Why are pianos so cheap?!

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by CajunJ, Jun 27, 2020.

  1. CajunJ

    CajunJ Tele-Meister

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    I really enjoy playing piano and am toying with the idea of getting one. I’m looking on FB marketplace and they are literally giving them away. Is it just the moving that they don’t want to deal with? How important is moving a piano properly? I’m sure it’s pretty important, but couldn’t you just carefully move it?

    Also, any digital piano suggestions would be great.
     
  2. ChubbyFingers

    ChubbyFingers Tele-Meister

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    It's usually because they can cost a fortune to move and because they will almost certainly have needed tuning before they get moved, let alone after.

    Also, these days many homes simply don't have room for one.
     
  3. ChubbyFingers

    ChubbyFingers Tele-Meister

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    PS depending on the piano, yes you can move it yourself if you're careful.

    I recommend three or four strong guys and a truck with a tail lift for a baby grand. Just did that myself three months ago with a piano we too got for free after the guy's mother in law (whose piano it was) died and he couldn't sell it.
     
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  4. Dismalhead

    Dismalhead Poster Extraordinaire

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    Size and weight. It's a big piece of furniture that takes up space you can't move easily, kinda like a Twin Reverb.
     
  5. nathanteal

    nathanteal Tele-Holic

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    Because they cost several dozen kidneys new and don't typically move until they're beat to crap, at which point no one will pay even a couple dozen kidneys for them.
     
  6. Antoon

    Antoon Tele-Afflicted

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    As for digitale piano's I like the Roland FP-10. Cheap, good keys and excellent sound.
     
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  7. DuckDodgers

    DuckDodgers Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    There are a lot of junk pianos out there that would cost more to repair than they're worth. Some have broken soundboards. Many are cheap Asian pianos that have pin blocks that won’t hold, or carcasses made of MDF.

    But there are also a lot of good domestic pianos out there going for peanuts, or for free. I suspect the demand just isn’t there. Rather than spending several thousand dollars on a piano for a child, families are far more likely to spend a few hundred on a digital piano. If I was learning today, that’s what I’d do.
     
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  8. 3-Chord-Genius

    3-Chord-Genius Poster Extraordinaire

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    The same reason fish tanks are so cheap on Craigslist. People don't want them anymore, but don't want to deal with the trouble of moving them, so they practically give them away if you come and get it.
     
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  9. ReverendRevolver

    ReverendRevolver Tele-Afflicted

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    People dont want to move them. CL is full of people moving who don't have the means to move the piano or a place to put one.

    The trick is getting one from someone who owned it when they were culturally relevant in a living room, they'll know how long its been since it was tuned, itll have resided against an interior wall, and will have less problems than other scenarios. People moving into assisted living homes, condos, or in with relatives are typically the people who know the pianos history. Children or grandchildren of the deceased do not know these things, but know they dont want a piano or to pay someone to get it. They view it like a fridge that was new in 1985; it takes up space, belonged to someone else, it's stupid heavy, and even if it works it doesn't go with thier decor.

    I have my grandmother's, it took me, my cousin, 2 uncles, a family friend, and a uhaul. Technically, only 3 of us moved it, one helped guide, and one guy kept the cat from escaping. Backed the uhaul up, extended the ramp onto my concrete porch, and bypassed stairs entirely.
     
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  10. Musekatcher

    Musekatcher Friend of Leo's

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    At one time, there were thousands of producers due to a boom in popularity. For a long time. And then the boom busted, and we are left with many more than are needed. I still see free pianos if you haul them off. Banjos went thru the same boom and bust. Folks have a turn of the century banjo they think is valuable, only to find out its worth $200 (after its put back in fully playable condition). Saxophones are another boom and bust victim. Violins, accordions, telecasters...
     
  11. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    I see what you did there!
     
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  12. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    I thought house were getting bigger and bigger. Or course, the amount of stuff people own could be increasing even faster.
     
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  13. ravindave_3600

    ravindave_3600 Friend of Leo's

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    It's a shame. A piano is a marvelous instrument and there's really nothing better for learning theory. For the cost of a good used one you can get a digital that's smaller and can be left in a closet when you get tired of it, but of only poor to mediocre quality.
     
