Selecting a Piano

Factors in choosing a piano:

1. Size -how much room do you have? Take size of entrance into consideration for moving purposes. All acoustic upright pianos vary in height and take around 5"2" floor space in length. Plan on an additional 3-4 feet of width for the piano bench to be placed correctly when playing the piano. The grand piano ranges in size from under five feet to nine feet (a concert grand). The term "baby grand" is often used to describe pianos around the 5" size. A grand piano has a fast touch and is more responsive and powerful than an upright. Many people enjoy playing grand pianos more than upright pianos. However, some larger professional-quality uprights can have equal or better tone quality than many small grands. Grand pianos all have a horizontal action,and upright pianos have a vertical action that can be above or below the keys. Uprights range in height from 36 to 51 inches. All of them require the same amount of floor space, about five feet by two feet. The largest of the uprights is the studio piano, which is 44 inches or taller. This is a type which is becoming quite popular. Uprights, 39 to 42 inches tall, are referred to as consoles. No longer built is the spinet which was 36-37 inches high. Manufacturers discontinued these because they were not a great sound and the action configuration was very inferior to consoles and studios. However you might find a used spinet or one in stock that may be good for the beginner and fit nicely into the room.

2. Type -acoustic, electric. Find out which pianos are often used by music institutions such as conservatories and universities particularly if you can afford a very expensive piano. Such hubs of music instruction know through experience some pianos which are of good quality and relatively trouble-free. Ask music professors and professional musicians for recommendations. Recognize you may be steered toward those brands who have made long term investments in marketing to these institutions to make their products most familiar. Piano technicians are another source of information about pianos and may have thoughts on which piano to choose when you narrow down your selections. Look for a member of the Piano Technicians Guild in the yellow pages. Understand, that a technician will probably be oriented toward pianos that are easier to work on.

3. Price -how much can you afford? Make it a point to visit a few showrooms and become familiar with various manufacturers, and the names and qualities of each make. Ask questions, and get brochures and make notations on a pad regarding each. Internet searches, especially Craig"s List will allow you a range of piano prices of a few hundred dollars to several thousands. Armed with this information, you can venture in to your local piano store. When there, play each of the pianos, or have the salesman play pieces as well as major and minor scales. Listen carefully to hear that each piano does have a slightly different tone. Some are mellow, brilliant, loud or soft. Each individual piano produces a different tone and unique sound regardless of style. Take into consideration the size, especially if your room is small. Take an experienced pianist with you when you are ready to buy; get their opinion about your choice of each piano.

4. Style -what fits best with your interior. This handsome piece of furniture which will take a prominent place in your decor. Modern cabinets are made of core stock overlaid with thin veneers of fine furniture wood. Many grains and finishes are available and modern finishing techniques assure excellent appearance and easy care for years.