If you’re considering investing in a piano there are several factors to consider, none more important than which piano is right for you.
Here we look into the differences between the grand piano and the upright piano.
The Grand Piano
The grand piano is iconic, traditional, elaborate and…grand. It’s regularly the focal point of a hotel lobby, concert hall or gala and it’s enough to fill a room on its own. The grand showcases affluence in a beautifully simple way. It can often feature luxurious finishes of silk, ebony or marble, with engraving a stylish addition. It doesn’t look as stunning as it does by accident – a team of skilled hands can spend a whole year constructing a single grand piano, with every detail finely tuned in order to reach perfection. It is built to stand the test of time, to become a family heirloom and to provide generations with entertainment.
As well as manufacturing being an incredibly detailed process, the general upkeep of the grand piano is also a timely and fairly costly venture – although essential. It requires regular, often professional, cleaning. It must also be tuned at least twice a year, which usually entails the hire of an expert and around £60 a time – £90 for a pitch raise. It will cost more than this if it isn’t regularly tuned. The initial price of a new grand piano is considerably higher than that of an upright and averages in the UK between £10,000 to £100,000, although second-hand grand pianos can be much less.
The sound produced from a grand piano is unrivalled. This is where it undoubtedly beats the upright, no question. It’s richer, deeper, more elegant and with harmony sounds much more refined. A pianist can repeat the same key without having to fully release it, which creates smooth transitional tones. The keys on a grand piano are almost 30% longer than those on an upright, which gives significantly better leverage and more dynamic range. Gravity works with the grand action, by naturally bringing down the hammer to its resting position quickly.
The Upright Piano
For a beginner, or for someone with limited space and/or budget the upright piano is a suitable choice. It is an upgrade to the digital keyboard, often a consideration for people with the same criterias. However, the upright will provide room for growth, skill development and a greater understanding of the instrument that could be gained from a keyboard. It’s an acoustic instrument and produces a tone quality that just can’t be matched through digital technology.
An upright piano will usually sit along a wall, or window and it’s compact size means that it can live in apartments, small living areas or hallways without taking up too much room. It is relatively easy to transport between locations and doesn’t require much upkeep. It’s initial cost can be anywhere from a couple of hundred pounds for a second-hand upright, to a few thousand pounds for a brand new piano. They’re often free to a good home too and can also be found in second hand stores and charity shops, making them much more accessible than the grand.