In this article, we share our picks of the best upright pianos. Here, we are talking about acoustic pianos. We also have an article about Digital Piano vs. Acoustic Piano if you wish to learn more about their differences.
Choosing the best upright acoustic piano ultimately depends on personal preference and specific requirements; however, here, we have five popular options that are highly regarded for their quality and performance.
Table of Contents
- 1 Why Do People Buy Upright Acoustic Pianos?
- 2 Best Upright Pianos – Our Top 5 Picks
- 2.1 Bechstein R 124
- 2.2 Steinway & Sons Model 1098
- 2.3 Yamaha U3
- 2.4 Kawai K-500
- 2.5 Blüthner Model A
- 3 Where to Buy a Piano?
- 4 Summary
Why Do People Buy Upright Acoustic Pianos?
Although, on the EzMusicBox website, we focus a lot on digital pianos and electric keyboards, sometimes, we get questions about buying acoustic pianos. Additionally, we also wonder why people still buy acoustic pianos in the current digital era. In reality, acoustic pianos continue to hold a significant appeal and value for many people.
Here are a few core reasons that people are attracted to acoustic pianos.
Authentic Sound and Feel
Acoustic pianos produce a rich, organic sound that is difficult to replicate digitally. Moreover, the resonance and harmonics of the vibrating strings create a depth and complexity that many pianists and music enthusiasts find appealing. The touch and feel of the keys on an acoustic piano also offer a tactile experience that digital pianos cannot fully emulate.
Acoustic pianos have a long-standing tradition and history, which can evoke a sense of nostalgia and romanticism. Many musicians and individuals have a deep emotional connection to the acoustic piano as a physical and artistic instrument. Besides, the process of sitting down at a real piano and engaging with it can be a personal and meaningful experience.
Resilience and Durability
Acoustic pianos are built to last for generations when properly maintained. Unlike digital instruments that may become outdated or require software updates, acoustic pianos have a long lifespan. They can withstand the test of time and retain their value, often becoming family heirlooms or cherished instruments in music institutions.
Performance and Training
Acoustic pianos are preferred by many professional pianists, music educators, and students. They offer an optimal platform for honing technique, developing a sense of touch, and training the ears to listen to tone and nuances. Acoustic pianos are often preferred for concert halls and music conservatories due to their superior sound quality and performance capabilities.
While digital pianos have made significant advancements in recent years and offer convenience and versatility, acoustic pianos continue to be sought after for their timeless beauty, authenticity, and the unparalleled experience they provide to musicians and enthusiasts. The choice between acoustic and digital ultimately depends on personal preferences, musical goals, and individual circumstances.
Best Upright Pianos – Our Top 5 Picks
We chose the five best upright pianos based on their reputation and popularity in the piano community. However, trying out different models and brands is always best to find the one that suits your specific taste and objectives.
The price range for the five upright pianos mentioned below can vary depending on the model, condition (new or used), location, and additional features. Therefore, what we list here is a general indication of their price range.
Bechstein R 124
Bechstein is a prestigious German piano manufacturer with a long history of producing exceptional instruments. The R 124 is an exquisite upright piano showcasing the renowned craftsmanship and attention to detail Bechstein pianos are known for. From its elegant design to its exceptional sound quality, this instrument offers a remarkable playing experience for pianists of all levels.
The Bechstein R 124 upright piano typically costs $30,000 to $50,000.
One of the first things that stands out about the Bechstein R 124 is its impeccable construction. Every aspect of this piano is carefully crafted, ensuring its durability and longevity. The materials used are of the highest quality, resulting in a solid and stable instrument that can withstand the test of time. The attention to detail in the finishing and woodworking is evident, with a polished exterior that exudes elegance and sophistication.
With its clean and balanced design, the Bechstein R 124 seamlessly blends into any interior space. Its elegant lines and well-proportioned structure complement various styles and aesthetics effortlessly. This classic upright piano is a timeless piece and a good investment.
Sound and Action
When it comes to sound, the Bechstein R 124 delivers a rich and dynamic tone that is sure to captivate both the player and the audience. The instrument’s soundboard is designed to resonate freely, producing a full-bodied sound that is both warm and expressive.
