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Types of Upright Pianos

If you don’t know much about types of upright pianos, it’s difficult to tell them apart. Some are bigger than others, but what does that actually mean?

We’ve written a guide to understanding upright pianos. This guide covers virtually any upright piano you’ll encounter while you’re shopping.

Spinet

Baldwin Acrosonic Spinet

The spinet piano is the smallest type of upright pianos that you’ll find. It’s also the most affordable.

Spinets are no longer being built. You can usually find a pre-owned spinet in our showroom for $30 to $50 per month through our rent-to-own program.

While they’re the most affordable option, spinets also provide the poorest sound quality of the upright pianos. There are some exceptions, such as the Baldwin Acrosonic Spinet.

The spinets in our showroom are durable, and can hold a tune. They’re good for beginners and tight budgets. But if you’ll often be able to find a console for a similar price.

Console

Hallet, Davis & Co. Console

Console pianos have a “direct blow” action. That means the keys connect directly to the action. This makes the piano easier to play and improves sound quality.

At up to 44” in height, the console features longer strings that provide better sound quality.

While they’re a big step up from the spinet, console pianos are usually not much more expensive. Except for a few very rare cases, you’re better off buying a console than a smaller type of upright piano.

Studio

Samick Studio

The taller a piano is, the more sound it can produce. Studios are 45” and up, and produce better sound than the spinet or console.

Along with a longer soundboard and strings, studio pianos have a full-size action. The better action makes it easier for players to bring out the full range out of a piano. Soft pianissimo and resounding fortissimo are easier to get out of a studio.

Yamaha and Kawai are two piano makers known for excellent studio pianos. You can also find brand new studios from Hallet, Davis & Co. in our showroom.

Full Size & Professional Uprights

Boston Professional Upright

Full-size upright is the largest type of upright pianos. In fact, the soundboards on these pianos are nearly the same size as a baby grand.  That means you get the power of a baby grand without losing as much space in your home.

The modern term used for these pianos is “professional uprights.” These pianos are quite expensive. You can often find a grand piano for what you’d spend on this upright.

If you’re a serious player with limited space in your home, this type of instrument might be the right choice for you.

How to choose an upright piano

Many people who come into our shop are parents. They don’t have much experience in buying pianos.

This is the advice I give to them:

Buy your child the best piano that you can afford. Sometimes, that’s going to be the cheapest piano on the showroom floor. And that’s okay! But if you can afford to get something nicer, do so.

I’m not just trying to make more money here. After years of helping children learn to play the piano, I have noticed some trends.

Nobody wants to learn to play the piano if it isn’t rewarding. Just like nobody would want to learn to ride a bike if their bike had a flat tire. Better sound makes playing more rewarding. And kids who feel more rewarded by playing tend to play longer.

The same is true if you’re buying a piano for yourself. The better it sounds, the more you’ll want to play it. So buy as nice of a piano as you can afford.

I like people like he is. John Landis