Bill Scharbrough R.P.T.
Stephen Scharbrough
Marlene Scharbrough

Home Before You Buy A Piano What Sizes Do Pianos Come In?
What Sizes Do Pianos Come In?

There are two styles of pianos. Upright pianos stand up in a vertical style while grand pianos come in a horizontal format. There are all kinds of sales names given to pianos to romance the buyer. The smart shopper will determine differences based on height or length measurements not by generic descriptions.

Most upright pianos range from 36” up to 52” inches tall. These pianos will have one of three kinds of mechanical assemblies called the action.  The least desirable action is called the drop, indirect, or spinet action. It is found in pianos that are normally no more than 40” tall.  Most piano sales people have enough understanding to explain the difference between this kind of action and the other two.

The ideal upright action is called the “full blow or direct action”. It is larger than the “compressed” action. Compressed actions generally range in pianos that are 40” to 44’ tall while pianos taller than 45” usually have the full blow action.  Buyers beware because some manufacturers are “sneaky” so these general guidelines don’t always apply.

Grand pianos are measured from the very front of the piano to the back of the lip of the lid. A deceptive manufacturer or dealer can use this fact to make their piano appear to be larger by making more overhang on the lid. Grand pianos usually start at about 4’7” and go to about 9’ long. Like upright pianos the mechanical action will be modified in pianos that are shorter than 5’3”.

Since the action is responsible for the transfer of power from the pianist’s fingers to the hammer hitting the string any compromise in the action whether upright or grand adversely affects the power and control the action can generate.