There is something special about baby grand pianos, and reasons why they are popular, especially for home use. When I play, I truly enjoy the feel and sound of a baby grand. If you are considering purchasing a new or used baby grand piano, here are some basics that will help with your decision.
As the name implies, the baby grand is smaller than the grand piano. Most baby grand pianos are between 59 inches and 71 inches long, and 5 feet wide. This means you will need a lot of space in your home to place it. The end of the piano opposite the keys is called the tail, and is usually around 3 feet wide. The wider the tail, the better your baby grand will sound. This is because the wider tail allows for longer bass strings, which really enhance the tone and volume of your piano.
Placement in your home
This piano is large enough that you will need to dedicate a lot of space for it. There are other considerations, such as how close it is to windows, vents, furnaces, and just about any source of heat, cold or moisture. An interior wall is the best place for your piano, and this will minimize your chances of having to tune the piano frequently. Any big change in temperature or humidity can also cause the wood to warp.
Unless you have a concert hall in your home, the baby grand piano is probably the largest piano you will ever need. I have never encountered a situation at home where I needed a louder or richer sound than that produced by a baby grand. The tone is also very deep and sonorous, from bass to treble. I recommend a room with hardwood flooring to maximize the sound quality.
Cost, quality and depreciation
When shopping for baby grand pianos, I recommend that customers think of it as a lifetime investment. When taken care of, a baby grand can be expected to last 40-60 years or even longer. Therefore, the cost of the purchase should be considered as a long term investment. Baby grand pianos can cost from $9,000 to $22,000, and only slightly less when purchased used. For the most part, the higher price means higher quality (better sound, greater longevity), and should be a big consideration when making a purchase. For higher quality pianos, there is little depreciation after purchase. If you decide to sell later, you can get nearly as much as you paid for it originally.
Keeping your baby grand piano in tune requires some regular maintenance. The sound of each piano is different, and each has its own personality when it comes to tuning. I like to have the same person tune the piano each time, as they should become familiar with the unique nature of each piano. That way, they are able to tune it quickly and correctly. Baby grand pianos are not tuned to exact notes on most of the keys. They are tuned to create a pleasant overall sound, and that may require strings to be slightly flat or slightly sharp, depending on where they are higher or lower than “middle C.” This is where your piano tuner is worth the time and money, because they can create the overall sound your piano is capable of.
The final consideration when researching baby grand pianos is your family. How many family members will be using the piano? How often will they play? Do you have adults and children who will be tickling the ivories? These will help to determine the quality and cost you should invest in your piano.
Have you purchased a baby grand piano? Do you have any other factors that should be considered? Please tell us in the comments below!