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Upright vs grand

Posted By: gott

Upright vs grand - 03/14/15 07:53 PM

I want to start looking into buying a piano this spring. Ive owned digital pianos and played acoustic pianos in studio rooms at university, but never owned an acoustic. So I'm wondering if I should buy a grand on a $20k-30k budget, or just buy a cheaper upright for now and save up for a more expensive grand?

How much does the size of the room affect the size of the grand I should be looking to buy? I want something with a warm mellow tone and decent bass notes. Any ideas?
Posted By: pianoloverus

Re: Upright vs grand - 03/14/15 08:05 PM

There is a lot of disagreement about how the size of the room affects the size of the grand you should look for. If you can do a successful search, not always easy here, you will find many posts saying that even the largest pianos will work well in a small room and many posts saying the smaller the room, the smaller the piano should be.

As far as whether you should buy a vertical or grand, I would first try and play as many pianos as possible and see if you really want a grand costing more than 30K eventually. For some, 30K would be enough to buy their dream piano but for others that would not be nearly enough.
Posted By: PianoWorksATL

Re: Upright vs grand - 03/14/15 10:40 PM

Your budget opens you up to many good pianos. While the most wonderful do cost more, they don't usually cost a little more - they cost a lot more. I suggest finding a dealer that you enjoy working with and represents pianos you could enjoy now with the option of upgrading later if the dream piano is currently out of reach.

With that kind of budget and space for a grand, I don't see a low priced upright satisfying you. It's not a bad plan, but plans don't always work out like you think.

Go and try some pianos and come back with some specifics to post about what you like and your space.
Posted By: phantomFive

Re: Upright vs grand - 03/15/15 01:09 AM

Go play lots of pianos. Listen to the clear bass notes of the Bosendorfer. Hear the roar of a Steinway. Play Mozart on a Schimmel. Marvel at the purity of a Steingraeber. Get an idea of what you want by playing on many pianos.

Once you can recognize what you want, that's when good deals show up (they show up before too, but you won't recognize them).
Posted By: gott

Re: Upright vs grand - 03/15/15 01:40 AM

Thanks for the quick advice. I'll come when I have a better idea of what I'm looking for.
Posted By: Ed McMorrow, RPT

Re: Upright vs grand - 03/15/15 02:09 AM

Seek out rebuilders in your locale to learn what can be done to make an old piano perform as good as new. Often, much rebuilding exhibited in retail piano stores that also sell new pianos is of poor to mediocre standards. Try to find rebuilders who rebuild for private clients. Ones who have a long career may have clients who are downsizing or at the end of their life and their pianos may be available.

The pianos that hold their value best are rebuilt Steinway, Mason& Hamlin grands. If you own one when you sell it you never take the price hit of "new piano depreciation".
Posted By: Diane...

Re: Upright vs grand - 03/16/15 07:02 PM

Originally Posted by gott
I want to start looking into buying a piano this spring. Ive owned digital pianos and played acoustic pianos in studio rooms at university, but never owned an acoustic. So I'm wondering if I should buy a grand on a $20k-30k budget, or just buy a cheaper upright for now and save up for a more expensive grand?

How much does the size of the room affect the size of the grand I should be looking to buy? I want something with a warm mellow tone and decent bass notes. Any ideas?


Grand! Buy a grand.
Because, if you buy an upright, you will be play the piano facing a "wall"! How fun is that! If you buy a "grand" you will feel like you are driving a "convertible" ... indoors. I go with the convertible ride!

I always see these questions, and I just have to say what I said above. That grand will get passed down from generation to generation, and a grand is always a classy choice. Here's my baby grand. it's 5'6". I have an upright piano too, but no one even notices it. But this grand piano, everyone loves it! & so do I!