The bass notes are deep and resonant, while the treble notes are clear and sparkling, allowing for a wide range of tonal colors.
The piano’s action is also highly responsive and sensitive, offering a noticeably superior action and providing the pianist with precise control and a nuanced playing experience.
While the R 124 is an upright piano, it possesses many characteristics typically found in grand pianos. This allows the pianist to explore a vast repertoire with ease, from delicate classical pieces to powerful and energetic compositions.
Whether you are a professional pianist, a music enthusiast, or a student, the Bechstein R 124 offers a wide range of expressive possibilities to suit various musical styles and genres.
Want to bring digital piano features to your acoustic upright piano? Bechstein offers an optional digital system, VARIO, that transforms your piano into a digital silent piano. This innovative technology is not limited to specific manufacturers and can be easily retrofitted to your instrument. Explore the exciting world of digitalization for your piano and unlock its full potential.
- Silent Playing: Experience uninterrupted playtime in solitude or grant your neighbors and roommates a serene environment. The innovative hammer stop bar, designed exclusively for Bechstein upright piano and grand piano models, enables you to switch your instrument into silent mode effortlessly. Within moments, you can indulge in playing your piano, immersing yourself in the music through headphones, undisturbed.
- Bluetooth & USB-C Connectivity: Easily link your smartphone, tablet, or notebook to your instrument via USB-C or wirelessly using Bluetooth. Utilize the VARIO app to fine-tune the digital piano sound, allowing you to customize parameters such as reverb algorithms, velocity, and piano sounds to suit your preferences. Delve into the vast realm of music by exploring various creative apps designed for learning, playing, and composing, expanding your musical horizons.
Steinway & Sons Model 1098
The Steinway & Sons Model 1098 is a remarkable instrument that exemplifies the craftsmanship and legacy of one of the world’s most renowned piano manufacturers. With a rich history dating back to its founding in 1853 by Heinrich Engelhard Steinway, Steinway & Sons has consistently produced pianos of exceptional quality, and the Model 1098 is no exception.
Steinway grand pianos are more common, and you see them on many stages in prestigious music halls. On the other hand, Steinway produced some outstanding upright pianos. The Model 1098 is about 45″ in height; hence, a console piano. Steinway made fabulous Model 1098 pianos from the 1960s to the early 2000s. It is not a current model.
The price of a Steinway Model 1098 upright piano typically is between $30,000 to $50,000 or more, depending on the age, condition, specific features, and customization options.
The Model 1098 holds a special place in the Steinway & Sons lineup. It is a vertical piano designed to deliver a powerful and expressive sound while maintaining a compact size that fits well in both professional and home settings. Its dimensions strike a perfect balance, offering a full-bodied tone without compromising on space.
The history of the Steinway & Sons Model 1098 is intertwined with the brand’s dedication to excellence. Each piano is meticulously handcrafted, incorporating the finest materials and attention to detail that has become synonymous with Steinway & Sons. The company’s unwavering commitment to quality and innovation is evident in the Model 1098, making it a highly sought-after instrument among pianists and enthusiasts alike.
Steinway pianos are famed for their rich, full-bodied sound with a wide dynamic range. The Model 1098 offers a balanced tone, allowing for expressive playing across various musical genres.
The Model 1098 pianos feature a responsive and precise action that translates the pianist’s touch into nuanced musical expression. It is a well-regarded action known for its consistency and control.
Yamaha is known for producing high-quality pianos, and the U3 is one of their most popular upright models. It is the top-tier upright piano, the full-size upright or sometimes referred to as Professional Upright.
The U3 is highly detailed in construction and is made in Japan. It provides a powerful and expressive sound, making it a favorite choice among professional musicians and music institutions.
Due to its exceptional craftsmanship, sound quality, and reputation, the Yamaha U3 commands a premium price, ranging from $8,000 to $15,000. As with any piano, the cost varies depending on the age, condition, and location of the piano. While the price may be a significant investment, the Yamaha U3’s longevity and superior performance make it a worthy choice.
