Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
olliedf89

Piano Advice!

Recommended Posts

Well it's nearly Christmas (in case you hadn't noticed!) and apparently I've been tasked with finding a half decent piano to buy mother as a Christmas present.

I thought I'd ask about and see if anyone can point me in the right direction as pianos really aren't my forte. (geddit!? geddit? oh never mind)

Obviously we're looking for the best we can get, but essentially we want a straightforward piano that is compact, upright and isn't going to be a pain to fix or service.
Our budget is up to around £300, give or take a bit. We just want something with a good reputation that isn't going to give us a headache for years to come.

Been on the various auction and selling sites in the UK but really not entirely sure which pianos are going to be dogs and which ones are diamonds in the rough, so any advice on what's good and what's bad is more than welcome!

Thanks in advance!

Ollie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry Ollie but at that budget I think you're could be buying trouble. If you know nothing about pianos you need at least to find a friend who does and get them to check any potential purchase.

Personally I'd buy a second hand electric or keyboard (there's a nice 88 key roland on fleabay at the moment at just over your budget).

The problem with makes (Kemble, Broadwood, Knight have good names) is that the way a piano has been played, cared for and stored is crucial and worth more in playing and care bills than anything else. Also remember that any piano you get will need to be tuned after being moved.

Good luck

Steve

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know much about proper pianos but I was told only buy one that's overstrung, has a metal frame and has been well looked after.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mrs G is a pianist. For your budget you would do well to get a good electronic keyboard. But make sure its designed to be like a piano and has weighted keys.

Music shops do sometimes do a hire scheme where you can pay as you go. Sometimes paying for it out right over time.

Bottom line from Mrs G- don't buy a £300 piano.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been paying £50 every six months for the last ten years to have ours tuned. Worth remembering if you're buying a 'real' piano.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow... thanks for the info guys... I do know someone through work who knows a bit about pianos so I shall roper her in if I can. I'll widen the search to keyboards too for now! Thanks

Ollie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My friend's small church just got one of these:
[url="http://www.zzounds.com/item--KORSP280"]http://www.zzounds.com/item--KORSP280[/url]
The sounds and touch are excellent, and even though it needs external amplification to support congregational singing, it is less expensive than an acoustic piano, and no tuning needed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know xmas is long gone, but I'll stick in my 2p anyway :) The thing about pianos is that a good new one costs a fortune, so second hand prices can be very high (over here we're talking £4000), BUT they're also a nuisance, and often you can get a good one for free if you can collect it. I'm a part time tuner and restorer, and I occasionally pick the free ones up for spare parts, and there are a few gems to be found. A few things to keep in mind:

Tuning costs - To keep an expensive piano in top condition you'll want to tune 2 times a year, this minimises the seasonally changing stresses on the soundboard, pinblock and strings, which reduces the chance of cracks in the wood or string breakage. If your piano is worth less than £500 I'd only tune when the sound becomes painful to listen to. I don't know the rates in the UK, but stevies £50 sounds about right (It's £100 over here and most things are about 2x the price).

Things to look for when buying a piano:

Makes - There are so many old piano makers it is nearly impossible to list them all and all their relative merits and faults. each one had their own idea of how to make a piano and although most share common features, the designs vary wildly. Assuming you are not loaded enough to get a Steinway then the best bet is to look for a Yamaha. From a tuner's point of view, these are very well made, easiest to adjust and need the least amount of ongoing repairs

The pinblock: there are 2 main designs. one is a couple of big blocks of wood with the tuning pins set in them. the other has the pins set in plastic collars directly in the steel frame. The first design is the one to avoid. Cracks in pinblocks are caused by heat and humidity changes, uneven stresses from bad tuning or just age. A cracked pinblock is very expensive to repair (in labour - it's at least an 8 hour job, plus 2-3 retunes in stages to even out the stresses) if the piano you're looking at has a cracked pinblock then avoid. it will be nearly impossible to tune it, as the tuning will not hold, if it has an uncracked wooden pinblock I'd walk away unless it's been [u]very[/u] well looked after - I.e. everything else about the piano is perfect. The plastic collar design is the best (used on most Yamahas) and it cheap and easy to repair if one of them does split (not a common fault, but it happens occasionally)

The frame - the big steel thing that looks a bit like a harp - look for cracks, and walk away if you find any. They are pretty much unrepairable, and make tuning impossible.

