Upright Piano Types & Sizes (Largest to Smallest) – 2023

Pianos are available in different sizes and shapes and we can use the best-fit model of these pianos that matches our preferences and tastes. The major types of pianos that we can find in stores are upright piano types, horizontal pianos, and digital pianos. The vertical pianos are also referred to as upright pianos or grand pianos.

They are different types of pianos than the digital pianos that we find in modern times. There are also several upright piano types and on par with the grand acoustic pianos that were huge in ancient times, the upright pianos in the modern days are compact and are conservative in terms of floor space.

The upright pianos are now available as compact structures and could be placed comfortably against the wall. These pianos are also capable of rich sound and have responsive key action and we can always be used as a replacement for the grand acoustic pianos.

About Upright Piano Types

Upright piano
Credit: Mj-bird

Generally, upright pianos as the name suggests are tall pianos that are at least 5’ to 9’ in length. The length of the instrument will determine the length of its strings and the soundboard. As the strings of this upright piano are long and their soundboard has a greater surface area, they are capable of producing richer sounds with ample sound quality. 

In terms of piano mechanism, the upright piano is generally less responsive than the horizontal piano. This is mainly because the hammers of the upright piano will rely predominantly on its springs to return to their resting position. The hammers in the horizontal piano will return to their original rest position owing to their weight. Thus horizontal pianos have a faster single-note repetition and render a more responsive action, rather than a vertical piano. 

Upright Piano Classification Based on their Size and Types

The vertical pianos are differentiated from the height and position of their strings. These pianos typically stand at about 36 to 60 inches in height and they are generally classified into four types depending on their height, namely the full-size professional upright piano, the studio piano, console piano, and the spinet piano.

1. Full-size professional upright piano (47” to 60” tall)

The upright pianos are generally very tall vertical pianos and could range between 50 and 60 inches in height. The approximate width of these pianos is about 58 inches. These pianos are known for their rich tones and are extremely durable, capable of standing the test of time. If they are properly maintained, they are capable of rendering rich sound for many years. These pianos are also considered to be age-old or traditional pianos and are sometimes referred to as Grandma’s pianos. 

These upright pianos are generally found in churches and schools to teach music. Music teachers use these pianos to instruct their students and allow them to practice. They are also great for music stage shows, and for professional musicians to perform. These pianos also have the greatest soundboard and produce high-quality sound with great resonance. They also have great durability and can last for a very long time. These pianos are ideal for advanced pianists who are looking for the richest possible sound from a compact instrument. These pianos are also compact and they take up very limited floor space. 

2. Studio upright piano

These are great pianos that are available within the size range of 43” and 47”. These pianos are generally found in churches and schools and are slightly more expensive than console pianos. But the extra cost is generally worth it, as these are great instruments in terms of sound action and sound quality. 

The studio pianos slightly have a different feel when it comes to the location of their action keys and these pianos feature a full-size action that is sitting on its keys directly. The studio pianos have longer soundboards and they also feature longer strings. These pianos have an enhanced height, which gives them their characteristic resonance and rich tone quality. These pianos are thus exceptional stable and durable as well.

The studio pianos are great for both beginners and those who wish to buy a piano within their budget. Owing to the richness of their tonal quality, these pianos are quite popular in the teaching setup.  

3. Console piano

The console pianos are slightly smaller than the full-size pianos and they range in size from 43” to 58 inches wide. The console pianos are available in different styles and finishes and thus they are the favorite variants among the rest of the upright pianos for pianists. 

The console pianos are great in rendering exceptional sound quality, mainly because of their piano action. This sits directly over the keys and the strings and stretches vertically downwards. The console pianos operate with the help of a non-drop action mechanism, where the hammer behind the keyboard keys is engaged directly to the keyboard. This is a perfect piano for those who wish to have a piano at their home and play it constantly to enhance their skill sets. 

The console piano is neither too large nor do they have complex working mechanisms. These pianos render exceptional sound quality retaining their dynamic range and volume and making this an ideal piano for everyday piano playing experience. These pianos are not just great instruments for those who fall short of space, but they also make beautiful furniture pieces. These upright pianos appeal to both beginners and advanced pianists and they serve as both a reliable instrument and a great piece of art for the pianist. 

4. Spinet Pianos

The spinet pianos are the smallest of all the upright and are also the shortest of all of them. They stand at only 40 inches from the ground. They are of incredibly smaller size and also they operate under a completely different action, which differentiates them from the rest of the available upright pianos. Below the keys of this piano, there are vertical wires that attach to them. The piano operates under the mechanism of indirect blow action or the drop action mechanism.

