Vertical or Grand?
See the list at left for the individual topics that comprise the rest of this article.
Probably the most basic decision to make when buying a piano — and one you may have made already — is whether to buy a vertical or a grand. The following describes some of the advantages and disadvantages of each.
- Takes up less space, can fit into corners
- Lower cost
- Easier to move
- Sound tends to bounce back into player’s face, making subtle control of musical expression more difficult.
- Action is not as advanced as grand; repetition of notes is slower and less reliable in most cases, and damping is sometimes less efficient.
- Keys are shorter than on grands, making subtle control of musical expression more difficult.
- Cabinetwork is usually less elegant and less impressive.
Vertical pianos are suitable for those with simpler musical needs, or where budget and space constraints preclude buying a grand. Despite the disadvantages noted above, some of the larger, more expensive verticals do musically rival smaller, less expensive grands. They may be a good choice where space is at a premium but a more subtle control of musical expression is desired.
- Sound develops in a more aesthetically pleasing manner by bouncing off nearby surfaces and blending before reaching player’s ears, making it easier to control musical expression.
- More sophisticated action than in a vertical. Grand action has a repetition lever to aid in the speed and reliability of repetition of notes, and is gravity-assisted, rather than dependent on arti-ficial contrivances (springs, straps) to return hammers to rest.
- Longer keys provide better leverage, allowing for significantly greater control of musical expression.
- Casework is usually more elegant and aesthetically pleasing.
- Takes up more space
- Higher cost
- Harder to move