Piano Questions: Do They Make Smaller Keyboards?

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I’ve been enjoying and trying to read and listen to all of your “blog” contents on various subjects. I really enjoy them and am learning a great deal from them.

I’ve been offered a good quality 1988 Bösendorfer 225 piano with a good history from a reputable dealer, William Bruno Santos, in the Dallas area. Bruno generally deals in Steinways principally for non-profit institutional sales

This piano has a 15/16th Keyboard. I understand Bösendorfer only made “three” of these in their history.

I have smaller hands so I could probably play and enjoy this piano. My question is: Is this an “orphan” piano that I should shy away from and avoid, that would be hard to resell someday? Or is this “shorter” keyboard with “slightly smaller keys” just as suitable, and re-saleable, as any other piano?

I guess I might suggest a “Living Piano Video” explaining what a “15/16th Keyboard” actually is, for those who are not familiar with the term.

Thanks. I love your “Living Piano Videos”.


The subject of smaller keyboards is fascinating going back to the great 20th-century pianist Joseph Hoffman who had a special smaller keyboard made for him by Steinway. Charles Walter Piano Company is offering smaller keyboards on their pianos as well. Having small hands myself, it’s good to learn of yet another piano company that has offered smaller keyboards!

While the market for such an instrument would be small, with the wonder of the internet, I believe with the right marketing, it would be possible to connect with people who would appreciate an instrument of this sort.

I have not had the opportunity to play many Steingraeber pianos, but understand that these are top notch instruments in the European tradition of Bösendorfers and others.

Thank you for your kind words about the videos.

2 thoughts on “Piano Questions: Do They Make Smaller Keyboards?”


  1. How difficult is it to go back and forth between 15/16th and full size keyboards? My guess is that learning and practicing on one would make it extremely difficult to play on the other.

    I find it difficult enough to go from one instrument to another even with the same size keys.

    Playing can be divided into two parts:

    1. Getting the right fingers to the right keys at the right times. This works about the same on all keyboard instruments that I’ve encountered. But I’ve never encountered a 15/16th.

    2. Pressing down on the keys, and adjusting how you press to get the sound you want. It’s this muscle movement to music conversion function that can vary radically from one instrument to another. That’s the part that throws me. I suck far worse than usual for the first hour or two playing a piano I don’t know. Even on much better pianos than mine, big bucks concert grands, I need to adapt. If the piano’s far out of tune, it’s even worse. I start wondering if it’s the tuning, or am I on the wrong keys?

    Could this just be my inexperience? I’ve only been playing for two years. I practice on a 1929 Knabe concert grand and on a Kawai FS-690, just to get accustomed to two vastly different feels.

    Can you sit down cold and play well on pretty much any piano?

    Thanks again for all the excellent videos.

    — J.S.

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