Piano Buying 101 With Author John Perry

If you’ve been taking piano lessons and are ready to invest in your own instrument, there are some things you need to know. At first glance, the range of options can seem overwhelming. However, author John Perry explains that a little bit of research goes a long way towards finding the right instrument at a fair price. As an avid player, John Perry provides some helpful tips when it comes to investing in your first piano.

Research, Research, Research

For beginner piano players, the easiest course of action is to visit a local piano store, play the used pianos in stock, and buy the one you like and can afford — that is what John Perry tells friends when they ask for his advice. There are also thousands of pianos for sale online, both locally and nationally through sites like Ebay. Unfortunately, because a piano is a complicated piece of machinery, there is a lot that can go wrong and not all of it will be obvious. John Perry explains that if you don’t buy from a dealer, it is worth the time and expense to have a piano technician look at it before you purchase. If you can, hire a member of the Piano Technicians Guild; they are experts who can give you a thorough report. Members can be found all over the country, so if you’re considering an out-of-town instrument, look for a PTG member in that area and send them over.

Considering Brands

Two questions that John Perry is asked most often when friends are looking for a piano are: what brand should I buy and how much should it cost? He explains that he could write entire books answering those two questions but provides some quick suggestions.

Expensive Pianos

At the top of the piano totem pole is a handful of companies producing exquisite works of art, the best sounding and most expensive pianos in the world. John Perry’s list of favorites includes Fazioli (Italian), Grotrian, Blüthner, Bechstein (all German), Bösendorfer (Austrian), and Steinway (American, with a second factory in Germany). However, he points out that many beginners are not interested in paying $50,000 and up for their piano. But if you are, you will be the proud owner of a masterpiece that will last a lifetime. In addition to the Seiler, John Perry plays a 1925 Steinway that he describes as “an absolute joy every time I sit down at the keyboard.”

Affordable Pianos

At the bottom of the totem pole is a sea of low-priced pianos that are best avoided. John Perry explains that most of these pianos are from parts of Asia where piano building is a new art and practiced on a huge factory scale. It may be better to purchase an older Kawai or Mason & Hamlin than one of these. Some of the big names in this category are Pearl River, Young Chang, and Samick. There is definitely a market for these makes and sister brands from the same companies (there are many of them), but John Perry would not steer anyone in that direction.

New York Times best-selling author John Perry was born in Greensburg, Kentucky, and raised in Houston, Texas | www.johnperryauthor.com | Nashville, TN |