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Monday, 28 May 2012

A strange fondness for old pianos

There is a strange fondness for old pianos. The thinking seems to assume that regardless of its age, if it has a well-known name on the front, it has to be a good piano. Upright pianos, grand pianos, baby grand pianos - whatever old piano you find will almost certainly be in serious need of repair work. As a rule therefore, old pianos can never perform as well as a piano half their age. 

Old pianos do have a charm about them, their looks, proportions, the ivory keys (if present and in good condition) will give out a sense of nostalgia - as if to say, "This is how pianos were made in the golden age!" But 80 years on, much of the original quality has drained away with the passing of time. What remains is something in need of massive investment or replacement.

Of course, there are exceptions. It is remarkable when you come across a piano 100 years old or more, which has been miraculously preserved - perhaps because it has hardly ever been played. Such examples are extremely rare and are likely to be treasured family heirlooms.

Major rebuilding work on a piano is hugely expensive. Unless the piano is one of the very top makes, the repairs will cost far more than the piano will ever be worth. 

It is a mistake to buy an older, albeit a pretty piano, when you really need reliability in tune and tone. Buying cheap - only to find you have spend serious money to bring it into reasonable playing order is just an embarrassing waste of money!

When buying a piano, try to get some advice and buy the youngest, most up-together piano you can find. Please do not be lead astray by the strange fondness for old pianos!

The Piano World


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