Buying a piano can be a happy and rewarding experience and in the great majority of cases, that’s what it is if you take a little time now to read what few people know about evaluating pianos.
Many piano buyers automatically gravitate toward the cabinet which best suits their taste and budget – this is the easy part of choosing a piano. Determining the quality of the instrument itself is a much more difficult task, especially for the non-player and there are several important things you can tell about its quality. This article is designed to assist the discriminating piano buyer in shopping for a professional-quality instrument – the term professional-quality refers to the performance characteristics of the piano and not the ability of the pianist.
The only way to accurately assess a piano’s professional quality is to learn what is inside.
A reputable piano dealer/technician will help you compare piano performance and quality so you can select the piano which best suits your requirements.
Play a few chords and listen carefully to the tone of the piano. What is good or poor piano tone? There are a few basic things to listen for and they are easy to detect. Is the tone generally pleasing or does it sound harsh or tinny? Do the individual notes sound clear and distinct or do they seem dull and lifeless? Are the low notes deep and resonant or muddy and garbles: Do you hear bright and clear musical tones when the highest notes are played or just a “clunk” and nothing more? When the pianist runs up and down the scale is there a smooth transition from bass to treble?
The size of the room and other objects in the room will affect the tone – heavy carpets and drapes will less brightness of tone somewhat.