Facts about Pianos & Digital Pianos:

Facts about Pianos:


Based on our 40 years of experience, there are basically two types of pianos;  Hand Made & Mass Produced.  Handmade pianos cost more and are usually made from the highest quality materials and are of all wood constuction.

Examples of Hand Made Premium Pianos:

Steinway & Sons, Petrof, Baldwin (artist series), and Bosendorfer.

Mass produced pianos are usually more affordable than handmade pianos.  Overall, mass produced pianos generally are made from good to high quality materials.  Some brands of mass produced pianos actually have an all wood cabinet and handmade actions!  However, most brands of mass produced pianos are actually made from particle board or MDF (multi-density fiber) and ARE NOT made of all wood construction.  Some mass produced pianos also have plastic parts in the action.  We would recommend that you stay clear of a piano that has a particle board cabinet or has plastic parts in the action.  Remember, the finest pianos in the world have all-wood cabinets and feature all-wood action parts.

Examples of Mass Produced Pianos:

Young Chang, Weber, Brodmann, Yamaha, Kawai, Kohler & Campbell, Kimball, Baldwin.

Some basic questions to ask when shopping for a piano:

    1. Does this piano have a solid spruce or laminated spruce Soundboard?
      Since the Soundboard of the piano is the “amplifier”, Solid spruce is the best choice.  Most good quality pianos (both hand made and mass produced) have a solid spruce soundboard.  Pianos that have a Laminated spruce soundboard include Pearl River, Conover Cable, Henry F. Miller, Remington, Ritmuller, & Wyman. Piano brands we have found to have solid spruce soundboards include Young Chang, Bergmann, Weber, Albert Weber, Brodmann, Kohler & Campbell, Yamaha, Kawai, Hobart M. Cable, Hallet Davis, Nordiska, Petrof, Baldwin, Steinway & Sons, .
    2. What is the Manufacturer’s Warranty?  Do you offer service after the sale?
      We only carry new pianos that have minimum 10 year warranty.  We also will only carry a piano line that really stands behind their product and offers service after the sale as our company does.  Sadly, we hear stories quite frequently about several major manufacturers who really do not stand behind their products with what we feel is satisfactory service.  We even hear stories from our customers how they bought a piano from another company…. then receive no service after the sale!  At JML, we are a family business and offer great service after the sale!  We pride ourselves on the level of service we provide. Just ask any of our app. 10,000 customers (and counting) we have served over the last 30 years! **********BEWARE! MOST ALL MAJOR PIANO MANUFACTURERS DO NOT HONOR WARRANTIES OF PIANOS PURCHASED ONLINE! This is because part of a piano dealer’s profit actually goes towards providing customer service after the sale.  How can a piano dealer in California provide great service to a customer in Virginia?  It just doesn’t happen and that is one of the reasons piano manufacturer’s will not honor warranties sold over the internet!  All Piano dealers are independent dealers (unlike car dealers who are FRANCHISED Dealers) and do not pay for service on pianos sold by other dealers that they did not sell.  That’s why piano dealers will ONLY service what they sell because they do not receive any compensation for it….!  Beware of Internet retailers who will tell you that they will give you service through an authorized local piano tuner or PTG tuner… it just doesn’t happen!  We’ve had many calls from customers over the past few years that bought a piano online only to WISH they were receiving warranty and local service after the sale!  To provide our customers with our level of service, we do not sell any new instruments online.  WE ONLY SERVICE WHAT WE SELL!
    1. Does this piano have any Plastic parts, or are the action Parts made out of any plastic?
      The best pianos in the world have all wood Action parts, ABS Styron, or Carbon Fiber.  We only sell pianos with these action parts!  Several manufacturers of pianos in the 1950’s and 1960’s experimented with using plastic in their actions.  (Lester, Story & Clark, & Yamaha) All failed.  These pianos are being repaired today with very expensive repair bills!
    2. Is this piano Hand Made, or Mass Produced?
      We offer both.
    3. Where is this piano made?
      The only pianos made in the US today are Steinway, Baldwin, Mason & Hamlin, and Charles Walter.  China and Indonesia have become major Builders of Pianos in the last 25 years.  The Chinese and Indonesian made pianos that we Sell are of top quality and are a great value for our customers!  Since we stand behind every piano we sell, you can confidently buy a piano from us…. no matter where it is made because we will stand behind it!
    4. Do you offer a trade in policy?
      We offer a 10 YEAR 100% trade in on all Acoustic pianos that we sell…. Need we say more?
    5. Used Vs. New.  Used pianos have no factory warranty.  Most New Pianos Have a full factory warranty.  If a used piano is purchased from our company, We offer a full 10 year trade in towards any new piano!  Never buy a Used Piano from an individual without first seeking professional advise and having the piano thoroughly checked out!  What appears to be a great bargain, May be a very expensive and costly decision!  Always buy a used piano From a reputable Piano Dealer!  What appears to be a rare bargain may ending up costing you 4 to 5 times the actual value of the piano after you move and repair the instrument.

Should I Buy a Piano from an Individual?

