Buying a Used Piano

About two weeks ago, I returned from a trip out of town only to learn that my wife had bought a used piano for $200. As it turns out, our kids’ school was having a fundraiser, and they were selling their old piano in a silent auction. While we’ve toyed with the idea of buying a decent used piano in the past, the idea fallen off our radar over the past few months… Or so I thought.

What concerned me the most upon hearing about the purchase was that buying a good used piano isn’t all that easy. In fact, entire books have been written on the process. So when I learned that my wife had purchased one on a whim, I was expecting the worst — especially given the $200 price point.

Anyway, what’s done is done, so she arranged to have a piano mover pick it up and transport it to our house. When I got home, I was heartened to see that it actually looked quite nice. It’s an older Baldwin, and the finish is a good match to the woodwork elsewhere in our house. It’s definitely used, but in a nicely aged sort of way. There were apparently some paint spatters, etc. on it when it arrived, but those came off easily, and it cleaned up very well.

As for functionality, there were a few keys that were sticking, but the boys were able to start playing it straightaway. Now that we’ve had it tuned/reapired, it works beautifully. The sound is great (at least to my non-musical ears) and the keys that were sticking are no longer a problem.

How much did we pay (total) for our “new” piano?

  • Piano: $200
  • Moving: $200
  • Tuning/Repair: $110

So… For a grand total of $510, we got ourselves a nice piano that our boys will be able to play for years to come. On top of that, we’ve been told by several people (including their piano teacher, the piano mover, and the tuner) that we could easily sell turn around and sell it for at least $1500. Not too shabby.

11 Responses to “Buying a Used Piano”

  1. Anonymous

    I am selling my old used piano and organ combination. I bought it 20 years ago for $50. I don’t play the organ but I didn’t care because I wanted to play the piano. It is a “Thomas” brand which tells me this piano/organ must be very old. Several signs of wear and tear (ie. small/medium size scratches) from previous owners. The organ pedals need to be replaced since they were broken when the piano/organ was being delivered to my house. The electrical cord for the organ is about 4 feet long and is in excellent condition, the plug has 3 prongs to plug in. The brass piano pedals are tarnished but still work great and in great condition. The piano has a full keyboard and all the keys work excellent. The organ is 1/2 of a keyboard that is just above the piano keyboard. All organ keys work excellent. There are 6 small dials on the left side of the organ keyboard that work very well. The piano bench opens for storing music, has scratches but is in very good condition.
    This piano has two legs with wheels, one on both ends of the front of the piano. The heavy part of the piano is where 99% of the weight of this paino is, it’s all solid wood that has small casters on all four corners.
    This piano is perfect to practice piano lessons or just have fun. I live in Columbus, Ohio. I have no idea how much it is worth but I will sell it for $20.00. My husband and I just want to sell it! We don’t want it anymore. The buyer would have to have a truck and some very strong men to come to move this piano/organ out of our house plus the buyer must provide dolly’s or whatever platform with good size wheels and a way to life this heavy piano up and into their truck. This piano/organ is too heavy for a regular pick- up truck. Anyone interested please let me know.

  2. Anonymous

    As a music teacher, I wanted to congratulate you on your purchase! Just having a piano in the house will do great things for your kids. I love those old Baldwins, too, and they only get better with age.

    The tricky part, at least around here, is finding a good tuner and repair person!

  3. Anonymous

    I bought myself a second hand piano a few years ago and it’s just brilliant. Many hours worth of playing for just a few outlays of manuscript. And it’s great for entertaining when you have visitors (for a while at least).

  4. Anonymous

    Sounds like the beginnings of a flipper’s market. Sell the piano, buy 3 more. Fix them up, repeat, and profit! You might as well even keep a few for yourself and your kids. I always wanted to have a summer piano in the Adirondacks and a winter piano in South Carolina.

  5. Anonymous

    Wow that’s awesome. I’d kill to get a used piano for that price. We don’t have anywhere to put it, but it would still be better than our relatively cheap Yamaha electronic piece of junk that probably cost about $200 back when we bought it.

  6. Excellent point, Rob. We actually have a nice electronic keyboard which works great, but we also have three kids in piano lessons (won’t be long before it’s four) so being able to have two practice at once has been great. Also, the real piano is much more attractive than the keyboard, and thus more suitable for our living room.

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