Frequently Asked Questions

28) What are the correct names for the different sizes of upright piano?

There are some semi-official names for different sizes of vertical piano, but there is considerable variation in how they are used.  Vertical pianos with an indirect-blow action, usually located totally or partially lower than the level of the keybed, are called “spinets.”  They are generally less than 40” tall.  Pianos with direct-blow, but slightly compressed, actions, are called “consoles.”  They are usually between 40” and 44” tall.  Manufacturers sometimes apply the term “console” to any furniture-style vertical piano with free-standing legs, regardless of size or type of action.  This can result in some confusion, but usually only for pianos larger than 43”, since smaller ones almost always require a compressed action.  “Studio” pianos are usually 45” to 47” tall and have a full-size, direct-blow action.  Manufacturers sometimes apply this term to any piano, regardless of size or type of action, that has legs attached to the cabinet with toe blocks, as this sort of piano is most likely to be used in school practice rooms and similar “studio,” as opposed to “furniture,” applications.  Finally, pianos 48” and larger are called “full-size uprights” (or just “uprights”) and usually have a full-size, direct-blow action that is elevated inside the piano with extenders.  There are quite a few pianos that do not fit this naming scheme precisely, or fit somewhere in between two types, so don’t get too hung up on it. Larry Fine

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