Back in the day, grand pianos were the absolute standard. But things have changed greatly since then, and nowadays, it’s way more likely for you to encounter either a digital piano or upright piano than a grand or baby grand.
That’s simply because upright pianos are the more practical option. They take up much less space, so they’d be a better fit in the average home, cost much less, and require less maintenance, which is why they’ve been the most popular home piano since their inception in the 1800s’.
And if you’ve been looking for an upright piano for yourself, you’ve probably encountered a bunch of different models and brands that can make choosing the right one really hard. But don’t worry, things will get easier because in this article, we’re taking a look at the best upright piano brands in the market today to help you narrow down your options.
Our top pick for the best upright piano brand would have to be the C. Bechstein brand. For a long time, they have been at the top of the game, constantly producing great acoustic pianos enjoyed by a lot of pianists around the world. But that being said, this is one of the more expensive brands out there, so it may not be fit for some pianists.
But we’ve got you covered because we’ll be looking at a couple more options on this list, and we’ve even included a buying guide at the end.
So read on to learn more.
The Best Upright Piano Brands
#1. C. Bechstein – The Best Overall Brand
To start things off, we’re looking at one of the top brands in the market today. If you’re looking for the highest-quality upright pianos you can get your hands on, this might be the right brand to check out.
All of the uprights from this brand are of the highest quality, and will be engineered to give a rich, deep, and bright tone that is usually associated with grands and baby grands. Their instruments are known to have a very complex and varied timbre, that the company describes as “orchestrally voiced”.
This is a German brand that traces its roots all the way back to 1853, and have since made a name for themselves as one of the best piano brands in the world. If you’re considering getting a C. Bechstein piano, we recommend checking out the Concert 8 piano, which is largely considered to be the best upright the company has to offer. But if you’re on a tighter budget and space is a concern, then you could also check out the Elegance 124, which offers you the great tone and quality associated with Bechstein but at half the price!
With all that said, it’s important to know that this is one of the most expensive brands on the market, so be ready to make a fairly hefty investment.
#2. Yamaha- The Best Budget Brand
Next up, we have one of the best budget brands out there. But that doesn’t mean that Yamaha instruments are low-quality. In fact, their grand pianos and player pianos are considered some of the most premium options on the market today. But one of the best qualities about the brand is that they have a very wide and varied catalog, so you can easily find both budget-friendly and premium options from them.
That being said, if you’re shopping in the budget-range, then you will be missing some of the more premium features you’ll find on more expensive option. But the differences are minimal and will only be noticed by true connoisseurs and very experienced pianists.
In their budget range, we highly recommend either the Yamaha U7 or the Yamaha U3. The U7 is their flagship upright and has everything you would expect from a premium upright instrument. It has a great tone, beautiful finish, and hammers designed to emulate the sound of a grand.
The U3 is the more budget-friendly option with a smaller soundboard, but if you have a small space, then the difference won’t be that noticeable. On top of that, it also has a very warm and rich tone that would be a great pick for both beginner and experienced pianists.
#3. Bluthner – The Best Pick For Classical Musicians
Next up, we have a great pick for those who find themselves playing a lot of different classic pieces.
Generally, this brand makes pianos that have a deeper and darker tone compared to other German brands out there. They build their instruments out of very high-quality materials, and they are also handmade with very close attention paid to detail, which is why they have such a rich and distinct tone.
While the brand’s most famous product is their transparent grand piano, their uprights are also world-renowned for their quality. If you plan to get one of their pianos, we highly recommend the Model S. This is an instrument that exceeds the normal size of an upright, which gives it an even deeper tone that’s more comparable to a grand. While it may be large, it’s still a lot more affordable than a lot of German brands of the same quality, making it a great pick for any musician.
Another great pick for you could be the Model B, which is a smaller option that sounds more like a traditional upright. That being said, it also comes with Bluthner’s unmistakable quality, which is why it’s one of the most popular options on the market today.
