Welcome to our two part series on how to measure your piano. Today we are going to cover grand pianos and next time we will cover upright pianos. This might sound like an easy thing to do yourself but finding out the exact length of a piano is a little bit trickier than you might think.
The most common question I get from people when measuring their pianos is exactly what measurement to look for. Is it the length, the width of the keys, the height, what are you supposed to be looking for?
The width of grand pianos is pretty standard. The width of the keyboard is right around 5 feet. This may differ slightly with the size of the cheek blocks on either end of the keyboard, but it is roughly the same for all pianos. If you can’t fit something at least 5 feet in width, you will not be able to fit a piano in your home unless it’s a highly unusual piano with less than 88 keys.
When talking about the measurement of pianos we are referring to the distance between the very end of the tail to the edge of the key slip in front of the keys – the total length. For a detailed example please watch the video included with this article.
To get the exact length of the piano you will want to close the lid of the piano. This is much easier with two people but if you are alone you can still measure the piano with the lid open. If you measure with the lid open, you will need to add about an inch to your measurement since the lid hangs over the edge of the rim of the piano.
To measure the length of the piano place one end of your tape measure at the longest point of the tail. Place the other end of the tape measure at the end of the key slip (the absolute longest point of the piano). You will have to make sure that you stand right above the tape measure since the angle at which you look at the tape measure will alter the perceived measurement of the piano. Try to be as exact as you can but if you’re within an inch or so you will have a good idea of the length of the piano.
Something that is interesting with Asian and European pianos is that they use the metric system for their measurements and they actually name the models based upon the length of the piano. So for example, a model 152 would be one hundred and fifty-two centimeters. You can easily calculate that into feet which is just about 5’.
Stay tuned for our next part in this series on how to measure your upright piano. I’m Robert Estrin Robert@LivingPianos.com (949) 244-3729