WELCOME TO THE SPRING 2019 ISSUE of Acoustic & Digital Piano Buyer, an online publication devoted to the purchase of new, used, and restored acoustic pianos and digital pianos. Published since 2009, Piano Buyer is the successor to the well-known reference The Piano Book.
The author, an executive of a major piano manufacturer, discards the old adage “practice makes perfect” in favor of an updated version: “practice makes prosperous.” He boldly declares that those who play the piano are far more likely to flourish, thrive, and experience success in life than those who don’t.
Should you buy an acoustic (traditional) piano or a digital (electronic) piano? Many factors play into this seemingly simple decision, some practical, some not. Careful consideration of the advantages and disadvantages of each will probably quickly reveal which will be best for you.
ALDEN SKINNER and LARRY FINE
This article summarizes the history of U.S. piano sales, manufacturing, and imports over the last 50 years, and describes today’s global piano industry, including which brands are made where and by whom, and the effect of globalization on quality and selection.
This chart and commentary are intended to provide the newcomer to the piano market with a simple summary of how this market is organized: If a dealer carried every brand, how would he or she position those brands, in terms of relative quality, when presenting them to prospective purchasers?
The subject of piano pricing is difficult, complicated, and controversial. One of the major problems is that piano dealers tend to prefer that list prices be as high as possible so they can still make a profit while appearing to give very generous discounts. Honesty about pricing is resisted.
A Historical Overview
Though in each decade both good and bad pianos have been produced, and each piano must be judged on its own merits, this brief historical overview may give you some idea of what to expect to see as you shop for a used piano.
Finding a used piano essentially involves networking, a concept very much in vogue these days. Some networking can be done by computer, and some with old-fashioned phone calls and shoe leather. Here are some of your options — you may be able to think of others.
Three terms are often used in discussions of piano restoration work: repair, reconditioning, and rebuilding. There are no precise definitions of these terms, so it’s very important, when considering restoration work, to find out exactly what has been, or will be, carried out.
The valuation of used pianos is difficult. In this article, I’ve tried to assemble some information and tools to help buyers and sellers understand the appraisal process and determine the value of a piano within a reasonable range.
For Parents of Young Beginning Piano Students
There are many common misconceptions about buying pianos for young students, and one of them is that a suitable piano can be had for only a few hundred dollars. The truth is that, to progress, young students need better pianos, not worse.
Because of the extraordinary prices these instruments command, novice buyers sometimes question whether the prices are justified — or are just the result of the clever marketing of well-known brand names. In this article, I explain what sets high-end pianos apart from less costly ones.
Regardless of whether you’re purchasing a piano for a church, school, performance space, or another institutional location, you need to start with some basic questions that will help identify the piano (or pianos) that are appropriate for your situation.
GEORGE F. LITTERST
The maintenance of pianos in institutional settings differs from the typical service needs of the home environment in two major ways. These pianos will require more frequent service by technicians with special skills, and greater attention to climate control.
CHRIS SOLLIDAY, RPT
A piano may look large and imposing, but there is a great deal inside it that is delicate, and sensitive to use and changes in environmental conditions. This article describes the major types of regular servicing that pianos require: tuning, regulating, voicing, cleaning and polishing, and humidity control.
If, after reading “Acoustic or Digital: What’s Best for Me?,” you’ve decided on a digital piano, the next step is to select the right model for your needs. There are currently some 200 models of digital piano on the market. Narrowing the field requires exploring some basic issues.
ALDEN SKINNER and Piano Buyer staff
Introduction to Software Pianos
If the digital piano is thought of as a complete instrument, piano software can be thought of as part of a “piano kit.” If you have a digital piano (or an acoustic with hybrid features) and a personal computer, you already have most of the ingredients of a software-based piano.
As with so many other devices, technology has revolutionized the player piano, replacing the pneumatic pressure and rolls of punched paper with electronics, smartphones, iPads, and MP3 files. Today, nearly one out of every four new grand pianos is sold with an electronic player-piano system installed.