Happy driving! Shall I say more? hahahaha

[Linked Image]
Posted By: Colin Dunn

Re: Upright vs grand - 03/16/15 07:17 PM

If you have the room and a >$20K budget, I think the decision to buy a grand is a no-brainer. Nice 7' to 9' grands are available used in this price range. Not sure about new pianos though; unless you're shopping for a top-tier piano like a Steinway or Bosendorfer (>$100K), let someone else take the "new piano depreciation" hit and buy their near-new piano for 50-66% less than new.
Posted By: Markarian

Re: Upright vs grand - 03/16/15 07:21 PM

Buy a grand and never look back. Your budget can get you a brand new Hailun 218, a rebuilt Steinway L, a gently used Kawai RX-3, or a serviceable older Baldwin 9 footer, to name a few. I just went from playing digitals all my life to my first acoustic piano (7 foot grand) and it is like nothing else in the universe. Your playing will improve, and things that were hard before suddenly become more intuitive and effortless on a nice grand. Take the advice above and play them all. An upright would not make sense in your price range. You've got a good budget to work with so happy hunting!
Posted By: Colin5

Re: Upright vs grand - 03/16/15 07:26 PM

"Bigger is better." The saying is true haha. But yeah, I own an upright piano that used to be my teacher's daughter's piano, but even though it just got tuned I still don't really like it tbh. Our family lives in a bigger house, so there would be space for a grand, but we can't afford a baby grand right now. We were looking at some baby grands on craigslist though and found some pretty good baby grands in our area. I'm the only one in my family who plays the piano (besides my cousin, who just got a keyboard), so it'd only be me playing it, but it'll still be pretty good to use. Facing a wall all the time is just uncomfortable, and plus whenever you move the piano you see all this dust and everything from behind it because it never gets moved. My parents said that we might be able to afford one soon, but "soon" means a while, and I only have three and a half more years of living at my house before I go to college. If you have the money to get a grand, I'd suggest getting one, but if not, I'd suggest saving for a better one and starting out on an upright. I started on an upright 11 years ago but in 5th grade (four years ago) my teacher sold us one of her better uprights for a cheaper price (I love being my teacher's favorite). If you are going to perform a lot though, I'd suggest getting a baby grand so you get the touch of a baby grand.
Posted By: Almaviva

Re: Upright vs grand - 03/16/15 07:44 PM

Very pretty music room, Diane.

Might I ask what kind of grand piano is that? I know it is 5'6", but what make and model?
Posted By: Diane...

Re: Upright vs grand - 03/16/15 09:08 PM

Originally Posted by Almaviva
Very pretty music room, Diane.

Might I ask what kind of grand piano is that? I know it is 5'6", but what make and model?


Thank you so much! It's the RX-1 Kawai baby grand.

I bought this baby Kawai grand brand new and the touch was so hard!! I hated the heavy touch! I would never again buy a grand piano that I hadn't played first. The touch is everything. It's perfect now, but took 10 years for the touch to settle down to my liking!





Posted By: JohnSprung

Re: Upright vs grand - 03/17/15 12:24 AM


There are lots of fine grands available in your price range, and below. Even if you're not local here in Southern CA, here's an excellent resource on price/performance points:

http://livingpianos.com/pianos/

For most of the pianos on that list, you can click on the picture, and get a demonstration video of the piano being played.

(If I had your money, I'd get that Baldwin SD-2).

Posted By: BrianDX

Re: Upright vs grand - 03/17/15 12:30 AM

Originally Posted by Diane...
I bought this baby Kawai grand brand new and the touch was so hard!! I hated the heavy touch! I would never again buy a grand piano that I hadn't played first. The touch is everything. It's perfect now, but took 10 years for the touch to settle down to my liking!

I'm curious: did you ever ask your RPT to look at the action to see if it could be adjusted? Our C2X has a medium touch, not firm, not soft. I wouldn't mind if the touch could be lightened just a bit. I'm going to ask that question next month when the piano is tuned.
Posted By: backto_study_piano

Re: Upright vs grand - 03/17/15 10:25 AM

For that $$$ (going on Australian prices), you are into the price-range of the better uprights, or of the better than entry level grands. Both of these options can make a great piano.

If you follow the history of a lot of the people on PianoWorld, many of us have progressed through various pianos over the years, depending on $$$ available, time, family needs and space available. If you move around a lot, an upright is easier to relocate.

