Why Are Grand Pianos Better Than Uprights?

Why Are Grand Pianos Better Than Uprights?

If you’re new to the music world, and have just started looking at pianos, you’ve probably made an automatic assumption that grand pianos are better than uprights. And with good reason.

If you’ve ever attended the symphony, or watched one of the latest reality shows where music is involved, chances are the person creating the music is playing a grand piano, not an upright.

But why? What makes a grand piano “better”?Why Are Grand Pianos Better Than Uprights?

The biggest reason is the sound. A grand piano can produce a fuller, richer sound because it has the soundboard to do so. Grand pianos can range anywhere from 4 to 10 feet in length, versus an upright piano that ranges from 3 to 5 feet in height. Because of this, the strings connected to the soundboard in a grand piano can be longer in length, and reach both the lower and higher frequencies with far more capability.

The grand piano is shaped the way it is to provide optimum acoustic properties for the full range of notes. It also allows the lid to be lifted to deflect the sound into the audience, which of course is impossible with an upright.

The grand piano also has a major advantage with the orientation of the action – the mechanism that converts a player’s actions of striking a key, to the hammers inside the piano actually hitting the strings. In a grand piano, the hammers hit straight up against the strings, and gravity allows the hammer to fall back into its home position. In an upright, a mechanism is in place that pulls back the hammer, keeping them from damping against the strings and creating a more diluted sound. Thus the action of the grand is much more sensitive than that of an upright, providing a clearer, crisper approach to music.

Does that make a grand piano “better” than an upright? It truly is in the eye of the beholder. A high quality upright can produce a fuller, richer sound than some bottom end grand pianos. And depending on the type of music you are trying to create, an upright may produce a better sound than a grand (most honky tonk bands use an upright, not a grand).

If you are choosing a piano for your home, it also comes down to price and size. Does your home truly have the space for a grand piano? If not, an upright may be the perfect choice for your needs. As long as you focus on quality of sound, and purchase the best quality for your budget, you’ll receive the perfect piano for your needs.