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Joined: Jul 2009
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Hello all -

I want to get a grand piano for my study. A room layout is below. (Piano would probably be positioned at an angle in top left corner of the study, so it opens toward the center of the room.) The study has 8ft ceilings. It is basically a rectangle of 11'7" x 14'3", however, there is also an additional irregular entry area, and an opening to my family room.

If the room were just an 11'7" x 14'3" rectangle, then according to the 10x perimeter rule I should get no larger than a 5'2" baby grand. But I'm hoping that the irregular entry way and opening to the family room add a bit of tolerance there, such that a larger grand would still work in the room acoustically (i.e. without room node issues, overpowering volume, etc.).

If anyone has any opinions, suggestions, or insight into how to determine what size piano would work in there (since I can't actually bring multiple pianos in to try out in practice), that would be great. I'm wondering how large I could safely go acoustically. Obviously the room isn't enormous so not looking for a concert grand or anything. But I'm wondering if maybe a 6' grand would work.

I'd also be interested in any thoughts on where the point of diminishing acoustic returns is. My understanding is that a 6' grand is going to have greater ability to produce bass frequencies and be more powerful and balanced overall than a 5'2" baby grand. But what about something in between (like 5'7") or larger than 6'? At what size do you realize the sonic benefits of a larger grand, and then there is no need to go bigger unless trying to fill a huge space (which I'm not)?

Thanks in advance for any thoughts! Really appreciate it.

Dave


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How high are you ceilings? With the two openings to the other rooms, that are fairly large. I think 6 foot piano will work just fine in that space, you might even be able to go a bit larger.

Some pianos are much louder then others, this is something to take into consideration as well.

With some acoustic treatment you will be able to make this work just fine.

Also I would consider putting the piano against the Northern wall with the long end. It will make navigating the room easier.

That way when you are behind the piano you are not looking into the corner. You can look outside a bit and into the family room.

It will make navigating the room easier.

Good luck, You have a nice space. No doubt in my mind this will work out great

Last edited by Learux; 03/30/21 09:22 PM.

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With the family room added in, you almost have a 28' long space. And there is the exit to the hallway, which will likely get rid of any excess bass you might otherwise have to consider. So while there may be practicalities of size with furniture, etc., I'd think anything up to around 6' should be OK.

Last edited by Maestro Lennie; 03/30/21 09:36 PM.
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My music room is 10’x13’ and I have a 5’4” grand in there, no problem at all. It’s just a basic room, 8’ ceilings, one door. I once had a 5’8” in there for a few months, but felt it overwhelmed the room. The 5’4” is perfect, IMHO. 😊


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How wide are the opening to the family room and kitchen? The wider they are the more effective space you have.

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IMO, with the openings a 6 ft piano might be okay.

If you have the budget I suggest you to buy a 6 ft piano.

Some manufacturers start to employ some features to their grand pianos beginning from sizes 6 ft and above.

This also means that there might be a price jump between a model just under 6 ft and a model just above 6 ft.

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Agree with above, decent size openings in a room make a much better space for a bigger piano. I think bigger would be fine.


Lisa

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I'm am just beginning to deal with this issue as well:
I have a 6'1" Grand
The room is 14x11 with 9' ceiling
there is a 4' double door opening to a vast family/dining room area 17'x27' area.

I am considering purchasing a New Boston 5' 10" or 6'4"
or a Refurbished Steinway or M&H 5'11" - 6'4"

I will be reading closely the comments on this thread as they could be very interesting!

brdwyguy

my current piano 6'1" can be a little overpowering in the room if playing 'big' pieces but sounds very nice with softer pieces like "Clare de lune" Just Sayin'


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Also concerned about getting a Grand that is too small
losing out on the added features of Grands above 6'

could someone elaborate on those features so I could weigh what might be important to me?

I am also looking at Refurbished Steinway M's but that is low on the list!


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Originally Posted by brdwyguy
Also concerned about getting a Grand that is too small
losing out on the added features of Grands above 6'

could someone elaborate on those features so I could weigh what might be important to me?
The only difference I'm aware of is the keys tend to be longer. A couple of makers(Hailun?) may employ a special designer for a larger model, but I think that is very rare.

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Thanks for the helpful input so far. I appreciate everyone's thoughts. (Please keep them coming.)


In case it's helpful, here's the same layout showing the width of those openings between rooms:


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Last edited by dave999z; 03/31/21 01:51 PM.
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Those are very large openings to the other rooms you should be just fine.

It would be interesting to see how playing with bathroom door closed or open will alter the sound.


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P.S. Here is where the piano would roughly go (this graphic would be approximately a 6' grand to scale):

[Linked Image]

Last edited by dave999z; 03/31/21 02:06 PM.
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If you buy from a dealer, you may be able to get some extra peace of mind by asking if they'll agree to let you return the piano in the unlikely event it proves too loud. You may have to agree to pay for the moving costs or even agree to buy a smaller piano from them. Your concern about the piano being too large is very common, so this will not be the first time the dealer has dealt with a customer with this concern.

In regards to a question in your OP, I don't think there is a cutoff length beyond which the benefits of extra length in a piano become insignificant. If you buy from a dealer you can try different length pianos in their showroom and form your own opinion about how long a piano pleases you. Some people are extremely happy with pianos less than 5'6" while others are not satisfied even with a 7' piano. Length is just one factor in how good a piano sounds. The quality of the piano is also very important.

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Originally Posted by brdwyguy
Also concerned about getting a Grand that is too small
losing out on the added features of Grands above 6'

could someone elaborate on those features so I could weigh what might be important to me?

