Best Upright Pianos for Intermediate Players (2023)

Intermediate piano players would have ascertained their skill set, performance needs, and budget for their instrument. Intermediate piano players would have attained enough knowledge of piano music and will be looking for an instrument that offers them more features and functionality than a beginner’s instrument.

The majority of the upright pianos for intermediate pianists have hammer action technology and offer a range of tones and rhythms, along with ample functionality and connectivity options. There are also a host of other features to look for in a piano for an intermediate pianist. We have compiled the best upright pianos for intermediate players here from leading brands along with their buying guide, to help you possess the best instrument for your music journey.

What Are the Best Upright Piano for Intermediate Players?

Are Upright Pianos Suitable For Beginners? 

  • A good place to start for a beginner is an upright piano. Children can relate to playing the piano because they can hear the results of their actions when they hit the keys. Even if you are an adult learner or returning to playing, it is vital to check the piano to ensure that it sounds good and plays smoothly to the touch. Alternatively, ask a musician friend to evaluate the piano for you: Keep an eye on the keys to see if they rise at the same rate. The pedals also function, and the dampers rise consistently. Look for dust on the soundboard because a grand will likely continue to accumulate dust. 
  • The majority of pianos are going to be of high quality, but an upright piano has the advantage of being less expensive than a grand piano. Despite the price difference, the grand pianos may not necessarily be of higher quality. The quality and sound of a piano are strongly influenced by craftsmanship and materials, such as the size of the soundboard and the length of the strings. The benefits of a grand piano become more apparent as the piano gets bigger and is played for longer periods of time. 
  • A grand piano’s mechanical “actions” move in response to gravity, whereas strings help an upright piano to reset the keys that are being pressed. An upright piano doesn’t always perform as well in this area since the strings will have to be maintained more frequently. Maintaining a piano is critical, and if a used instrument is purchased—especially an upright piano—it is crucial that it be in tune and have top-notch strings. But let’s face it, when learning to play, honing the skill comes first, and affordability is probably the deciding factor when buying a piano. Your selection will ultimately depend on one of three things: space, finances, or aesthetic taste. 

What is Sostenuto? 

A pedal that, when pressed, raises the dampers from just the strings whose keys are being pressed down at the time, allowing those notes to ring but preventing the rest from doing so is called as sostenuto pedal.  In an essay “The Invention of the Sostenuto Pedal,” by Fred Sturm, he claims that in the early 1800s, when there was greater experimentation with the piano, pianos had numerous pedals—up to seven! The Boisselot brothers patented the sostenuto pedal in France between 1843 and 1844. Sons soutenus translates to “sounds sustained” in English. This idea gained additional recognition after another piano manufacturer, Montal, displayed pianos with this pedal function at World Expositions in the middle of the 19th century. In the year 1874, Mr. Waldo Hanchett presented a patent in the United States of America. After seeing this creation, William Steinway wrote in his diary (which is displayed above) that it was wonderful. 

  • One method for retaining numerous musical threads in contrapuntal textures is the sostenuto pedal. It is possible to hold bass lines for extended periods of time while still allowing the hands and fingers to play different textures or melodic material above. Before playing any additional note patterns, make sure the bass notes being held by the pedal are moving quickly so that it can capture them. 
  • This pedal can be a blessing if you have little hands. Aim to quickly capture the lowest note (or notes) in a big chord with the middle pedal while keeping the lowest notes ringing to avoid the smearing that can occur when using the sustaining pedal. The rest of the chord can then be played in an arpeggiated form. Similarly, using the sostenuto pedal to catch the lowest notes in a piece before swiftly advancing to the higher notes can help with uncomfortable or long passages.
  • While some composers have noted the middle pedal’s use in their scores, it seems that for some it may be a logical extension of the sound they were attempting to produce. Busoni, Tausig, Rachmaninoff, Grainger, Ravel, Debussy, Bartók, Prokofiev, Copland, and Elliot Carter are just a few composers whose music might benefit from the sostenuto pedal. Why not enjoy trying new things? 

