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How to Sell a Piano?


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12 replies to this topic

#1 of 13 Johnny Angell

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Posted October 31 2004 - 02:37 AM

To keep this from being a posting to sell something, I will give no details except to say its high quality and expensive.

I've checked out eBay and noticed almost all the pianos are not being bid on. Perhaps this is because for such a heavy item, the bidding audience is mostly restricted to the area in which the piano is located. Most of the postings say pickup and delivery of the piano is the buyer's responsibility, which is what I would want to do. eBay doesn't look like a very good way to sell a piano.

I've looked at my local (Little Rock) classifieds and all the pianos there are less than $1K many less than $500. Perhaps this is good, no competition for my price bracket or perhaps it indicates there's no market in my price range.

Are there other ways to sell a piano? Other online options are local options besides the above?
Johnny
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#2 of 13 Christ Reynolds

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Posted October 31 2004 - 03:24 AM

maybe you can look for some piano forums around the web, they may have some for sale sections that you can post in.

CJ
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#3 of 13 Leila Dougan

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Posted October 31 2004 - 03:28 AM

Perhaps it would be better to seek out a specialized market isntead of trying to sell it on a general one. You may want to talk to any local music/piano/instrument stores and see if they have ideas or a place to put some flyers. If there's a university near you with a music program, that's a good place to advertise as well. Visit instrument/music related newsgroups and make some posting there (make sure they are okay for advertising stuff first).

I think the problem is that joe blow off the street sees the $200 keyboard in Best Buy and doesn't get why your piano is any better. So I think a better strategy is to hunt down the folks who are already into music professionally, or are on their way, because they are likely to know all the various brands and their worth.

#4 of 13 Guest_Eric Kahn_*

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Posted October 31 2004 - 01:12 PM

If it is a high end piano, like a grand piano, you might want to see if you can place it on consignment at a music store
or contact a local piano tuner and ask his advice

#5 of 13 Greg_R

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Posted November 01 2004 - 12:33 PM

Piano tuners and repairmen would be my suggestion. They know people who are looking to buy...

#6 of 13 Randy Tennison

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Posted November 02 2004 - 01:58 AM

Don't go to your local piano store. You are in direct competition with them. They will try to buy it (if it's at all nice), and not give you much. I know. I sold pianos and organs many moons ago.

The number one thing to check on a piano is the soundboard. It should be free from any cracks. This is the wood on the back of the piano which amplifies the vibrations of the strings.

Is the piano in tune? Does it hold tune? Before you sell it, have it tuned. Why would anyone buy a piano that sounds bad?

Pianos are also different sizes. If it is an upright grand (a really tall piano, like a bar-room piano), get what you can for it. They are so heavy, their value is less. Grands and baby grands are normally more valuable, as they are more "furniture" like. Uprights, spinnets, and other more generic pianos are less valuable.

There are no real "antique" pianos. There are just old pianos. Because pianos really don't lose anything with age, there are tons of old pianos. So, unless you are dealing with a specific brand which in itself has value (Steinway, Bosendorfer, etc), an old piano is no more valuable than a younger piano.

$500 to $1k is common for a personal seller of most pianos. Of course, if we are dealing with a grand type, it goes up from there.

Without knowing any more specifics, I really can't give you any more help.
Randy T.
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#7 of 13 Marc_Sulinski

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Posted November 02 2004 - 06:03 AM

I have a 1920's Steinway Grand piano. I believe that it is the smallest length that still qualifies as grand. It could stand to be refinished, but otherwise it plays well, holds its tune, and has no cracks. It also has ivory keys. Is there any way of telling how much I could get for this?

#8 of 13 Johnny Angell

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Posted November 03 2004 - 08:18 AM

Quote:
Without knowing any more specifics, I really can't give you any more help.


Randy, this is a Schimmel upright "Empire" model that we bought brand new in 1985. I've measured it from floor to the top and its 44 inches.

I've talked with the only authorized dealers for Schimmels in the Little Rock area and she said she thought it was we could get 6-8K. She encouraged me to try and sell it myself. I hadn't even given her any measurements when she made that guess. This was all on the phone.

