Although there are always exceptions to the rule in terms of quality, most of the pianos around today are eighty years old or older.
Despite the common misconception, pianos do not get better with old age or last forever. Like buying the new car, highlights the shortcoming of the old, the same holds true for pianos.
Looking nice does not mean they are! Coupled together with lack of maintenance, bad advice from unqualified people, as well as self proclaimed piano tuners have caused, and are still causing problems within the industry.
Stepping through the minefield in terms of deciding the piano for you, means listening to all the varied advice, talking to the surviving quality retailers and the qualified tuners that you feel comfortable with, setting a price you’re prepared to pay, then looking for the piano for you.
Remembering, that it is important to factor in the costs of ongoing regular tuning and maintenance. As it will probably be with your family for quite a while, it is important that you like its looks and its sound and that it will do the job required of it, otherwise it will become the lovely looking horrible sounding dust collector in the corner that holds the family photos.
Ageing in a Piano
As a piano ages the leather and felt compact, affecting the workings and adjustments of the parts.
The action becomes uneven and less responsive, and the piano's tone loses dynamic range. Squeaks and rattles may develop. Routine maintenance such as hammer shaping, regulation IE adjustment, voicing, and tuning will only correct these problems and maintain the piano in optimum condition for so long.
Over time, action parts become worn, leather and felt wear thin, keys become loose, hammer felt gets too thin to produce good tone, and the action working parts becomes noisy. Regulation reaches the limit of its adjustment. In addition, piano strings may begin breaking and the copper windings of bass strings lose resonance.