You have just been presented with the opportunity to purchase a vintage or previously owned piano. The price seems right but is it appropriate with the condition of the instrument? Many pianos can be quite inviting aesthetically but what is under the hood?
People call their mechanic to evaluate the condition of a used car before buying and even take it on a test run. The same should be done before buying or moving a used or allegedly rebuilt piano.
Let me share with you one customer horror story so you may avoid the same misfortune. I received a call to provide a basic tuning for a customer who told me she recently moved an upright piano from out-of- state. I asked the woman to tell me about the style, age and condition of the piano.
She went on to proudly tell me that before she bought the piano, she paid the out-of- state dealer to have it rebuilt. When I asked her the age of the piano, she told me the 1930’s.
When I arrived at her home to perform the tuning, I assumed the instrument was in good condition, since the customer told me she paid to have it refurbished. However, I found the serial number indicated the instrument was much older than the customer was told. The piano was manufactured in the early 1900’s.
Further examination showed that the hammer felts were completely worn and moth ea\ten and not new or replaced as the customer thought. The piano was filthy inside and the strings were rusty.
When I tested the pin block (where the tuning pins attach into the piano), I found that the wood of the pin block was completely worn out and in needed replacement.
This piano was untunable but now I was faced with a dilemma. How was I to tell this nice woman that she was taken? Section by section I explained what work was not done. The more I explained the angrier she became. As you can imagine, she did not take it well and I was chased out of the house as the women yelled after me “get out, get out.”
The lesson of this story is, had the woman had a piano/tuner technician go over the piano before she wrote the check, she would have avoided being taken by the dealer.
I perform tunings and basic repairs and also provide evaluations of the mechanical conditions of your piano. Call me before you write that check.