Before finding an old upright piano for your home, you need to ask yourself a few questions. Do you prefer crisp sounds from pianos or mellow sounds? Do you prefer a new age piano look or a classic sturdy wood construction? Are you looking to add some character to your home? A good, used upright digital piano can add any of these things to your home. Most importantly, if you play the piano, it can add beautiful music and memories to your life.
Around the 1860s, Steinway began to make significant improvements to the technology behind upright pianos. By 1890, upright pianos had been increased to the full 88 keys found on larger pianos. From this point until the present, the upright piano has been the most popular form of piano.
Most upright pianos are constructed of a soundboard and a plate of strings running up and down the height of the piano. Most upright pianos since the 1880s have solid sound technology. Virtually all of the pianos constructed by reputable manufacturers since 1900 contain quality sound technology.
In fact, there are some benefits to purchasing vintage upright pianos. The cabinets on these older pianos tend to be made of higher quality wood. Many of them are handcrafted with a more elegant design. Many have inlaid marquetry and beautiful veneers. The finish was applied to the wood in a meticulous manner, leaving less damage to the wood and making refinishing the wood later a more successful enterprise.
Theses older pianos are made up almost exclusively of high quality materials. These pianos can generally go 50 to 100 years between restorations. More recent pianos may be made up of cheap plastics that not only shorten the life of the pianos but can be heard in the way the pianos notes resonate. These pianos, typically made of pressed wood or particle boards unless purchased from a top manufacturer, may only last 5 to 20 years and often don't have enough quality left in them to make restoration feasible.
Antique specialists and collectors generally categorize upright pianos into three age groups. Upright pianos from approximately 1700-1830 are considered antique uprights. Upright pianos from approximately 1850-1900 are labeled as Victorian. Everything from 1900 to the present is considered a modern upright piano. The value of old upright pianos is largely determined by its rarity. Two other key components of value to collectors are the quality of the cabinetry craftsmanship and the quality of the tone produced by the piano when it is fully tuned and restored. Some smaller components of used upright piano values to collectors are unique, sophisticated mechanical designs.
Because the upright piano became so plentiful around the beginning of the 20th century until the present, pianos produced in the modern era may not hold their value the way similar collectibles such as furniture do. There are often more people trying to sell these old modern era used upright pianos than there are buyers.
This does not mean these old modern era upright pianos lack anything in terms of quality. In fact, for those who just want a beautiful used upright piano from the early 20th century in their home, it is a great opportunity. You can often purchase one of these used upright pianos and have it fully restored for much less than the cost of a new piano. It's usually just a matter of looking through your local for sale ads and then finding a specialist to restore the piano. Your restored piano won't just look better than the new pianos but it will probably last longer. And the quality of the tones put out from one of these used pianos is typically just as good, provided you purchase a quality piano from the era.
With so much supply available of modern era used upright pianos, the cost difference of getting a high quality one over an unknown, mass-manufactured one is minimal. So you should not settle on an old upright piano until you find a good one. Some examples of good piano manufactures are Weber, Steinway, Sohmer, Sauter, Mason and Hamlin, Knabe, Chickering, Boosendorfer, Bechstein, and Baldwin as well as Kawai and Yamaha upright pianos.
Return Home - Article Listing