Piano Stores in Vancouver, WA: Where to Buy a Piano

We often receive questions from students about what size of piano to buy, what brand is the best, whether or not used pianos are reliable, and where to buy pianos from. We love helping members of our community make a good investment in an instrument they will love, and we hope this blog helps you get started with exploring the options in our area. If you need help choosing a piano, or if you are interested in piano lessons in Vancouver, WA at Effinger Music Studio, please get in touch!

Piano Stores in Vancouver, WA

Other than Music World in Vancouver and Battle Ground, WA, and Beacock Music in Fisher's Landing off 164th, there aren't many music stores in the Vancouver area on this side of the Washington border. And even then, you will find mostly digital keyboards and electric pianos. To find a great selection of acoustic pianos, you will likely need to cross the Columbia River to Portland OR.

Portland Piano Company

Portland Piano Company is the closest and easiest to access major piano dealer near Vancouver. They are conveniently located off I-205, close to Portland International Airport. They have a 20,000 square foot showroom, and a huge inventory of nearly every well-known piano brand except Bosendorfer. They even offer the very high end Italian Fazioli grand pianos for those in the market for an heirloom instrument. You can try instruments by manufacturers like Steinway, Baldwin, Kawai, Yamaha, Grotrian, and Seiler, among others. Whether you are looking for a console piano or a baby grand, they will have options for your consideration. While Portland Piano Company is not the official Yamaha retailer in the area, they do have an extensive inventory of refurbished used Yamaha.

Phone: (503) 775-2480

Website: portlandpianocompany.com

Michelle's Pianos

Located squarely in downtown Portland, Michelle's Pianos has a large selection of used pianos from a wide variety of manufacturers. Previously, they served as Portland's Steinway dealer before Steinway opened their own showroom in Lake Oswego. You can read more about the Steinway showroom below.

They offer instruments that have been traded in directly to the Michelle's Pianos, and instruments for sale on consignment. Their inventory regularly changes, and they always have a selection of instruments from spinets to concert grands. This includes instruments from major manufacturers like Steinway, Bosendorfer, Mason and Hamlin, Bechstein, and Kawai, as well as high quality electronic instruments by Roland.

Michelle's Pianos also has their own piano moving service, and can arrange for delivery of your piano after purchase. The movers are licensed, bonded, and insured, and specialize exclusively in moving pianos, so you know your instrument will be handled with care and set up right.

Phone: (503) 295-1180

Website: michellespiano.com

Classic Pianos - Your Yamaha Piano Dealer Near Vancouver

Classic Pianos is the local destination for brand new Yamaha models. They are also licensed to sell new Bosendorfer instruments and Estonias, and regularly have new and used instruments by those manufacturers in stock. Yamaha offers some of the lowest cost new instruments on the market with a new grand piano generally costing between $50,000 - $150,000 (depending on size and other features. This is in contrast to Steinway for instance, which starts around $86,000 for a new baby grand piano. Yamaha pianos are also used in professional settings very often, and can be wonderful instruments to play, but they need certain kinds of maintenance sooner in their lifetimes and more regularly than other instruments. With regular use, they need voicing and regulation work after only a couple years. In a professional environment, a piano technician is typically available to maintain the piano on a regular basis, but in a home, the need for this kind of maintenance may present an inconvenience factor that could make these pianos more of a hassle than they're worth. This doesn't mean other pianos don't need any maintenance, but Yamahs need more maintenance sooner to keep their condition. In any event, if you like the sound of Yamaha pianos, they present a good value proposition.

Classic Pianos also carries the incredibly popular line of Clavinova digital pianos, and if they are in stock, you can test an Avant Grand model digital hybrid as well. The Avant Grand line of Yamaha pianos combines digital sound production with a genuine piano action, complete with hammers and pedal resistance. These are high quality digital pianos.

In addition to their new instruments, they carry a variety of used instruments at varying price points, including low cost pianos in their “bargain basement”. While some of these pianos offer an exceptional value, many would become limiting for the students in our studio who achieve a high level of playing. Not all pianos are created equal, and in most cases, you get what you pay for, but occasionally you can find a gem among discount instruments, so it never hurts to take a look!

Phone: (503) 239-9969

Website: portland.classicpianos.net

Steinway & Sons Portland

While the showroom is down in Lake Oswego, south of Portland, we did feel that it was important to include the area's Steinway gallery. Steinway is the world's most-recognized piano brand for a reason. They are beautiful, durable, wonderful to play, and can appreciate in value over time if well maintained. If you purchase a Steinway, you can plan to leave it to your kids as an heirloom because they are constructed with the highest quality materials, and built to last. We have a Steinway in our studio which is a family heirloom, and the special connection my family has to this instrument makes it a true joy to play and have in the house.

