Buy from a Reputable Store
I recommend AZ Piano in Phoenix. Jason Sipe is the owner. This is where I bought my piano. It is one of the largest piano stores in the entire Southwest. They do have sales at least once a year, and have used pianos in pretty reasonable price ranges, and many brands of pianos to choose from.
If you buy a piano from Craigslist, there is no guarantee that you won’t get a piano with a lot of problems with it. You don’t know how well the piano has been taken care of, and you could end up with a piano that needs a lot of repairs. The pianos at AZ Piano have been tuned and maintained regularly.
What Type of Piano Should I Buy?
I recommend Yamaha or Kawai pianos the most.
How Much Should I Expect to Pay?
One should expect to pay around $2000-3,000 for a good quality used piano.
Now, are there exceptions? Yes, sometimes you can get lucky. A local church may be giving away or selling a piano at a very low price, for example. And as I mentioned before, buying from a website such as craigslist can be risky.
However, if you find a piano that looks like it could be a good contender, before you buy it, hire a piano tuner and technician first. You may be able to pay them a small fee for their time to help you evaluate the piano. Ask them how much they would charge for their time, to go online and look at photos of it, or to physically go look at the piano you’re considering purchasing. Ask for their professional opinion as to whether you should buy the piano or not.
If You Have a Lower Budget
For those who have a smaller budget, there are basic pianos called spinet pianos. I call them the “model T” of pianos, are smaller and don’t take up a lot of space in your living room. They are harder to keep in tune because of the way they are made, but you can potentially buy a spinet piano for about $1,000.
This is a good way to find out if your child will become serious about the piano. If your child ends up not liking the piano, and doesn’t take their practicing seriously, then you can fairly easily sell it. Someone is usually looking for a spinet piano. Or, it can also be used to sell and upgrade to a better piano in the future, if your child excels or does really well on the piano.
Add the Cost of Moving the Piano
In addition to purchasing the piano, one needs to include in their budget the price of moving the piano.
This can be $300 or more to move a piano, depending if it’s a local move or if it’s a piano that’s more than 100 miles away.
Do not attempt to get a truck and move the piano yourself! You could injure yourself – or damage the piano!
Hire a professional piano mover. Please. They have the right truck, and the experience of moving pianos without damaging them. Pianos are expensive to repair. Often upright pianos can be on wheels, and they would roll around the truck. They are extremely heavy (the average upright piano can weigh anywhere from 200 to 1,000 pounds!), and it’s much better overall to spend the money and hire a professional piano mover.
Add the Cost of Humidifiers Where Needed
Especially in Arizona and the Southwest, you need to add the cost of installing an internal humidifier.
As for humidifiers, the internal humidifier I purchased with my piano at AZ piano was professionally installed when I bought the piano, but I imagine that it can be installed separately.
This type of humidifier is called a dampp chaser. (It really has two “p’s” in the name-that is the correct spelling!) I highly recommend the dampp chaser because it can preserve the life of the piano; prevent cracks and preserve the wood from the dry weather in AZ, and it helps to keep the piano in tune.
I am not sure of the cost, but you can find out if you call AZ Piano. They would know the prices, and be able to install it for you if you’re buying your piano there, or hire a piano technician that knows how to install one.
Here is more information on the dampp chaser.