Buying a Piano

This page is for those who do not yet own a piano, or who want to upgrade the piano they have. Bad pianos and all “keyboards” are obstacles to learning to play piano.  For those using keyboards, you must upgrade to a piano for your child’s piano lessons to succeed.  

I encourage you to acquire an acoustic pianoeither new or used. If you choose to buy an instrument from an individual, you must arrange delivery.  The advantages of going to a dealer’s shop (for new or used pianos) include more selection, less driving, free delivery, and less competition for a particular instrument.  It does cost more than buying from an individual.  

A generally high-quality, reasonably-priced used (or new) instrument is the Yamaha U1 (read Larry Fine — see below).   Call the store you plan to visit, confirm the existence of one or two U1s available on the floor that day, and go play them.  If you and the student like one, negotiate and buy.

Tuning a piano costs about $140 per tuning.  They must be tuned at least once a year, or else you and your child will stop enjoying the piano.  I have technician names and numbers.

For students in my studio, I will check any piano (for musical qualities) in Howard County for a fee of $35 per trip.  If you buy the piano, the fee is waived!

Information about New and Used Acoustic Instruments

The Piano Book: Buying & Owning a New or Used Piano, by Larry Fine (recent supplement is called Acoustic and Digital Piano Buyer).  This is an ongoing survey of piano technicians’ experiences with all piano types that he publishes for our benefit.  You can purchase it for around $20, or check out the current e-book at the Howard County Library for free.  There is also a wonderful related website: www.pianobuyer.com.

Local Piano Dealers

Rick Jones Pianos (Beltsville)

Steinway Gallery DC (North Bethesda and Cockeysville locations)

Piano Craft (Gaithersburg, superb used instruments and service)

Maryland Piano (Columbia)

Schaeffer’s Piano Company (Rockville)

Crofton Piano

Jordan Kitt’s Music (Rockville)

Downtown (Frederick) Piano Works