Are you interested in buying your first acoustic piano, are you trying to upgrade, or do you need to try out different digital pianos to find the right fit? I teach West Chester, PA piano lessons, so I’m often asked about where students should buy a piano – this blog serves as a bit of guidance.
If you’d like some help deciding on the right piano, feel free to get in touch. It’s a big investment, and hopefully you will play it almost every day. Below the list of piano stores is some guidance on choosing an acoustic or digital piano.
Where To Buy a Piano In West Chester, PA
Philip Jamison Pianos
Philip Jamison, located right in West Chester, has been restoring and selling pianos since 1971. He offers tuning, restoration services, repairs, and you can even rent a piano from him. Since he runs a small shop, his inventory isn’t huge, but if you get in touch and tell him what you’re looking for, he may have a great deal for you. His website claims that he has upright pianos from a few hundred dollars, grand pianos for a few thousand, and more.
Number: 610-696-8449 (appointment only)
Address: 17 Sharon Alley, West Chester, PA 19382
Taylor’s Music Store
You can’t be a musician in West Chester and not be familiar with Taylor’s Music Store, located on Gay Street right in the borough. They sell a large selection of instruments, and you can find a number of new and used pianos in their showroom (they also have a number of digital keyboards for sale). They’ve been in business for 80+ years, and pianos have always been a significant portion of that business.
Address: 116 West Gay St, West Chester, PA, 19380
B&N Piano Sales and Service, Inc.
B&N isn’t exactly in West Chester, but Aston, PA is close enough. They are a family owned business that has operated for 30+ years, and they tune, move, and restore pianos in addition to selling them. You may want to call ahead and tell them what you’re looking for – their inventory rotates regularly.
Address: 2460 Dutton Mill Rd. Aston, PA 19014
Cunningham Piano Company
The Cunningham Piano Company is one of the region’s more respected piano retailers, and they have a very large showroom in King of Prussia. You can purchase new and used keyboards here, and they also have high end digital options, like the Yamaha Avant Grand series.
Phone: (215) 991-0850
Address: 198 Allendale Rd, King of Prussia, PA 19406
Owned and operated by Chris LaBarre, a Registered Piano Technician, this business can help you choose a piano if you are struggling to make a decision. Get in touch for a great deal on restored or new pianos (if you are willing to drive out to Pheonixville, PA.
Address: 221 Bridge St, Phoenixville, PA 19460
How To Choose The Right Piano
There are so many options and so many price points, so how are you supposed to choose the right instrument? It’s a very personal decision, so ultimately, the choice is up to you – but here are some guidelines.
Have a Pianist Or Technician Help With Your Decision
If you don’t play (maybe you are buying a piano in anticipation of starting lessons), you will want to bring a pianist acquaintance along with you to the piano showroom. Better yet, pay a licensed technician to take a look at the piano for you. You wouldn’t buy a house without having it inspected, would you? Some used grand pianos can cost $20K+, and that’s not an investment you want to treat carelessly.
Does it look beautiful, has it been well-maintained, and are the hammers in good condition? Pianos can last for over a century, but they can also fall apart in a couple of decades if they aren’t cared for. Keep your eyes out for the after effects of water damage, high humidity, or rough use.
Do you enjoy the way the keys feel when you play the piano? This is often a matter of taste, and since you’re the one who will be playing the piano, think about the action carefully. If it’s too stiff, you will get tired easily, and you may develop tendonitis. Beyond that, it may just feel like work to play! If the action is too soft, you may not get as much tone, and you may have difficulty getting as much color out of your music as you would otherwise. Basically, play the piano, and if you don’t like how it feels, you shouldn’t purchase the piano.
The Tone & Volume
If you don’t like how the piano sounds (in all registers!), you should not buy the piano. Let’s not complicate this.
But you should also take the volume into consideration. If you have neighbors who share a wall, or if you don’t want your entire home to be overwhelmed with sound when you play, then you may need to steer away from certain pianos. By the same token, if you need the piano for a public performance venue, you need to make sure it has the ability to project and fill a concert hall.
Believe it or not, there are old models of Steinways you can buy that were engineered for use in living rooms and parlors, and despite their enormous size (sometimes 10+ feet), they have a gentle touch and mild volume. These are wonderful pianos for home use, and they’re hard to find now.
If you find a piano that you love, but you think the sound is too big for your home, contact a piano technician about getting the piano “voiced” – this can alleviate the issue.
The cost of the piano, of course, comes into play. Used Steinway Model S pianos can sell north of $25K, but do you need one? The answer is no – you can find fantastic used Yamahas, Baldwins, Bostons, and other models for considerably less (under $10K). Brown grand pianos sell for less than ebony pianos, and Steinway, Petrof, Bluthner, and Bosendorfer pianos are usually at the high end of the spectrum.
Steinways are wonderful pianos, but there’s no denying the fact that they cost more because they are, well, Steinways. If the brand matters to you (which is fine!), they are worth the money. You will be able to pass down your Steinway to generation after generation, the sound will be beautiful, and if you purchase your Steinway new or used from a certified Steinway dealer, the quality assurance is unmatched.
If you want to purchase a piano that really sets you apart, look into Bosendorfer or Bluthner pianos. These magnificent instruments will cost you, though.
Now back to the reasonable end of the spectrum; Yamaha and Baldwin may be the best value on the market right now. Yamaha is heavily invested in both concert-level and consumer-level pianos, and they make grand and upright pianos almost as well as anyone. The price point is reasonable, and that may be because they have manufacturing and scale down to a science. Baldwins are also very reasonably priced compared to Steinways, and used Baldwins even more so. They have a beautiful sound and touch, and they are common in performance venues.
Lower-end brands like Kawaii and Young Chang can also be nice, but they won’t give you the same quality of sound as the brands mentioned above.
Should You Buy a Digital Piano?
There are two reasons to purchase a digital piano: price and volume.
To the first point, if you would like to get started on the piano without investing heavily in your instrument, consider an 88-key digital keyboard with weighted keys (very important). Yamah’s Clavinova brand is an excellent place to start, and Casio is the more budget-friendly option. In fact, the Casio Privia is one of the best inexpensive digital pianos on the market.
To the second point, if you live in an urban setting, or if you need to be able to practice at night with headphones on, you may need a digital piano for volume control. Because of advances in technology, you no longer need to sacrifice the playing experience to control how loud you are.
Take the Yamaha Avant Grand series, for instance. These are digital hybrid pianos, meaning the sound production is digital, but the action (including hammers and escapements) is physical. These are astounding pianos, and they feel and sound like a concert grand. They look great, too.
The Yamaha CLP series is much more affordable than the Avant Grand series, but they also hide a digital piano inside the body of an acoustic grand piano. It doesn’t have the same physical action as the Avant Grand, but it does have weighted keys and a fantastic sound.
Get In Touch For Piano Lessons In West Chester Or the Surrounding Area
If you are interested in starting lessons, I’d love to hear about your goals and how we can work together. I offer piano lessons in West Chester, piano lessons in Downingtown, and piano lessons in Coatesville, and you’re welcome to contact me at your earliest convenience.