Different Types of Piano

Having the right piano is essential for the success of piano students and aspiring pianists. Buying the right one may require students to consider certain factors such as their needs, skills, and goals. Having a well-informed decision in purchasing a piano can increase a person’s chance in having the excellent instrument he or she needs. It doesn’t have to be expensive, it just needs to be a piano type that is suitable to the needs of the musician.

In order to choose properly, you need to be familiar with the different types of pianos available. Check out the piano types discussed below:

piano playing

Grand Pianos

Otherwise known as horizontal pianos, this type of wood instrument has obtained its name from its length and due to the fact that its strings are positioned horizontally. These are the larger types and often used for concerts and solos. If you are wondering what the largest grand piano looks like, then it i actually 9 feet long.

This piano type is highly preferred by those who intend to play the instrument professionally. This is because it has a powerful tone and its key action is more responsive. This is also a great instrument to use in playing highly demanding pieces.

Here are the variations of the Grand Pianos:

Petite Grand. The smallest of all grand pianos but very powerful. It measures in between 4’5” to 4’10”.
Baby Grand. This is a small one and is known for its aesthetic appeal, sound quality and affordability. It measures around one-half of the concert grand’s size. The first baby grand is believed to have been built by Ernest Kaps of Dresden.
Medium Grand. Its length ranges from 5’5” to 5’9”. It can be found in homes but is also very popular among music schools. One of the most popular things about the medium ground is that it offers more string length and soundboard surface area than the baby grand.
Parlor Grand/ Living room Grand/ Classic. This type has similar horizontal soundboard configuration with concert grand. However, it is a bit shorter as it only has a size of three fourth of the concert grand.
Concert Grand. The measurement of this instrument is based on the distance from the keyboard’s front to the farthest part of the bend at the piano’s back. The size may vary according to how it is manufactured but it is generally heavy.

There are many advantages in using this instrument. It has the ability to produce incomparably rich tones and allow a wider tonal range. It can also play at a higher volume and engage the player with each stroke. Albeit it costs more and requires more space, there is an extensive range of prices and sizes available nowadays.

Vertical Pianos

Otherwise known as the upright pianos, this type of instrument is named as it is mainly because of its height and its strings are positioned vertically. It is typically used in dens, living rooms, churches, and schools.

Here are the variations of the Vertical Pianos:

Spinet. This is the smallest of all types and is ideal for individuals with limited space at home. However, its lack of power and accuracy are considered to be its main disadvantages. The first Spinet was built by the Wurlitzer Company in 1935.

Consolette. The Consolette has two popular advantages over the Spinet. First, its action is direct and this makes the instrument more advanced. Second, it comes in different finishes and styles, which makes it ideal for use in homes or apartments.

Console. This instrument is characterized by its height that ranges from 40 inches to 44 inches, which places it in the middle of the Spinet and Professional pianos. It gained popularity in the 1900s due to its furniture style design and quality tone.

Studio. The studio is known for its larger strings and soundboard, which allows it to produce great tone quality. This is known for its durability and is widely used in music schools and studios.

Professional. This has a rich tone and if maintained well, can be used for a long time. It is only called professional upright if it is an old vertical piano that measures 52” tall and is Victorian such as if it’s almost 100 years old. A piano like this is usually highlighted together with some important events in the history.

Honkey Tonk. This is ideal for those who play various kinds of country music. It is upright and contain slightly out of tune strings. It is measures from its top lid to the base of the keyboard. The Honkey Tonk varies in depth and width.

Among the best features of this instrument is that it requires less space, costs less and provides more finish and design options.

playing piano

Electric Pianos

This piano type has been very popular with jazz musicians mainly because it allows a pianist to duplicate a guitarist’s solo breaks with the chording of a piano. It doesn’t bring detuning problems like the traditional ones and is often used exclusively by traveling bands.

Here are the variations of the Electric Pianos:

The Fender Rhodes. This contains an electric pickup that can sense that string’s vibrations. It also has an amplifier that enhances the volume of the vibrations. The Fender Rhodes is used in pop, rock and jazz music.

The Clavinova. This utilizes digital samples for the purpose of recreating an acoustic piano’s sound. It has a basic advantage over other keyboards such as not having metal strings.

The Clavinet. This allows the musician to pluck the strings while pressing a key.
The Hammon Organ. This was invented in the 1930s and it creates its sound using its spinning metal tone wheels.

The Synthesizer Keyboard. This keyboard works by virtually creating a copy of sounds. It can mimic the sounds of piano, violin and other traditional instrument. Its term is obtained from the word “Synthesize”, which means making something new.

There are certain advantages in using this portable and compact instrument. It costs and weighs less as doesn’t require tuning. It also allows players to record their compositions to a USB device and can be used with a headphone.

How to Choose the Right Piano

The first step in choosing the right piano is to simply research. Be familiar with the wide variety of manufacturers and look for the ones that have gained a reputation in making high-quality music instruments. Aspiring pianists can visit showrooms, check out brochures and ask questions out the instrument. One of the things to remember in choosing the right piano is to find a reputable company that offers a trade-up policy.

Beginners can choose an instrument that they can afford and fits inside the house. A starter piano will do as those who want to continue playing can trade it up for a nicer one. It is also important to remember that different brands and models may deliver different results.

After identifying the best manufacturer, the next step is to try playing the instrument or having someone play it. Pianos can produce different tones and sounds and buyers should carefully listen to them. It is also important to consider the size of the instrument during the selection process. Those who have already decided to buy one can ask an experienced pianist for recommendation. They can take the pianist with them in buying the instrument if possible.

Individuals who already have an experience in playing the instrument should take time in evaluating whether or not it can satisfy their music needs and meet their requirements. Education for music is extremely relevant but students should also ensure that they have the instrument that’s suitable to their needs. It is also important to remember that although the instrument can depreciate over time, it can last for a long period if properly maintained.