consulting & piano inspections
It is important to consult with a technician before purchasing or acquiring an acoustic piano. An experienced piano technician can help you find a reliable piano with longevity. Furthermore, it is vital to have a piano inspected before “sealing the deal.” The piano technician can check for any red flags or major problems, informing you of these before the piano is purchased and moved. Whether this is your first acoustic piano, or you are looking to upgrade to your dream instrument, I am committed to helping you find a quality instrument that fits your needs.
Piano Technical Inspections
While I suggest a technical inspection be performed before purchase of even a new piano, it is particularly important if the piano is pre-owned. Many pre-owned pianos on the market are no longer serviceable or tunable, or may require extensive work that the buyer (and seller!) are not aware of. While there will always be some level of risk in buying a pre-owned piano, having the technical inspection performed significantly lowers the risk of surprises.
Piano inspections include a brief, post-inspection consultation, with my conclusions about the specific piano. While the inspection is informative to the condition of the components, having the piano tuned during the same appointment is also recommended, especially if the instrument is of a higher value. In addition to tuning, a written condition report document, with photos, is also available as an additional service.
piano inspection faq
When you inspect a piano, which components do you inspect?
Depending on the piano and how the parts are counted, there are between 10,000-15,000 parts in a piano. As such, it is impossible to feasibly inspect every single part. That said, I provide a very comprehensive inspection of the most critical components and those most prone to wear-and-tear, in order to lower the risk of your potential purchase. These include but are not limited to: piano case, hardware, finish, soundboard, bridges, cast iron plate, strings, pinblock, tuning pins, back action and damper system, pedals, action, hammers, whippens, keys, key tops, center pins, regulation, voicing and piano bench. If the make, model, or era of the piano being inspected is known for a notorious problem, the inspection will be tailored to provide extra special assessment of that specific component.
Why should I have the piano tuned as part of the inspection? If I buy the piano, won’t it just go out of tune when it is moved?
- The piano’s tuning pins are held in a laminated hardwood rock maple block called a pinblock. One of several critical ingredients to a piano’s tuning stability is that the tuning pins have enough torque. As wood ages, the tuning pin holes in the pinblock tend to slightly enlarge, causing the torque of the tuning pins to decrease with time. If the torque of tuning pins becomes too low, the string tension will overcome the grip they have in the pinblock, and the piano will not be able to hold a tune. In order to gauge each tuning pin’s torque, it is important to have a technician tune the entire piano.
- Piano strings have elasticity and are meant to stretch, kind of like a rubber band. As strings age, their elasticity decreases. If elasticity becomes too low, tuning the piano can be difficult or near impossible. The only practical way to gauge string elasticity and tunability is to tune the piano.
- Pinblock replacement and re-stringing a piano are both very expensive endeavors, usually only financially justifiable on high-end grand pianos.
Does your technical inspection or condition report document provide a monetary value or appraisal value of the instrument?
No. The purpose of the technical inspection is to inform you of the condition of the piano and its components. If you are looking to have your instrument appraised, please see my web page on appraisals at this link.