What to Look for When Buying a Piano

At Snadens Pianos we are honoured to continue the legacy and tradition that Charles Snaden established in providing fine pianos to the people of Western Australia in the early 1920s.

For this reason we are very selective in the instruments that we stock and we provide the best service and use the top piano technicians in Perth.

To us, a piano first and foremost must sound beautiful, if it doesn’t sound good then you’re less likely going to want to sit down and play. Playing a musical instrument should be an enjoyable experience rather than a chore.

We have chosen the pianos that we stock for this reason. As Perth’s most trusted and established piano shop we have introduced quality instruments to many institutions and performance areas including the AMEB (Australian Music Examinations Board), UWA (the University of Western Australia), WAAPA (West Australian Academy of Performing Arts), Government House Ballroom, St George’s Cathedral, St George’s College, Winthrop Hall, Hale School, MLC, PLC, Scotch College, Christchurch Grammar School, Trinity College, John XXIII College, Loreto Nedlands, Churchlands, All Saints College.

When you’re first beginning to learn the piano you are developing your ears and developing your touch, thus along with having a good sound, a piano must have an accurate and responsive action (the inside mechanism, made of of thousands of parts). For this reason our most popular traditional pianos (uprights & grands) are new pianos made by Kawai. Kawai have developed a world first in piano actions in which they combine traditional and modern materials. The Kawai Millennium III Action using carbon fibre is the world’s most advanced piano action. ABS Carbon fibre is used in places where wood would have once been used however unlike wood, carbon fibre doesn’t react to humidity the same way as wood, making it much more stable and less likely for keys to stick. Carbon fibre is also much strong, faster and lighter meaning the moving parts will last a lot longer than wood, that playing fast passages is more even and accurate and that overall the piano is more responsive and controllable especially in dynamics meaning the player has a greater range of available to them from ppp to fff.

Although Kawai is a Japanese company with all but one of their uprights being fully made in Japan, they have developed a warm rich, European tone and they are the most European sounding piano out of Asia, which is particularly suitable for Western Classical music but with a warmer, mellow sounding piano the player is able to change the tone and make the piano sound brighter with their technique – this cannot be done on a piano that is very bright to begin with. Thus we recommend Kawai.

A question we are often asked is “Should I buy a new or used piano?”. Especially for someone starting off, a new piano is highly recommended as it’s got it’s whole life ahead of it, not worn out, the touch is accurate and even and the tone is even. The general life span of a piano is 30-80 years – which is a very large range and varies so much due to the conditions in which the piano is kept, how often the piano is maintained (tuned, voiced & regulated), how often it is played, the country of origin and the country that it spent most of it’s life in. There is always a risk in buying second hand. Buyers should also be wary of “reconditioned” pianos and pianos that have been imported second hand from other countries, especially where humidity and climate is so different to ours. Some issues that often occur include cracks appearing in the soundboard, mould on hammers, structural issues, and tuning problems. There is no legal definition for “reconditioning” a piano. These issues may not be apparent at first but appear a few months later… Buy the best instrument you can afford.

You can view our range of Kawai Pianos here, or contact us for more information.