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The 4 Different Types of Upright Pianos

The Upright Piano is the most played type of piano in the world. Part of the reason for that is the cost and the size of a Grand piano which is quite understandable. 

What might not be such common knowledge is that there are actually four different kinds of Upright acoustic pianos. I am going to take a look at each of these pianos, but before I do, let’s briefly consider what they offer.

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They Are Convenient In Some Situations

Convenient

Most people, when deciding to buy a piano, will buy the upright version. As I have already said, the cost is one consideration. But usually, the space available in their accommodation is another. 

Of course, the upright is considerably smaller than its larger Grand Piano cousins. But, it will usually have to be accommodated on the ground floor of where you live. Going up three flights of stairs to an apartment might be possible but would be a challenge, to say the least.

The Sound

While there is obviously a difference between the Upright and the Grand, the sound is, in fact, more similar than most people imagine, apart from the Upright lacking a little depth and projection. However, even though that is the case, even within the four different types of upright pianos, you will also notice differences in how they sound.

Other Differences Between Upright and Grand

The Upright piano functions in a completely different way to the Grand. The Grand has the string patterns set horizontally; the upright piano has them arranged vertically. And, you will notice a difference in how they feel when they are played. Again, due to the different designs.

Some Things are The Same

One important similarity is that they both have the full standard 88 keys. Anything less than that may cause problems playing some pieces of music. 

The Differences In The Upright Or Vertical Pianos

To accommodate a full 88-keys, most upright pianos will measure approximately five feet wide or sixty-one inches. They will also have a measurement from front to back, or the depth, of about two feet.

The height of the piano will vary depending on which of the four options you have. It is the height measurement that is one of the ways we define the various piano options.

Let’s take a look at each, starting with the largest upright piano.

The Upright Piano

  • Height – 47 to 60 inches.
  • Depth – about 23 inches.
  • Width – about 60 inches.
  • Weight – can vary from 500-1000lbs 

The largest of the upright pianos is often just called an “Upright.” You may also hear it referred to as a “Studio upright.” This is not to be confused with a “studio piano,” which we shall look at next. Other names sometimes used are the “Professional Upright” or the “Upright Grand.”

It is considered the largest Upright because it is also the tallest upright piano. However, the downside is it is also the heaviest. The weight of this type of piano can vary depending on the type of wood that is used for its construction.

The Sound

This is a piano that is tough and rugged and can withstand even Jerry Lee Lewis. You will often find them used in recording studios because they have a powerful sound. Possibly lacking a little in the upper registers, but outstanding in the lower mids, and they have a full and very rich lower register.

The Studio Piano

  • Height – 44 to 48 inches.
  • Depth – about 23 inches.
  • Width – about 60 inches.
  • Weight – about 400 – 500 lbs. 

The second-largest upright piano is the Studio Piano. You will notice that it is not as high as the Upright. And, it will also usually weigh considerably less. It is a piano you will often see in schools or other establishments where there might be a choir or group-based singing.

There is a reason for this. Despite it being smaller than the standard-sized Upright, the Studio is built with a larger soundboard and, therefore, longer strings. That helps to create a loud and powerful tone. The big sound and the smaller size make these a very popular Upright piano.

The Console Piano

Console Piano

  • Height – 40 to 43 inches.
  • Depth – about 23 inches.
  • Width – about 60 inches.
  • Weight – about 350 – 450 lbs. 

Down another size level is the Console Piano. The Console is probably the most popular upright piano. It was designed with some foresight, recognizing that a slightly smaller piano was required for most houses. And that is what this is, the ultimate piano for the average-sized accommodation.

The Sound

You could not say that the sound was quite as good as the full-sized Upright. But, it is certainly good enough for the average user. 

The non-drop action of the mechanism for the keys means that the keyboard will engage directly with the hammers. This has a direct influence on how the piano plays and sounds and makes the response quick and effective. 

But, its biggest asset is its size. It is small enough to fit into a smaller room and isn’t too heavy, so maybe the three-floor apartment piano becomes a possibility.

The Spinet Piano

  • Height – 36 to 40 inches.
  • Depth – about 23 inches.
  • Width – about 60 inches.
  • Weight – about 350 – 400 lbs.

The smallest type of Upright Piano, and there are good and not-so-good points to look at. Being smaller and weighing less, it is certainly easier to move. Two reasonably strong people would be able to move it. Another plus point is that it is usually cheaper than other types of upright.

The downside, however, is quite significant. They have a different working mechanism where each of the keys is fixed to a vertical wire. One of the results of this is that they don’t sound as good as the other Upright piano versions.

However, if you want an upright acoustic piano and have a tight budget and also a tight space to fit one in, it is an ideal option.

Space Is Usually A Problem

Space

Now that we know the different types of Upright Pianos, the issue of how much room you have is usually a problem with having an acoustic piano. Likewise, if you have suitable accommodation, as I said, living at the top of an apartment block can make life very difficult if you want an upright piano.

Having a piano at home is certainly a great thing, even if you only have the slightest interest in music. Not having the space for the ‘real’ thing can be very frustrating, but all is not lost.

You have some options

These days there is a great range of digital pianos that sound as close to the real thing as you can get. They come in a range of different sizes, all the way down to a tabletop 88-key piano. 

Also, they come in a variety of price points to fit everyone’s budget. They are certainly worth considering. So, here are some excellent examples…

Donner DDP-100 88-Key Weighted Action Digital Piano

A budget range digital piano, this is an 88-key piano with three pedestals and some accessories at a very attractive price point.

Yamaha P125 88-Key Weighted Digital Piano

A world-renowned manufacturer of pianos at all levels. This is one of their more cost-effective digital pianos. A well-made 88-key piano with a bench.

Yamaha YDP184 Arius Series Console Digital Piano

A piano from the very impressive Arius Range.

Korg B2 Digital Piano

A “tabletop” piano for when space is so tight that even those pianos won’t find a corner somewhere.

Have a Passion for Piano?

Then we have you covered. Simply check out our in-depth reviews of the Best Digital Grand Piano, the Best Digital Pianos, the Best Digital Pianos for Under $500, the Best Digital Pianos For Under $1000, the Best Digital Pianos For Beginners, and the Best Cheap Keyboard Piano you can buy in 2023.

Also, take a look at our detailed reviews of the Best Digital Piano With Weighted Keys, the Best 88-Key Keyboards, the Best Kawai Digital Piano, the Best Yamaha Digital Pianos, the Best Portable Keyboard Pianos, and the Best Digital Pianos For Beginners currently on the market.

Types Of Upright Pianos – Conclusion

So, there are the four main types of upright acoustic pianos, from the largest Upright Acoustic to the smallest Spinet, with Studio and the Console in-between.

If you are buying an acoustic piano, there is one other consideration about where you place it. You are probably going to locate it next to a wall. Make sure it is situated against an ‘inside’ wall and not one that adjoins another property. Sound waves and vibrations travel very easily, even through walls. 

An Upright Piano is a great choice if you have the room. And of the four I have looked at, there could well be one that suits your needs. If not, go for a quality digital piano; they sound better and have an improved playing feel as every new generation is released.

Until next time, let the music play.

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About Corey Hoffman

Corey is a multi-instrumentalist who has played in numerous bands over the years, some good, some not so good. He has also written countless songs and recorded five albums in professional studios across America. Today he is a hobby musician but still loves the guitar after over 15 years of playing.

He considers his writing as a way to share what he has learned over the decades with younger generations ad always can't wait to get his hands on the latest gear.

He lives just outside New York with his wife Barbara and their two German Shepherds, Ziggy and Iggy.

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