Size and Design
The Yamaha U3 is a full-size upright piano with a height of 52 inches (131 cm), making it larger than many other upright models. Its larger size allows for a longer string length and larger soundboard, contributing to its rich and resonant sound.
The Yamaha U3 has an elegant and timeless design with a traditional upright piano cabinet. The cabinet is typically made of laminated hardwood, which offers durability and resistance to changes in humidity. The piano is available in various finishes, including polished ebony, satin ebony, and others, allowing for customization to match different aesthetic preferences.
Material and Craftsmanship
The soundboard serves as a crucial component in amplifying the vibrations produced by the strings. Yamaha U3’s soundboard is crafted from high-quality spruce wood; hence it produces a fuller and more resonant tone. The soundboard is reinforced by strategically placed ribs to enhance its structural integrity and tonal projection.
In addition, the Yamaha U3 features high-quality strings that are carefully selected to ensure optimal sound production and longevity. The strings are attached to sturdy iron frames that provide stability and support. The piano also has a hardwood bridge, which transfers the vibrations from the strings to the soundboard, further enhancing the tonal quality.
The key action of the Yamaha U3 is another area where it excels. It features a responsive and precise action that allows for effortless control over dynamics and nuances in playing. The keys have a comfortable weight and provide satisfying tactile feedback, making it enjoyable to play for extended periods.
The action is consistent across all keys, ensuring uniformity and accuracy while performing intricate passages. With its excellent key action, the Yamaha U3 offers a playing experience that is comparable to many grand pianos.
Kawai pianos are widely recognized for their impressive build quality and tonal clarity. The K-500 is a premium upright piano with exquisite craftsmanship, exceptional sound quality, and advanced features. With a reputation for excellence, Kawai pianos are known for their attention to detail and innovative design, and the K-500 is an exemplary instrument.
Generally, the Kawai K-500 is positioned in the higher range of upright pianos due to its exceptional craftsmanship and advanced features. The price can be from approximately $10,000 to $18,000 or more. It is also worth noting that the price may differ for different versions or configurations of the K-500, such as those with optional technology features or different cabinet finishes. Consulting with a Kawai dealer will provide you with precise pricing details based on your specific requirements.
The K-500 utilizes the Kawai’s Millennium III Action, which incorporates carbon fiber components. This technology provides several benefits, including increased strength, improved responsiveness, and enhanced stability.
The carbon fiber action parts are not only lighter but also incredibly durable, allowing for faster repetition and greater control over dynamics. The Millennium III Action is a prime example of Kawai’s commitment to blending traditional craftsmanship with modern advancements.
Replacing some of the wood components with carbon fiber in the Kawai K-500 is the main reason this instrument maintains exceptional tone and touch for a long time. It is also why Kawai’s K series pianos are continually among the world’s finest upright pianos.
The Kawai K-500 produces a fascinating sound that is a testament to the instrument’s quality and precision. It offers a rich, warm, and well-rounded tone characteristic of Kawai pianos.
The bass notes are deep and resonant, while the treble has a beautiful clarity and brilliance. The tonal balance across the keyboard is carefully calibrated, allowing for expressive playing and a wide dynamic range.
Whether playing delicate passages or unleashing powerful fortissimo, the Kawai K-500 delivers a sonorous and captivating sound.
The Kawai K-500 incorporates several additional features that enhance its versatility and functionality:
- It includes a soft-close fallboard, which prevents accidental slamming and provides a smooth closing action.
- NEOTEX keys have a matte finish that mimics the tactile sensation of ivory. Kawai developed NEOTEX, which was a proprietary synthetic material. NEOTEX aims to replicate the feel and texture of ivory and ebony. Specifically, they are designed to be moisture-absorbent, which helps prevent slippage and offers better control and grip, even during extended playing sessions.
Blüthner Model A
The Blüthner Model A upright piano is an exceptional instrument that stands as evidence of the rich heritage and craftsmanship of Blüthner pianos. From its captivating tonal qualities to its elegant design, this piano offers an extraordinary musical experience that is sure to captivate both players and listeners alike.
The price of a new Blüthner Model A upright piano generally ranges from $20,000 to $40,000 or more. You may find used Model A pianos starting from around $10,000 and may go up to $25,000 or more, depending on condition and age.
