Buying an upright piano unlike other things needs you to be knowledgeable of the features you want in an upright piano. For most people investing in an upright piano is an onetime event, simply because getting a good piano will last you a lifetime. However, if you get the wrong piano for you, it can mean years of frustration and dissatisfaction. Here is a detailed review of the best upright piano brands and what they have to offer.
Best Upright Piano Brands
1. Mason & Hamlin
The Mason & Hamlin is one of the oldest brands in the market that has changed ownership countless number of times since it was founded to presently being acquired by Burgett, Inc.
The Mason & Hamlin brand was founded in 1854 and has been producing top-quality pianos up to date. They are also known for their exceptional pump organs that they used to manufacture way back in the 18th century. The company was formed by Henry Mason, the son of an American hymn composer Lowell Mason and a mechanic that worked for Melodeon makers in Buffalo, New York.
Mason & Hamlin manufacture all kinds of pianos but their initial design and the one that got them popular is their upright piano. Mason & Hamlin have been the go-to for thousands of artists from all over the world.
One of the most iconic models of the Mason & Hamlin is the Mason & Hamlin Model 50 Upright Piano. It was one of Mason & Hamlin’s top sellers at the time when the company was using all wood German Renner action parts. Renner has dominated the piano industry for years as an independent action manufacturer with the capability to produce custom actions for their customers.
Stunning Classic Look
Mason & Hamlin pianos have one of the most iconic designs in the market. Mason & Hamlin were the first to incorporate the cutting edge ebony finish. They were also the first American manufactures to feature high gloss on their pianos which was largely dominated by the Germans.
Built to Last
The Mason & Hamlin have the most solid hardwood pianos you can find. A sturdy piano plays a huge role in the sound it generates. Mason & Hamlin pianos have awesome built quality, they have massive back posts. They also incorporate a special tension rod that is designed to compress the soundboard. It has quality built solid spruces soundboard and immaculate action parts that feel very sturdy and premium.
Mason & Hamlin pianos are the perfect American made pianos that rival the European quality. They are designed for clarity that competes with the German pianos in terms of their clarity.
Mason & Hamlin pianos are one of the few brands in the market that have upright pianos that can produce complex mid-ranges whilst marinating clarity.
Yamaha has earned its respect over the years in the piano industry and is today one of the dominating brands. It has been manufacturing standard pianos since 1958.
It is undoubtedly the most recognizable brand even among non-musicians across the globe thanks to their unbeatable quality pianos that seem to have become an industry standard.
Variety of Models to Choose From
Yamaha has a variety of upright piano versions to choose from, they also have the silent upright pianos that are become more famous. Their versions upright pianos include the YDP series, YUS series, U series, B series, and the P22 series. The quality varies depending on the series of the model that is within the 13 models and 6 upright series.
Touch of Sophistication
The Yamaha brand is a perfect blend of a natural and technical touch. They are made of hardwood but the overall design incorporates technology in the finest aspect for a truly remarkable finish.
Yamaha upright pianos, especially the tall ones, have longer base strings which make the sound full and well rounded. The Yamaha upright pianos can sustain the sound for longer, the tall models have a longer sustain compared to the short ones.
Recommended Yamaha Upright Piano Models
- The CFX Premium Grand Piano Voice recreates the power and tone of Yamaha's flagship CFX concert grand piano
- Graded Hammer 3 action (GH3) with synthetic ivory key tops add a tactile surface to the white keys, which absorbs finger moisture and prevents slipping
- Virtual Resonance Modeling (VRM) allows for vivid and richly varied expression to reflect the limitless number of factors that create the sound of a concert grand piano
- Full Dot LCD Display allows for smooth navigation of the instrument's features and functions
- Includes a padded bench, music stand, power supply and sheet music book. Number of Polyphony (Max.): 128
- Yamaha U3 Studio Upright Piano. This U3 has been factory refurbished by Four Star Piano Premium Reconditioning Service
- The U3 is Yamaha's full-size flagship studio upright piano. With a string length equal to many baby grand pianos, it is an ideal choice for professional, school, and studio use.
