Mahogany or hard maple? Choosing the best wood for your piano

There’s so much to think about when considering buying a new piano – size, shape, colour, material ... Did you know, an acoustic piano is made up of around 85% wood? There are so many components that make up a piano, but what’s the best wood when it comes to the outside (housing and lid) of your piano?

Two popular choices include mahogany and hard maple but if you’re unsure about the difference, don’t worry – we’ll explain all and hope this helps you decide what’s best for you.

Wood characteristics and uses

Mahogany wood for your piano

Mahogany is the national tree of the Dominican Republic and Belize and grows in the Americas. Frequently used to make musical instruments, furniture and boats its main benefits are woodworking properties and stability plus the characteristics:

  • Reddish-brown colour wood
  • Straight, fine, even grain
  • Wide girth
  • Free of voids and pockets
  • Has a sheen when polished
  • Durable
  • Resists wood rot

Canadian Hardrock Maple for your piano

Maple trees grow in Eastern Canada and USA and as well as being a popular material to craft musical instruments, it’s also used to produce bowling pins and alleys, basketball courts, baseball bats, archery bows and pool cues.

The main benefits of maple are its durability and shape retention plus the characteristics:

  • Pale or rich amber colour wood
  • Straight, tight grain, but sometimes wavy
  • Grows very tall
  • Quite flexible
  • Primary source of maple syrup!

The Canadian flag features the maple leaf.

Still unsure about the best wood for your piano?

In some ways, both woods have very similar qualities, hence why they are both used to make instruments such as pianos. The main difference is colour and grain, so it’s really down to personal choice.

Depending on your budget, the room and space you have designated for your piano and your personal taste, there will be certain options that work better for you than others. As with most things though, the amount of money you spend will reflect the quality of the materials used and craftsmanship. Pay close attention to the wood used – the grains in the soundboard and veneer should both be aligned, for aesthetic reasons, quality of sound and tone.

After taking all of this in to consideration, you can’t really beat sitting down, closing your eyes and playing. That’s truly when you’ll know if it’s the piano for you.

If you need any advice on choosing a piano or have any unanswered questions then please feel free to contact us, we’re more than happy to help.

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