Welcome to LivingPianos.com. I’m Robert Estrin and today’s question is, “How Do You Find the Serial Number on Your Piano?” There are a number of reasons why you might want to know your piano’s serial number. The piano’s age, along with its condition, and any repair work done to it will affect its value. You need to know this if you’re considering buying or selling your piano, or for an insurance claim or charitable tax deduction. You might also need to know the serial number for a bill of sale, insurance rider, warranty claim or moving or storage receipt. The serial number determines the age of your piano. Once you find it, you can reference the Pierce Piano Atlas, which has all the piano brands with the serial numbers, so you can determine when your Piano was built.
Where can you find the serial number on your piano?
If you look inside your piano at the plate, you may find a date and think your work is done. But it’s not so simple. In fact, the date of manufacture is never stamped on a piano. These dates usually refer to prizes that were won or patents that were awarded, but never the date of manufacture. So you’ve got to dig a little bit deeper. If you’re looking at a grand piano, the first place to look is under the music rack. You can simply slide the music rack out towards you. Underneath, usually on the left hand side on the plate, you’ll see a series of numbers. That can very well be the serial number of your piano. Reference the Pierce Atlas, and you’re done. But sometimes, you’ll see two sets of numbers or even more. It can be very confusing.
There are other numbers you may encounter.
Model numbers generally are letters and sometimes they have numbers in them. So, if you see a letter followed by a bunch of numbers, the first letter might just be the model, followed by the serial number. Over on the right hand side, you might see less digits. This could be an in house numbering system they used when they were manufacturing the piano, or sometimes it’s an artist number for concert grand pianos. Suppose the piano has been regilded, that is, the plate has been painted over. Does that mean you can’t figure out the serial number? Well, the good news is, pianos almost always have the serial number in more than one place. And the serial number isn’t always found on the plate.
There are several other places a serial number can be found.
Sometimes the serial number is stamped into the soundboard, usually towards the front of the piano. Look at the soundboard and you might see numbers. I’ve seen it on the back of the soundboard or even in the rim of the piano, under where the lid lifts up. Like I say, sometimes it takes a lot of detective work to find the serial number on your piano! Now, suppose you look all over the place inside the piano, but you still don’t see it. Well, then you have to go a little bit further.
Something you can do on your own that’s not that hard, is to take the key slip off in front of the keys. Some pianos, it just lifts out. Others might have several screws underneath you take out. Carefully lift up the key slip. You’ll may see the serial number on the key slip itself stamped into the wood. Or it could possibly be on the key frame of the action of the piano. No luck? You still have some possibilities. You can check underneath the piano. Take a flashlight under the piano and look around. Typically, it will be behind the pedal lyre on the piece of wood behind the pedal assembly. But I’ve seen it in other places down there. Sometimes, even on the bottom of the soundboard!
You might want help from a piano technician.
If you haven’t found the serial number yet, you may want to have your piano technician look for it, because you can potentially damage the piano taking it apart yourself. Your piano technician can possibly find the serial number by removing the action and taking out the cheek block screws on the ends of the piano. Once the key slip has been removed, the fallboard can sometimes lift out. But with older pianos, the fallboard is attached to the cheek blocks and this can be tricky to take out because they can fall off. This is why you should use a piano technician. The serial number is oftentimes stamped on the cheek blocks. If you still can’t find the serial number, then you can have your piano technician pull the whole action out a bit. The serial number might be stamped somewhere else on the action. If not, have your piano technician pull the action out completely, put it safely on a piano bench or a table, and hunt inside the piano with a flashlight to find the serial number.
You didn’t think this was going to be so complicated, did you? Well, the good news is, most of the time it’s not. Generally the serial number is on the plate, but now you have some resources just in case it’s not there.
Are there pianos with no serial number at all?
Yes, this can happen when a manufacturer puts the serial number on the plate or another part of the piano that has been replaced. If the plate was regilded or the soundboard was replaced, you might have no way of determining the serial number, or even the manufacturer of a piano! On some stencil pianos, that is OEM pianos that are produced by third party manufactures, it’s all but impossible to figure out not just a serial number, but even the make of a piano!
Where is the serial number found on upright pianos?
Most often the serial number on upright pianos will be right in the front. Open up the top and look inside. If you don’t see it there, you can look around back and sometimes you’ll see the serial number stamped in the back of the piano.
I’m Robert Estrin here at LivingPianos.com, Your Online Piano Store. See you next time.