Upright Pianos

In buying a piano, several factors should be considered. Budget to be decided. Also the space where you want to place it must be considered. One must remember that it is not good for a piano to be near the exterior walls, fireplaces, doors, and windows.

Upright pianos was called ‘the piano for people’. It was designed to save space and the price was affordable that all classes of people can have and enjoy it. Upright by definition is a piano in which the soundboard and the strings are placed perpendicular to the keyboard and parallel to the wall. Because of this, it takes lesser floor space compare to grand pianos. It can be placed flat against the wall like all other furniture.

The idea of this kind of piano has its origin as early as 1480 but it was until the 19th century before the shape was standardized. In the past, piano was a part of people’s life and every home dreamed to have one. But not all could afford and had enough space for the grands. Only the extremely rich people with large houses could have enjoyed it. Manufacturing the uprights was the answer to the people’s desire to acquire a piano specially the common people.

There are different kinds of upright pianos depending on heights. The smallest is called the spinet. It is only 36-39 inches. Console, another kind of upright, is a little taller than the spinet. Its height is 40-43 inches.  It has been said that these two kinds of upright pianos have inferior tone because their strings are short and the soundboards are small. However, it is affordable and space saving piano. Because of its size, it usually looks like a cabinet.

Another kind of upright pianos is called the studio upright. It is 43-47 inches tall and usually comparable to baby grands. Studio upright is often seen in music studios or music schools. It is usually use by the piano teachers in teaching their piano students. The quality of tone is better than spinet and Console. The full-upright pianos, 4 to 5 feet tall, have the longest string and biggest soundboard among all uprights. Others believe that the performance of this kind of upright piano is better than the baby grands under 5 ½ feet. The measurement of the grands includes the keyboard while the uprights keyboard is not included.

Unlike the action of the grands that the key movement transmitted through the intermediate lever to the jack that acts on the roller of the hammer that rises to hit the string, the action of the upright piano when pressing the keys is directly transmitted to the jack that rises the hammer towards the string.

Upright pianos have three categories:

  • The first category is the antique upright. It was manufactured in 18th century to early 19th century.
  • The next is the Victorian’s. All that was built in the middle up to the end of 19th century belong to Victorian category.
  • The last is the modern upright. These are the pianos built in 20th century up to the present. Old uprights or the antique uprights can be easily identify because it is more elegant than the modern. Antique uprights are also good for restoration depending on the brands like Steinway, Baldwin and many more.

Though it is commonly known that grands are better than the uprights in terms of performance and looks but it is always not the case. Remember that quality upright pianos produced by a good company and restored by the skillful piano technicians (for the antiques) are more valuable than the cheap grands. Upright is also three to six times cheaper than the grands.