Tips For A Savvy Shopper Looking For A Piano On Craigslist

Shopping online is one of the fastest growing segments of the piano business.  Buying a piano on craigslist can be a great way to save money, but it can also be a way to bring a lot of trouble into your life.   We have interviewed dozens of sellers and hundreds of shoppers who have tried to use craigslist, and have discovered a pattern among piano shoppers that could help save the savvy buyer time and money.

Buying craigslist pianos can have some hidden costs.  Moving a piano can cost a few hundred dollars, and failing to have it moved professionally can leave damage that costs even more to repair.  The majority of pianos on craigslist have not been tuned for years, and may require 2, 3, or even more tunings, which adds a few hundred dollars more to your hidden costs.  Some pianos actually cannot hold their pitch anymore, without replacing the tuning pins, which can cost several times the price of the piano.

If pianos from craigslist have been sitting awhile, the time or cost of cleaning them up is a factor.  And pianos that have been exposed to changes in humidity can have action problems with the moving parts that require a few hundred dollars in regulation, if they are still fixable.  It’s always frustrating to get a piano home in time for a holiday or birthday, just to find it’s going to need more work before it’s really useful for a player.

In addition, older pianos in which the hammers have been allowed to harden may require voicing, in order for them to produce a pleasing tone, which is another cost, often a few hundred dollars to do the job correctly.  Not many piano tuners can perform this task.
Many of the savvy shoppers who find The Piano Guys tell us our prices are not much more than buying a piano on craigslist, and if you factor in all the costs of work we do in advance, versus costs you may have to continue to pay when you buy a piano from craigs list or some other internet site, it is often a considerable savings, often hundreds or even thousands of dollars.  This is especially true in economic times like these, when sellers are anxious to sell their neglected pianos for some extra cash!  But they might not tell you everything they know about the item they need to get rid of.

This is not to say that a knowledgeable pianist cannot recognize a solid piano, and may find a great buy from a private party.  Some people spend many years looking for just the right buy.  They are more interested in making a “steal” than in spending the years of their lives enjoying the music of a quality piano.  If this is your interest, keeping your eye on craigslist may be an enjoyable way to pass the time.

How We Can Help:


The Piano Guys provide services that can help shoppers looking for a piano on craigslist. We professionally move pianos in Southwest Florida, and we repair them when an inexperienced mover has broken them.  We tune, regulate, and voice pianos professionally, which can often make up for years of neglect many pianos have suffered.  Some people try to find some savings by buying the piano one year, having a technician tune it the next year, regulate it the year after that, and voice it some time later.  We used to do a number of evaluations for customers, giving analysis of a craigslist piano for someone, for a small fee. But we have found this is generally not a good use of our time or your money.  We prefer to prepare more pianos for you, rather than just tell you what needs to be done.  Repairs usually can’t be done as well in the home as they can in our workshop, which is essentially a piano restoration factory.

In many cases, a savvy shopper will find even more savings by purchasing a piano already tested, tuned, and prepared in advance by The Piano Guys.  And this allows you to start enjoying the music right away!  Contact us for help with this purchase–whether you’re buying a piano on craigs list or would prefer to try out the pianos we’ve already restored to health for you.