The S model is the most popular Steinway piano because of its compact form factor. At 5'1”, it fits in most living rooms or studios. Depending on the finish you choose, you can spend $80K-$90K on a new model S. Since this model is so popular, you may be able to find a high quality used or refurbished model for under $30K from a reputable piano dealer in the area.

The model M, at 5'7”, is the next most popular model. Steinway also manufactures six and seven foot instruments, as well as their flagship Model D concert grand at 8' 11”, which generally starts over $200,000, though you can find used Model D's in varied conditions for less than $100k.

Steinway's budget brands include Boston and Essex, which are entirely engineered and designed by Steinway, but use different materials and manufacturing processes to save on the cost of parts and labor: a savings that is passed on to you in the form of a lower priced instrument. One of Boston's unique offerings is a modified scale system which allows for a wider soundboard, giving Boston pianos a sound more similar to a Steinway that is about 6 inches longer. Boston and Essex pianos have many of the same professional qualities as a Steinway, but they don't receive quite the same level of hands-on attention from a team of highly experienced craftsmen, so there may be more things right out of the box that need preparation or adjustment.

You can also purchase new and certified pre-owned Steinways from the gallery in Portland.

Phone: 503-344-9707

Website: steinwaypianos-portland.com/locations/portland

Some Commonly-Asked Questions About Buying a Piano

Is Buying a Grand Piano Worth It?

Yes, a grand piano can certainly be worth the investment. Some brands, like Steinway, Bosendorfer, Bluthner, and other high end brands generally appreciate over time depending on the model, often retaining their original purchase price, more or less adjusted for inflation. But that is a secondary consideration to the value a high quality piano can add to your experience playing, practicing, and taking lessons.

A high quality grand piano has a sound and feel that upright and digital pianos cannot match, and they can transform a room in your home into a destination. If you are a pianist or a student, this elevated playing experience will also inspire you to spend more time at the piano, which means you will make greater progress.

Different sized instruments have different benefits, but the largest difference you will notice aside from the volume is the clarity of the bass and low tenor registers. The larger the piano, the longer the strings. Longer strings are better for lower frequencies, and produce a sound which is clearer and more full-bodied than a shorter piano with shorter strings. Quality of sound should be a consideration when purchasing a grand piano, and combined with how the keyboard feels to play, is the most important part of the decision.

For most, the decision about what piano to buy often comes down to space, but for those who want to achieve the highest level of musicianship, access to a large, high quality piano is necessary.

Is It Better To Buy a New Piano Than a Used Piano?

Not necessarily - a used piano will often be a better choice. Take a used Steinway model S, for instance. These pianos start around $86K brand new, but you can often find a used model S piano for under $30K, sometimes even less. Many of these used pianos have been only lightly played, and you can always buy the piano from a reputable retailer who has a trade-in policy. Even with instruments on digital marketplaces like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace, you can have an expert technician accompany you to inspect the instrument, and give you a report on the condition of the piano, along with any necessary repairs. We have done this for our own instruments, and used these services to rule out pianos we were considering purchasing, but that had problems which could only be resolved with costly repairs.

Furthermore, our experience with new Steinways directly out of the factory has been disappointing. They are exceptionally high quality instruments, made from parts that will last well over a century if the piano is well maintained through its life, but they leave the factory with soft hammers that produce a weak sound, a tenor range which is very overpowered compared to the rest of the instrument, and much to be desired in dynamic range and possibilities for voicing. These problems can be entirely resolved when the instrument is moved to its destination in your home, but it requires the work of a technician to harden the hammers and regulate the action, so you don't know exactly what you're getting when you select the instrument in the showroom.

Whereas cars depreciate in value over time, and need to be replaced as parts begin to fail, a well maintained used piano often feels better and better over time. They can be more cost effective than a new instrument, and in some cases, it's easier to tell exactly what you're getting because the piano has been moved and played, which helps to break it in and reveal any potential problems.

Can I Just Buy a Digital Piano?

There are some wonderful digital brands on the market. The Clavinova line from Yamaha has a good sound, nice look, weighted keys, realistic pedals, and lots of fun voices and other features. The AvantGrand series from Yamaha is spectacular, and while the high-end N3X retails for close to $25K these days, the smaller N2 starts at $13K. You can also get a CLP model, which mimics the size and look of a grand piano, for under $10K. High end Roland keyboards are the best choice for realistic actions that feel like a real grand piano.

If you want to take piano lessons, it is necessary to avoid 61 key electronic keyboards or cheaper digital pianos with undersized cabinets, non-weighted keys, or pedals that don't look and feel like the real thing. They will limit your growth, and prevent you from being able to apply the skills we study in lessons. Even foundational musicianship elements like dynamics and articulations can be impossible to learn and execute on these cheap keyboards.

If You Have More Questions, Please Get In Touch

We don't sell or refurbish pianos ourselves, we would be happy to share what we know. We offer piano lessons in Ridgefield, music theory lessons, and work as professional local pianists, so if you would like to start playing the piano, please let us know.