This is by no means a definitive guide to piano values. The true value of a piano is determined by how much someone is willing to pay for the piano. So, to begin, one needs to have an idea of what a piano like yours is going for -
Keep in mind that how much is being asked for a piano in a store or on Craigslist is not necessarily what the piano will actually sell for. In my experience, most are highly over priced, and do not sell, or sell for substantially less. One cannot compare their piano to the price of that in a retail store (which is what I see) as retail pianos usually have been refurbished, serviced, include some kind of warranty as well as a tuning and delivery.
If one would take two pianos, set them side by side and there is actually no difference between the pianos, it's going to come down to sound quality and mechanical condition to a serious player - the better a piano sounds and performs, the more musical value to a player will win every time, regardless of how the piano looks.
I also hear people say that they have been told their piano is an antique piano that would be worth say, $20,000 restored. It can cost $15,000 to $18,000 to get that piano restored.
Think about it for one moment:
I have ample opportunity to rebuild and restore antique pianos, but there isn't a line of buyers waiting to get one, especially for $15,000 to $20,000. So I don't spend time restoring antique pianos. (I'd love to, but I need to make a living). The lack of rebuilt antique piano buyers along with a $15K to $18k investment to restore a piano only leaves $3,000 to $5,000 margin, which isn't that great of a return if the pianos did have a decent market.
The bottom line is used pianos are not rare, but used pianos in good to great condition are rare. Almost all need work to get them to perform musically, as age, neglect and deferred maintenance have accumulated over the years.
The value and price of the piano depends mostly upon its ability to perform musically - that's what the market will bear.
As for sentimental value, that is a completely different topic.....
Not all pianos are the same, and not all pianos are used the same - here's a chart I use to give piano owners and players an idea of what would work best for their situation:
A new piano should be tuned 4 times the first year, and probably twice a year after that - but much will depend upon how the piano is used - see below:
Advanced Use - used hard 4 to 5 hours daily - Service Piano every 1-3 months.
Medium Use - used 2 to 3 hours daily - Service Piano every 3-6 months.
Light Use - used 1 to hours daily - Service Piano every 6-8 months.
Occasional Use: Randomly played - Service Piano every 6-12 months.
Never - If a piano is not really used, then have the piano tuned once a year to avoid structural damage caused by the lowering of the pressure caused by the piano strings.
Concert Piano - service before each concert. (This is a special service that usually requires 3 to 4 hours to prepare, and a touch-up check at intermission)
Professional Practice - used hard 4-8 hours daily. Service piano every 7 to 30 days.
Teaching Piano - used 3-6 hours daily - Service piano every 1-3 months.
Church Piano - Service piano every 3-6 months.
School Piano - Service piano 3-4 times a year. Schedule around performances and when air conditioning/heating is turned on or off.
One of the oldest resources online for pianos is the blue book of pianos.- here's an article they published concerning the purchase of what is more commonly known as gray market pianos - a good basic definition of what is going on...
FAQs about Gray Market or Bootleg Yamaha Pianos
Pianos go out of tune primarily because of changes in humidity. Tuning can be made more stable by installing special equipment to regulate humidity, inside or underneath the piano. There is no evidence that being out-of-tune permanently harms the piano itself. However, a long-term low-humidity environment may eventually crack the soundboard and warp keys and other wooden parts. In particular, pianos located in arid climates and otherwise very dry rooms (for example, a cold climate with an extended heating season) require special attention to humidity control.
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Notes From the Piano Bench
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