Home > About Us > How To Guides > Piano Buyers Guide
Choosing a new piano should be an enjoyable and pleasant experience. Here at Chappell of Bond Street, we aim to make your shopping experience easy and informative. A welhl looked after piano (see our section on Care and Maintenance) can be enjoyed for generations so it is worthwhile spending the time and effort to select the right one.
Firstly, you need to decide where the piano will be kept (large hall, small flat etc), which type of piano you wish to purchase (digital or acoustic, grand or upright) and what your budget is.
We hope the following information will help to guide you when making your selection:
Digital pianos are bought for various reasons – they do not require tuning, they are easily transported from place to place making them ideal for bands and other musical groups and they have lots of different sounds and backing rhythms as well as recording and playback devices which are ideal for composers. However for some pianists, digital pianos are unable to sufficiently replicate a traditional acoustic piano’s tone and touch.
These are available in various sizes and cabinet finishes. The size (height measured from the floor to the top of the piano) is often the most important factor when choosing an instrument like a piano. The taller the instrument, the longer the strings and the larger the surface area of the soundboard will be, generally resulting in a better tonal quality with more volume. Some very tall uprights can have longer strings and larger soundboard areas than some of the smaller grand pianos.
Grands are also available in various sizes and cabinet finishes. Just as the height of an upright has an affect on the sound, so does the length (measured from the front of the keyboard to the back of the piano) of a grand. The smallest grand pianos are often referred to as ‘baby grands’; these pianos are popular as they are more likely to fit into most homes. However, the shorter strings do not give as resonant a sound in the bass as longer grands or indeed some tall uprights. Medium and concert grand pianos are very popular amongst amateur and professional pianists, piano teachers, music colleges, universities, concert venues and churches for the superior tone and increased volume they produce.
The main differences between an upright piano and a grand are the shape, the size, the cost and most importantly for a pianist, the action of the piano.
In a grand piano the strings are horizontal and the hammer strikes the string from below before returning to rest. When the hammer returns downwards to its rest position, it is aided by gravity. This allows for faster repetition and better tone and expression control. In upright pianos, however, the strings are vertical and the hammer strikes the strings from the front. The hammer movement is no longer aided by gravity here and so, the repetition may be generally slower on some pianos.
If you require more assistance, please contact our team of piano experts in our London store on +44(0) 20 7432 4433. More contact details here.