New Or Used?
Pianos are purchased for many different reasons: childrens’ lessons; at-home practice; the décor of a luxury home; an entertainment center for family and guests; an instrument for a public venue—and more.
Whatever the reason, the first decision is whether to buy a new piano or a used piano.
There are people who never buy new cars, new houses, or even new clothes, just as a philosophy of life. They have accepted that buying ‘used’ invites the risk, of possibly taking on someone’s else’s problems. This article lays out the upside of paying more but reducing risk by buying a piano that is new.
The biggest downside of buying a used piano is that the piano may not have been regularly or properly maintained (how can you know?) with the instrument irreparably damaged by climate or neglect. An old, dull sounding piano unable to hold a tuning could be presented as valuable antique simply because it has an interesting case. Unless you have a technician to assess such instruments, you could be wasting your money.
A grand piano has over 10,000 moving parts, and like an automobile, the quality and maintenance of those parts is paramount. If people knew how many old pianos ended up in junk shops and in landfills, they would be very cautious indeed. And many that just “look” good (but are not) sit on the floor of your local piano shop.
A case in point is that once Steinway began mass-producing pianos, the used Steinway market was so flooded that they opened their own Used Steinway Piano stores, thus becoming the biggest competition against themselves. This is one example of the many dedicated used Steinway outlets: https://www.jacobsmusic.com/pianos/used-pianos-main/used-steinways
Luxury or Economy?
One might think that a luxury piano is only for the uber rich or for celebrities. But in truth, the very term “luxury” connotes far more than the price tag.
First of all, there are many price ranges within the luxury designation. Depending on the customization, brand names, the quality of the woods, hardware, strings, etc. used within and without, a new luxury piano can start under $50,000 and go as high as a $million. Rare, exotic woods, famous designers, innovative piano pedals, keys, actions and state of the art modern materials (like non yellowing acrylic) all contribute to higher value and prices.
Pianos handcrafted in Europe by centuries’ old brand piano builders will have unmatched quality. If the prices are too high, you don’t have to jump to inferior brands however. The same builders sometime carry ‘economy’ lines and other builders using a mix of machine tooling combined with hand labor artisans plus excellent materials can compete as luxury instruments.
But pricing is only one piece of the deliberation puzzle. There are many other things to consider. Here are our top five reasons for buying a new luxury baby grand piano.
Action /Performance Quality
The performance quality of a piano can be attributed to the piano builder’s attention to highly technical details when installing and setting the action of the instrument. This assembly of moving parts is known as the geometry of the action, and involves intricate settings of keys, hammers, dampers, strings, repetition levers and springs.
As the action parts move, these materials can slightly lose position over time/use and need to be brought back to their original by regular tunings. The tuner’s job in maintaining an action includes reducing any unwarranted friction/slippage by cleaning, balancing, regulating, and lubricating parts to keep things tip top. You can understand that a poorly constructed, cheap piano will not have the same geometry as a luxury piano. Not only will the parts be inferior, but the delicate balance in sound quality can be attributed to experienced knowledge and an artisan’s ear which is often missing in mass produced product manufacture.
Stress Free Maintenance
A good piano will hold its tuning longer than a bad piano. Some brands are more stable than others, but generally speaking the handmade instruments hold their settings so that annual or semi-annual tunings suffice unless the piano is heavily played.
For more information about tuning, read “What Is Piano Tuning and How Much Does It Cost?”
With inferior pianos, broken strings, out of tune keys, and actual damage (action needing to be repaired/rebuilt) can be expected, which adds costs to the original price.
Warranties and Support
Warranties are pretty standard with most new products, but with used pianos, they are usually sold “as is” without guarantees. In the case of restorations, a shop may offer a short warranty but you might want to read the fine print.
New luxury baby grand pianos come with full warranties, longer and more inclusive, varying by brand. The warranties of some new luxury baby grand pianos are even transferable to new owners, if the piano is sold. Euro Piano Naples offers a free professional tuning after the instrument has had time to “settle” after delivery at the client’s location in addition to its warranty.
But one of the most important things about buying a new luxury baby grand is that knowledgeable sellers of bespoke pianos can guide and direct you through the process. Clients often don’t realize the scope of choices offered by today’s piano industry. Gone are the days of the three-legged “cookie-cutter” silhouette of the brown parlor grand. Today’s luxury baby grands come in colors, materials and designs that could rival the top furniture makers in the world. With customization options, the sky’s the limit—but most clients need support to navigate the brands and options. Free consultation at Euro Pianos Naples is included in the price of their instruments.
Learning To Play With Quality
For beginning piano students, whether child or adult, the quality of the piano is not only important, but it can ‘make or break’ the learning experience –and the eventual success of becoming a pianist. To submit a beginner to a bad instrument is like learning to drive a car without all its parts. The sound, touch and beauty of the piano become part of the beginner’s experience. The quality registers on the student, whether consciously or unconsciously, and poor sound or touch will only discourage practice and interest.
Parents often think that buying an old upright, throwing it into the basement and hiring a teacher is the easy way for kids to learn. If there’s no respect for the piano or for the results produced from it, a child will have little interest in pursuing lessons.
If you search the internet, you will see all kinds of ads and recommendations for digital pianos and inexpensive keyboards as the quick fix for beginners. But don’t be fooled. Various statistics confirm that 80% of students who learn on new quality pianos continue with lessons. Used pianos and cheap keyboards reduce the beginner’s chances to 20% success. So not only does the quality of a new luxury baby grand enhance learning, but it’s also a visual and artistic addition to the home, thus improving the quality of life in many other ways for the whole family.
More reading is available in “Choosing A Piano for Your Child” and “The Multiple Mind-Blowing Benefits of Playing Piano” and “Effects of Music Learning and Piano Practice on Cognitive Function, Mood and Quality of Life in Older Adults”
Asset and Investment
Contrary to popular sales pitches, pianos are not an investment in the real sense of the word. Steinway has multiple lawsuits against them for assuring that the value of their pianos will increase with time, and can be resold with no losses. The truth is they depreciate, like furniture, with time and use.
The upside of buying well made furniture is that the wear and tear on it is minimal compared to cheap goods. This means that a fine piece of furniture can indeed increase in value if it gets to be an antique that is in demand. But the moving parts within a piano are a different matter. They may or may not be properly maintained, so used pianos, even those with antique cases, are always questionable.
New bespoke pianos are an investment and an asset only because they are going to last a lifetime and beyond, and are pieces of music-making art that will enhance the lives of all who live with them. A new luxury baby grand piano may not retain its same monetary value, but it will also not be regarded as disposable used furniture. It will provide unlimited opportunity and pleasure to those lucky enough to own one for generations to come.
Between1946 and 1965, in California, other homes were going up, more than 11,000 of them, all designed by modernists commissioned by builder Joseph Eichler. Eichler, a former dairyman, had been inspired by living briefly in a Frank Lloyd Wright home. (Wright, an architect who had earlier built over 500 iconic modern structures, believed in designing structures that were in harmony with humanity and its environment, a philosophy he called organic architecture.) Eichler houses, found throughout Northern and Southern California (and even outside of New York City), are some of the most celebrated tract residences in the United States.
About Euro Pianos Naples
Euro Pianos Naples is a respected distributor of European luxury musical instruments. The company’s origin dates back to 1965. Euro Pianos represents world renowned brands such as Sauter, and it has recently become a manufacturer of its own acrylic instrument – The Aire. Apart from being a successful retailer, consultant, and entrepreneur organization, Euro Pianos is actively engaged in the artistic and community life of Naples, Florida as an organizer and supporter of musical events throughout the years.