What is your favorite make/model piano?
 I have many favorites, all have pluses and minuses. Among my favorite concert grands are the Steinway, Bosendorfer (any model), and Bechstein. In large grands I really like the Steinway B, Baldwin SF-10, and the Yamaha C7, all seven foot models. Steinway, Baldwin, Yamaha, and Kawai all make fine smaller grand pianos. Steinway makes an excellent piano manufactured under the name Boston. Among verticals, you cannot beat the action of the Steinway professional uprights. Charles Walter makes a nice console size piano.

 What are the pros and cons of purchasing new vs. used?
 I would never hesitate to consider buying a new piano as the value of the instrument will appreciate in years to come, and the lifespan of a quality instrument is very long. New piano prices have increased so dramatically that if trends continue, a new piano purchased today will have a higher used value five years from now than its original purchase price. That makes a quality purchase worthwhile even if household interest in the piano wanes and you decide to sell the piano. The piano will keep, and in many instances exceed, its original value. Consider a good used piano only from a reputable dealer, or if purchased from an individual, after careful scrutiny by a piano technician. Good used pianos are wonderful cost saving alternatives to buying new.

The piano looks so nice, and really matches my furniture at home. Should I look further?

Yes, please do. Some piano manufacturers rely on the outside appearance of the piano to sell the instrument. In getting the best value, the quality of the inside of the piano is so important. The Charles Walter is an excellent example of a piano with both extraordinary features both inside and out (note that they do not make a spinet piano).

What inside features does a good vertical piano have?

Several. Long, reinforced keys such as on a console or studio piano are preferred. A solid spruce sound board and multi ply pin block are quality features. The longer the strings, the better the sound, generally, so I recommend avoiding a spinet if possible. I have worked on some fine spinet pianos however, notably the Baldwin Acrosonic and some Wurlitzers.

Where can I get detailed information on purchasing a piano?

There is an excellent book with extensive, objective information. Check your local library for a copy. The book is: The Piano Book by Larry Fine, published by Brookside Press, P.O. Box 178, Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, 02130 (800-545-2022).