tickling the ivories

pianos for auction

I like to pride myself on how impulsive I can be when I shop.  But clearly, this skill is only relevant when frivolous purchases are being made.  And this particular spending spree needed to be fully researched.

A little background.  Mini-Me is really enjoying the piano but He and I are less enjoying the quarterly rental bill.  Initially we weren’t keen to buy a piano, essentially because we weren’t at all sure her keenness wasn’t just a passing phase but we also felt sofas, a coffee table and some curtains should come first.

Eventually when we did ask the piano renters if we could buy their piano, we were faced with a shockingly  over-priced valuation.  That was when the research began: How much does a mediocre upright cost?  How easily do they lose their value?  Where does one find a good value 2nd hand piano?

Piano Auctions is run by a charming (but not sales-y) team who have over 26 years experience in pianos, auctioneering and valuations.  Their advice was sound; I should look for a re-conditioned Yamaha U1 as this was not only affordable but would also sound good and hold its value well.

However, I still needed more advice as all the pianos looked and sounded the same to my ignorant eye and similar ear.  I was put in touch with the man who tunes the pianos at (wait for it) the Royal Opera House, Downing Street, BuckinghamPalace… need I go on?  He met me at the auction yesterday and – for a small fee – pointed out an Ibach  in the corner of the room which he considered to be ‘an undiscovered gem needing a little work’.

Today I bid low while adrenalin ran high and we are now proud owners of a 1970s (currently very) flat upright needing my piano tuner’s love and attention.  It will serve Mini-Me well for years to come and I just need to make sure I don’t sing the Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.

The next piano auction is on Thursday 20th September 2012 at Conway Hall, Holborn.

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