Types & Sizes of Vertical Pianos


Vertical (Upright) Pianos:

The height was reduced by lowering the position of the action in relation to the keyboard, so that the lever was pulled up by the key instead of being lifted in the normal way. This type of piano sold as a “Spinet”. When compared with the small Grand pianos condemned in the previous paragraph, these miniature Uprights sink to about the same depth of tonal and acoustic banality. I can appreciate the demand for small pianos for small rooms, and in small orchestras where space is limited and the player must be able to see the leader, but I cannot see the sense of mutilating the tone and touch of a piano merely to reduce the height by a further three or four inches.

Sizes and Types - The standard width of an upright piano is about 5' and the depth is between 2 - 2½'. The total floor space allowance should be about 5' wide by 5' deep, including bench space. The height of the piano makes no difference in the floor space needed but it makes a major difference in the quality of sound the piano produces. The height of a vertical piano is measured from the floor to the top of the piano. There are four types of vertical pianos, based on piano height:  The size is measured from the floor to the top of the lid.

Spinet - 36" to 37"| Consolette 38 to 39”| Console 40" to 43" | Studio – 44” to 45”| Studio Professional 47” to 49”| Upright – Over 50”

Spinet Pianos The spinet piano is the smallest of the vertical pianos. The spinet piano has what is called a dropped action. The piano action is the part of the piano that transfers the force of striking the key to the hammer striking the string. In appearance the spinet and console pianos are very similar. Some technicians charge more to work on spinet pianos because they feel they are more difficult to repair. There are more working parts in a spinet piano than a console but a qualified piano technician should be able to service the spinet piano at no additional charge.


Console Pianos The console is the most popular of the vertical pianos. The action of a console piano sits directly on top of the keys and as with all vertical pianos the hammers sit in an upright position. Once the hammer strikes the string and the key is released a spring pulls the hammer back to its original position, ready to strike the string again. The action of a vertical piano is usually not as "quick" as the action of a grand piano.

Studio Pianos The additional height of the studio piano gives it a richness and tonal quality comparable to those of many grand pianos. The location and feel of the action is also different in a studio piano. Many of the newer studio pianos mimic the feel of a grand piano.

Upright Pianos: The tallest of the vertical pianos is the upright. Today this term is usually used to refer to the older, tall pianos - Grandma's piano. There were many wonderful upright pianos made in America in the 1920 - 1940's. If properly preserved these old pianos are some of the most esthetically beautiful and durable instruments ever made. The key is "properly preserved". If not properly maintained an old upright's only value is as a large piece of furniture, beautiful to look at but nerve racking to listen to.

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