Whatever you buy - a grand or upright - or indeed a "cheaper upright", make sure that it is something you are happy and indeed excited to play. And don't rush the decision.
Posted By: PhilipInChina

Re: Upright vs grand - 03/17/15 12:11 PM

Get a grand. If you are keen, and if you have the space and budget you will regret not getting one.

The oft repeated, and not just by me, formula is measure the total length of your walls and divide by 10 to get a good sized grand to fit the room.

If you do get an upright, make sure you leave some space between it and the wall.
Posted By: harpon

Re: Upright vs grand - 03/17/15 01:59 PM

I would get a grand if I had the space- even a used one as opposed to an upright- because I think the action is more sure, and can be serviced more easily.
They do need a lot of room and a solid private structure- because they are louder.
Posted By: hoola

Re: Upright vs grand - 03/21/15 07:15 AM

Diane,

My Grotrian 6f3 was heavy but I was used to it. My wife found my Grotrian was much heavier than her Yamaha upright, but she was obliged to accept the way the Grotrian was, until one day I hired a new technician because my ex-technician disappeared.

The new technician asked my wife if she found the Grotrian heavy. Yes, she replied, then the new technician proposed to lighten the touch just be easing the balanced holes on all keys.

Result: The keys became lighter (maybe less friction when moving in bigger balanced holes)

Note: He did not explained what he did, but from the reading I had later from some books, resources, Larry Fine's PianoBuyer.com (Larry said that some German pianos need to have balanced holes eased, because they are too tight), I understand that he only eased the balanced holes.

However, my current technician does not like the idea of easing balanced holes. I was extremely busy and had no time to ask him for further arguments. So you guys need to talk to technician to know further the pros and cons of easing balanced holes to make touch lighter. But it worked for us though we don't understand the bad effect of this practice.
Posted By: peterws

Re: Upright vs grand - 03/21/15 10:37 PM

I'd Get me self a baby grand if I had the space. It'd come from eBay, it would've been looked after, a British Chappell at 5 foot six would suit. Light action, no undue resonances, and in tune. It'd cost me around £600. I would expect no problems or maintenance costs.

Bit like my digital really. . . .but better looking.
Posted By: pianoloverus

Re: Upright vs grand - 03/21/15 11:00 PM

Originally Posted by PianoWorksATL
Your budget opens you up to many good pianos. While the most wonderful do cost more, they don't usually cost a little more - they cost a lot more. I suggest finding a dealer that you enjoy working with and represents pianos you could enjoy now with the option of upgrading later if the dream piano is currently out of reach.

With that kind of budget and space for a grand, I don't see a low priced upright satisfying you. It's not a bad plan, but plans don't always work out like you think.

Go and try some pianos and come back with some specifics to post about what you like and your space.
The best advice IMO. This avoids most of the problem of having to sell the first grand at a big loss.
Posted By: Benn

Re: Upright vs grand - 03/22/15 03:48 AM

Originally Posted by gott
I want to start looking into buying a piano this spring. Ive owned digital pianos and played acoustic pianos in studio rooms at university, but never owned an acoustic. So I'm wondering if I should buy a grand on a $20k-30k budget, or just buy a cheaper upright for now and save up for a more expensive grand?


Whether you go with an upright or grand, I think you are going to love the switch from digital.

As far as your question of if you should buy an upright for now and then move to a grand later or go with a grand now... That's tough for me to answer.

Having just recently been on the market for a piano, I searched for a lot of advice on this forum and elsewhere. And while that advice was helpful and I appreciated it; I actually ended up not following the conventional wisdom of 1. Get a grand if at all possible and 2. Get the largest piano you can get. I ended up with a 43.75" Charles Walter upright. But for me, this piano fit perfectly like a puzzle piece for my situation.

I am not at all saying that the conventional wisdom in piano buying is bad advice, but in the end I had to remember that nobody knows my complete situation like I do and I had to keep in mind that... I am paying for the piano, it is going in my home, and I am playing it. So basically it had to be a piano that I felt comfortable buying in terms of quality, finances, and and the space the piano used in my home.

In the end, I ended up finding a piano that is a joy to play and it fit within my overall financial goals in life. I think that either of the options you are considering (buy grand now or later) sound like reasonable plans. But what makes sense for you now and in the foreseeable future?
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