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Second hand digital pianos – a buyer’s guide

Chris Hammond

Buying a second hand or preowned piano is a really good option if you are buying for a beginner because you don’t have to spend too much money to ‘test the water’ and see if they are going to take up playing seriously. If you are an experienced player already and you know where to look, and what to look for, then you can get yourself a some amazing bargains.

Used Yamaha Clavinova CLP170c Cherry

This is our guide on where to look and what to look for when buying a second hand digital piano.


If possible buy from a reputable dealer and even better if you can find one that is an authorised main dealer of one of the big brands like Yamaha (like us), Roland or Casio. This is will indicate that their customer service is of a high standard and they have a good reputation in the industry. Also look for a company that will give you a fair warranty period (we offer up to 2 years!) this will tell you how confident the seller is in the quality of their used products. Here at ePianos/Whitley Bay we give a 12-point inspection and a full engineers service to every preowned piano we acquire.

Avoid places like eBay, Gumtree, Freecycle etc. These places can throw up very cheap prices but it’s so difficult to know who you are actually buying from and most of the time no guarantee will be offered. There is so much risk involved in buying this way that it is rarely worth it.


There are certain names that you can trust when it comes to quality like Yamaha, Casio, Roland, Korg, Orla and Lowrey. These are all well established and respected manufacturers that have sold in large numbers for decades. Yamaha in particular have an outstanding reputation when it comes to quality and holding value. This is because they have a rich heritage in traditional pianos and still sell some of the finest concert grand pianos in the world. The technology and attention to detail that this heritage brings is shared into their digital pianos and consequently you will see Yamaha digital pianos (Clavinova being the most common) everywhere. There are large numbers of far-eastern made digital pianos which appear under similar sounding names sometimes with an English or German style. These are often packed quite nicely but the sampling technology used to generate the sound and also the key mechanism are woefully bad and do not represent anything like the real experience of playing a piano.

A little like buying a used car it is very important to know the service history and whether the instrument has been well looked after. This is quite difficult with digital pianos and organs which don’t require regular servicing but you can tell a a lot about how the instrument has been treated if you know where to look. Here at ePianos/Whitley Bay we take extra care to only purchase instruments that are in very good condition and we always service them fully before selling them on.

The biggest and most obvious sign of how the instrument has been treated is the condition of the cabinet itself; does it have any significant scratches or marks? is there any discolouration or sun fade? are there any cup circles? (this is a personal bugbear of mine and drinks and digital pianos just don’t mix!). Some less obvious things to look for when ascertaining how the instrument has been treated are; are the keys rattly or making a lot of noise when played? This is a sign of the piano being hit too hard (often by children). Does the power supply still plug in and fix in place without wobbling? If it is wobbly then it’s often a sign that it’s been wrenched out repeatedly possibly when moving it.

Another good thing to check for (and we always do!) is whether the instrument comes from a smoke free home (meaning do people smoke cigarettes in the home). This is often overlooked but can cause the instrument to be very smelly and even cause the white keys to go yellow. So always ask!

So in summary buying a preowned instrument is a great way to save money but be very careful and make sure you know who you’re buying from. I hope that was helpful!

Chris Hammond Manager
Chris is the manager of ePianos.co.uk and the driving force behind the demonstration, comparison and review videos that we feature on our website. He is responsible for overseeing all areas of the sales and marketing team, with extensive product knowledge and many years of experience as a musician and composer.
  • I’m just starting out to learn the piano and would like your view on the Clavinova say 150 vs the celviano AP270 as a starter piano I have a budget of £500 but would be prepared to up this if there were significant gains.

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