  14. ChubbyFingers

    ChubbyFingers Tele-Meister

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    Depends where you live.
     
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  15. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    .

    Watch some old movies and see how the piano player was the life of a party. Everyone wanted to play piano because of that. Then it was too hard to learn piano and they sit as a heavy monument in the house that still needs to be dusted and cared for. There are some famous old brands who no one knows about now because they faded in the 50s/60s/70s, so do your research when you find a potential rescue.

    Tuning can be a bit of money. However, if you are any bit handy you can probably fix most minor issues yourself. If you figure you are getting a free piano for only the cost of a tuning specialist then a used piano is pretty inexpensive. A couple of the videos below dispel the concerns you may run against "cracked soundboard" and "sloppy tuning peg holes". Don't get the piano tuned until it has had time to acclimate to your house's temperature and humidity levels. There is a lot of wood in a piano so it will take longer than a guitar.

    Rescuing a piano from a first floor house to another first floor is pretty easy, you can get harbor freight 4-wheel flat dollies under it and using 2x10 boards as ramps get it in and out of a truck with a couple of people (I've moved a half-height/console style piano on my own this way). If you need to lug it out of a basement it will take more friends to help you. Basement pianos often have more problems due to humidity during long storage so if you have a choice for another similar one that was not kept in the basement like a troll you'll be better off.








    For electric piano keyboards the Yamaha and Roland models are popular. Generally the big selling feature about them are 'weighted keys' so they feel more like a physical piano. Beyond that they are sold on how many synthesizer sounds they make, but I'd ignore most of that, it's like having a guitar with on-board pedals.

    .
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2020
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  16. kLyon

    kLyon Tele-Holic Gold Supporter

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    I've been seeing this for awhile; there was an article in the New York Times about some garbage dump in New Jersey(?) where there are hundreds of great pianos being taken from places like the Upper East Side: even grands, solid ones. Anything that doesn't say "Steinway," no matter how good a piano it is.
    As was said, there was a boom: the piano used to the be principle source of music in a household, before automation - in this case, recorded music - took over.
    Somebody just offered me a really good Baldwin (a spinet, but a good-sounding one) for $50 if I'd move it. Then immediately, "forget the $50; just take it..."
    But I have no room.
    And, as was said, there's the cost of moving, the cost of tuning...
    It really is a shame; so many great instruments were made here.
    (and yeah, I'd think twice before spending a lot of money on a vintage or handmade tele... time and fashion are relentless)))
     
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  17. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Free is about right.
    Moving, fixing and tuning costs more than an adequate new digital keyboard.

    At my town hall they have a Steinway grand on casters in a closet.
    For shows they have to roll it maybe 60 feet on a smooth hard floor with no bumps or thresholds.
    Then it must be tuned, every time it's moved out for a show.
     
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  18. Jakedog

    Jakedog Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    There is an art to moving pianos. I had a job doing it for a little while back in the early 90’s. If you know what you’re doing and have the proper gear, it’s really a breeze. The upright we have in our livingroom my BIL and I moved by ourselves no problem. But I used to move pianos, and he used to deliver furniture.

    We went down to UHaul and picked up a van, and returned it an hour later.

    We got the piano on EBay, but with local pickup. 1949 Baldwin in excellent condition, from the original owner. It was delivered to her house as a 9th birthday gift from her grandparents, and had sat right in that spot until Bill and I picked it up in 2018. My wife found the listing on eBay, and put in the minimum starting bid of $50. Turns out she was the ONLY bid and we won it. It’s an absolutely beautiful instrument.
     
  19. davidge1

    davidge1 Friend of Leo's

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    You do NOT want to try moving a piano yourself. There's a reason that professional piano movers exist.
     
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  20. bgmacaw

    bgmacaw Friend of Leo's

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    Even a small spinet is relatively heavy and any piano can be damaged from even a minor drop. It's easily a two person job to move even a small one. When I was in college and worked for a moving company, when we moved an old and ornate concert grand it took 10 men. The piano, based on the truck scale, weighted around 1400 pounds.

    Piano tuning will cost about $120 to $150 plus any other repair fees and there will probably be other repairs needed on a neglected piano. Just get a Yamaha digital piano and save yourself the trouble.

    pianoweightchart.JPG
     
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