The sound board. this is a big sheet of wood on the back of an upright. you can usually see it through the structural ribs from the back. again, cracks are bad, but not irreparable. if you play all the notes loudly you will hear any problems - usually buzzing or dead notes, (although there are many other causes of dead notes too) you're still looking at an expensive repair, but maybe less than £500.

Look for rust on the strings, misshapen hammers and dampers and general crud inside the piano - all indicators of bad storage, and likely to have problems with the pinblock and soundboard.

the last thing to look at is the alignment and feel of the keys, pedals, and general sound of the piano - these can all be adjusted, so a good piano going cheap because of a few sticky keys or if some of the notes continue to play after you release the keys can be a bargain as long as you add extra for regulation (set up). I charge Kr1700,- for a regulation and tuning, so I guess you can get it done for about £85. Everything else is cosmetic (or mojo if you prefer:))

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Since this thread has been quiet for a while I'll highjack it...

Been having piano lessons since January so I'm still a beginner but I'd like to try a few things other than what I'm given by my teacher. Are there any websites etc which have a selection of sheet music to browse through? Is there a piano equivalent to ultimate guitar?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

[quote name='Titus Bramble' timestamp='1395866001' post='2407466']
Since this thread has been quiet for a while I'll highjack it...

Been having piano lessons since January so I'm still a beginner but I'd like to try a few things other than what I'm given by my teacher. Are there any websites etc which have a selection of sheet music to browse through? Is there a piano equivalent to ultimate guitar?
[/quote]

Just use google to search for songs of your choice and you'll find hundreds, google images is good, just print them off.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

[quote name='Titus Bramble' timestamp='1395866001' post='2407466']
Are there any websites etc which have a selection of sheet music to browse through? Is there a piano equivalent to ultimate guitar?
[/quote]

This should keep you busy for a while:
http://www.acc.umu.se/~tellus/tmp/OskNoter/The%20Standards%20Real%20Book.pdf

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

[quote name='GrammeFriday' timestamp='1402429963' post='2473489']
This should keep you busy for a while:
[url="http://www.acc.umu.se/~tellus/tmp/OskNoter/The%20Standards%20Real%20Book.pdf"]http://www.acc.umu.s...Real%20Book.pdf[/url]
[/quote]

Great link - thanks very much!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You could also subscribe to Musescore.com and browse through the library of music they have online. You can download it as a PDF, or you can use the Musescore (FOC) software and change it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Why not buy an electric piano. I have a Yamaha p35 and the piano voices are way better than any upright for the same money. Never needs maintaining . You could pick one up for that sort of money

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

[quote name='bubinga5' timestamp='1416044711' post='2606328']
Why not buy an electric piano. I have a Yamaha p35 and the piano voices are way better than any upright for the same money. Never needs maintaining . You could pick one up for that sort of money
[/quote]

Reportedly, a new problem has turned up re electronic instruments: the modern lead free solder which is said to diminish life span to an expected 10 years, roughly, as resoldering all the cold joints after 10 years is said to be not viable.
I'm currently trying to investigate this, as well as other pros and cons with different systems, but am not done yet.
For the time being it's worrying though. In comparance, my Roland electronic piano from the mid eighties is still going strong after almost 30 years.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, the lead-free solder is an issue. It needs a higher temperature to melt and more flux to make a secure joint. The problems arise with those companies who have not adjusted their manufacturing techniques to take these issues into account. I don't know who has or has not done this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

[quote name='BassTractor' timestamp='1416073411' post='2606639']
Reportedly, a new problem has turned up re electronic instruments: the modern lead free solder which is said to diminish life span to an expected 10 years, roughly, as resoldering all the cold joints after 10 years is said to be not viable.
I'm currently trying to investigate this, as well as other pros and cons with different systems, but am not done yet.
For the time being it's worrying though. In comparance, my Roland electronic piano from the mid eighties is still going strong after almost 30 years.
[/quote]

Lead free was a big (EU) mistake, done without scientific justification. Only a small percentage of total lead use is electronics and mining the alternatives are more polluting. Then there is the lead-whisker problem . I hate the stuff, never been able to do good soldering with lead free. Iron bits get wrecked very quickly.
EU madness.

[url="http://electronicdesign.com/energy/leadfree-solder-answer-our-environmental-problems"]http://electronicdes...mental-problems[/url]

[url="http://www.militaryaerospace.com/articles/print/volume-16/issue-10/news/trends/lead-free-solder-a-train-wreck-in-the-making.html"]http://www.militarya...the-making.html[/url]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.



×
×
  • Create New...