A Post Where I Ramble On About A Piano

I've got the piano itch. I took lessons from the age of seven to 20 years old (with a smal hiatus in high school). Right now I have an old, decrepit baby grand made by Starr (a defunct piano company based out of Indiana) in 1929. I didn't have any piano for several years after college, and during college, for that matter, but 2 of the 4 years at Columbia I took lessons (an engineer taking piano lessons! I have always been a bit of a contradiction), so I would drag by butt to the practice rooms in Shapiro on 116th to get my practicing in. I sort of wish I had continued lessons all four years, but things like studying and sorority obligations made me drop it my Junior year. Looking back I should have let the sorority stuff slide because piano is way more fulfilling in the end - but hindsight is always 20-20. I actually had to audition my freshman year with the teacher just to get the lessons. He was a good teacher - I managed to muscle through learning Chopin's Revolutionary Etude which is HARD. I've since lost 90% of the ability to play that one, though I'm sure I could get it back. I would love to get it back.

Anyway, so, I've got this crappy old piano; I paid $250 for it back in 2005 and figured it would be fine, I could deal with a it (by now, if you've read my blog, you know I'm cheap). The thing is, I realized I can't deal with a piece of shit piano. It is brutally out of tune. Yes, I know I can get it tuned but, likely, this piano is so out of whack it will take two or more tunings. If the strings are way off you can't just crank them into place without risking snapping them. If you neglect the piano too much, you are stuck with multiple tunings to get the dang thing in tune. The worst of it is the action is crappy (like the weighting of all the keys is all jacked up - faster runs are hard to accomplish cleanly which is annoying) and the upper keys sound tinny. It is likely that a large number of strings needs replacing, never mind the action problem. The pedals are also a mess. So, fixing up this piano is on the order of hundreds of dollars, if not a thousand not including refinishing the wood. And after fixing it all up, it won't be worth more than 1-2K because it is a Starr and no one has heard of it.

So I want a "new" one (new to me). But there's this "small" issue of the Husband being unemployed. But (to start another sentence with a "but") if there was ever a time to get a screaming deal on a piano it would be now. The bad economy is resulting in people trying to sell their pianos at ridiculous prices (I have run across some, too large for my house, that are crazy, jaw-dropping cheap). I'm sure piano stores are falling all over themselves to get people to buy. Too bad there isn't a Cash for Piano Clunkers. I would so take advantage of that. Anyway, so I've decided that I am going watch Craigslist like a hawk for the next few months. We have the money in savings, our emergency fund is like a years' worth of expenses at this point. Sure, it's not ideal to buy it now but buying it when the economy is better (which is probably when the Husband will finally be employed) for sure will cost me 1K or more. So it's a calculated risk on my part, but 1K on 4K is 25%. It's a sizable discount. To me it's worth the risk.

I would be thrilled to pieces with a 5 foot Yamaha baby grand made in the last 15 years. New, that piano costs $10-12K. Someone is selling one only two years old up in LA for 4K (too far though, I'm looking to buy from someone in the San Diego or Orange County area). I simply can't pass up that kind of ridiculous deal.


  1. How funny that you mention this...I just saw a piano on craigslist today that looked new and in that same price range. I didn't think about the economic situation, but I wondered why someone was selling a nice piano in the place you go to unload your crappy couch.

    Hope you get a nice price on your old one!

  2. Get new piano...give little munchkins lessons...pay for said piano.

    I would love to hear you play sometime. Video blog yourself when you get the piano.

    (First you need baseboards!)

  3. I hear ya on the screaming deals right now but having the husband being out of work! I think you should watch CL. You have a great EF, if you deplete it, you can always sell the piano again, right? I say do it.

    And, I like the idea of doing lessons. ;)

  4. As a fellow piano lover, I say go for a piano upgrade! My mother watched Craigslist like a hawk and found a great one...good luck!!

  5. The cost of musical loves is expensive I hear, but I'd love to get my nearly 5 year old into piano lessons. Not sure he's got the patience, but we might still try. :) I hope you find what you want....and can get it.


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