AWM Stereo Sampling Technology

The AWM (Advanced Wave Memory) is a sampling system that uses high-quality digital filter technology to add realism to recorded audio samples in order to simulate the sound of an acoustic instrument. Each note in this sound engine has been captured at various playing intensities because it was created using many samples. AWM sampling originally became available in the 1980s and has subsequently been improved and renewed. AWM begins with the sound of real acoustic instruments and provides a variety of tone shaping controls such as through envelope generators, filters, modulation (filter, amplitude and pitch), and other adjustable parameters, in contrast to the sounds of their DX7, which were entirely synthesised using FM (frequency modulation). 

Is The Midi Functionality Different For Every Piano? 

One of the initial purchases for every home studio is a MIDI controller. Choosing the best MIDI controller for your needs can be a difficult endeavour, whether you’re a beginner or an experienced producer. There are many different types and sizes of MIDI controllers. Simply said, a device can be regarded as a MIDI controller if its primary or secondary purpose is to transmit MIDI data to another piece of hardware or software. Keyboards are the most typical, but they can also be guitars, a drum machine with pads, or even a wearing ring! To function as a MIDI controller, even fruit could be connected to a computer CPU. 

Keybeds of 25, 37, 49, 61, or 88 keys are frequently found on MIDI keyboards, which come in a variety of sizes. Depending on your use case, you may need a certain number of keys. One thing to think about is how you play. Many producers who wish to trigger sounds or tap out a bassline can get by with a 25-key MIDI controller. The capability that a 61 or 88-key MIDI controller offers, however, would be excellent for a pianist who wants to play two-handed parts spanning octaves. All of this is to suggest that not everyone requires 88 keys. In addition to considering the number of keys, consider the available space. Measure the area on your desk, within your bag, and anywhere else the keyboard might be placed frequently. This can make your choice between two distinct keybed sizes clearer if you’re having trouble deciding. Every keyboard has an octave switch, regardless of size. This enables you to adjust the keybed’s note range up and down. Therefore, you can play in any octave regardless of the MIDI keyboard you use.

Also check: Top 10 Best Digital Pianos for Intermediate players

5 Best Upright Pianos for Intermediate Players

Pianos for intermediate musicians come in different sizes and shapes and it is possible to find an intermediate piano in all leading brands that deal with intermediate pianos. The pianos come with full-length 88 keys and offer a range of other features to help the pianist express himself. Here are the top five best upright pianos for intermediate players from leading piano brands.

#1. Yamaha YDP-144 Arius Series Piano – Editor’s Pick

Yamaha YDP-144 Digital Piano
Editor Rating: 9.3/10
Performance and sounds9.4
Build Quality9.1
Value for money9.5

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This is an exceptional upright piano for an intermediate pianist from the legendary Yamaha Brand. It comes with a padded bench for the comfortable seating arrangement, a music book, an owner’s guide, and a quick instructions manual. The piano has about three pedals and a maximum polyphony of 192. The piano has a maximum of 10 voices and two standard stereo phone jacks. The piano features a standard stereo phone jack and also features playback and recording capabilities. 

The piano features a standard 88- key bed with GHS weighted hammer action. Thus, the keys in this piano are heavier at the lower keys and they are lighter in the higher notes, just similar to an acoustic piano. the key tops have a special matte finish and are designed to absorb moisture and stay tactile, even after hours of use. The piano features a half-damper pedal control that helps the instrument to constantly allow for a constant increase of sustain, as its pedal gets depressed. 

The CFX premium grand piano voice is capable of recreating the tone and the power of the flagship CFX concert grand piano from the Yamaha brand. This piano is highly attractive and is known for its stylish design and graceful curves on its body. This is an exceptional and authentic acoustic piano with weighted keys that reproduce the controlled and highly responsive touch of grand acoustic pianos. 


