From The Blog Of Ric Overton...

How To Buy Your New Piano

Ric Overton

Here is a blog that I wrote more than 4 years ago and apparently, I have never changed my thoughts about How To Buy Your New Piano.

Take a look at the similarities of something that I wrote more than 4 years ago and what my thoughts are today.

The question is: What piano do I buy? How much should I spend? Which piano is right for me? What is the most important feature? Grand or Upright, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, U.S., European, OMG !!!! There is so much to know.

There Is An Answer

New or Used

How To Buy Your New PianoThe answer is: Yes! Buy a piano! Now let’s figure out which one is the best one for you. Now the next question is: What’s the right piano for you? The answer to that question is a “little” more complicated.

Of course, There are so many name brands in every price range imaginable. You can buy new or used. The biggest question starts with: What can I afford? Once you get to this point you can begin the next steps.

If you are like most people you have no idea how much pianos even are. You have no idea how much a new piano might be. The answer is very simple. You can find them free on some websites and you can mortgage your home to buy one.

Alright Already – How Much is buying your new piano going to be

A decent used upright piano might be as low as $1,500.00. From that price range you begin to add value for things like, the condition of the piano, the age of the piano, the brand name will have an effect as well.

To give you an example: I live in Los Angeles, CA. The market here is very competitive which is good for the consumer. So, a local piano dealer presently has a nice spinet for $795.00. And, from $795.00 the next step is $1,495.00 which is for an older American Case Style piano but is a console. But, the prices then go to $2,495.00 which is for a nice shiny mahogany piano from the mid 1980s.

However, Any of these pianos would make a nice piano for a beginner. However, if the player is a little more advanced, it may not be the best solution.

The more you are able to devote the more features and benefits you will be able to enjoy. So this is where I would start.

This is How To Buy Your New Piano

Test Out Your Local Dealers. Ask in Person. How to buy your new piano.

R. Kassman PianoI put very little value in Social Media posts from people as a whole. I find that often times the “reviews of XYZ company” are misleading. The best way to investigate a dealer is to visit them. You will know usually within a few moments what type of people you are dealing with.

Most dealers will have a decent amount of inventory in all price ranges. Most of the them will have both new and used. If you have no starting point or reference point I would suggest starting there.

Start Here

Start by looking at the selection of inventory and asking questions. Notice how much the sales person is trying to help you by asking questions about you and what your application is. Be very detailed about what you have in mind (if you do) and if you have someone who is playing or starting to learn.

Additionally, Be sure to discuss where you are planning to place your instrument, who is going to play it, what there experience level is, where in the room will the piano be placed, delivery instructions (stairs, steps, turns,etc). Additionally I would take the time to decide what your dollar will buy.

Often times when looking at pianos people will forget everything and get caught up in the moment. You will be surprised at how affordable you can make a piano purchase by using financing and other terms that may be available through a piano dealer.

Going To A Small Piano Dealer

Don’t discount the small dealer. How to buy your new piano can be simple. You can often find really good pianos at very good values at small dealers. Listen carefully to their guarantees and what they are offering to you besides a nice piano. For example, do they tune your piano after delivery, do they provide additional warranties, do they offer money back guarantees or price matches, etc.

However, The best advise I can give you is to seriously stop and consider your personal application and then start the next questions. Here’s an example of some of the questions I think you should be asking yourself.

Good Questions To Ask

  1. Who is playing the piano? If its your 6 yr. old that has never played before then you might consider a digital piano that is less expensive and can be traded in for a nicer instrument in the future (depending, of course, on the dealer you are doing business with). Check on the trade in policy of your dealer. If you are not buying from a piano dealer – reconsider your decision – consider a local dealer first.
  2. Where is it going? If you don’t have room for a grand piano you will have to consider an upright. Is it going under a window, if so, how low does the window go? Are there any special needs in that particular area? Is there a door in the way? What type of floor is the piano going to sit on? Carpet will deaden the sound a little while tile and wood will carry the sound. Is it going in front of a glass wall? If so, you should stay away from wood tones because the light will fade the wood of any furniture. Is there direct sunlight? Direct sunlight will not only fade out wood but could also dry out the soundboard and cause it to crack. Is it going in front of a window or vent where the humidity will constantly affect the tuning and possibly the wood.

Additional Questions You may Consider

  1. What are your expectations? Do you want a musical instrument or do you want a pretty piece of furniture?
  2. How long do you expect to own the piano? Are you investing in something that you intend to be a fixture in your home? Do you just need something to fill up a space? Are you trying to find a certain “look” in your home or are you going to use it on a regular basis?
  3. How about a player system? Player pianos are really nice. You push the “PLAY” button and it plays. You can watch the keys go up and down and listen. There is also ALWAYS that one person who wants to pretend they are playing or pretend its a ghost.
  4. What can you afford? Now you know that prices for a decent USED upright will start around $2,000.00 and go up from there. New upright pianos will start around $3,000 and go up from there. Used grands will start around $5,000 and new grands will start around $8,000. The level of quality and age will determine the price.

I Understand How Difficult It Can Be

Obviously, I know its hard to know exactly what to buy when you have no idea what you are doing. My biggest suggestion is ” You should find a dealer that you feel comfortable with”. Trust your dealer and listen closely to the things they tell you. Verify with a technician that you trust.

Ric OvertonIf you feel as if you just can’t afford or do not want to visit a local dealer (a decision that I personally disagree with) then you really need to find a qualified technician or tuner that will help you.

How to buy your new piano. Here is more information that will help you.

Generally speaking, the tuner/tech is going to charge you a fee. That fee can range from free to a couple of hundred dollars. If you are spending several thousand dollars then a couple of hundred wont hurt additionally, the comfort in knowing that you have made a good purchase is worth the additional fee.


The tuner/tech should be a certified technician from the Piano Technicians Guild. You can find a piano tech at or The tech will already know what to look for. They will spend time looking at the strings, soundboard, plate and action.

Consequently, The strings should appear new and shiny. The soundboard should not show any signs of stress, no compression ridges or splits or separation. The plate should not show any cracks and finally, the action should be playable and smooth. All of the keys should play comfortably.

One of the most important if not THE most important is that you need to feel good about your purchase, feel good about the piano, feel good about the people you are buying your piano from. If at anytime during the sales process you don’t feel good OR you feel pressured, make up your mind to simply walk away.

Visit R. Kassman Piano in Berkeley. We feel it is the best piano store in the bay area.

Ric Overton

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