Buying a Piano

Updated on February 08, 2012
L.F. asks from Newport Beach, CA
15 answers

My daughter just took her first piano lesson, and she LOVED it. We do not own a piano yet. No one else in the family plays the piano and I know nothing about how to choose a good piano. We are going to borrow a keyboard for our daughter until we know for sure that playing the piano is something she will really enjoy.

Does anyone have any tips on how to choose a good piano? We live in Naperville, and there are lots of piano dealers to choose from. I'm not sure where to begin. I haven't even decided whether or not to go with a weighted keyboard vs an upright piano. Renting a piano might be a good option, since we're not sure if our daughter will stick with it.

Thanks in advance!

Any experience with buying a piano in the Chicagoland would be greatly appreciated. Anyone know a piano tuner or piano dealer that could help me choose a good used piano?

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So What Happened?

Thank you so much for all of the advice! It was very helpful, and now I'll know a little more about what questions to ask when I start piano shopping.

Featured Answers


answers from Chicago on

I have a nice upright I need to sell (we own two pianos, a grand an an upright) due to space issues. Are you interested in me sending pics and a price? It is shiny black happy piano! If you are interested email me at [email protected]

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answers from Chicago on

I've shopped at Pickle Piano in Bloomingdale and Pianoland in Geneva. Pianoland is great to shop at, very helpful and knowledgeable staff but felt that they were like used car salesmen. Great place to get a feeling for all kinds of pianos and ask all your questions. Their prices were high though. Pickle Piano were not as helpful but their prices were very reasonable and warranty and customer service is the best. A good place to go once you get a feeling for what you're looking for.

Sounds like renting is your best bet. You'll be surprised to know that a weighted keyboard really isn't much cheaper than an upright.

Be very careful purchasing anything off of Craig's List or from an ad in the paper. It's a lot like buying a used car. It is frustrating for a beginner to deal with sticky keys or a piano that can't keep a tune. If you find a reputable tuner, I'd have them check out a potential piano with you.

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answers from Chicago on

A piano store in Forest Park, Illinois on Rooselvelt Rd and Desplaines Ave. I saw a nice piano that records as you play got to have some Big money for this one. $20,000.

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answers from Rockford on

This might sound a little silly, but when you are ready to get a piano, you might want to try There are a LOT of people looking to give their piano a good home, if you are willing to move it. There are a million different reasons for them no longing wanting/needing a piano, from having to move and not wanting to deal with it, to having inherited one and having no where to put it. I have seen a lot of really nice ones on there, and if you were to post for one, I'm sure you could get a lot of responses.

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answers from Minneapolis on

Uprights are a few hundred, baby grands/grands are THOUSANDS of dollars... even used. When i was looking someone told me to be VERY careful re: buying a used piano b/c if it hadn't been stored properly (too much moisture, etc. ) it will be ruined and never play right. They said you wouldn't know this until it was properly tuned. So, maybe a used one from a store that was already tuned would be good.... Once you narrow it down, I'd see if her teacher would come see it in the shop and play it... let you know if it's OK!

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answers from Denver on

I think that I would rent initially to see if your daughter really enjoys playing or not. Often times the novelty wears off in short order, especially when the songs start getting harder. If she sticks it out and really likes it, then look into either a weighted keyboard (takes up less space, easier to move and doesn't have to be tuned) or a used console piano. Console pianos are not as tall as an upright so are a little smaller/lighter for moving purposes. My daughter who has taken lessons for 12 years uses the console piano that my parents bought for me. Piano upkeep can be expensive, as they need to be tuned several times a year, preferably with the C. of seasons.

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answers from Oklahoma City on

I think renting would be a wonderful option at this time unless you decided to find an adult piano class offered by a local community college. I took several of them, never played in front of people, but really enjoyed the whole experience.

I think fitting the piano to your home is the best thing you can do. My sister's husband is totally musical, he writes songs, plays guitar and piano, etc...they got a keyboard due to space confinement and that just did not give him the sound he needed so now they have a baby grand in the living room.