  • The Yamaha YDP 144 Arius Series features an innovative virtual resonance modeling technique that is capable of recreating the resonance of the soundboard.
  • The piano works perfectly with smart devices
  • It has three pedals for rendering exceptional piano tunes
  • The ebony and ivory keytops offer a natural and comfortable feel.


  • It is heavy and takes time to install.

Note: This piano is also featured in our lists of best upright pianos for beginners and digital pianos for composing.

#2. The ONE Smart Digital Piano – Best Quality

The ONE Smart Digital Piano
Editor Rating: 9.3/10
Performance and sounds9.4
Build Quality9.3
Value for money9.4

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The ONE smart piano is one of the best pianos that teaches people to play the instrument. This smart piano is Apple MFi certified and it seamlessly connects with a tablet or a smartphone. It renders tremendous teaching capabilities and helps the pianist to learn the instrument easily. These piano keys are guided by LED lights. These LED lights work with the app and help in lighting up the show, it shows the pianist which key to press, and the lights will wait until the player hits the right notes. This is the reason we call it a true learner’s piano.

The piano comes with about 4000+ sheet music, 100 videos, and games in the free apps. It is compatible with both Android and iOS devices on both tablets and phones. There are also MIDI output and recording features in this Piano and it has 88 weighted keys, three piano pedals, professional stereo sounds, and a classic and elegant wooden body.

The piano has an 88-key bed similar to a grand piano and it has hammer action keys for rendering exceptional acoustical performance. The piano offers exceptional technical controls and it also holds several practical features such as volume control, metronome, built-in speakers, and two headphone sockets. There are three pedals in this piano, at its base offering complete control over the sound of the instrument.


  • This is a great piano for intermediate pianists and it is child-friendly as well.
  • The piano has 88 full-size heavy hammer action keys that help in restoring the true feel of the original piano.
  • The piano has the maximum polyphony of 128 notes for realistic sounding and renders an exceptional piano playing experience.


  • The number of song options in this app is quite limited.
  • The keyboard settings are hard to trace.

#3. Yamaha YDP184 – Great Choice for Intermediates

Yamaha YDP-184 Digital Piano
Editor Rating: 9.4/10
Performance and sounds9.6
Easy to Assemble9.4
Build Quality9.3
Value for money9.5

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This is an exceptional Arius Series piano from the legendary Yamaha brand and is made from dark rosewood material. The CFX premium grand Piano is capable of recreating the power and the tone of the CFX concert grand, the flagship model from Yamaha. The piano features a graded hammer 3 action keyboard and it also features synthetic ivory keytops to enhance their tactile feel. The keys are also capable of absorbing moisture from the fingers and help in preventing finger slipping.

Its virtual resonance modeling technology allows for vivid and varied piano expressions and helps us to reflect the unique sounds of the concert grand piano. The piano features a full dot LCD to help with the smooth navigation of the piano’s functions and features. The instrument comes with a padded bench, power supply, music stand, and a sheet music book. The maximum polyphony in this piano is about 128. 


  • The piano offers a grand piano feel in a compact model.
  • The MIDI board responds very well to this piano.
  • The free piano book that comes with this piano is very much useful for beginners.
  • There is not much assembly required in this piano and its parts are easy to put together.


  • The piano feels very heavy and it is not easy to lift and assemble by yourself.

Note: This piano is also featured in our lists of top 15 pianos In the market and digital pianos for advanced pianists.

#4. Donner DDP-100 Digital Piano – Quality Budget Pick

Donner DDP-100
Editor Rating: 9.2/10
Performance and sounds9.5
Build Quality8.7
Value for money9.6

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This is a great beginner’s piano with a furniture stand, and it also comes with a power adapter, triple pedals, and MP3 function. The body of the piano is made from high-quality wood. The piano comes in an attractive black color and looks extremely beautiful and elegant. The sounds of this piano look extremely realistic and excellent, helping the pianist to develop a keen ability to distinguish the piano sounds. The piano has a built-in MP3 function, along with a built-in amplifier, external sound system, and headphones, to meet the needs of diverse occasions.

