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Buying or Inheriting a Used Piano

If you do not yet own a piano and are thinking of buying one or have been offered one by a neighbor or Grandma, there are a number of things you should consider before taking the plunge. In the case of free pianos, they are seldom that and often require expensive repairs because of the aforementioned humidity damage. If they haven’t sustained humidity damage but have been used in a normal way, they still will need a thorough tuning and probably some amount of regulation (work on the action). If you are seriously considering taking a “free” piano, please spend the modest amount that an evaluation by a piano technician will cost before you take delivery. If the piano turns out to need work that you can’t afford just to be tunable and playable, you will at least have saved yourself the cost of moving it to your home and then moving it to the dump.  

In my area, a typical first floor move of a grand piano will cost $250-450, depending on factors like number of stairs and distance between pick-up and delivery.  Since moving a piano is not something for amateurs, (they are extremely heavy and tend to overbalance; the wheels become locked and won't roll, causing stress to the legs when you try to move it), this is not something you can save money on by doing it yourself.  Unless, of course you are a professional piano mover.  And while we are on the subject, it is far better to have your piano moved by a piano mover who has experience with pianos specifically, than to go with a general mover.  Even the best of the general movers make mistakes with grand pianos and frequently screw up the pedal lyres by leaving them on and pivoting the piano on it as they lower it to the ground.  The other reason you are going to have your piano moved by a professional piano mover is that of course they are insured.  Make sure this is so before you hire the mover.  It's also a good idea to find out what the piano is worth before you move it and make sure it is covered on your homeowners if there is some problem with the mover that they don't cover.

 

Especially if the piano is coming to you from out of state, the technician evaluation will save you any number of headaches.  If you are trying to settle an estate, you may well discover that the wonderful antique that you thought was so valuable, isn’t.  Or you may discover that it is truly something special and well worth the money you put into it.