Buyers Guide - Acoustic Pianos
Setting out to buy an acoustic piano can seem a complicated and daunting prospect, a significant investment needing careful consideration. We have put together this guide offering some basic information and advice to give you some peace of mind and point you in the right direction. Always remember though that our experts are only a phone call or email away.
An acoustic piano is exactly what you think of when you hear the word ‘piano’. They are traditional instruments that come in a variety of shapes and sizes, including grand and upright types. As well as different finishes and colours, acoustic pianos can be built from a selection of woods which will affect the tone.
An acoustic piano creates sound by a hammer, at the end of an intricate mechanism (called the ‘action’) striking a tuned string when the relevant key is pressed.
Why not just call them a ‘piano’?
We refer to ‘acoustic pianos’ these days to differentiate them from the relatively recent development of the ‘digital piano’. One of your first decisions will probably be whether you want to go for an acoustic or digital piano. There are no rights or wrongs here, it simply comes down to what your needs are and what you hope to get out of the piano, but you will find some useful advice in our "Pianos - Digital vs Acoustic" guide to help you with this decision.
What to look for?
If you have decided on an acoustic piano, then here are some factors to consider in making your choice…
The various models in a manufacturer’s range are often based on the size of the instrument. Bearing in mind that all modern acoustic pianos have 88 keys and so are, give or take an inch or two the same width across the keyboard, when we talk about size we mean height for upright pianos and length for grands.
In simple terms, the bigger the piano, the longer the strings can be and the more powerful it is capable of sounding. This of course needs to be considered in terms of the size of room it will be played in, and the available space for the piano in the room.
Upright or Grand?
The main advantage of a grand piano is the projection of the sound and a sense of the tone being able to breathe more, especially with the lid open. Again, whether that would be right for you will often come down to its intended location.
The smallest ‘baby’ grands tend to be about 5’ long.
There are loads of different piano brands on the market, with their own approaches to the instrument and its characteristic tone. The core of our range is from manufacturers we know we can trust to consistently make excellent quality instruments which will serve customers at various levels of playing and budget for many years.
Should I buy second-hand?
There is a large and active second-hand market for acoustic pianos and it is quite possible to find a real bargain. However, unless you know what to look for, it can be extremely hard to assess the mechanical condition of the instrument and, if unlucky, you could end up facing large bills for specialist repairs.
If you want to look at second-hand instruments, then we would recommend buying from a reputable dealer. At Windows we often have quality used pianos which we have brought in as part-exchanges. We will only sell those we have thoroughly checked-out and know to be in good condition.
For many years now polished ebony (black) has been the standard finish for acoustic pianos. However, most of the pianos in our range are also available in other, usually wood veneer finishes, for a modest premium. We can’t practically keep every model in every finish, but if polished ebony isn’t for you, then just get in touch and we will check availability of other finishes.
What else will I need?
The most obvious accessory you will need is a piano stool. If you don’t already have one, then we have a range to suit all needs. Please note that ordinary domestic chairs and stools are usually not the right height and will do nothing for your posture.
If the piano is to sit on wood or tiles, then we can supply castor cups to protect the floor, and of course we have cleaning kits and more piano sheet music than you could ever possibly get through.
We hope that you have found this guide useful and reassuring, but please always remember that we are only a phone call or email away if you have any questions.