Acoustic pianos – A guide for beginners
I left the Acoustic Pianos – A Guide for Beginners article as last in our Buying a Piano series for a reason. Buying an acoustic piano is a bit more complicated than buying an electric or hybrid piano. Giving recommendations about acoustic pianos is an almost impossible task, as no two pianos are exactly the same, even if they are the exact same model produced in the same year in the same factory by the same craftsman.
When buying an acoustic piano, you have 2 options:
- Buy it new
- Buy it second hand
If budget allows it, I always suggest going for a new piano, as the pros strongly outweigh the cons. Our article goes into more details on what to look for when buying a new piano.
- Long life expectancy
- Maintains value over time
- Very low chance of damage or defects
- Covered by warranty
- Lower maintenance costs (tuning, repairs etc)
- Comparatively more expensive than a second-hand piano (e.g: Yamaha U3 new costs £10,000+ while a used Yamaha U3 costs £4,000)
- Timber and sound will change as time goes by and piano is being played on
Second-hand pianos are a more budget friendly option, and some instruments have an amazing price-value ratio. However, in order to get the best used piano, I recommend getting a piano technician to inspect it and read our article on used pianos checklist.
- Lower price
- More choice of pianos, particularly if they are no longer in production
- More unique sound and touch
- Potential hidden damages (hence why it is a must to take a professional with you when you buy a used piano!)
- Will require more repairs and more tuning sessions
- Lower life expectancy
There are also a few steps, which I cannot recommend enough, and I cannot stress how important they are when buying a piano, regardless of it being new or used.
- Go to the shop and play on the instrument before agreeing to purchase it
- Take a piano technician with you to help you inspect the piano (it might look pretty on the outside, but it can be damaged on the inside)
- Ask questions about the background of the instrument, particularly if it is second-hand (check our guide on how to buy a used piano)
- Take what the shop assistant says for granted (some shops will have deals with certain piano companies and will try to sell a particular instrument regardless of its quality)
- Order a piano online without asking for pictures of the inside of the piano and a through sound sample (you can still ask for advice from a piano technician based on pictures, so it is imperative you ask for these if you order online)
Certain piano brands should be avoided, while others are established. I always suggest buying a piano from a brand recognised for its quality, as this will also ensure a higher resale value.
BRANDS RECOGNISED FOR QUALITY
Since giving recommendations for second-hand pianos without seeing, hearing, and playing them is impossible, the options below are for new pianos.
The following suggestions are for upright pianos only, as from my experience, most beginners do not want to invest in a grand piano, which at the lower end costs over £40,000.
Low budget £2,000-5,000
Shop around to find the best price. The links below are for reference only.
Medium budget £6,000- 9,000
High budget £10,000+
This article is not sponsored by any piano companies or shops. The recommendations are based purely on my experience and professional opinion.
Acoustic pianos offer the highest quality for sound and touch over other types of piano, whether you are a beginner or an advanced player. They come with many, many advantages. However, they are not cheap, whether new or second-hand, and they also come with tuning and repair costs. In our tips for financing a piano article, we discuss more about ways in which you can finance a piano (discounts, auctions, and grants).
As with any instrument you might buy, whether acoustic or electric, the most important thing is to like the sound and the touch of your piano. Would you like a piano with a sparkly sound, or one with a warm tone? Would you like the keys to be light to touch or a bit heavier? Each piano has a different ‘personality’ so do not rush into buying the first piano you play on. Once you have your forever acoustic piano, check our article about how to take care of an acoustic instrument.