How to buy a quality second hand piano for under $1500

By William Dang, piano teacher


Parents will always ask me what to do when it’s time to upgrade to a piano for the young piano student or when I personally demand that the parent buy a piano for the student when it’s time for them to start learning about expression and build their finger technique. There are numerous ways to buy pianos, you can just go out and invest in one that is at the $5k - $6k mark, brand new and very shiny.

So what about the more budget conscious? Or the student who may or may not be playing piano for the rest of their life? Well here are some very simple strategies to look for a quality used or second hand piano and aiming for something under $1500.

When buying a used piano or second hand piano for under $1500 you are going to be looking for certain branded pianos that are good value but obviously not top of the range. Look for brands such as Alex Steinbach, Kohler Campbell, Beale, Young Chang, Pearl or Samick. These are often not as highly valued as your Kawaii or Yamaha piano so they are often floating around in private sales and classifieds for varying prices. Timing is very important here, just wait till the right priced one, the one where the owner is moving overseas, moving house or just plain desperate to sell.

As for classifieds, these second hand pianos are available on places like,, community newspapers, trading post, etc. Look for the pianos that were once brand new maybe 10- 20 years ago. Pianos, although do wear, do not wear terribly and will just require a couple of tunings if they have not been serviced properly. So leave $300 in your budget to allow for a couple of tunings to get the pitch back straight. Allow for another $200 for the removal cost. Knowing these costs will aid you in negotiating for a better price to keep it within your budget.

If you are unsure of the condition of the piano, find a piano tuner to accompany you to the viewing. Piano tuners will ask for $100 or so to inspect the piano for you and give you a review of the condition of it. They will often tell you whether it is a good buy or bad buy and allow you to make a good decision based on their findings.

Good luck with this type of buying strategy. After viewing about 3 -4 pianos you will be able to tell the difference between conditions of the piano and be aware of what the difference in value between different pianos. This strategy will help you secure a value for money piano and is a great stepping stone to an intermediate level or advanced level piano player.