#4. August Forster – The Closest Tone To A Grand Piano
This is a brand well-known all around the world for their large upright pianos. And even for those who have seen a lot of different instruments in their life, an August Forster model may seem fairly large. This feature isn’t purely aesthetic, it actually serves a practical purpose that makes their instruments instantly recognizeable.
Having a larger body means that the soundboard is bigger and longer strings are used. The result of this is a tone that is very similar to that of a grand. In fact, to the untrained ear, they may even sound the same. This is also because the materials and attention to detail that is paid to Forster’s grand pianos are also given to the verticals, which make them very high-quality instruments.
If you’re thinking of buying from this brand, we recommend getting the August Forster 134K. This is their most popular model, and it’s a very large one with a deep and detailed tone that is almost identical to grand. It also has an adjustable music desk so you can easily control how far your score is from you.
That being said, this is one of their largest models, so it may not be the right choice for those who have small apartments. A great alternative to the 134K would be the Model 125G, which is a smaller option that retains a lot of the same craftsmanship that you’ll find on the 134K, but it comes at a much more affordable price.
#5. Casio – The Best Digital Option
Let’s face it. Large acoustic upright pianos are a huge investment that isn’t for everyone. But if you’re a serious pianist, you will still need a quality instrument, even if you can’t exactly invest in an acoustic just yet. That’s why there are digital pianos. These are affordable instruments that have a great sound and are designed to emulate the feel of an acoustic piano, and one of the best digital piano brands out there is Casio.
They have a wide range of options, ranging from affordable pianos for beginners, all the way to professional-grade stage and concert pianos for performing musicians. Digital pianos are a great way to get a wide range of tones and sounds at a cheaper price. And on top of that these are options are also very portable, which is great for musicians on the move.
If you’re looking for an option that is very close to the look and feel of an acoustic, then we recommend checking out the Casio AP-470. It’s an instrument that comes in a large frame that looks like an upright, but comes with the modern features of a digital piano. The keys feel just like real, acoustic piano keys, and the sounds it comes with are great for any type of musician, regardless of musical style. That being said, this is one of their pricier options and isn’t portable, but it is still much cheaper than buying a quality upright piano.
If you’re a musician on the move, then we recommend the Casio CDP-240, which is a portable digital piano that comes with very premium features. It is a great stage piano used by professionals from all over the world. It comes with great sounds, a great feel, and a very user-friendly interface that will allow you to select and edit sounds, and access all the piano’s special features on the fly.
What To Consider When Buying An Upright Piano
Acoustic Versus Digital
The first thing you’ll have to figure out is whether you want an acoustic or digital instrument. If you’re looking for a very authentic feel and sound, then the obvious choice would be an acoustic upright piano.
While they may be fairly expensive, they offer a much richer and more detailed tone because of the way they are engineered. And since they are using real strings and hammers, you will also have a much better feel of the instrument, especially if you started learning on an acoustic piano. That being said, these instruments are much harder to move around and will be an investment for most people, which is why it isn’t really recommended for beginners to get a large acoustic upright piano. However, if you’re willing to invest the money and you really need an authentic sound and feel, then acoustic is the way to go.
For those on a tight budget, digital upright pianos might be your best pick. These are digital keyboards that are engineered to look like an upright piano and designed to throw sound the same way an acoustic would. They will usually come with 5-15 different voices you can choose from, and the better models out there have a very similar feel to acoustic instruments. On top of that, they are a much cheaper instrument than acoustic ones. They are also a bit lighter so it might be easier to move around. That being said, console type digital pianos are still very heavy and would still require an effort to transport.
Both are great options for any musician, and the right one for you will all depend on your needs, tastes, and means.
Once you’ve decided whether to get an acoustic or digital instrument, the next thing you’ll need to figure out is the size.
Generally, upright pianos will all be around the same size, but some will be larger than others. Having a larger body will mean having a richer and deeper tone, especially when it comes to the low notes. So if you want an instrument that sounds as close to a grand or baby grand as possible, then it might be best to look at the larger models.