Thus, in this mechanism, no key interacts with the piano action directly. The vertical wires that are attached to the back of the piano keys keep them operational. Such a mechanism is required for the small piano like the spinet pianos to operate efficiently and emit exceptional piano sounds. 

The sounds that are produced by the spinet piano are low in quality compared with the other upright pianos. For instance, the console grand piano produces better sound quality than the spinet pianos as they have a mechanism in which the keyboard makes direct contact with the underlying hammer. 

The spinet pianos are also known for their small size and compact action, which makes them ideal additional for small and confined spaces. Also, the spinet upright pianos are comparatively cheaper than the rest of the vertical pianos. The spinet pianos are however known to lose their accuracy and possess less power owing to their construction.  Also, they could incur more repair costs.

What to consider before choosing to buy an upright piano?

There are many different types of upright pianos that we have discussed here and they are generally categorized based on their size and hammer action in their keys. Buying the piano to compliment your journey is not a small feat and should never be done as a quick purchase. An upright piano is not merely a musical instrument, but is a part of your home and will be a talking point for years to come. Here are some important points to consider before choosing to buy your upright piano.

1. Tone of the piano

It is true that, when it comes to the tone of the piano, no two pianos are going to sound the same. The beauty of the pianos is that each of these instruments comes with its nuances to make them individual and unique for the pianist. The tone of the piano is dependent on several factors such as the woods from which it is been made, the strings of the piano, and its hammers. The philosophy behind each of these pianos is also equally important in deciding its tone, thus it is exceptionally important to do your research and find out the best piano that best appeals to you and your piano playing style. 

2. Piano touch

There is so much going on in the interiors of the piano in its endeavor of creating exceptional music with simple finger touches. It indeed comprises thousands of tiny parts that work harmoniously with each other to create the perfect sound. Focus on how best the instrument feels to touch and play and make sure you end up with an instrument that makes you feel comfortable to play. Read the reviews of the piano thoroughly before deciding to invest in your piano masterpiece.

3. Size of the piano

When it comes to pianos, the larger the size, the better will be the functionality of the piano. Larger pianos are generally capable of producing higher quality sounds and the longer strings of these pianos are capable of producing smoother sounds, an easier transition between the sounds. All can indeed get a concert grand piano, but again the space in the house becomes a consideration. The size of the room will also have an impact on the acoustics of the piano, so it is better to buy a piano that best suits and complements the living space. Upright pianos are best suited for teaching and learning settings. Digital pianos with weighted keys are best suited for compact spaces.

4. Intend

This is a crucial factor that decides what type of piano one should opt to buy. If you are opting for an upright acoustic piano, then you are looking for an incredibly expressive piano with lots of tonal ranges.  Choose a piano depending on your purpose, you’re playing style, and what additional features you expect your piano to possess.

How best should you maintain your upright piano?

Owing an upright piano is a status symbol and it is also a great instrument that complements one’s interest in music. Regular care and maintenance are essential to enhance the life of the instrument and to make sure that you constantly get good music out of it.

Dusting and cleaning the piano should be a regular activity as dust impairs the quality of the piano tunes. Dusting also keeps away dust particles and other foreign particles. It also helps in protecting the piano finish. Pianos should be dusted with a soft and lint-free cloth, which would be great to smooth off the dust particles from the surface of the piano.

This will also help in getting rid of fingerprints on the piano. If you want to perform wet dusting off the piano with the help of a damp cloth, make sure that the cloth is wrung completely to prevent the water from ruining the piano wood. 

Upright pianos are generally made of high-quality wood finishes. You can maintain the surface finish of the pianos with the help of surface polishes, to help the instrument maintain its shine and luster. While applying the polish, run it along the direction of the wood grain and in a straight line. Refrain from using circular wipes. Never attempt to clean the interiors of the piano, as it should always be done by a professional. 

Tuning the piano frequently enhances its interior health. Pianos mandate regular check-ups and maintenance, similar to the automobile. The strings of the piano are stretched at a higher tension to create beautiful sounds and they rest on the soundboard to move up and down when the humidity changes. This could cause the sound, and the pitch of the piano to change. Thus, it is mandatory to professional tune the upright piano at least twice a year, depending on the use. It is also better to keep the piano in a room with controlled humidity. 

Being in love with music, Larry started this website to help piano lovers get the most detailed and accurate information with his 5 Years of experience of working in a music store.

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