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Things to look out for


Overstrung and underdamper actions (uprights)

Preferably metal action standards (rather than wood)

3 pedals on an upright - usually from about 1989

Make sure it’s in reasonable tune

Roller action on grands

Bright shiny strings


Things to avoid


Straight strung and overdamper actions (uprights)

‘Spring and loop’ grand actions

Pianos made by Lindner (mostly made from plastic)

Oblong tuning pins

So called ‘Antique’ pianos over 100 years old

Mini pianos

Free pianos (unless you’ve tried it and it’s ok)

A Few quick tips when buying a piano

Piano Auctions


There are plenty of pianos sold in auctions - the simple rule at an auction is ‘be very careful’ and don’t get hooked in to bidding for the sake of winning!

Get the pianos checked out by a technician before the auction day.


Lots of pianos in piano auctions come from piano dealers. Some have been taken in part exchange, perhaps some have been sitting around for a long time.

Piano dealers put pianos in auctions often because they can’t offer a guarantee as they would when selling it in their shop. You have no comeback on a poor piano bought at auction.

Very often the dealer will get a piano in that needs a lot of work that’s not worth doing so they will put in in an auction just to get rid of it

Be very wary of pianos sold from a warehouse (there are quite a few popping up) Ask for the front to be taken off, or if it’s a grand get the action take out. Look at the condition of the felts and the springs. Does it smell ‘musty’ - leave those alone. Is it on pitch and in reasonable tune? If the pitch is down, insist on it being brought up before you go any further - don’t accept being told they will do that once it gets home - use a free tuner app on your smart phone. Just play the A above middle C and see what it says. Anything more than half a semitone is a concern and it must be brought up BEFORE you buy it.

Just because it has a good name like Bechstein, Steinway, Blüthner etc. doesn't automatically make it a good piano, it may need a lot of work to get it back to a good condition.


If in doubt - give me a call, advice is free!

Paying for your new piano

Of course, if you are happy to accept that you will need to spend some money on a restoration then an auction (or warehouse) piano with a good name can sometimes be a way of having a really nice piano. Restorations can cost upward of £3000 (2019) plus transport and normally takes about 6 - 8 weeks to complete