Blüthner is a renowned German piano manufacturer with a long and illustrious history of over 170 years. The company was founded in 1853 by Julius Blüthner in Leipzig, Germany.
From its humble beginnings as a small workshop, Blüthner quickly gained recognition for its exceptional craftsmanship and innovative piano designs.
Blüthner’s most significant contribution to the piano industry was developing the “Aliquot” stringing system. This revolutionary innovation in the late 19th century involved adding a fourth string to each treble note.
The fourth string was not struck by the hammers but sympathetically resonated with the other three lines, enriching the piano’s tone. This patented feature became a hallmark of Blüthner pianos and continues to be used in their instruments.
One of the things that strikes you about the Blüthner Model A is its remarkable tonal range. With a warm and expressive sound, this piano boasts a remarkable clarity and depth that resonates throughout every key. It offers the sonic characteristics of a baby grand piano within a compact area.
Whether playing delicate passages or unleashing powerful crescendos, the instrument responds with an unmatched sensitivity and dynamic range, allowing for a truly immersive and expressive performance.
Touch and Feel
The key action of the Blüthner Model A is equally exceptional. The keyboard is incredibly responsive, offering a perfect balance of resistance and agility.
The action is meticulously crafted, ensuring a smooth and fluid playing experience that enables pianists to convey their musical intentions effortlessly. Each key press feels precise and consistent, enhancing the overall playing experience and allowing for nuanced expression.
A Piece of Art
The Blüthner Model A is stunningly elegant and still with modern sophistication. The exquisite woodwork, fine detailing, and sleek lines create this instrument. The craftsmanship and attention to detail are evident in every aspect, from the ornate legs to the polished finish.
The Blüthner Model A is not just a piano; it is a work of art that embodies the passion and dedication of its makers. It offers a musical journey like no other, with its exceptional tonal characteristics, impeccable touch, and timeless design.
Whether you’re a professional pianist, a passionate enthusiast, or someone looking to enrich their home with extraordinary craftsmanship, the Blüthner Model A is an investment that will reward you with a lifetime of musical inspiration and joy.
Where to Buy a Piano?
When it comes to buying an acoustic upright piano, there are several options for where to make your purchase.
Piano Dealers and Showrooms
Visit authorized piano dealers and showrooms in your area because these establishments specialize in selling new and used pianos and often have a wide selection. They usually provide knowledgeable staff to help you find the right piano and offer guidance throughout purchasing.
Moreover, you can try different pianos in the showrooms and personally experience the pianos.
Look for individuals selling their pianos privately. You can find such listings through classified ads in local newspapers, online marketplaces (e.g., Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace), or dedicated piano listing websites.
Buying from a private seller can sometimes offer more competitive pricing options, but it’s important to thoroughly inspect the piano and, if possible, have a technician assess its condition.
Explore reputable online retailers that specialize in selling pianos. These platforms offer a range of new and used acoustic upright pianos, along with detailed product descriptions, photos, and sometimes customer reviews. Make sure to research the retailer’s reputation and return policies before making a purchase.
When buying a piano, it’s crucial to consider factors such as the seller’s reputation, the quality of their products, available warranties or guarantees, and any additional services they offer, such as tuning or delivery. Therefore, take your time, compare options, and choose a reputable source that meets your needs and preferences.
The five acoustic upright pianos listed above were chosen based on their reputation, widespread acclaim, and recognition among piano enthusiasts and professionals.
Remember, the selection of the best pianos can vary depending on personal preferences, playing style, and individual needs. Even though these specific pianos were selected due to their esteemed standing and widespread accolades within the piano community, it’s always advisable to try out different models and brands to find the one that suits your unique preferences and specific needs.
It’s important to note that these price ranges are rough estimates and can vary significantly based on various factors. It’s always best for you to contact authorized dealers, showrooms, or sellers directly to get accurate and up-to-date pricing information for the specific piano models you would like to know more about.
In addition, buying a piano is a personal and significant investment. Take your time, gather as much information as possible, and trust your own judgment and preferences. A well-chosen acoustic upright piano can bring joy and inspiration for years to come.