Are upright pianos really so bad compared to a grand?

For 19 years I’ve been playing piano, at my home we had a grand piano and my teacher had one as well so that is what I grew up playing. The only upright that I ever played was the Wurlitzer spinet that was in the chapel at my school because I used to play during hymns and it did sound absolutely terrible but that might have been because it had probably not been tuned since 1975 and I have a distinct memory of being told by my teacher that you can’t play as well or as fast on an upright because of how the hammers and strings are laid out For the last few years I have had a digital piano, a Casio Privia Px-100, it is one of the best digital pianos that I have played, but it isn’t the same and now that I’ve purchased a flat and don’t have to worry about moving for a long while I’d like to purchase a piano. Just looking online I can get a Yamaha U1 or Baldwin Hamilton in good shape for a bit less than half the price of a Yamaha GH1 and a fraction of the cost of a Steinway, Bosendorfer etc. and of course it will take up less space which is something to consider.

I want an instrument that I can keep and enjoy for the rest of my life and I’m willing to pay more and sacrifice space if I need to, but only if it’s worth it to do so. Of course I’ll try different pianos before I buy anything but I would like to hear some opinions anyhow.

Speaking as a pianist, grands work best in a very large space. It would be a complete waste of time and money to try to cram a concert grand into a standard livingroom. You’d be better off with an upright.


Speaking as a pianist too. A baby grand is worlds better than an upright if you ever want to perform any kind of classical repertoire. Your teacher was correct in that grand action is different than upright - Thats an understatement to be honest… If you can spare the room in your home/studio do yourself a favor & buy a nice well maintained/cared for used baby grand… All pianos sound different & with proper voicing & action regulation you can take a piano from less than average to inspiring… My personal reccomendation would be to look for a Masin & Hamlin (comparable to Steinways)… Check the pin block & soundboard for cracks, have the action regulated & re-voiced if necessary. If the latter maintenances are needed it still will be cheaper than buying a used Steinway of similar build… You’d probably be spending close to $5-6K. But whats that in the long run if you’re looking to have something that can last a lifetime?