The piano has a streamlined design, a sliding key cover to protect the keys, and a wooden cabinet. The piano has 128-note polyphony, and pure tones that are sampled from the real acoustic grand piano, to enhance the quality of the musician’s performance and piano practice. The Donner DDP-100 makes use of AWM sampling techniques to render realistic piano tunes both during practice and stage performances. Its adopted Dream sound sources help in analyzing realistic sound quality to fully present the tone level in both rich low and vigorous notes. 

There are three pedals in this piano for different piano functions, namely the soft, Sostenuto and sustain pedals. The piano has a complete 88-key key bed that realistically restores the sound of the original grand piano. The piano is also compatible with the Donner music app that helps pianists to learn music anytime and from anywhere.


  • The sturdy body of this digital piano is made from medium-density fiberboard.
  • This digital piano offers unlimited access to piano tones and sounds.
  • This is a great piano for not only intermediate piano players but also for beginners and advanced pianists.
  • There are two headphone jacks in this piano also with external speaker’s connectivity.


  • It is heavy and requires assistance in assembling.
  • The sound from this piano is not acoustic.

Note: This piano is also featured in our lists of best digital pianos under $700 and digital pianos for classical pianists.

#5. Yamaha YDP103 – Quality Performing Piano for Intermediate Player

Yamaha YDP-103 Digital Piano
Editor Rating: 9.4/10
Performance and sounds9.6
Easy to Assemble9.7
Build Quality9.2
Value for money9.6

Check Price on Online Stores:

The Yamaha YDP 103 is one of the most affordable digital pianos that are available in a rich cabinet and it is also one of the cheapest console pianos that are available in the market. The YDP appears quite basic, but it is rich in features and is a great piano for the intermediate pianist. It is one of the popular choices that are available at a cost under $1000 and it is indeed a traditional-looking digital piano that is available at an affordable cost.

The piano has basic control elements and it has only two buttons and a volume knob. But all our functions and features of this piano can be assessed by pressing particular keys while holding the function button. The Yamaha YDP-103 features 88 fully weighted touch-sensitive keys and uses hammers to simulate the actions of the real piano. The keyboard of this piano has a graded effect, thus simulating the feel of an acoustic piano. The keys of this piano are also touch-sensitive and respond to the force with which the keys are struck.

The heart of this piano makes use of the AWM stereo sampling technology, which is also used widely in Yamaha pianos. This digital piano has 12 x 6 cm oval speakers and they have a total volume output of 12W. The speakers are loud enough to fill a medium-sized room without the need for external amplification. The piano also has a duo and dual modes for practice and piano performance.


  • The piano has very basic assembly and takes less than 30 minutes to complete the process.
  • The YDP-103 comes with three pedals similar to a regular piano.
  • The piano is made of real wood and has a wood grain finish and great built quality.
  • The piano has a sliding key cover to protect the keys from dirt and dust.


  • There is no split mode in this piano
  • There is no MIDI recorder in this instrument.

Note: This piano is also featured in our list of best home digital pianos.

What To Look For In Your Upright Piano For Intermediate Players?

1. Feel and build quality of the digital piano:

There is a difference in the engineering of the beginners and intermediate pianos. The notes from the intermediate piano come to a lot clearer and will be a closer representation of the real piano sounds. Make sure that the piano you opt to buy feels more responsive, has a more realistic feel on the keys, and comprises design and mechanics that are meant to last longer. Concentrate on the sound sampling techniques of these pianos.

2. Check the samples in the Piano:

The samples in the pianos are small audio recordings of the musical instruments. These could also be other sounds such as the sound of the ocean waves, the sound of the wind, the sirens, etc. They could also be recorded songs. Make sure your piano offers ample additional sounds of instruments such as strings, organs, electric pianos, etc. so that you end up with exceptional and comprehensive piano tunes.

