Inspecting a Piano’s Structure
Look at the structure of the piano; you don’t want a piano that is falling apart. Look closely for cracks; you want to be able to see top and bottom, front and back. Make sure the sides of the piano are still glued tight. A lot of pianos need the tow blocks and sides glued back together.
Checking the Piano’s Pedals, Soundboard & Beams
Underneath the piano, there is a skid board that is screwed to the blocks and the back frame. It is important that the skid board be in good shape. The pedals are screwed to the skid board, push rods attach to the pedals. That moves the action; sometimes inexperienced movers will break the skid board, sometimes heat and water could cause this damage. Look behind the piano for cracks to the soundboard. Not all cracks are a problem. Look at the beams on the back of the piano. If they look good, they probably are.
Looking Inside the Piano
Remove all the boards in front of the piano, sometimes you need two people working together. Now you get a good look inside. Look for mouse droppings or debris such as pens, coins, toys, etc. Look closely at the harp, bridges, and pin block for cracks. Look at the tuning pins. When the tuning pins go in too deep your piano may need to be repinned. Keys can be expensive to replace.
There are a lot of very good used pianos – make sure you get one!