Step by Step Guide to Buying a Piano
Step Six: Choose Your Experts


  20x20.gif (837 bytes)

Buying a piano can be a simple or complex experience.  It all depends upon how much you want to do yourself and how much you already know.  By this point in time, you have already done some self exploration as well as gained an overview on what you will need to help you in your piano search.  

Have you already chosen Piano Finders to pick out a piano for you, or to advise you in the buying process?  

If yes, then click here:  


If no, continue reading this article..

If you have decided that you don't want to do the buying alone, you may need experts to help you.   There are a lot of people who call themselves experts in pianos, who have great knowledge in some areas and limited knowledge in others.   The problem comes when you don't know what type of expertise you need or want and when the experts themselves don't know their own areas of weaknesses, so they can tell you where they are lacking.

Some buyers find it helpful when searching for an expert in a field with which they are unfamiliar, to know the categories of expertise that can be available to them.  Below, I have listed a few of my own definitions for the different categories of expertise that apply to pianos.  Often, one person will have more than one area of expertise.  By dividing expertise into different categories, it is easier to see what types of expertise you might need from someone and what you might not need. 


40x40.gif (870 bytes)
    1. Personal Needs Experts:  People who can help you determine your personal needs are yourself (of course), family members, friends, doctor's (if you have physical conditions that need to be taken into consideration) and others who have knowledge of you and your situation.  In seeking advice from others, it is usually helpful to remember you are making the ultimate decision and to preserve your ability to do that.   You will know best who can contribute to your process of discovering your own needs in a constructive manner.
    2. Interior Design Consultants:  People who can help you determine where you should put a piano in the room and how the furniture and other items in the room will need to be arranged to accommodate the piano.  If you already have an interior designer, you might want to involve them in the decision process of what size, color and style the piano should be.  If you do your own interior design, but just need some help visualizing where to put the piano in the room, you can hire a piano consultant to come to your home with a piano template the right size or just buy or borrow a template and do it yourself.
    3. Furniture Experts:  People who understand wood, refinishing, cabinet construction and piano styling.  You might hire someone with these skills to examine a piano that needs cabinet work.  Piano  refinishers and piano appraisers trained in identifying various potential problems and estimating the extent and cost of repairs are experts you can call on for this.
    4. Piano Performance Experts:  People who can play the piano at an advanced or professional level.  You might hire someone with these skills to play various pianos for you, or select a piano for you if you are especially concerned about the tone and touch of a piano and how well it performs, but don't yet know how to play the piano yourself to the skill level necessary to make a good decision.
    5. Piano Technology Experts:  People who understand the inner workings of a piano and what is required to repair, restore, rebuild or remanufacture one.  You might hire a piano technician with these skills to inspect a new or used piano when you want to know what condition it is in, whether it has any serious defects, if it needs upgrading to reach it's potential.
    6. Piano Upgrade Estimation Experts:  People who understand how to estimate the cost of upgrading a piano, whether it be for repair, rebuilding, refinishing or any other type of restoration.  You might hire an expert who can evaluate what a piano needs to reach its potential if want to know how much it will cost  to determine if the piano you are looking at is worth buying. 
    7. General Experience Experts:  People who can measure the length of a piano, a room, describe what a piano looks like, etc.  Usually you and a seller will have basic general experience skills which allow you to see a piano and describe what you see to someone else.
    8. Piano Appraisal Experts:  People who understand enough about the market conditions to know what given pianos will likely sell for in given situations.  Usually you can hire an expert to give you market information in various circumstances.  There are estate appraisers, piano technicians, wholesale buyers, salespeople, antique buyers, general appraisers and others who call themselves piano appraisers.   You would want to hire someone with the specific expertise that you need in order to meet your needs.  
      A. For example, a wholesale buyer, antique buyer or salesperson can usually give you a price that indicates what they would pay you to buy your piano outright or sell it on consignment.  Their motivation is to obtain the piano at the lowest net to you that is possible and often their appraisal will reflect what prices are to their advantage, not to yours. If you have to move fast and want them to buy your piano, then their services can be valuable to you. 
