If you don't know much about pianos or their price
ranges, don't feel bad. After all, if you’re not regularly buying
pianos, why would you? :) If it's any consolation, most people don't
know much about pianos and their prices -- even people who play them
and teach on them every day. After reading this page however, you will
have a much better understanding of price ranges and value than most
professional pianists. Other pages on this site will get you there, too.
If you find
something you like on our site, call us at
630-584-5000 and you'll
speak with the piano professionals at chicagopianos.com and Cordogan's
Pianoland superstore. Cordogan's ships across the US and Canada. We
ship internationally as well, with customers as far away as Tasmania,
Australia. See why piano buyers all over the world feel most
comfortable purchasing online from the only piano company whose website
"puts it all in writing!"
MUCH ARE PIANOS?!?"
Much like cars,
pianos can be “free for the hauling” or tens of thousands
of dollars. Countless cars across America are constantly being brought
to junkyards or crushed because repair costs exceed the value of the
car. Similarly, thousands of used pianos across America truly have no
monetary value because the mere cost of moving it, let alone adding any
restoration costs, exceeds its value.
know more about cars than pianos, it’s rare that a car dealer
would hear the question “How much are cars?” You could see
how difficult this question would be to answer! So with pianos, the
more appropriate question might be “How are pianos priced and
why?” And that’s a question that takes some explaining.
II. USED PIANOS ARE ALSO NOT
LIKE USED CARS!
pianos don't change much from year to year, as next year's models won't
have an 89th key or a fourth pedal. Used pianos also don't become
obsolete like computers -- which resell at a mere fraction of the cost
of new ones. Piano models rarely change from year to year, In fact, our
industry is rather boring in this regard. Some piano models remain
largely unchanged for decades, which given their human-like life spans,
explains why many good used pianos can easily command much more than
50% of what their new counterparts cost.
For example, if
a car is five years old its functional life might be half over. A 5
year-old piano is still well within its infancy. If a baby grand from brand X sells for, say a rock
bottom $10,000 new, then the same model, used for 5 years, might easily
sell for $8000 on the open market. This can be disheartening to the
professional shopper looking for a mint-condition used baby grand piano
for say, $3000! (The truth is, $8000 may be a great bargain for
the used baby grand in the above scenario.)
This is one of
the realities of used pianos, especially concerning those which are
still "young". In cases like the above, the used prices end up being
JUST enough under the similar new one in order to entice a buyer to
forego the benefits of buying NEW (factory warranty, flawless cabinet,
etc) and simply pay less for a comparable used. An important
consideration is that the comparison at hand is truly "apples to
apples". In most cases, it's not because so many manufacturers
have changed hands in recent years...or changed manufacturing
facilities/techniques, that even if you're comparing the same used
brand & model to a seemingly identical new one, the whole story may
not be in front of you. In some instances, many used pianos can
rightfully sell for much MORE than their new counterparts.
FINDING PRICING INFORMATION ON A SPECIFIC USED PIANO
When a piano is
older, and/or the manufacturer went out of business decades ago,
determining value gets tricky -- particularly for a potential buyer.
Unfortunately, there is little, if any, accurate and/or definitive
information on determining the value of an aged or "really used" used
piano. The condition of the instrument outweighs everything else.
Whereas, the price of a new piano is USUALLY dictated by MSRP's (read
more about MSRP's on our FAQ page), older used
pianos have a more complex formula -- one that begins with a
technician's visit to check out the piano's...er, "vital signs”.
While cabinet styling certainly has been known to influence a purchase
("judging a book by its cover"), be advised that a piano’s
appearance -- whether beautiful or atrocious, doesn’t often have
anything to do with a piano's quality or value.
One way to play
it safe is to find a local, trustworthy dealer who has a reputation for
being fair to help show you price ranges and what to expect from these
price ranges in terms of musical quality and furniture style. We know
however, that many readers here may not live in areas that are serviced
by a reputable dealer, not to mention one that has a great inventory of
new and used pianos. No matter how much research you do, you should not
expect to become a fully-qualified piano technician in the space of
time while you are shopping for a piano!
fortunate enough to be in an area where you have a reputable piano
store with an in-house technical staff
and shop that is willing to walk you through the restoration process
(it's actually pretty interesting!). Then you can see first-hand just
how complex and wonderful pianos really are and why buying privately or
through a marginal dealer can be a risky endeavor.
If you don't
have such a dealer in your area, or you're simply not inclined to spend
that kind of time on this purchase, then we are here for you! More and
more buyers in North America and around the world are coming to
Chicagopianos.com to purchase
their piano. Since almost all new piano manufacturers have
dealership agreements that prohibit online phone and internet quoting
of their new piano models, most of our long distance customers are
those who are seeking mid to high grade reconditioned pianos.
