Buying a piano can be an exciting experience! Here are some insights to help you in the search for your ideal piano.
Why buy Used Pianos?
The primary advantage in purchasing a used piano is not simply its price, but the value of the piano at such price.
A new piano loses about 50% or more of its selling price very quickly after sale. A used piano generally sells at about half the price of its brand new counterpart (with exceptions depending on make, age and overall condition). More importantly, a used piano maintained with good care depreciates much slower in comparison.
This is because a good piano is a sturdy and durable instrument that can last for decades with basic maintenance and care. Antique pianos over a century old are still in demand today, and a trusty Yamaha or Kawai piano can last more than 50 years in the Singapore climate, especially with regular maintenance and care. This is why Music Lodge offers a Guaranteed Buyback Scheme of up to 60% of the purchase price for our pianos.
As increasing numbers of savvy buyers realize the value of choosing good used pianos, the demand for new piano sales declined.
Approximately 20 years ago, Yamaha and Kawai, along with other piano manufacturers, have thus reacted to these market conditions by segmenting the market and outsourcing production (to places such as Indonesia and China) in order to be able to compete with lower prices. However, Japanese pianos made in Japan are still preferred for those in the know. Unfortunately, it is also in this period that Yamaha started to phase out its production of some exceptional makes, such as the “X-series” of pianos.
Meanwhile, many European brands were sold to Chinese “stencil piano” manufacturers, creating an influx of cheap pianos in the market that bear little resemblance to the quality and pedigree of the original brands.
“Reconditioned” vs Genuine Condition Pianos
It is critical to understand the difference between:
- the usage of the term “reconditioned pianos” (or “recon pianos”), and
- the actual definition of the term
In the used piano market in Singapore.
In Singapore, the term “reconditioned” pianos is too often used to describe used pianos that have been rebuilt. Increasingly, these older pianos are acquired cheaply, disassembled and rebuilt at low cost in places such as China or Vietnam, where most parts that are replaced do not come from the original parts manufacturers.
At Music Lodge, we insist on restoring our pianos in their genuine condition. Each piano is inspected, cleaned, regulated, polished and fine-tuned in our workshop. Where necessary for repair and careful restoration, replacement parts are imported from authentic parts manufacturers.
According to the Piano Technician’s Guild, “reconditioning” is the process of putting a piano back in good condition by cleaning, repairing, and adjusting for best performance with parts replacement only where necessary. This is most appropriate for a piano with only moderate wear or those of medium value with average performance requirements.
Reconditioning does not involve replacing major components such as the soundboard, bridges, pinblock, and most action parts. This means the performance and life-span of an older piano will not be restored to new. Instead, reconditioning is designed to improve a piano's performance, keeping in mind both costs and benefits.
Rebuilding involves complete disassembly, inspection, and repair as necessary, including replacement of all or most worn, damaged, or deteriorated parts before being reassembled and adjusted to similar tolerances as new. Complete Rebuilding includes the entire pianos structure -- including soundboard, bridges, pinblock, and strings -- as well as the action, keyboard, and case refinishing. Partial Rebuilding includes only one or two of these areas, for example rebuilding of the action and structure, but not case refinishing.
Rebuilding can restore the piano to original condition or better, if the restoration work is done by a certified, authorized restorer (e.g. The Steinway Restoration Center for Steinway & Sons pianos). Such comprehensive work is usually most practical for high-quality instruments where maximum performance and longevity are required.
Brands & Models
Japanese pianos, Yamaha and Kawai in particular, are popular worldwide for offering superb quality, stability and resilience at great value. Popular models for Yamaha include the U1, U3 and U5 series. Kawai updates their piano models frequently, with the current K-series being the most popular.
Some European and American pianos – such as Steinway & Sons and Bosendorfer - are of superior pedigree, but often sell at a significantly higher price-to-quality quantum. Furthermore, European and American pianos tend to require meticulous care to prevent destabilization in Singapore’s tropical heat and humidity.
How old is this piano?
Serial Numbers & Age
Piano serial numbers determine their age and, in some cases, their point of origin. For Yamaha and Kawai pianos, refer to the serial number charts in the links provided below. In the case of Yamaha pianos, you can also identify the manufacturing origin of the piano by noting the serial number prefix (e.g. prefix “J” means the piano is made in Indonesia).
Do NOT consider for purchase if the serial number is not present, altered with or painted over.
Why does size matter?
Strings & Soundboard of a Piano
A thing to note: for pianos, size matters. Simply put, the bigger the piano is, the better it sounds.
This is because pianos produce the sound by vibrating strings, which means that the harmonics of a piano are dependent on the length and thickness of the string. If the strings get too short, the quality of the sound produced may not be as musically pleasant. The soundboard converts the vibrations of the strings into what is known as piano tone, and amplifies the notes so that they can be heard. The better and larger the soundboard, the more resonant, amplified and improved tonal quality the sound it produces.
What is the Guaranteed Buyback Scheme?
We are confident in the quality and condition of our pianos at Music Lodge. As such, we are happy to offer a buyback guarantee of the piano at up to 60% of purchase price within 2 years, and up to 50% after the first 2 years, depending on condition, brand, model and age.
What Services & Support should I expect?
With every purchase of a piano from Music Lodge, our valued customers enjoy the following benefits:
- Free transport of piano to location
- 1 free tuning within a year of purchase
- 1 year guarantee OR 5 year warranty
- Complimentary piano stool (adjustable or cabinet), key cloth & castor cups
- Guaranteed Buy-back scheme of up to 60% of purchase price
With over 20 years of experience across thousands of pianos, Music Lodge is fully equipped to handle all your servicing needs:
How do I take good care of my piano?
What are the ideal conditions in which to keep my piano?
The best location for a piano within your home would be away from direct sunlight and open windows to prevent problems arising from heat and humidity. A heater is usually included with pianos in Singapore, which provides great protection against the effects of humidity. As with any piece of fine furniture, keeping drinks off finished wood surfaces is a simple rule always to follow. New piano finishes generally require only occasional cleaning, ideally with a microfiber cloth, or with either a dry or damp cotton cloth.
How often should a piano be tuned?
We usually recommend at least 1 to 2 tuning per year for a piano getting average use in the home. Pianos with heavier use such as those in music schools and teacher’s pianos should be tuned more frequently while studio and concert pianos are recommended to be tuned before performances or recordings.
Why does a piano require regular tuning?
A piano that has been played on a regular basis may experience a gradual drop in pitch and/or a slight disharmony in tone. This is mainly due to the easing of tension in the piano strings. Furthermore, a piano is built largely out of wood, which swells when moisture is absorbed. Over time, this can affect a wooden structure particularly with the temperatures and humidity of a tropical climate. When this occurs, the relationship of steel wire strings to the bridges and sound board of your instrument is changed. As a result, the piano goes slightly out of tune. This is entirely normal – it is not a fault in your instrument. This effect is largely mitigated by using a piano heater or if the piano is kept in an air-conditioned space permanently.