I can think of no more valuable instrument than a piano. You can afford to buy up a bunch of these and play them on a regular basis. The most expensive are the top-of-the-line ones with 24,000 keys (the most expensive is the Yamaha BX6S and sells for about $60,000). My main piano collection consists of about three dozen Yamaha pianos (which I usually buy used). So that’s a little over $30,000. My two pianos I own were all the same year, and they have a total of 32,000 keys. On average, they’re used about once per year. So that’s another $4,000. I’ll also buy a few old Hammond organs, or other rare things I have in storage. But as far as cost goes I’ll say, let’s say, $2,000 or so for an old upright piano that has been restored.
For more detail on buying used instruments, I would recommend reading this excellent article by Chris Mowrer, which was written for the book The Piano Repair Primer. There are several other excellent sources that address this subject. Another excellent source is the Vintage Piano Restoration book from the PIANO INSPIRE bookshop online (though it’s also worth a try for free).
Now, for the last topic: do you know how to buy a good instrument?
The answer to this question depends strongly on where and who you are. If you live in the USA, you’ll probably have access to a lot of new modern instruments. If you live in a country like China, you’ll probably have less access to new instruments, and in particular, modern pianos. So don’t be surprised if the way I answer this question may not reflect your experience and circumstances. Also be aware that I don’t know very many people in my country in which to buy instruments for piano playing.
So, if you are like me, you’ll have to make some educated guesswork. For my own case, I have access to a very nice piano that is about to turn 20 years old and is a good example of a modern instrument with a great reputation. It’s a Bach BQ-9 and I bought it on eBay for $35,000 and it’s been professionally restored by a gentleman named Dave.
Here’s the story of my piano (Bach BQ9):
The BQ-9 is based on a mid-sized
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