One of the most frequent topic that we encounter from our customers is regarding the piano serial number.
Some of the questions asked are
- What is a piano serial number?
- What does it indicate?
- Where can I find it on my piano?
- How does it benefit me?
- Should I really care about it?
Well, we hope this article clearly explains what a serial piano number is about and what you need to know. Here goes:
What is a piano serial number?
The serial number is often regarded as the birth certificate of a piano. It is a unique, individual running number, usually made up of four to seven digits e.g 19091 and/or a mixture of both alphabets and digits e.g M579624
What does it indicate?
Answer: A piano serial number identifies
- the age of your piano
- the piano’s year of manufacture (check Yamaha s/n here, and Kawai s/n here)
- the production and history of the piano, including the factory process, manufacturing country, technology, etc
Where can I find the piano serial number?
A) Upright serial numbers are usually located on the inside of the piano. Lift up the lid of the piano, and look inside:
- On the piano’s cast iron plate, along the top front area of the plate. The serial number will be located either at the top left, top right or in the middle (near the logo).
- It may also be stamped on a little plaque on either the left or right side of the edge panel.
- At times, it could be stamped on the back of the piano, usually at the top or the bottom of the structure frame, etc
B) Grand piano serial numbers may be found in many locations on the piano, depending on the make and model:
- On the piano’s cast iron plate (also known as harp) located near tuning pins
- A sticker on the plate in the rear of the piano
- On the side of the plate strut, or on a little plaque on the inside of the rim or case
- Stamped on the soundboard, etc
How does it benefit me? Should I care about it?
Answers: The serial number allows you to quickly search and find the manufacturing year of the piano, thus determining the age of the piano.
In general, newer pianos (regardless of acoustic or digital pianos) are expected to have better features, better performances and are upgraded in many ways to further improve the player’s experiences.
If your investment budget is not an issue, it is often better to purchase a new piano.
However, this doesn’t mean that older, aged pianos are not in demand and no longer competitive in the market. An old acoustic piano that is properly looked after with regular maintenance will still play and sound great, and may not be a setback model when compared to a brand new unit.
You need to look at the purpose of buying the piano to determine the choice between getting an older used piano or a brand new unit.
For example, take a look at this scenario where both cars have similar proper care maintenance:
- CAR A – a 10-year-old car (of only 1000 km mileage) versus
- CAR B – a 2-year-old car (of over 50,000 km mileage)
The same principle applies to pianos. Piano Malaysia often imports quality used pianos, where overall ‘wear and tear’ condition (mileage) are minimal, as compared to the age of the pianos.
In a nutshell, a piano’s serial number is important to determine its age and the circumstances of the piano’s production, including its factory and manufacturing history, all of which will affect its value. However, to really gage the real condition and value of the piano, we must also take a look at the whole picture of how the piano has been handled and maintained throughout the years since its birth.
All musical instruments that have regular maintenance to upkeep them in tip-top condition will last a long time and is most likely to be as good as new.
A piano serial number isn’t a tool to benchmark between NEW versus USED piano’s condition.
Therefore, a piano serial number (in our opinion) is merely a guide to determine the age of your piano and its original history.
We certainly hope this article helps you to understand the importance of piano serial numbers and why they are not to be confused for assessing NEW and USED pianos’ conditions.