They would take it on consigment, but we'd get only 50% of the purchase price.
Johnny
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#9 of 13 Randy Tennison

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Posted November 04 2004 - 07:37 AM

Johnny,

I'd be pretty wary of that estimate. She may be trying to get you to overprice the piano, so that they don't have to compete against you.

Best thing I can say to do is to go shopping for pianos, find a similar piano, and find out how much the dealer wants for it. Don't tell them you're shopping for a price. That will give you an idea regarding how much to pay.

Marc,

your 1920's Steinway could be interesting. You might go to a Steinway dealer, and ask them to appriase it for "insurance value" purposes only (not for sale . . .get it).

EDIT: Check out this page for some prices on older Steinway grands.

http://countrypiano.com/showroom.html
Randy T.
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#10 of 13 Johnny Angell

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Posted November 06 2004 - 07:10 AM

We went into a piano store today and talked to someone about Schimmels, and he did tout them as top-rated hand-made pianos. A new upright would go for over $10K, he thought, though he didn't have any in.

While there, we noticed a piano with a pianodisc system. The kind of system that actually plays the piano. So now my wife is giving some consideration to keeping the piano and having one of these disc systems installed.

She got to thinking about it after we left the store, so we dind't ask what it would cost to intall one. Anyone have any idea? If I don't get much response to this question, maybe I should make it a separate posting.
Johnny
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But a family cat is not replaceable like a wornout coat or a set of tires. Each new kitten becomes its own cat, and none is repeated. I am four cats old, measuring out my life in friends that have succeeded but not replaced one another.--Irving Townsend


#11 of 13 Colin Dunn

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Posted November 07 2004 - 03:10 AM

I think pianos don't get a lot of bids on eBay because they are expensive items, and very expensive to ship. If you want a real piano, you probably want to play it before buying it and see it in person to be sure you are getting what you want. There is also the potential for a used piano to need expensive repairs, but the defects are not obvious in a casual visual inspection.

I bought a piano on eBay earlier this year. It cost $950 to have it shipped from L.A. to Austin, but I overall got a really good deal because the price of the piano was so good ($3,950 for a 7'11" semi-concert grand). This seemed almost too good to be true, so I paid about $100 to have a piano technician in the L.A. area inspect the piano and inform me of any problems before I bought it.

The prices that people pay for used pianos seem to vary widely. What you buy depends on what you expect to do with the instrument. The way to get the most piano for not-so-much money is to buy a large grand from a not-so-well-known manufacturer. Some of these pianos can be very good; others can be very bad, so consider each instrument on a case-by-case basis. The downside: These can be harder to re-sell later because they don't trade on brand reputation.

The best piano brands (Steinway, Schimmel, Mason & Hamlin, Boesendorfer, higher-end Yamahas and Kawais, etc.) always command a high price because of their quality, scarcity, and desirability. If you see one of these selling for cheap, be extra-careful because the instrument probably needs full restoration ($5K or more of work at a rebuilder's shop). Once you're talking about that kind of money, you can buy a new (or used in excellent condition) piano of a less reputable but still decent brand.

Full restoration is seldom done on uprights because the restoration work costs significantly more than the resale value of the rebuilt instrument. It is usually done on grands, particularly "brand-name" ones, where someone can buy a trashed-out Steinway for a couple thousand, put $10K of refinishing & rebuilding work into it, and emerge with an instrument worth $25K because of the Steinway name.
Colin Dunn

#12 of 13 Randy Tennison

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Posted November 08 2004 - 01:31 AM

Johnny,

When I was selling pianos in the early 90's, we shy'd away from Piano Disc. One reason was we were a Yamaha dealer, and so we pushed Disklavier (their version, which was not installable on other pianos It was done at the factory). However, the modifications done to the piano to install Pianodisc were a bit much.

Now, in 2004, I have no idea how they've improved the installation of the system. Just know that they do have to drill and cut on the piano to install it.
Randy T.
Orlando, FL
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#13 of 13 Johnny Angell

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Posted November 08 2004 - 03:30 AM

Quote:
When I was selling pianos in the early 90's, we shy'd away from Piano Disc.


I found a piano forum and a was told a basic system installed would cost around $6K. That is not in the budget, so we are now looking to sell the piano.
Johnny
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