I am also looking at Refurbished Steinway M's but that is low on the list!

For example from the Yamaha website:

Quote
The same techniques developed for gluing the soundboard, ribs, and bridge in the CFX are used for the C3X and above—models which require a great deal of projection—and the process of installing the resulting soundboard assembly into the piano body has been investigated carefully. This has resulted in dramatically improved projection and the unprecedented response that performers demand.

Quote
For the C3X and upwards - larger models that demand a certain level of volume - we improved the rigidity of the bracing to provide stable support, and created a design that allowed the soundboard that sits on top of the bracing to vibrate freely. For the sound, we utilized a new type of string, and carefully tested the quality of the hammer felt.

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Originally Posted by Hakki
Originally Posted by brdwyguy
Also concerned about getting a Grand that is too small
losing out on the added features of Grands above 6'

could someone elaborate on those features so I could weigh what might be important to me?

I am also looking at Refurbished Steinway M's but that is low on the list!

For example from the Yamaha website:

Quote
The same techniques developed for gluing the soundboard, ribs, and bridge in the CFX are used for the C3X and above—models which require a great deal of projection—and the process of installing the resulting soundboard assembly into the piano body has been investigated carefully. This has resulted in dramatically improved projection and the unprecedented response that performers demand.

Quote
For the C3X and upwards - larger models that demand a certain level of volume - we improved the rigidity of the bracing to provide stable support, and created a design that allowed the soundboard that sits on top of the bracing to vibrate freely. For the sound, we utilized a new type of string, and carefully tested the quality of the hammer felt.
True, but I think this type of situation is quite or even extremely rare. If one is interested in a certain make, one can always ask if the larger pianos are produced using a different method.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 03/31/21 05:50 PM.
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Originally Posted by dave999z
If the room were just an 11'7" x 14'3" rectangle, then according to the 10x perimeter rule I should get no larger than a 5'2" baby grand. But I'm hoping that the irregular entry way and opening to the family room add a bit of tolerance there, such that a larger grand would still work in the room acoustically (i.e. without room node issues, overpowering volume,etc.)

1. Not everyone agrees with this rule. There are many people with much larger than that rule allows pianos that don't have a problem.

2. As far as I know, that rule applies to rooms without larger openings into other rooms. It certainly seems reasonable that having those large openings would help reduce the chance of the piano being too loud.

3. I think the piano room size is only one of many factors that determine if the piano is too loud. Other variables are lid position, room furnishings, rug or no rug, the pianist's technique(ability to play softly), the pianist's hearing, the pianist's personal idea of loudness, the piano's regulation(even minor regulation issues can reduce the ability to play softly), the piano's inherent characteristics(some pianos are naturally louder than others), and whether acoustic treatments are applied to the room.

I'm no expert but I think the bottom line is it's not possible to be extremely certain that a piano will not be too loud for a space.

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My piano room is almost the exact same size and layout. My six foot Steinway A Grand fits just right. I could do a seven footer, but then I would need to learn how to play real soft.

In my house the piano sounds just as loud upstairs on the far side of the house (above your living room) as it does in the piano room. Sort of a whole house piano!

Go for at least a six footer!

If I found a Steinway B that I could not live without, I wouldn’t let the room size bother me.


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Don't be fooled by dimensions per se. Get or make a paper floor template and see what size will actually fit comfortably in your room.

Remember you have to add at least 3' for the bench plus space to get in & out. For example, given the way you have pictured the piano in your diagram, a 6' piano will require almost 10' to be comfortable. That leaves only about 1.5' total space front-to-back between the piano and the walls. That's a really tight fit.

Also, go try out different pianos. You may be pleasantly surprised at how well some smaller pianos sound compared to their larger cousins. For example, I'm looking at a 5'6" Estonia 168 vs. a Schimmel 6'3" C189 and the differences are far more a matter of individual taste than overall bass response, power or balance. They both have great bass, lots of power and are very well balanced ...but the 5'11" Steinway next to them sounds weak and brittle in comparison. The differences are in the individual pianos, not just the dimensions.

Last edited by Pianosearcher; 03/31/21 08:53 PM.
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Sound-wise, I agree, with those openings, you should be totally fine with a 6 foot, or 6'3" piano.

I have a 5'8" piano (Yamaha C2) is a room that's about 11' by 18'. This room is also the front room/main living room (we have a separate tv room/family room). I have the straight side of the piano parallel to the short wall. A diagonal placement seems nice, but it ends up limiting what you can do with the rest of the room. In my case, there's seating in the other half of the room, so the parallel placement works much better because it maximizes the rest of the space.

Also, I have a lamp behind the bench and another one behind the tail (maybe that's too many lamps, but I like to be able to see! whome But the point is, yes, my piano is "only" 5'8" but it basically fills up that entire 11 foot wall, between the lamps and the bench and having a little wiggle room. I think the C3 would have been a tighter squeeze than I would like.

Also, I started with the piano in a different spot, but ended up repositioning it, and holy cow did it make a different (for the better!) in the sound!! It was amazing how different it was. So, that's something to think about as well.

Also, regarding your question about going below 6 feet, I am very happy with my piano and I don't think I'm losing anything by not having the size above it.

People really like to say negative things about anything below 6 feet, and always say "get the absolute biggest piano you can afford and that will fit."

But get what fits *comfortably* and you can afford *comfortably* and you will be fine. There are a lot of really nice pianos that are less than 6 feet.

Good luck and keep us posted!!


Started piano June 1999.
Proud owner of a Yamaha C2

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