3. Steinway & Sons
Steinway and Sons have been the proud manufactures of thousands of pianos since 1853. It has been relentless in striving for the best possible quality pianos in the market and has earned its place as one of the top brands.
Steinway & Sons upright pianos have the most remarkable soundboard; their pianos have a specially designed soundboard known as the diaphragmatic soundboard.
The diaphragmatic soundboard is Steinway & Sons innovative design that makes it popular amongst most professional musicians, it allows more free vibration to the strings and a result of a more sustained and resonant sound.
In 1963 Steinway & sons came up with another revolutionary design for their pianos, they invented the accelerated action. This breakthrough in design enabled their customer to have more control over the sound the piano was producing, form a soft to a loud sound.
The Hexagrip Pinblock is another unique feature of Steinway & Sons pianos. It is used to hold the tuning pins using hard rock maple construction angled at 45 degrees. This Hexagrip feature enables the Steinway piano to withstand any climatic conditions and maintain its tune for extended periods of time.
Kawai is a piano manufacturer with a rich history and has become one of the leading industry brands with quality musical instruments throughout the globe.
Koichi Kawai founded the company in 1927 in Japan although Kawai America Corporation was established in 1963 with strong influence across North America.
Leading Brand in Innovation
Kawai is a brand that pushes and redefines the standards of quality pianos. They were the first to incorporate ABS in their design in 1971 as action parts which were later proved to be much stronger and more resistant to environmental degradation.
Today they are combining ABS and carbon fiber and have come up with a new design known as the ABS-Carbon composite. The new design is much stronger compared to the previous design, it is lighter which makes it more responsive and quick action. Kawai is the number one brand that satisfies new customer that want better and unique designed pianos.
Kawai brand upright pianos have a very impressive reputation in the industry. Their upright pianos have been confirmed to be the most durable pianos compared to other brands.
Recommended Kawai Upright Piano Models
- 88-key Digital Home Piano with Grand Feel Compact wooden-key Action
- Progressive Harmonic Imaging Sound Engine
- Built-in Alfred piano Lessons - Black
- 192-note Polyphony
5. Stuart & Sons
Stuart & Sons is an Australian company established in 1990 which is today much-respected manufacture of handcrafted pianos.
Stuart & Sons are known to be the most budget-friendly pianos in the market. If you are looking for top quality at a friendly price the Stuart & Sons is a brand that you should consider.
The first thing that would definitely strike you when you play the Stuart & Son upright piano is the clarity and dynamic range which is most pianos do seem to be able to match. The clarity and the harmonics ensue is something that you only have to experience to understand, it’s fantastic.
Most songwriters and composers have testified that the tone and sound of the Stuart & Sons piano feel very liberating and inspiring. The sustained harmonics of the Stuart & Sons breeds creativity especially when you play it quite while listening to the harmonics.
The Stuart & Sons piano is responsive and addictive to play. No matter your skill level the Stuart & Sons piano does a good job of keeping up without scarifying on the clarity.
6. Fazioli Pianoforte
The Fazioli pianoforte is an Italian company the produces hand-built pianos. The founder was a mechanical engineer and pianist who founded it in 1978. He also worked in the family furniture business where he developed his passion for constructing pianos.
His aim was the production of a quality piano with no concern for large production; however, the stunning quality of the pianos made his company a renowned piano company.
Fine Work of Art
Fazioli Pianoforte pianos are without a doubt one of the most gorgeous pianos in the market. Each design is handcrafted with a lot of attention to detail and that shows up in its end result.
The action on the Fazioli Pianoforte is one of the most sensitive in the market. They are very lightweight and even with the gentlest touch on the action, it will play. This feature makes it very easy to play and is hard to find in other brands.
Fazioli upright pianos come with a unique touch to their design. Among the fined details are the bone key tops which are a very interesting addition to the design that comes with Fazioli pianos. This design makes the keys stick to your fingers and removes the slippery feeling.
Bechstein pianos are German manufactured pianos supplied by a German manufacturer since 1853. They have a big reputation in the industry and where the number supplier of Queen Victoria and was the brand that was found across all royal residences.
The Bechstein brand was endorsed by many top-notch pianists and composers this includes Wilhelm Bachkausm. Some renowned composers made affirming remarks about the Bechstein brand. Composer Claude Debussy went as far as proposing piano music be written for the Bechstein.
