Which Pianos Should I Buy

Pianos are one of life's greatest joys, not only to play, but to own. To me, nothing is more fun than being able to walk into the living room, sit down at the Baby Grand piano and start playing whatever through my fingertips. At least that's what I wish I could do. For now, the digital keyboard will have to do!

Types of pianos

There are many different types of pianos, small or large, loud or quite, heavy or light and more importantly expensive or not. The type of piano that fits you will depend on your lifestyle, desires, skill level and most of all your budget. Here is a quick rundown of the different types of pianos that you can purchase and the benefits (and pitfalls) of them.

Grand Pianos

This is by far, the most (pardon the pun) grand option. Nothing beats having a grand piano , except perhaps a diamond encrusted grand piano like Liberace had. That is perhaps slightly out of most of our budgets, though! Grand pianos are not only beautiful to play, but they are also wonderful pieces of art. Their curves and lines make any room look quite classy and as long as you keep the dust off of them, they are usually quite shiny.

The benefits of a grand are the wonderful, warm sound when played and the artistic beauty it brings to a room.

The pitfalls are the cost, the difficulty to move and the housekeeping to keep it looking (and playing) pristine.

Baby Grand Pianos

As the name implies, these are very much like a grand piano, except smaller. The strings are arrange in a different way so as to accommodate its smaller form factor. These are much more feasible to purchase, not only for their size, but also their cost. They are usually significantly less expensive than their bigger siblings.

The benefits and pitfalls are pretty much the same as the grand's, except that they are less expensive. The same maintenance is still required yet they still have a beautiful, warm tone.

Upright Pianos

These are the more common style of pianos for most people to own. They are much more affordable and fit in much more compact spaces. As the name implies, the strings are positioned upright as opposed to the grand piano family where the strings are positioned horizontally.

The smaller size makes the tone of these pianos usually much brighter (slightly more 'tinny' and metallic sounding) than the grand pianos. In some cases, this is a more desirable sound!

The maintenance is still a necessity and the key actions are slightly more complicated than grands, meaning there are more parts that can break or wear out. As with any piano, yearly 'checkups' are a must.

Digital Pianos

The field of digital pianos has advanced significantly over the past several years. They are able to more closely replicate not only the sounds of real pianos, but also the feel of the keys. It used to be that digital pianos felt like they were fake because the keys had no weight; they were just made of plastic. Now, keys are weighted and some even have electronic feedback systems to make them feel almost identical to that of a grand piano or upright.

The price of digital pianos is usually less than similar sounding 'real' pianos; though some of the more advanced and feature-rich digitals can reach as much as or higher than a 'real' piano. Most people will never need a piano of that caliber; those are usually reserved for professionals who make a living from piano playing to purchase. There are many affordable options for less than $500.

There is a great advantage to purchasing a digital piano and that is portability. Digital pianos take up a fraction of the space as a real piano and usually weigh less than 20 or 30 lbs. This is a great option for people who are living in small quarters, like apartments or townhomes.

Alternatives to buying

Buying a piano can be a big expense but not to worry, there is a way to try out owning a piano before you buy!

Renting a piano is becoming much more popular than buying, mainly because many people don't stay in one home for more than a few years until they need to move again. This makes renting a piano a wonderful idea because when they are ready to move, they just cancel the rental and the company will come pick it up for you! No piano movers required on your part.

The other benefit is the potential cost savings. If you are not sure if you are going to enjoy owning a piano, renting lets you go on a month to month basis (as long as you pay attention to rental agreements to avoid large cancellation fees!). When you can't afford to have a piano anymore, you simply cancel your rental and you are not out ten or fifteen thousand dollars for buying a piano.