Craigslist, or many of the other online platforms that sell used items, can be a goldmine for purchasing numerous things. However, you must be aware of who you are purchasing from and the condition of the item that you are purchasing. Therefore, we do not recommend telling someone that you will purchase their piano before you see it.
After doing your Craigslist research, you should have a professional or a piano technician go with you to see the piano that you want to purchase. There are many things that you need to look at and determine whether they are in excellent working order or if the piano is a lemon that needs more work than it is worth. While you may think that you are an expert, you may miss many things that will cost you tons of money later on.
Things to Look at When Considering Purchasing a Used Piano on Craigslist
1. Style and Finish
Purchasing a piano that doesn’t match your style, or doesn’t have the finish that you want, is not something that will make you happy in the long term. Yes, you will be thrilled that you have a piano, but once it has been in your home for a few weeks, the clashing of décor will be quite noticeable.
A technician will easily be able to tell you if a piano is in tune or how much will be needed to get it back into its prime condition. They can look at the tuning pins, coils, and the pinblock to see what needs to be replaced.
If you see a piano with rusted strings, you should probably run the other direction, because it means that the piano has not been cared for properly over the years.
The bridges will need to be checked for cracks and that includes hairline cracks within the bridge pins.
5. Soundboard and the Ribs
While playing all the keys will give you an idea of how good of shape the soundboard is in, you should also check for cracks and wooden shims.
6. Structural Integrity
Pianos that have not been cared for may have missing hinges, cracked plates, leg cracks, and more. It is very important to check the structural integrity of the entire piano to ensure that it is capable of being used for many more years.
7. Keys, Hammers, and Dampers
The keys should all play on the piano that you are looking at and all the parts should be aligned on the inside. The hammers should be checked to see how much felt remains, where the string dents are located, and where the grooves are located. The dampers must work properly as well.
The pedals should be easy to press, and they should allow you to play the piano properly when used. If the pedals are not giving you the results that you desire, then they are either not working or you are looking at a substandard piano.
When you find a used piano on Craigslist that meets all your expectations with the above items, then you may have been lucky enough to find the piano of your dreams. You can then move ahead with the purchase, unless something doesn’t seem quite right and then you may want to investigate the piano a little further by talking to the person who has helped maintain it over the years or piano consultant. They may offer more in-depth information that can be helpful for you when it comes to making your decision.