Grand pianos are generally better than upright pianos. However, there are 2 reasons to consider an upright piano:
- Limited space
- Limited budget
Although an upright piano may be considered because of space restrictions, because of its design, a baby grand may be easier to place. The back of an upright piano is ugly. This is why it is almost always placed on a wall. So you need about 5-feet of wall space to accommodate an upright piano (even a short one).
However, a baby grand piano looks good however you place it. The flexibility allows for placement in a corner or even the middle of a room. So in some instances where space is at a premium, a baby grand may be easier to place than an upright piano.
It is true that you will have to invest more money to get a baby grand piano compared to an upright. However, there are several distinct advantage in regards to sound and touch:
- The sound of an upright comes out the back. As a result the sound goes into the wall. A baby grand or grand piano opens up into the room projecting the sound where you want it.
- The keys of an upright are shorter than a baby grand (and much shorter than a grand piano). Not the part you see, but behind the fall board. As a result, it is harder to press black keys and between black keys on an upright than on a baby grand. Just like being near the center of a see saw, it is difficult to get leverage on an upright piano because the shorter keys don’t allow for the leverage you get on a grand piano.
- The hammers travel sideways on an upright action instead of up and down as in a grand action. So even the best uprights have sluggish actions because they don’t have the benefit of gravity helping the repetition of the hammers.
- Last, the pedals on an upright don’t do what they are supposed to do (except the sustain pedal on the right). The soft pedal (une corde) on a grand piano shifts the action so that the hammers hit only 2 strings instead of 3. This gives a change of tonal color which is one of the most magnificent expressive devices of a piano. In an upright, the soft pedal changes the touch by making the hammers closer to the strings which makes it harder to play loud but doesn’t change the tone at all. Also the middle pedal (sustento) rarely provides the proper function on an upright.
So if you can afford it, get a grand piano or a baby grand. You will appreciate the difference.
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