Advice when buying a piano from a dealership

Unless you are buying a piano at a lower level, purchasing a comprehensively restored traditional piano can be an expensive exercise, so it is important that the piano in question has been properly restored, or it could cost you even more later on if further restoration becomes necessary.

Here are some general guidelines to assist you with this :

1. Go to a reputable, established and experienced firm.

2. Always ask to fully inspect the interior of any pianos before you decide.

3. Establish that the piano has been fully restrung & repinned; be wary of old strings that have been cleaned to look like new.

Restringing is essential if the piano is more than 80 years old. Why is this so important ? Most pianos’ strings tend to lose tonal qualities, tuning stability, harmonicity after around 80 years of age, and no amount of cleaning or voicing will undo decades of aging. Soundboards often develop splits or fractures, and these cannot be restored or repaired without removing the old strings. At Courtney Pianos we always restring & repin every piano, because we know how important it is for a piano to sound at its very best, and to ensure that the soundboard has been checked and restored if necessary.

4. It’s also important that the playing mechanism – the Action/Keyboard/Damper assembly – has been dismantled and restored with new feltwork, leatherwork, new springs, recentred flanges, refaced or recovered hammers, and recovered damper-heads. Simply cleaning an old action will not address wear & tear that will have occurred during decades of playing and aging. At Courtney Pianos we always undertake this work as we know how important it is for each piano to function with a crisp and responsive touch & damping, and this is difficult to achieve if the work hasn’t been done properly.

5. If you’re still uncertain, why not ask a reliable music teacher, or better an independent Piano Tuner to inspect & assess any piano for you before you decide to buy. Alternatively, get in touch, we’ll be happy to help.


M. W. Threadgold

The piano is wonderful! It sounds excellent and looks excellent too!

Read more testimonials

Specialists in piano restoration since 1977

Call Courtney Pianos on

01865 790400

Showroom and workshop at 43 Botley Road, Oxford OX2 0BN