Is A Spinet Piano Good Enough?  

Is A Spinet Piano Good Enough?  

Head out to Craigslist, and you’ll find dozens of ads practically giving their pianos away. As you search through the ads, you may see one type appear again and again:

Spinet Piano … as good as new

Do you trust it? Should you move forward and look at it? Should you take it home?

A spinet piano is a very small upright piano, and can be distinguished by their height. Pianos 40” and below are spinets. Compare that with 41 – 44” consoles, or 45” and above as studio uprights. The very tallest – 48” or above – are often thought of as professional or upright grands.

A spinet is different than other pianos because of the way the action is built. The spinet action uses a pull-type drop action rather than the push-type used by other pianos. This makes the action too light and imprecise for students as they learn.Is A Spinet Piano Good Enough?  

A spinet is also has a smaller stature which makes it more difficult to play. Piano players have almost zero dynamic control, which means the effort put into playing it doesn’t result in the right sound or quality.

A young beginner needs a piano with a great sound in order to learn in-tune sound quality and develop ear training. They need a piano that has a good, consistent feel in order to develop proper playing strength and to ensure dynamic control from the moment they touch the keys. Proper feel is needed to improve playing techniques as they learn and grow.

Because spinet pianos are no longer made, the ones you will find on Craigslist or given to you by a family member or a friend are old, worn down, poor quality and inadequate in sound.

When you purchase or are given a spinet as a hand me down, it often sends the wrong message to children. The piano is nothing special, and only there as a temporary item.

A higher quality piano with great sound is more enjoyable to play, more consistent in the feel, and provides dynamic control that can instill a lifetime of enjoyment.

How could your child benefit from playing a high quality instrument?


Since 1960, Coltharp Piano World has represented the finest pianos in Memphis, Tennessee, the Midsouth and the world. In addition to quality sales and service we offer moving services, restoration services and master piano tuning. We offer the best new, used and vintage pianos anywhere. And our prices simply cannot be beat. Come and see our newly remodeled showroom and our beautiful new concert hall. We specialize in piano restoration for the southern United States. We welcome your call.

We are located at: 4447 Summer Ave, Memphis, Tennessee 38122 Call us at 901.682.1172

Spinet Piano – Should You Restore?

Spinet Piano – Should You Restore?

The spinet piano goes back to the Great Depression.

In the 1930s, times were tough. People were still recovering from the economic downturn that rocked society. They remembered the good times from before; yet no longer had the income to live life the way they used to. Although many wanted a piano for entertainment, the traditional uprights and grand pianos were simply out of reach.

And so the spinet piano was born.Spinet Piano – Should You Restore?

Spinet pianos were manufactured between the 1930s and the 1990s. They were smaller in size, cheaper in price, and inferior in sound.

The casing for a spinet piano is smaller than that of a regular piano. Because of the smaller size, the strings are shorter. Shorter strings reduce the quality of the sound, especially in the deeper keys.

And because of the smaller casing, it also impacts the mechanism used to produce sound. The keys are shorter in order to make room for the drop action. A traditional piano makes sound by having a striking key cause a hammer to strike the piano string, resulting in immediate sound. In a spinet, the action is dropped below the keys. When a key is struck, the movement pulls on rods to engage the action, resulting in poor leverage and thus a poorer quality of sound.

While many of the early spinets were of good quality, in many cases quality was compromised as time went on. Because of a huge increase in competition in the 1950s and 1960s, price came down along with workmanship. Cheaper parts were used to keep costs down, meaning quality inside and out was shoddy at best. While spinets did the job for a little while, the musician playing it quickly learned the differences between spinets and traditional upright or grand pianos.

Because of limited space inside the spinet piano, even a simple tuning can be a monumental task. In many cases the entire spinet piano must be disassembled to work on any portion of it. All eighty eight connecting rods must be disconnected and tied up, then all of the keys must be removed before the action can be lifted out and repaired. Even once all parts have been removed, it can still be a difficult process to tune.

For all these reasons and more, restoring a spinet piano is usually performed on a case by case basis. Have more questions about your own restoration project? Have a spinet piano you aren’t quite sure of its value? Give us a call today.


Since 1960, Coltharp Piano World has represented the finest pianos in Memphis, Tennessee, the Midsouth and the world. In addition to quality sales and service we offer moving services, restoration services and master piano tuning. We offer the best new, used and vintage pianos anywhere. And our prices simply cannot be beat. Come and see our newly remodeled showroom and our beautiful new concert hall. We specialize in piano restoration for the southern United States. We welcome your call.

We are located at: 4447 Summer Ave, Memphis, Tennessee 38122 Call us at 901.682.1172