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The True Cost of A “Free” Piano

May 15, 2023

The True Cost of A “Free” Piano

Through the many years I have been in the piano industry I have been approached by many people asking about a free piano they had seen on Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, been offered by a friend of family member, or even found in a giveaway ad.


This always makes me apprehensive because for the most part they end up being anything but free in the long run.


Occasionally, a piano offered by a relative or a good friend might be a decent one, but more often than not you are getting a liability, especially if you know nothing about pianos.


In this case, what you don't know can really hurt you. 


Many pianos offered for free are done so because the owner couldn't get any money for it due to the state of it.  


Even though pianos are useful for a very long time, they do not last forever.


When pianos are past their usable life span, they become quite worthless.


Technology changes, replacement parts become unavailable, and the cost of bringing them to playing condition, which sometimes can't be done at all, are prohibitive factors for acquiring one.


Here is the breakdown of the cost of a free piano:

  • Cost to move ~$300, (pianos are heavy and trying to move one yourself can cause damage to life limb and property)
  • Tuning and prep $200- $???? If it can be tuned at all, many arrive unplayable and stay that way. 
  • Not to mention the cost of general repairs


That free piano can actually cost you more money than expected. Money that you can't get back because the value can remain at $0 after all the time, effort, and cash you expended.


My advice is to buy a good modern piano from a reputable dealer and even though it's not free, your money will be well spent because you will be guaranteed to have a playable instrument that will last a long time. 

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