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When choosing a piano there are a whole host of practical considerations to bear in mind including size of room, amount of use, type of player(s); however, key consideration should be given to quality of sound and touch.

This article explains the key components of the piano and the effect they have on the quality of instrument and discusses the popular models and recommendations.

Why an Acoustic Piano
Acoustic pianos (as opposed to their digital cousins) offer a unique playing experience whereby the player truly feels the tone of the instrument – as the sound is generated through the natural process of vibrations through the piano. In addition, the feel and touch of the keys is unmistakable.

Traditional pianos are also handsome cabinets that are often the focal point of a room as well as a good investment.

acoustic pianos

What makes a Good Piano
There is no single element that makes a piano great; it is rather the combination of quality materials, craftsmanship and design. In particular, the specification and characteristics of a number of components is paramount.

The Frame
The size of the frame is a key ingredient into the sound characteristics of an instrument. A larger frame enables bass strings to be longer and thus creates a more balanced tone and a deeper rich sound. However, the larger the frame the bigger the instrument and greater the cost – so a practical compromise must always be reached dependant on size of space, type of use and budget.

A piano frame needs to support approximately 20 tons of tension from the strings, so the quality of frame is crucial to ensuring a good tone and durability. The frames of all standard Yamaha pianos are manufactured using a “Vacuum” process that creates frames of superior strength and accuracy.

The Soundboard
The soundboard is so important that it is often called the “heart” or “soul” of the piano. The quality of spruce used on the soundboard and ribs, together with the quality of design and craftsmanship has a defining effect on the instrument’s sound. The soundboard acts as the instrument’s natural amplifier, resonating with the vibrations of the strings.

Strings and Hammers
The string scale (length, thickness, placement and other factors) all have a major effect on the overall tone of the piano.

The type and quality of felt in the hammers (and their density and elasticity), and hammer size and shapes are key factors contributing to the type and quality of tone of the piano.

The hammers are central to the important “piano voicing” process whereby skilled technicians finely adjust the hammer shape and elasticity for all 88 keys, uniformly balancing the tone and volume over the total range of the piano.

The combination and design of all the above components (namely frame, scale design, and soundboard) all contribute to the quality of an instrument’s tone.

The size of the frame is not the overriding factor for a good piano. More critical is the quality of design and production of a well-balanced instrument.

The Action
A good action is capable of transmitting the pianists feelings efficiently, comfortably and accurately (described as a good “touch”). The action should also enable players to perform rapid trills and note clusters as well as playing lyrical passages and extreme dynamics.

The action is a very complicated manual mechanism that has over 1,000 potential adjustments to its set up. Key to a good touch is the quality of the action’s design and manufacture to ensure it is optimally balanced for a perfect touch.

Piano Accessories

We offer a choice of stool style to suit your piano in a variety of finishes and fabrics. View our range of piano stools here.

School Conversion Kits
The school conversion kit is a pair of stabilising brackets that can be attached to the base of an upright piano to enable it to be safely and easily wheeled around, and prevents the instrument from being pushed over when not located against a wall. Find out more here.

These are to be strongly recommended for school uprights to conform to HSE guidelines.

We also supply “A” frames that fit to the legs of grand pianos to enable them to be moved around school halls safely and easily together with an assortment of covers (for uprights and grands) to fit a wide range of models.