However, these will take up a lot of space and be hard to move around. So before figuring out the model for you, it’s best to examine the space where you’ll be putting the piano before figuring out which instrument to get. That way, you’ll have a solid idea of how much space you have and what instruments will fit in your home.
The next thing you’ll need to check out is also one of the most important qualities of any instrument: the tone. This refers to the timbre of the instrument, or how it sounds.
Ideally, you would want a tone that is as close as a grand piano as you can get, especially if you’re a classical musician. This means bright and crisp highs and mids and deep and detailed bass tones. However, tone is something that’s very subjective and everyone will have different tastes and preferences.
For example, a jazz musician will have a very different tone from a blues musician. So before you go out and buy a piano, ask yourself what kind of music you’ll be playing, and what kind of tone you’ll need to achieve that. It’s also important to be very familiar with how different pianos sound so you can really distinguish what you need from the instrument.
Lastly, one of the easiest ways to narrow down your options if you’re spoiled for them is to shop in a specific price range. Choosing a range will eliminate a whole lot of options right away, giving you a smaller and simpler pool to choose from.
There is no one absolutely “right” price range to shop in, as everyone has different means. For example, you can find decent second-hand pianos out there for around $1000-$2000, or even cheaper if you stumble upon the right one. But if you plan on getting a brand new instrument expect to spend at least $3000 for a decent model and as much as $10000 -$70000 for the more premium models on the market.
What is the best upright piano brand?
Our pick for the best brand is C. Bechstein. If you’re looking for a high-grade upright, then this is probably the best brand for you.
In the world of pianos, this is really considered one of the top brands out there. This is mostly because their uprights can emulate the sound and feel of a grand without building a large and impractical instrument. They may be pretty expensive, but if you want a grand tone but only have the space for an upright piano, this is the brand for you.
How much is an upright piano?
Typically, upright pianos start at $3000 for a decent model. This is a great price range to shop in because it’s relatively affordable and will get you a great-sounding instrument. But if you’re really pressed for budget, then you can get a second-hand option for around $1000 or even a brand-new digital piano for around the same price that will sound great.
And if you’re looking for a premium and high-grade piano, you might have to get ready to spend anywhere between $10000-$70000 for the right piano.
Is a grand piano better than an upright?
Generally, yes, they are considered the better instrument. This is because they produce a louder and richer sound which can easily fill up music halls. However, they aren’t the most practical option, especially if you’re looking for a simple home piano. If you don’t have the space for the instrument or are looking to save money, you might be better off just getting an upright rather than a grand.
Do pianos get better with age?
Sadly, they don’t. This is because the instrument is packed with a lot of different parts that will wear over time. For example, the hammer action alone has a huge bunch of moving parts that will eventually need a tune-up or replacement. On top of that, the older a piano is the likelihood of needing to tune it rises like crazy, and sometimes, when the strings get old they begin to sound dull and dead.
Should I buy a new or used piano?
This depends on what you’re looking for. If you have the budget for it and really need a quality-sounding instrument, then we recommend you buy a new piano. But if you’re on a budget and just need a simple instrument for practicing, you will save a lot of money by choosing to buy a used one instead.
And with that, our list comes to an end. Upright acoustic pianos are a huge investment for most people, which is why you’ll want to make sure you’re getting the exact piano that you want that can meet all your needs and preferences as a musician.
When you’re out shopping, it’s best to pay close attention to the details because that’s really where the differences are felt when talking about premium instruments. And if you think you found the right option for you on this list, then it might be the right time for you to head out and get your hands on one of these instruments.
And before you know it, you’ll be playing away for hours on an upright piano you can call yours!
Lulacruza is an electronic folk duo operating at the junction of the hypermodern and the ancient. Our music weaves together hypnotic female singing, South American folk instruments and electronic processing, while channeling pulsating waves from the source of creation.
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