Another friend with a large home has an upright because the kids use it for mostly piano lessons and for family home evening. If that is enough for your family it is usually the best way to go.

So, there are many options because there are just way too many styles, colors, types, etc....of pianos. If you rent you get to try out several options.

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answers from Los Angeles on

We have a weighted keyboard and love it. I bought it when I was living in an apartment. I like that it has the options for me to wear headphones so I don't disturb my neighbors or, now, sleeping children. I also like that I never have to worry about getting it tuned. And it has a much smaller footprint and is easier to move than an upright.

The only thing I don't like about the one we have is that it has a really flimsy music holder. It's really only good for sheet music or very thin music books. If you do go the weighted keyboard route, be sure to get one that has a more substantial music holder.

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answers from Washington DC on

We have an upright grand that I got from an ad in the paper.
It cost me more to move it than I paid for it. We tuned it and it's fine. Some of the ivory is chipped.
Check out school systems too.
Craig's list
local ads, Pennywise
Music stores
You could even put your own wanted ad in the paper or on Craig's list

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answers from Chicago on

the family I used to babysit for might be willing to part with their piano. I know they recently had it tuned and it plays great still. They live in Naperville, and the mom is actually on this bulletin board... if interested (and she doesn't post here, lol) then private message me and I'll give her your info.

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answers from Seattle on

We rent one.

It's $50 a month, and if we keep it until the sale price is met, we own it. Otherwise, we can choose to just have rented it for however many months (2 years at this point), and then they'll come pick it up.

We had to pay quite a bit up front (6mo rent) and we got a free tuning and half off delivery/pick up (both paid ahead of time) as part of a special they were running. This is comparative to the rental cost. 6mo plus taxes and fees had us at $500 out the door price Buying it outright would have been 4k.

The pianos in the shop ranged from $30-$150 a month. They were a mix of new and used. The salesperson played them for me (since I don't play) so I could hear what they sounded like. It took about 30 minutes of listening to 15 different pianos in our pricerange. Ours is pretty cheap in the range, but it has nice tone, and good voice. Not melt in your mouth sound, but $50 a month is what we could comfortably afford.

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answers from Chicago on

We were in the same position a couple of years ago. I bought a keyboard at a garage sale and then signed both of my children up to take piano lessons. After almost two years we finally decided to bite the bullet and make the investment. The co-owner of this place was fantastic! His name is Rick. He explained so much about the piano to us and we felt no pressure. We didn't make the purchase until days later after we'd taken some time to think and digest the information. He even told us to think about it and come back if/when we were ready. They would be a great place to start. They also have another location. They've been in the business for over 20 years.
American Music World / Forest Park IL.
7655 W Roosevelt Rd. 60130

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answers from Seattle on

I have 3 pianos...a Knabe Grande, 6', very upright and a Yamaha Clavinova.

I would recommend you check out Craigslist first.

Next check out local colleges, universities, as they frequently have year end sales with their distributors and will also sell their practice pianos if they are upgrading.

I would also call local churches, as they are often given pianos from church members, and don't need as many as they are offered. So ask the church secretary.

Regular pianos require a lot of space commitment, so decide before hand where in your home you can park one for a long time.

Electric pianos are perfect for a beginner student as the keys are weighted like you mention, but it's very fun to have lots of cool sound effects and instruments to listen to, and they do not ever need to be tuned.


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answers from Chicago on

We are just getting our son started with piano classes, and and when we asked our prospective piano teacher about places to rent, he mentioned Pickle Piano in Bloomingdale.

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answers from Boston on

10 years ago I bought a Yamaha electric piano for $1000. I still play it nearly every single day and I love it! Unlike regular pianos they do not need to be tuned. Traditional pianos have a much more full sound, but if this is for your daughter, and you're not sure how long she will stick with it you might want to consider an electric. Just make sure it has 88 weighted keys. Try it out at the store before you buy and definitely read the reviews.

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