      B. Estate appraisers and general appraisers can evaluate multiple items that you are selling at the same time, including the piano.  If you don't want to separate your piano out from the rest of the items you have to sell and want one person to handle everything, then their services may be of value to you.  But they may not have the "piano specific" knowledge to know what details about your piano might make it more or less valuable in the piano marketplace.  
      C. Piano technicians can usually tell you what condition a piano is in, a bit about it's history and age and what they would charge you to repair or upgrade it.  If you want to know this information about a piano or want that particular technician to perform work for you, then their services may be of value to you.  But, technician's are often lacking in marketplace experience and may over or undervalue your piano.  
      D. Also, if you want to compare several pianos with each other, then if the technician does not use a standard like the PFS or something comparable, then the information he gives you may not be as understandable and helpful as you need to make a good decision and comparison.  If you are considering more than one expert to do work on your piano, then you need to know that the technician will be primarily biased to selling his/her own work, not a competitors.  It might be better to hire a piano appraiser who experience in several areas of expertise, including piano technology.
    9. Piano Consultants:  People who have been educated about the important issues in all these areas of expertise, but are skilled in making things simple for you and giving you the most important information for your specific situation in the least amount of time.  A good consultant's job is to save you time.   Piano consultation is an emerging profession.  Piano teachers, technicians and salespeople have been offering advice for years.  However, salespeople cannot really be unbiased consultant's because they are primarily concerned about selling their pianos to a buyer.  And unless a teacher or technician has made consulting a professional level service for buyers, there will usually be much lacking in what you receive for your money and how much time it really saves you.  You can hire a Piano Consultant through Piano Finders.
    10. Buyer's Agents:  People who represent the interests of the buyer, not the seller.   When you use the Piano Finders Full Service Buying Options, the Piano Finder representative you will work with is your buyer's agent.    Also, when you shop our used pianos for sale section, the person who refers you to the seller is your buyer's agent.
    11. Piano Display Experts:  People who provide showroom space in a commercial or residential area for a piano to be displayed in to potential buyers.  Piano Dealers, Consignment shops, Auction Houses and sometimes independent business people, like piano teachers, are often the ones providing this service.  You are usually not "hiring" a person to do this, you are either selling your piano to them outright or paying a commission for them to sell and display it for you.
    12. Seller's Agents:  People who sell pianos.  A seller agent can be a salesperson on a showroom floor, a technician or teacher selling a piano for a client or a private party selling their own piano.  The primary motivation of the seller agent is to sell their pianos to the right buyers.  The more skilled seller's agents are able to give the buyer useful and helpful information that will help them understand what the features, benefits and liabilities are of the pianos they are selling.
    13. Piano Storage Companies:  People who provide you a place to store your piano when you don't have space for it in your own location for a period of time.  If you are remodeling or moving, you may need short or long term storage for your piano.  Moving companies, storage companies and private individuals provide storage space.  You will want to be sure to understand the humidity conditions the piano will be stored in, whether it will be upright or on its side, issues of insurance in order to pick the right type of storage for your situation.
    14. Piano Movers: People who specialize in moving pianos.  There are numerous movers who do not move anything else besides pianos.  Local movers and long distance movers generally specialize in various types of moves (stairs, etc.) and limit themselves to specific geographical locations. 
    15. Piano Tuners:   People who tune your piano.  Piano tuners are trained to bring a piano up to pitch.  Not all piano tuners also have piano technology or other types of expertise. You can hire a piano tuner through Piano Finders.
    16. Piano Teachers:  People who teach piano lessons.  Piano teachers are trained to know how to teach people to play the piano, learn to read sheet music and other performance skills.  Not all piano teachers have piano technology, appraisal or other types of piano related expertise.  



Copyright 1998 to 2004 Piano Finders.   All Rights Reserved.  Use of this Web site constitutes 
acceptance of the
 Piano Finders Member Agreement and Privacy Policy