3. MIDI functionality:

Choose pianos that are compatible with the MIDI feature, as this accessory helps in composing music with the help of gadgets like laptops, computers, and even smartphones. This feature is a must to have in upright pianos for intermediate players, as it helps them tremendously in their musical journey.

Things To Consider In Your Digital Piano

  • Do your background research and enhance your knowledge of the instrument. Choose a piano that exactly matches your requirements.
  • Consider your budget and the cost of the piano.
  • Choose a piano that compliments your space in your home.
  • Choose portable pianos if you want to take them to your music classes.
  • Let the choice have ample connectivity features.
  • Pianos with in-built speakers are great for small concerts
  • Finally, choose a touch-sensitive piano to practice for long hours without straining fingers.

Final Words

A good intermediate piano is ideal for music students to progress in their music journey. Examine your options thoroughly before choosing an ideal instrument. We hope our product recommendation and your buying guide help you in choosing the best intermediate upright piano.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 

1. What are the types of keys on MIDI controller 

  • Synth-action, semi-weighted, and fully-weighted keys make up the majority of MIDI keyboard controller keys.
  • The majority of keys are synth-action keys. Because they are spring-loaded, they respond swiftly to pressure. Producers who like to programme drums by tapping out samples or keyboardists who play a lot of leads should choose synth-action keys.
  • The weight of semi-weighted keys is slightly more than that of synth action and anyone used to play an actual piano will likely find them to be a natural fit because they typically feel “block-ier” and have greater heaviness.
  • By offering players the full range of emotive control you’d anticipate from the instrument, weighted keys attempt to perfectly imitate the sensation of playing a traditional piano. 

2. What are MIDI control knobs? 

There are two types of controller knobs available: rotary encoders and pots (potentiometers). Pots, which have a 270-degree range, are excellent for controlling things like volume that often don’t vary rapidly. Remember that not all knobs are made equal as well. Cheaper or smaller controllers could have shallower knobs that remain usable but uncomfortable to operate. Additionally, knobs may be too near together and uncomfortable for your taste.

3. What is the difference between a MIDI keyboard and a digital piano? 

A MIDI keyboard is made for use in music creation and frequently includes controls like faders and knobs used for various MIDI commands. A digital piano strives to mimic the feel and sound of a real acoustic piano. 

4. What are the pros of MIDI keyboards? 

MIDI keyboards give keyboardists a much more realistic feel, producers the option to perform keyboard-centric pieces on stage, and experimenting with various chords and melodies is much simpler with a MIDI keyboard if you want to take advantage of both sequencing and writing with piano notation. 

5. What are the cons of MIDI keyboards? 

  • Cheaper MIDI keyboards lack pads, knobs, faders, or other types of displays that are useful for different types of music composition.
  • Less expensive MIDI keyboards do not have excellent aftertouch features, which limits your ability to perform expressively.
  • MIDI keyboards are often less portable than MIDI controllers, which restricts how conveniently you can take them on the road. 

6. What are the pros of MIDI controllers? 

For scheduling and generating sounds from other devices, controllers are fantastic. Drum pads, knobs, and other music production tools are included with MIDI controllers. You will have more selections when your budget increases.

Most MIDI controllers are portable. 

7. What are the cons of MIDI controllers? 

The greatest way to produce tonal, chordal, or melodic music is on a keyboard because MIDI controllers don’t let you experiment with different chords and melodies like that. Without a computer to connect it to, a MIDI controller is useless. MIDI controllers are constrained by MIDI keyboards.

8. What’s the mechanism behind the sostenuto pedal? 

The sostenuto pedal offers a way to sustain bass sounds while freeing the fingers to play other above-the-bass stuff. Three things must be taken into consideration when utilizing this pedal. First, the bass notes that need to be “sustained” have to be strongly depressed with the fingertips just before pressing the pedal, so they can be “caught.” The sostenuto pedal cannot be pressed at the same time as the sustaining pedal. The second is that the pedal must be depressed all the way to the floor for the passage to be sustained.

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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