If you’re familiar with pianos, you probably know they can be very expensive musical instruments. Many potential buyers might experience some sticker shock upon their first trip to a piano store. Grand pianos can range anywhere from a few thousand dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars! With so much range in price, how do you find the piano that is right for you and your family?
The most inexpensive option are digital pianos. A digital piano is not the same thing as a keyboard but they can look very similar. You can find a functional keyboard for as low as a hundred dollars at some stores, but if you want an actual digital piano you will have to invest more.
What makes a digital piano? Here is a quick rundown of what to look for.
88 Keys. A standard piano keyboard has 88 keys and you shouldn’t compromise on that when it comes to buying a digital instrument.
Weighted keys: Select keyboards can have the same weight as found on grand pianos. Have you ever played a keyboard with almost no resistance to the keys? It doesn’t feel like playing a piano does it? Weighted keys simulate the press of real piano keys, and may be the next best thing to having a real piano to practice on. More importantly, it will help you develop strength to play any piano.
Stand and Speakers are pretty standard on digital pianos (as opposed to keyboards). A lot of digital pianos are built to look like upright pianos and have integrated stands.
Having 3 Pedals isn’t essential, but certainly offer a nice addition to simulating the experience of playing an acoustic piano.
So how much does a decent digital piano cost? Plan on spending a minimum of between $500-$1,000 for a decent instrument and more for a digital piano with many features or attractive furniture.
As we have discussed in a previous video (Upright Pianos Vs. Grand Pianos), upright pianos have a few limitations when compared to grand pianos, but for many people they are a great option.
Here are 2 good reasons to consider getting an upright piano:
If you can’t fit a grand piano in your home, then having an upright piano may be the next best option. If you don’t have the budget for a grand piano, you may be able to find an upright piano in your price range.
This is not to say that upright pianos are inexpensive. A top-of-the-line upright piano can cost tens of thousands of dollars!
As far as entry-level instruments go, brand new uprights piano can be found for as little as $3,500-$5,000 and should provide a decent level for beginning students.
Grand pianos cover the largest section of pianos available in that they can come in sizes ranging from baby grand pianos under 5 feet, all the way up to concert grand pianos that can be 9 feet or even longer!
Depending on your budget and space, the bigger the piano, the more rewarding the tone. However, with size comes increases in cost and as we’ve discussed in a previous video the best size grand piano for you is dependant on a number of conditions.
When it comes to new entry-level baby grand pianos, you need to spend at least $5,000-$10,000 to get any kind of instrument and potentially a lot more. The prices go up depending on the size of the piano you’re looking for. But that is a good baseline price you can expect to pay for a new, entry level baby grand piano (or even smaller petite baby grand) that will be suitable as a musical instrument (not just a furniture piece).
You might have noticed that we neglected to mention used pianos up until this point. That’s because the price of used pianos is widely different than that of new instruments. In fact, the starting price for used pianos is $0!
Yes, believe it or not, you can find pianos online or in your local area for free! However, this might sound good in theory, but the reality is much more complex.
Would you buy a used car without getting the opinion of a mechanic or at least having a cursory knowledge of cars yourself? Probably not. The same principle applies to pianos. Unless you are knowledgeable about what to look for, a free piano could end up costing you much more than even a new instrument.
To provide an example, let’s say you find a used upright piano on Craigslist and someone is giving it away for free. You call them up and they say that as long as you can move the piano out of their home, you can have it. Unless you’re extremely adventurous, you’re going to want to call a professional piano mover to move the piano for you. Let’s assume that this costs a minimum of $200. Unless the previous owner took great care of the piano (which is rarely the case if they are giving it away for free!), you are going to, at the very least, get the piano tuned by a piano technician. For the sake of discussion, let’s say they can get the work done for another $200. So at a bare minimum, that free piano will actually cost $400 – which is almost the price of a brand new digital piano.
We get hundreds of pianos offered to our store every year and only a few are worth restoring. The pianos we take in are almost never in a condition to sell and they typically require thousands of dollars worth of work to put them into fine playing and cosmetic condition. Here are just a few things we evaluate with every single piano we are offered:
There are dozens more options that go into evaluating a piano, but these are just a few of the important aspects we evaluate on every single instrument. Each of these areas could cost thousands of dollars in repairs or replacement parts (as well as labor) and you must work with seasoned professionals.
Needless to say, you don’t want to move a piano into your home only to find out it’s simply beyond repair or going to cost you tens of thousands of dollars to get into playing condition. You’ll soon find out why that person was so desperate to get rid of their piano!
Buying a piano is a real challenge and whether you are looking for a new or used instrument it is extremely important to research your purchase and speak with someone you trust and is knowledgeable about what you’re looking for.
If you have any questions about this topic or any others, please contact us at: Info@LivingPianos.com (949) 244-3729