If you Buy a Piano from a private individual, it could be a costly, dangerous, and not smart decision.  What appears to be a rare “bargain” may prove to be a real liability.  Unless you are a piano expert, your best decision is to rely on the judgement of a qualified piano dealer with a proven record of integrity and fair dealing (that’s us).  It is not a wise decision to pick up an old piano privately to get started to learn to play.  A poor piano offers discouragement to the child or adult player and is NOT a good investment!  Here are just a few things that can happen when you buy a piano from an individual:

1.  Sound Board.  The Sound Board may be cracked, warped, or may have lost it’s crown which leads to terrible sound reproduced by the piano.  Bad Soundboard = Piano to dump!

2.  Plate. The Plate of the piano may be cracked, broken, which would render the piano useless. The strings are attached to the plate of the piano… and if the plate is cracked or broken, the piano CANNOT be tuned! Bad Plate = Piano to Dump = cannot be repaired!

3.  Strings.  Bass strings over the years get “tired and tubby” with no tone whatsoever. Bad Strings = big repair bucks!

4.  Ribs.  The Ribs of the sound board may be pulled away from the soundboard or broken. Expensive repair!

5.  Bridges.  The bass or treble bridges of the piano may be split or cracked. Again, Expensive repair!

6.  Tuning pins.  Tuning pins may be loose, driven into the pinblock (previously repaired), or doped with a chemical to “temporarily tighten” the pins.  This could be compared to buying a used car with a knocking motor!  Again, expensive repair and sometimes not repairable vs. the value of the piano.

7.  Action of the piano.  The Action of the piano contains thousands of working parts.  Action repairs are sometimes very costly and very expensive.  Only qualified piano technicians can properly “tune up” and adjust piano actions.  If the action of the piano is not right, the piano simply will not ever play right!

8.  Hammers.  The Hammers strike the strings.  They may be worn out and require replacement. Again, big bucks!

9.  Trap work.  This is the mechanism that the pedals are hooked to.  If the pedals don’t work properly, you can’t play the piano.

10.  Value to a beginning student.  A piano that does not perform well will never satify a piano player or student.  If any of the above parts of the piano are not right, the student will NEVER continue with piano lessons!

11.  NEVER BUY A PIANO PRIVATELY WITHOUT PROFESSIONAL ADVICE!!!!  Piano Teachers know how to teach and play the piano, but Piano tuners & piano stores KNOW if a piano is a quality instrument or not.  Piano stores know the current value of pianos.   Piano tuners do not know the value of a piano because most of them work on pianos and don’t sell them, and don’t have any idea what they actually will sell for, or the current market value of a piano.  Simply give us a call and we will tell you about a piano you are looking at, or you can hire us to go out and look at the piano for you.

12.  EXTRA EXPENSES associated with buying a piano from a private individual include moving the piano ($200 & up), pitch raising / tuning the piano ($300 & up), regulation on the action of the piano ($200 & up).  Again, buying a piano that has not been used will be a costly decision even if the price sounds too good to be true! Beware!!


***** Lots of old spinet, console, studio, and grand pianos that we take on trade actually are thrown away at the local landfill if they are NOT up to our standards and cost more to repair than they are worth!  We actually have one of these pianos on display in our store to show you.  Before you buy an old piano off craigslist, from the classified ads, off Ebay, from a friend, or inherit one from a family member…
Take a look at this article the NY Times recently published about used pianos:

NY Times Article on disposing of old pianos

Facts about Digital Pianos:

Digital Pianos were invented in the Late 1970’s / early 1980’s.  Digital Pianos have become a great substitute for an acoustic piano, and the newer models sound & play MUCH better than an old upright, spinet, or console piano.  Digital Pianos do not have to be tuned, and they do not take up as much room as an acoustic piano.  Most Digital Pianos have 88 keys like a real piano, and ALL of the ones we sell have an authentic piano weighted key action.  They require no maintenance like an acoustic piano.

Digital Pianos also have several sound presets built in, some producing as many as 1000 different sounds!   Digital Pianos are also great for churches because they offer many different sounds, settings, and do not have to be tuned allowing the church to save energy by turning down their heat in the winter months, and turning up their A/C in the summer months.  Also, many digital pianos have recording features allowing the church to record a song to play during service… even when the musician is not present!  STOP BY OUR STORES OR CALL FOR AN APPOINTMENT to see how a Digital Piano could greatly improve your church service and save you lots of money over time!

Some basic questions to ask when shopping for a Digital Piano:

  1. Does it have 88 keys like a real piano?  All of JML’s do have 88 keys (except specialty items).
    Make sure it has 88 keys.  A small Keyboard with 61 keys is NOT a Digital Piano.
  2. Do the keys feel like a real piano?
    Stay clear of Digitals with a non weighted Or touch sensitive action.  A child taking lessons cannot learn on these Instruments!  All of the models we stock have a weighted key action just Like an acoustic piano.  Most Digital pianos available in “mass merchant” and chain stores are of entry level quality and do not have an action that will be acceptable for piano lessons.  If you want a quality digital piano, come to our store.  If you want a “toy” or substandard instrument with 61 keys or not a true piano type touch, go to a mass merchant or chain store.
  3. What is the warranty?  Do you offer service?
    We have our own technicians For service after the sale.   Most 61 key portable keyboards cannot be serviced by us and Must be sent back to the manufacturer… as a cheap watch would!
  4. Does it include the bench?
    Most of our models include a matching bench.
  5. Do you offer a trade in policy on Digitals?
    We offer 2 year Full Trade in On all Digitals.

***** See additional information about Digital Pianos on our page “What Instrument do I need to take piano lessons”


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