GRAND, UPRIGHT or DIGITAL?
If you aren’t limited by space then all professional musicians will recommend buying the longest grand piano possible. This is because grand piano actions have the best control and long pianos have a deeper, richer tone. For more information about this please search “grand piano” on our video channel.
If you are unable to fit in a grand piano then the next best choice is as tall an upright as possible. This will have a larger action and longer strings.
IS A SILENT PIANO A GOOD IDEA?
These allow you to play or practice without others hearing. However the silent mechanism usually interferes with the action of the piano, making soft playing more difficult, so unless you need this facility then it’s best not to have it. If there are occasions when you want to be less intrusive then many pianos have practice pedals or can have a practice lever fitted. These put a felt between the hammer and the strings, so when you play it is a lot softer.
WHAT ABOUT DIGITAL PIANOS
We sell these too and choose the best possible models, but don’t recommend them unless it’s totally necessary as the touch is compromised and the tone is much less interesting than a real piano. The only advantage may be that you can access many other sounds and also use them to record, though for a child learning this can be a distraction.
NEW OR USED?
Less than 10,000 new pianos are sold in the UK annually and well over 100,000 pianos change hands each year (2013). Only a small percentage of new pianos are made to a good standard – especially when looking at the lower ranges. Many upright pianos from the Far East which generally retail for under £3000, are in our opinion of really unacceptable quality. Having a brash or uneven tone, unstable tuning, a gradual development of problems in the action after just a few years of use.
The new Yamaha GB1 baby grand piano, for instance, is in our opinion badly designed and we recommend paying the extra for a C1, or buying a Kawai or Feurich, or opting for a reconditioned baby grand from the 1920s or 30s.