Buying a used piano.

Buying a used piano privately can be a dangerous and costly decision. What appears to be a rare bargain may prove to be a real liability. Unless you are a piano expert, your best assurance is to rely on the judgement of the most experienced dealer in your area with a proven record of integrity and fair dealing. It is unwise to pick up an old piano privately “to get started.” A poor piano offers discouragement to the child and is at best, a questionable investment for the parent.


Here are just a few of the many dangers encountered when a non-expert piano buyer buys a piano privately:

  1. PLATE:  May be cracked or broken which cripples the piano musically and renders it useless.
  2. STRINGS:  Bass strings may be “tired and tubby,” totally devoid of tone.
  3. SOUND BOARD:  May be badly cracked, or worse yet, may have lost crown to become tonally deficient.
  4. RIBS:  May be broken or pulled away from soundboard.
  5. BRIDGES:  May have lost proper bearing, be broken, split or cracked, necessitating a major expense.
  6. TUNING PINS:  May be loose, may have been previously “doped,” may require oversized pins, may require new pin block. Avoid any piano with pins showing evidence of having been pounded.
  7. PIN BLOCK (WREST PLANK):  Pin Block (wrest  plank): May be split and is very costly to repair.  Since this is concealed, experienced judgement is required.
  8. ACTIONS:  May be literally worn out rendering the piano useless.  If rebushing is required, this is very costly.  A complete regulation requires much time of an expert and is expensive if properly done.
  9. HAMMERS:   May be worn out or improperly filed so as to require replacement – another costly repair.
  10. TRAP WORK:  The internal leverage controls of the expression pedals may need complete overhauling.
  11. REFINISHING:  Many people learn to their dismay that refinishing a piano is not a home do-it-yourself project; that it requires much hard work and know-how best left to a skilled craftsman.  Good refinishing work is expensive.

Pianos available in Cincinnati, Dayton, Northern Kentucky, and Lexington

Willis Music has been talking and teaching piano since they began in 1899.   Shopping for your piano with Willis Music gives you access to a team of trained consultants that can help you find the perfect piano.  We can show you a full range of pianos for every level of student or professional.  Come and visit our piano showrooms at a location near you.

Come to Willis Music and see:

Used Pianos at Willis Music

  • Willis Music is a large retailer of used pianos with a wide selection to choose from.
  • All used pianos are tech reviewed for quality.
  • Learn the pedigree of each used piano – whether its a single family owner or a former concert stage performer.

Come to our Kenwood, Florence or Lexington location for a personal piano demonstration. 

New Pianos at Willis Music

  • Boston – Responsiveness. Precision. Intuitive grace.
  • Essex – designed by Steinway & Sons. Perfect beginners desirable for piano teachers.

View our inventory of Used Pianos

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Watch this brief message from Willis Music President Kevin Cranley