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                     USA Piano Buyer's Guide                            

CONSOLE - excellent choice !

Console Piano Action

This is a Console Piano.  Notice the height above the keys.  It has a 39-43  inch total height.  Consoles and Studio uprights are still made,  ...... Spinets are not.



This is a Spinet.  Notice the music rack extends above the top.  It has a total height of 35-38 in.

Spinet piano
The Spinet is the piano industries biggest embarrassment and mistake. It can be viewed historically as a fiasco.  About as practical as a Volkswagen Beetle. Maybe the ultimate reason why the Spinet was eventually taken off the market was that it was too difficult to service and work on by technicians as well as factory assemblers.   It was a poor idea to begin with.  While being a lighter-weight more compact piece of furniture that could be moved about easily, the compromise of tonality and touch-response were too great a sacrifice.  After the 1929 crash most of the old independent Piano manufacturers went bankrupt and countless names disappeared or were bought up by others.  What is referred to as the ole' horse and buggy uprights, the tall and heavy ones, became too expensive to make and own anymore. So they disappeared soon after 1930.  At the height of the depression, they came up with the idea of the down sized compact Spinet as the solution to an affordable piano for most households.  Forced into it economically, the public soon decided it was okay, and even thought it was to be desired. After WWII and after several more decades had passed they started to lose their sway and appeal, for many reasons, and production was finally stopped.  They were about as practical as the square grand of the 1800's, another bad idea.  To my knowledge, there was never a Spinet made in Germany, which is known for it's pianos of class and distinction.  They would never have approved such a contrivance there.

Where the Action Is


Most consumers are not aware of this, that there are scores of Piano manufacturers but only a handful of action manufacturers.  Pratt Read & Co., Schwander, Renner are a few of them and each has it's own design and parts. The action is custom built by them to fit the Piano manufacturer's piano design, style and model.

Grand vs. Upright


A grand is a true Piano, being a "PIANOFORTE" which is the original invention of Cristofori circa 1700.

It has a refined escape mechanism in the action and the hammer works with gravity which allows for the touch response and playing control of a true "PIANOFORTE" which of course translated means "SOFTLOUD." The later 1800"s vertical piano does not possess this quality. Grands also have a true SOFT pedal which shifts the action so that the hammers strike only 2 of the 3 strings. 

When considering the purchase of a used Grand or Vertical piano, only one made since the late 1950's should be considered, unless you want to spend $$ on restoration. Most Pianos from the late 50's to late 80's are still in fairly good shape if they have been kept in a good climate.  Pianos older than that need to be checked more closely for rust on strings & tuning pins, loose tuning pins, cracks at bridge pins or split soundboards, broken action parts, worn out hammers, etc. The older the Piano, the more work needed on it.    To determine the date of mfg. plus information about  the piano's Name history send me the PIANO  NAME and SERIAL #  from inside the piano,  usually found on the plate near the top of a Vertical or front of a Grand.  If there is no Serial # to be found on the piano then there has been no record kept by the manufacturer.

Age of the Piano
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