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Need a piano- second hand, or free but out of tune....?

(5 Posts)
Bibblebobbleparsnip Tue 25-Jun-13 13:22:52

I was wondering if any piano players/ teachers could help... I'm currently "piano sitting" for some lovely friends while they've been temporarily in a small house. They are setting move in August, and will want their piano back hmm I do some very low key teaching and although I have a digital piano (currently stored elsewhere) I'd much rather have a "real" one as I really noticed an improvement in my pupils when we switched last time.
Some other friends if mine are clearing out a relative's house and have offered me their piano for free (!) but it is about a quarter-tone out from concert pitch, though in tune with itself.
My question is this... Is it worth me getting the "free" piano even though it may need reconditioning? How much might that cost? Or should I just try to find a second hand one somewhere else? Any advice is helpful! Thank you!

UptoapointLordCopper Tue 25-Jun-13 20:54:59

I had one free that couldn't be tuned to concert pitch - cracked sound board, apparently. Couldn't play it. Every time you hit a key you think it's a mistake. It was torture.

Sorry no help with reconditioning. Maybe phone up a piano shop?

Bibblebobbleparsnip Tue 25-Jun-13 22:57:52

Thank you for replying! Yes, think maybe chatting to a piano shop or tuner might be a good plan... Sounds expensive doesn't it....

UptoapointLordCopper Wed 26-Jun-13 13:24:43

One tuner did not charge me - he turned up, had a look at the piano, said it couldn't be tuned and gave me the reasons, and did not charge me. I'm sure you can phone up for some consultation without shelling out lots of money!

FastLoris Wed 26-Jun-13 21:10:01

The key question is whether the free piano is capable of being tuned. Can you enquire of the people you're getting it from - even if they then have to relay the enquiry to the owners - what its recent history is? If it was in regular happy use with stable tuning in the not too distant past, then the likelihood is it can be returned that way. If OTOH noone knows of anyone having playing it since grandma's grandma, it might be a dud.

I'm suspicious of the report that it's a quarter-tone flat but "in tune with itself". A quarter-tone is quite a lot, and pianos don't go that flat while managing to do so with complete consistency across the range staying in tune with themselves! One part of that claim must be bogus.

Ordinarily one would accept a freebie and see, but the problem with a piano is not so much the tuning fee, as the hundred or two you'll probably have to spend to get it moved.

In fact I might even suggest doing things back-to-front as an insurance policy: Ask the owners if you can get a tuner to come and tune it where it currently is, THEN, if all is well, have it delivered. The tuning will cost you fifty quid or so, but if it proves untunable then you will have saved the delivery fee, which will be a lot more. If it's not too far away, you might even then be able to get it delivered without needing to be tuned again.

The problem with leaving it and seeking to buy a second hand one is you'll likely have the same problem anyway. Cheap second hand pianos are often way out of tune, and then you're still left making a judgment call about whether they're tunable. Or you buy one ready-tuned probably from a dealer, but it will cost more.

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