Is an upright or grand piano better for learning how to play?

27th August 2018

As old as the piano is, it’s still one of the most popular musical instruments for a harmonious novice to choose – but which is best to learn your craft, an upright or grand piano?

The grand piano is the original piano and arguably has the purest sound. Upright pianos were designed so and manufactured to answer the factors of space and cost.

The differences between an upright and a grand piano

An upright piano is a great place for a beginner to start. Most pianos will be good quality but an upright piano has the benefit of being more affordable than a grand piano.

Despite the cost difference, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the grand pianos are of a better quality. Craftsmanship and materials impact greatly on the quality and sound of a piano such as the length of its strings and size of the soundboard. The larger the piano is and the longer it’s played for is when you start to hear the advantages of a grand.

The mechanical component ‘actions’ of a grand piano move with gravity whereas an upright piano is aided by strings to reset the keys being pressed. This is one area where an upright piano may fall short because the strings will need maintaining with greater frequency.

Looking after a piano is essential and if a second hand instrument is purchased, especially an upright piano, it’s important that it’s in tune and the strings are in tiptop condition.

But let’s face it, perfecting the technique comes first when learning to play and cost is probably the driving factor in choosing a piano.

Get in tune with your new piano

We mentioned in a previous article that the popularity of the piano in part is because of its simplicity.

Playing the piano is relatable to children because they can hear the result of their action when pressing the keys.

This is important even if you are an adult learner or getting back into playing so be sure to test out the piano to make sure it sounds right and plays well to the touch – or ask someone who plays to assess the instrument for you:

  • Pay attention to the keys; do they come up at the same speed?
  • Do the pedals work and the dampers lift evenly
  • Check for dust on the soundboard – a grand will be subject to gathering more dust

A poorly looked after upright piano won’t withstand the scrutiny of a competent player.

So is an upright or grand piano better for learning?

The choice is yours but it usually comes down to one of three factors – space, budget and aesthetic preference.

For more information on buying a beginner’s piano contact one of our team and we’ll talk you through the options and choice of upright or grand pianos – call 01562 731113.