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Estonia Pianos
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Joined: Mar 2020
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Interesting!

As far as being TOO loud, the acoustics and the pianist in my home in are already enough to be deafening with our 36" tall piano. So I guess I don't care if it's too loud. We're already there. I do want it to have the correct sound wave bouncing (technical term!) to sound nice and it needs to play nice. And, yeah, look nice. smile

But really, I'm starting to have misgivings about a grand at all. This is for a kid after all, one who will be out of the house in 5 years. Then I'll be stuck with a giant piano. What are the odds that a young adult starting off in the world will have space for a large piano? What about when I want to relocate? (I'm retired and just sticking around for my kids to finish school.) Will I have find a new place with room for this thing? I've carried a couple violins across the country several times but this is completely different!

When we try out pianos next week I'll make sure the kids tries some of the verticals. They usually fit more places and would be a safer purchase. I am pretty sure I can get a grand to work in my space; now I need to get creative and see if it's possible to fit in an upright.

Is it true that you need a wall behind an upright piano? smile I'm off to do some reading. I really do appreciate the guidance and discussion. Thanks!

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Originally Posted by YTF2020
Is it true that you need a wall behind an upright piano? smile I'm off to do some reading. I really do appreciate the guidance and discussion. Thanks!
You definitely don't need a wall behind an upright and some people think an upright sounds better when a wall isn't directly behind it. After all, much of the sound comes out of the back of the piano. I think most people position an upright with the wall behind it because the backs of uprights are unfinished so it's not aesthetically appealing to many to show the back of the piano. I think the upright appears to take up less space(even though the floor space doesn't change)if it's positioned against a wall.

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Again we see the many differences on and in pianos. I’m usually assuming buying a piano for myself, not for a child. Again this is just my opinion. If I was buying for my child and never intending to learn myself I might buy a Yamaha Disklavier or Steinway Spirio if my retirement was significantly richer.

Sticking with an studio upright that’s easier to fit and easy to resell sounds like the most practical option. A piano that can hook in to a great piano performance does seem cool.


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Assuming the height of the room is 8 feet, a general rule of thumb is to have a space that is at least ten times the length of a grand piano. So you have plenty of room.

Music Room Sizing

Grands tend to start shining in the bass and tenor when they are over 6'. That's not to say a 5'10 one would sound deficient, but the smaller they get the more compromises that are made.

For uprights, I would shoot for 48" but not under 45".

Loudness will also depend on the listeners position in the room relative to the piano.

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Thanks! Good to know. I guess I assumed the wall was important because that's where they always are.

New upright pianos are (for the most part) so uninspired in appearance that I would not mind seeing the back instead of the front.

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Originally Posted by YTF2020
Thanks! Good to know. I guess I assumed the wall was important because that's where they always are.

New upright pianos are (for the most part) so uninspired in appearance that I would not mind seeing the back instead of the front.

Shulze-Pollman and Petrof both do some upright pianos with pretty cabinets at reasonable prices if you are looking for that sort of thing. These would I think be a more practical solution than a big grand in your situation.


Several other quality piano makers do special art case models as well but you are then generally looking at special orders, long waits and higher prices. Personally I find most such specials ugly in the extreme but occasionally a thing of beauty appears.

Last edited by gwing; 07/16/21 03:55 AM.
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Thanks! Some of those do look pretty nice. I don't know if we'll do a grand or upright; knowing I can actually fit either is a relief. (I seem to be less concerned about being stuck with a giant piece of useless furniture than I was earlier. laugh )


Off topic but close enough: do healthy older pianos play as easily as new ones? Or has piano-making technology improved enough so that it would be cruel to have a kid play on an old one, even if it worked perfectly?

I think we will start testing out instruments next week. New and old, whatever is on the floor! Or should I steer the pianist away from the old ones? (And yes, we would involve our piano tech for any purchase and are aware we'd end up doing more repairs on an old one...)

I admit I'm being a little selfish--I like the look of the old ones better and I do have to live with this thing. I'll sacrifice and get a new/newer one if it's required for my kid, but if old ones CAN be suitable, I would certainly throw them into the search.

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It sounds like your kid is a fairly early beginner, you don't need to buy a grand piano unless you want to. There are excellent uprights. Don't buy a grand with the idea it will make him "play faster", as a good upright is so far superior to some old novelty piano, you can't even compare, in terms of action. Although I'll admit I have never heard of a "novelty piano", except a toy piano, so not sure what that is, but beginners don't really use 88 keys anyway, grand pianos used to have only 85 for a long time. I'm not sure I've ever used all 88, to be honest.

I don't know what kind of a place would not have room for an upright but would for a grand, so hard to picture. You only need one wall and not that much width. Actually, you don't need a wall at all, although a true professional upright (not a spinet) would look weird not against a wall. And a spinet would probably not be a good investment for someone intending to pursue piano seriously.

If this is one of those trendy "open concept" places (the only space I can imjagine without walls) this doesn't work well for musicians or family living, seems to me, there is no way you can co-exist with competing noise. Some people will want to talk or watch TV and you can't be forced to listen to someone practicing at the same time. For the pianist, that would be distracting, also. Everyone I know with a piano has it in a separate room from the main "family living" area where people are congregating and watching TV. Now I have lived alone and of course had my piano in my living room, but I was the only one there. Or else the piano student only practices a bit in the afternoon or something.

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My kid is only 13 so by definition he can't not be an early beginner. smile But he is advanced for his age and I am confident he'll keep playing.

My home is a postwar ranch. It isn't a trendy open concept place but it has large doorways between rooms. Like many western US homes from this era, several of the "common" rooms have large window walls which are unsuitable for furniture. The living room which houses the piano has only one uninterrupted wall which is unusable for piano placement because it's got a 14' bookcase against it. So that's why I have floor but no walls.

I can "float" a piano in the room because there's space. But I can't find a wall to put it against. So that's why I thought I needed a grand. But now I feel comfortable with an upright as well--but it won't be on a wall. And I don't want it to look weird. So I'm not sure. This is the room that is near the front entry and I like it to look nice to create a false first impression for visitors.

(Our current piano is narrower than a standard piano which is why I can't just put a new piano in its location.)

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