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Introduction to Upright Pianos

The first square shaped piano was invented by Frederici of Gera, followed shortly by Johannes Zumpe. In the nineteenth century, John Isaac Hawkins of Philadelphia developed the upright piano and the iron frame. This frame could hold the tension of thicker strings, giving the piano a bigger, richer sound.

Upright pianos come in many sizes. The Spinet Piano was first produced around 1935. Its height is approximately 36-38 inches. The Console Piano is a little taller at 40-43 inches. Next in line is the popular Studio Piano at a height of about 45-48 inches. Full Upright Pianos measure anywhere between 49 and 52 inches, although some of the older Full Uprights can be as tall as 60 inches. At this height, they are often labeled Upright Grands.

Most experts advise against the purchase of a Spinet Piano. They are not produced readily these days and have a distinct lack of power due to their indirect blow action (the way the strings of the piano are hit). 

The bottom line with any upright piano is that taller usually means a bigger sound. In other words, size matters (as far as pianos are concerned)! Height produces volume because the strings are longer.

Finally, the term Apartment Size Piano is applied to upright pianos of many different heights. Usually, this general term refers to Console of smaller Studio Pianos. The word apartment is used here as an adjective to describe a space saving piano. Speaking of space saving, some upright pianos have keyboards that can be lifted up and into the main body of the piano via the area where you normally place your music…kind of like how an oven door is shut (imagine that the open oven door is the keyboard). Mason & Risch is a producer of this type of upright. The result is a piano with a hidden keyboard. My only concern is that if you are that tight for space, perhaps it's time to move to a bigger place.

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