Have you decided to purchase a piano and need some direction? Buying a piano is a significant investment but one that is well worth it if you are serious. There are a few things to consider before investing in these beautiful instruments.
Make Sure You Are Serious About Playing
One of my biggest regrets in life is not sticking with piano lessons as a child. We had a piano in the home, and I took lessons for a few years. What I wouldn’t give to be able to play Mozart effortlessly!
So be sure that if you aren’t already playing, you genuinely want to learn. It would be best if you were prepared to make the commitment with your time. Because a piano can be an expensive purchase, knowing if it’s really for you is wise.
Understand the Upkeep
Aside from the cost of the piano itself is the upkeep cost. You’ll likely have to pay for piano movers if you are having one put in your home. And you’ll also need to pay for a piano tuner, and that can be pricy too. And don’t forget the cost of replacement piano keys and strings.
What Does a Piano Cost
There really isn’t a way to get around the short answer to this question. Pianos cost a lot. Unless they are free or used, pianos can cause sticker shock to some newcomers. But the price of pianos also depends on the manufacturer and the model, and there is some variation with both.
The Grand Piano
The grand piano is at the top of the list when it comes to pianos. These are the instruments you see in orchestras and at concerts. The grand piano became popular in the early 1700s thanks to Bartholomew Cristofori, the creator of the piano.
While the grand piano is a horizontal instrument, the term grand didn’t always mean a piano was built grandly. It was just a reference to the length of the piano’s strings. However, over time the name grand become synonymous with horizontal pianos.
The Grand piano can be broken down into three categories; concert grand, baby grand, and parlor grand.
The Concert Grand
This is the big guy, the largest one; it’s the piano you will see in the Boston Pops Orchestra or at professional events worldwide. Concert grands can range from seven to ten feet in size and have the most impressive and significant sound of all pianos because of their longer strings and lower inharmonicity.
Price of a Concert Grand
Like any major purchase, whether it’s a new car or a new refrigerator, different manufacturers reflect different prices.
You are not likely to find a concert grand for under $100K.
Both the Steinway and Sons Model D are around the $150K mark, while the Victor Broge Model 275 can be upwards of $200K, and a brand new Yamaha falls around $175K.
Size is a factor when it comes to pricing for the concert grand but be prepared to spend between $120K and $200K on average.
The Baby Grand Piano
As the 1800s drew to a close, Americans were developing a deep love for music, and learning instruments was soon becoming a popular hobby. The piano was starting to make its way into the home.
Parlor and concert grands were not only too expensive for the average home but just too big as well, which is why the baby grand became so popular.
The five to six foot baby grand was designed by Huge Sohmer in 1884, and his version was smaller but still sounded fantastic.
Price of a Baby Grand
While the baby grands may be a little more cost-effective, they still aren’t cheap. Baldwin pianos fall between $22K and $35K. The Yamama comes in at a little less, around $34K. You can also opt for the more expensive Steinway, which is approximately $50K.
The Parlor Grand
The parlor grand piano falls right in between the concert and baby grand. They are more suitable for larger rooms in the home at six to seven feet. They are also great in a recital hall with their booming sound and easy playability. The parlor grand is easier to play, but at the same time, it still sounds like you are in a concert hall.
Price of a Parlor Grand
With the parlor grand, you have a relatively wide range of prices, depending on the manufacturer. For a six to seven foot Yamaha, you can pay anywhere from $54K to $120K, or you can look for a less expensive model from Boston, starting at $39K. Parlor grands can also be as expensive as $142K for a Steinway.
Picture your music teacher’s piano in elementary school or perhaps what a music student may use at college. That is your standard upright piano. The upright is more compact than a grand due to its vertical alignment of the strings; however, the instrument still sounds excellent.
A professional upright is roughly 50 inches high and can sound similar to a grand. But it’s the studio upright that is more than likely what you would see in a school setting and usually stands around 43 inches tall, and a console upright would be less than 43 inches.
Upright Piano Prices
Because Steinway and Yamaha are the most popular brands of pianos, you can find a range of choices. An upright Yamaha can be as reasonable as four or five thousand, but the top models can reach over $19K in price. However, the base model for the Steinway usually starts at around $25K, and the Baldwin falls in between the two, at about $9K.
The keyboard or electric piano is an excellent choice for those starting out simply because they are more cost-effective. And many brands can produce a sound that is very much like an actual piano and need not sound fake or unpleasant.
Keyboards can come in different sizes, but it’s best to have a full-sized keyboard with 88 keys that are standard on a regular piano.
The feel of the keys when you press down is also something to consider. Most electric pianos might have a hitch feeling that closely resembled a nonelectric piano. That feeling is when the hammer comes in contact with the piano string.
Playing on an electric piano may limit the amount of finger strength you would have if you were playing o an upright or grand.
The good thing about a keyboard is that they are much more affordable, and you have a vast scale to consider. The base models of keyboards can start around only $500 and go up close to $20K for the more sophisticated models.
At the end of the day, as mentioned above, buying a piano is much like buying a large ticket item. And the truth of the matter is, you get what you pay for. If you purchase a Toyota Corolla, it won’t be as pleasant to drive as a Volvo XC60. Both are adequate cars, but it’s what you prefer that matters.
The Steinway is your Mercedes of pianos, but you can certainly get something just as nice with a Baldwin and Yamaha for a lot less money. Much of what you spend on a piano depends on how dedicated you are to the hobby or profession.