Grand Pianos vs. Upright Pianos: What’s the Difference?

grand piano vs upright piano

Grand Versus Upright

Grand pianos and upright pianos are the two basic styles of pianos available to consumers. Both come in different sizes, which affects the instrument’s sound.

The larger a piano, the longer its strings and the larger its area of soundboard.  Whereas a grand piano increases in length, upright pianos (also called vertical pianos) increase in height.

In general, the tone of the piano improves as the size of the piano increases.

Both grand and upright are available in a number of different case styles and wood finishes.

Manufacturing Process

Most new pianos are manufactured in the United States, Europe, Korea, Japan, Indonesia and China. Manufacturers distribute their pianos  under various brand names, which you probably know as Yamaha, Baldwin, Steinway, etc.

Within each brand, they offer different models which are usually assigned model numbers and names, and differ in style, size, furniture design, wood finish and price.

Manufacturers may also sell their pianos to other companies, usually other piano manufacturers, who will in turn distribute these pianos under their own brand names and trademarks. Boston, Essex, Story & Clark and Cristofori are some of these popular “third party” piano brands.

When evaluating grand pianos and upright pianos distributed by companies other than the original manufacturer, it is only prudent and reasonable to assume that the quality of these pianos may equal but not exceed the quality of the pianos the manufacturer distributes directly under its own brand names. So, a third party piano may be just as good but not better than the “real thing.”

Understanding where a piano is made is not as important as being comfortable with the piano you buy. If you find a piano with the right look, feel, sound and price, it may be the right time to pull the trigger on a purchase!

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