We realize what
a huge investment a piano can be and that's why we're committed to
sending you as much information in writing as you request, including
delivery, warranty, trade-up and
technical information. We can even send digital
photos from various angles or, once you've narrowed down your
selection, we're glad to send you a CD containing streaming video of
the piano from all sides, while someone from our staff plays it for
you. Our reconditioned instruments come with lengthy warranties, so
out-of-state piano buyers can be confident with their purchase since we
only appoint Registered Piano Technicians to perform your tunings /
IV. USED VERTICAL PIANO PRICES
pianos have a long lifespan; if you purchase wisely, you'll only have
to do this once. That said, for a used vertical piano that is properly
restored and warrantied, you can expect to pay $1000 up to, well, up to
$13,000 or more (as in a vintage Steinway, for example). Generally,
most reconditioned verticals end up somewhere between $1500 and $4000.
Obviously, there is plenty of overlap in price between used and new
pianos -- but that's a whole different essay! Incidentally, good new digital pianos cost about the same.
Check our used vertical piano
inventory pages to see what's in stock! But please note that our
online inventory only represents a fraction of what we have in stock.
If you are looking for something you don’t see, please e-mail or call call Rick @
630-584-5000. We have an
extensive “piano finder” database where you can give us
your wish list and we’ll compare it to pianos that are available
to us but are not yet in our inventory.
As for used
grand (and baby grand) prices? For starters, we get calls almost every
week from someone just wanting one "out of their house". Pianos can
often need restoration work that well exceeds the eventual value of the
instrument, so "freebies" are common because well, they just
aren’t worth anything. Even the cost of the move alone can exceed
the value of some grands.
Grands that are
truly playable are another story. Grands that play well AND look nice
is yet another. And just what constitutes "nice"? What YOU need to
spend in order to get what YOU want is largely determined by what YOU
find is acceptable. Let's say you found a playable, older baby grand
from say, the 70's selling for $4000, but when you went to see it, that
"beautiful walnut" finish turned out to be the medium-tone, honey
walnut stain frequently used in that era that matches absolutely
nothing you own. Or maybe it's ebony, but the ebony finish has become checked (or "alligatored") due to
sunlight, so once again, that one's not finding a home in your living
The time it
takes to find that needle in a haystack can be daunting. You will
likely find that your time is much more valuable than the savings you
may incur through multiple want ad calls and home visits in which your
wish list eventually becomes clear. If you do your homework here,
you’ll really know what to ASK for when talking to dealers. The
more specific you can get, the faster you'll rule out places to visit
-- either because you can tell they don't have what you want (some
dealers, by design, don’t even have websites), or they're not
qualified…they're not being straight…or they’re
really just “four walls in a strip mall” and really
aren’t even IN the used piano business. To truly be in the used
piano business, a dealer must have a restoration
shop, otherwise, the “strip mall” dealer’s used
inventory is pretty much limited to trade ins which are often used as
pawns to help sell the new pianos that they’re really in the
business to sell!
A really good
dealer will actually ask YOU a lot of questions to make sure they have
what you're really looking for, even if YOU don't know how to ask for
it. If you're seeking a good PIANO as well as a nice piece of
FURNITURE, prices will start rising and will begin to overlap with inexpensive new pianos made in China and
Indonesia, a comparison which might be a good idea for you, at least
for comparison’s sake.
There is no
"Blue Book" for used pianos because the value of a used piano is almost
entirely based on its INDIVIDUAL condition. (Hint for
sellers: if you want to know your piano's value, call a technician to
appraise it! It's the ONLY way to get a specific dollar value on your
Email us to start a
discussion about what used piano might work for you. Some customers
wish to visit our showroom; others simply buy from us online. Check our
used inventory pages to see if
we have what you're looking for. If we don't, please email us anyway with your
wish list because our used inventory changes almost every day even
though we can’t update it every day.
As we mentioned,
most piano manufacturers have very strict dealership agreements that
expressly prohibit dealers in North America from phone quoting or
internet quoting sale prices. It’s safe to say that you could
spend a lot more money on a good used piano than you could on an entry
level piano made in China or Indonesia. Retail prices on new, entry
level vertical pianos begin under $3000. Retail prices on new baby
grands begin under $8000. Discounts off retail prices vary dramatically
depending on the manufacturer.
CORDOGAN'S CAN HELP
Along with our
hundreds of new pianos, Cordogan's has
over a hundred used pianos in inventory.
With our on-site restoration department and
staff of craftsmen & technicians, we can make them look, feel and
sound like new at the most competitive prices. Cordogan's uses only the
most professional shipping companies and insures all pianos until they
are safely delivered and set up -- no matter where they are shipped in
a new or used piano, you should carefully choose your dealer, as buying
privately or buying from a not-so-reputable dealer certainly can have
Cordogan’s is equally active in the new piano business AND the
used piano business – an important distinction for consumers
looking for unbiased advice on whether they should buy new or used.
generous warranties and full trade-up options.
The used piano inventory changes too frequently for us to keep our
website inventory completely current, so please call 630-584-5000 or email
Chicagopianos.com/Cordogan's for more information if you don't
immediately find what you're looking for on our used pages. Or, come
visit us if you're in or around Chicagoland! Our store is located in Geneva, Illinois.
Pianos last a
long time (60-80+ years and beyond!), so when looking for a dealer,
look for one that has a large selection of used pianos to consider in
addition to new brands they carry. Literally ask them how many pianos
are on display to see if it’s worth your visit.
Information for Used Piano Shoppers:
Facts to Consider When Buying a Used Piano
Used Piano Restoration Checklists