often require less maintenance. Upright pianos come in several variations of size, from very tall to compact, which can also affect where they sit in your home.
Digital models are usually lighter in weight than acoustic pianos, so it’s important to make sure you have enough room for the type of piano you want and that the weight of the piano will not be an issue.
Finally, keep in mind that the bigger the piano, the heavier it will be and the more difficult to move. As we are currently renting our home, I chose to buy a digital piano for my daughter. We don’t have a lot of space for a piano and, when we eventually move, I don’t want the hassle of figuring out how to move the piano (as it was an issue for us in our last move).
4. Durability and Longevity
You will, logically, want to purchase a piano that will last you for many years. Thus, it’s important to look closely at the quality and craftsmanship of each piano you consider before making a purchase. Pay attention to details like keys that are placed tightly together, pedals that are securely attached, and hardware that is properly fitted and positioned.
All of these factors will help ensure your piano lasts you for many years to come. Furthermore, if you plan on playing the piano often, it might be worth investing in a more durable model that can withstand frequent use.
5. Features Offered by the Manufacturer
It’s also important to consider the features that come with a particular model of piano. Different manufacturers will offer different features and options, such as built-in metronomes, recorders, USB connectivity, and more.
Make sure you take some time to research the available features on each piano before making your decision so that you know what you’re getting and how it will impact your playing in general. Furthermore, some manufacturers may offer additional accessories, such as dust covers or stands that can further improve the quality of your experience.
6. Overall Cost
Finally, you need to consider how much the piano will cost. While it is possible to purchase a great instrument for a fraction of what you might expect, you should also prepare to pay more for greater sound quality and superior craftsmanship.
Be sure to assess each piano’s cost in comparison with its sound quality, action feel, size, and weight, durability, and features offered in order to decide which is the best value for you. Moreover, be sure to factor in the cost of regular maintenance, as this will be a necessary part of keeping your piano in great condition for years to come.
While you can find a multitude of free pianos on secondhand websites, it has been my experience that you get what you pay for. My first “free” piano cost me extra to tune because it was a compact piano that required a specially-trained tuner. My second “free” piano cost me several hundred dollars to move and then several hundred dollars to tune, with the piano tuner telling me that it was an old piano that needed refurbishing and wasn’t suitable for a concert-level pianist.
If you have a serious piano student, it’s worth investing in a good instrument for them. If you are not yourself familiar with pianos and able to thoroughly check out a secondhand piano to ensure that it’s sound, then I recommend purchasing a secondhand piano from a reputable shop or piano tuner who can guarantee that it’s worth what you pay for it.
By looking closely at these six factors when buying a piano, you can make an informed decision that will help ensure your investment is worthwhile and that the instrument you choose will meet all of your needs. No matter what type of piano you’re looking for, if you take the time to research your options and consider these six key points of comparison, you’ll be well on your way to finding the perfect instrument.
Photo credit: Depositphotos.
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