Designed by a Specialist for Professionals
The Bechstein upright pianos are designed by top engineers, the company has an incredible team of craftsmen and technicians behind each piece. They are also active in researching the latest materials and undertaking innovative processing technology all aimed at improving the legendary Bechstein sound.
The Bechstein brand is very passionate about empowering the next generation, its exceptional team is determined to pass the much-required skill and knowledge of making top-class musical instruments to young aspiring makers through their training programs.
Remarkable Sound Engineering
The Bechstein pianos have professionally built soundboard designed with high technology computer-aided programs. The soundboard in the Bachstein pianos sound different which is because the soundboard of the latter models is tapered.
The tuning and voicing of the piano are performed by top by Bechstein’s own top-level audio engineers. Tuning is of each individual piano a step that is done thoroughly before the final design is sent for painting and finishing.
Benefits of Upright Pianos
Upright pianos were designed to be compact and are a great option if you have a small house or if you like a spacious room. Their upright design means you can fit it anywhere in the room, unlike a grand piano that can only sit on a specific side of the room with a large space.
Upright pianos were designed to beat the high price that comes with a grand piano while still maintaining the required performance. In fact, upright pianos have their own unique sound that most people and professionals as well, prefer.
3. Easy to Maintain
Upright pianos are very easy to maintain and with decent maintenance, they will definitely last you a lifetime.
4. Easy to Transport
The compact design of upright pianos makes them easy to transport which is a huge advantage simply because you do not have to worry about breaking it or spending more money just to move it around. They can be easily moved without requiring a professional supervisor.
Recommended Upright Piano Models
- The CFX Premium Grand Piano Voice recreates the power and tone of the flagship CFX concert grand piano from Yamaha.
- GHS weighted action is heavier in the low keys and lighter in the high keys, just like an acoustic piano. The special matte black key tops are designed to absorb moisture and remain tactile after extended use without becoming slippery.
- Half-damper pedal control allows for continuously increasing amounts of sustain as the pedal is depressed.
- The Smart Pianist app not only gives you full control over your piano's major functions, but also analyzes your favorite songs right out of your music library using chord tracker technology.
- Damper Resonance DSP recreates the sound of the inside of a grand piano when the dampers are off the strings.
- With the Bluetooth compatibility wireless networking enables any wireless device to connect to your CTP-88 Digital piano for expanded and convenient operation
- Your iPad advantage - connect the CTP-88 to your iPad and convert it into a recording studio! Makes practice and playing time a lot more fun. If you have kids, it might make all the difference in encouraging them to practice!
- The CTP-88 has a USB port that opens a world of exciting Add-ons and extra functionality. Plug and play directly with your laptop or desktop computers. You can use the midi ports to transmit/receive data from other musical instruments or other accessories
- Play along songs & built-in music teacher-choose from 55 preset songs for instant playing with the included songbook. Simple to advanced songs allow for separate practice. Engage the vocal grading feature for a true to form "piano teacher" Response
- An amazing combination of 128 MIDI voices, 100 rhythm styles and recording feature. Create your own original compositions with the on-board 3 track music sequencer. Save/store to the secure digital(sd) memory card using the full color LCD control screen
- 88 scaled, weighted hammer-action keys with simulated ebony and ivory textures
- Stunning new piano sound with detailed resonance, plus 18 other Tones
- Powerful new Sound Projection 4-speaker system
- Versatile recording, practice, and performance tools
- Stylish, modern wooden cabinet with sliding key cover
A grand piano is a great platform that most professionals would recommend if you are starting out. Grand pianos are great simply because they grow with your skill level and do not have the “twangy” sound that regular upright pianos might have.
However, an upright piano supersedes the grand piano if you consider the convenience it has to offer. Furthermore, a good upright piano form a trusted brand does not have any difference to a grand piano in terms of tone.
Compared to most musical instruments, a piano is not what you will carry around with ease that said, an upright piano is what you will most likely expect to find in most places. You can find a good upright piano with exceptional performance at a very affordable price. Here are some other advantages of getting an upright piano.