The Upright piano has always wallowed at the backdrop behind that of the grand piano when it comes to popularity. Despite its long history of existence dating back to 1805, it still plays second fiddle to the majestic grand piano. Well, when it comes to forming, the grand piano, of course, is more regale. Concerning functionality and use, however, both pianos are fantastic to play with. Moreover, the upright piano leaves a smaller footprint than that of the grand piano. Thus, it is often referred to as “the cottage piano.”
The strings of the grand piano are positioned horizontally, extending away from its keyboard. The upright or vertical piano, on the other hand, presents a more compact form with its frame and strings vertically positioned. Its hammers move horizontally likewise and go back to their positions with the help of springs. This makes the upright piano ideal for use in much smaller spaces. Vertical pianos are widely used in community centers, churches, schools, and music conservatories.
Many of the manufacturers of grand pianos also produce vertical pianos. Hence, if ever you would buy your own vertical piano, you would surely have in your prospective brand list the famous brand names known for their popular grand pianos. Here is a list of the most popular upright pianos on the market today:
List of 8 Best Upright Piano Brands
1) Bechstein Upright Pianos
If you are shopping around for a German upright piano, you might as well consider this brand, specifically, the Bechtein Concert 8 model. It features a 13-cm tall upright piano that provides enough headroom for a tremendous internal acoustic assembly that is quite similar to that of the C model. Bechstein, as a German piano brand, thrives in providing grand masterpiece of sterling class pianos.
The Concert 8 model, for example, epitomizes a sophisticated piano, capable of providing great dynamism and colorful timbre. It offers optimized sound development with other outstanding characteristics. For this reason, this upright piano model is much revered by expert musicians, including the famous dynamic duo of “Simon & Garfunkel and the Fabulous Four “The Beatles.” In fact, this model is considered to be the royalty when it comes to upright pianos. This is surely not an overstatement. But it bears so much truth. The hefty price of this piano, however, would surely deter beginners from purchasing this model.
2) Blüthner Upright Piano
Blüthner is a brand that has long been known for producing all types of pianos. It was established by Julius Blüthner and has been around since 1853. Blüthner’s Upright Piano models have a patented 49″ height, 61″ length, and 24″ width, saved for the Model S that comes with larger dimensions. It also comes in various finishes like Satin and Polished Ebony, Cherry, Mahogany, Walnut, White, Bubinga, Rosewood, Yew, Burl, Macassar, Saxony Polished Pyramid Mahogany, and Walnut or Camphor. Its general features include a solid spruce soundboard with Delgnit pinblock and Renner action. It also features Abel hammers, traditional sand cast plate, and practice mute pedal. Moreover, it also features a polyester finish and comes with 10-year parts and labor warranty.
The Blüthner company is a very prolific piano manufacturer, building around 100 verticals every year in all different sizes. The vertical pianos it produces are also characterized by warmth of sound, with romantic, thicker, and darker tone. Moreover, its products are known to have superb materials, yet they are reasonably priced. Lastly, Blüthner moves out of the box by lengthening the width, height, and depth of its upright piano Model S offerings.
3) Steinway & Sons Upright Pianos
Steinway & Sons is a brand name that is probably the most popular and most revered piano brand. This company built its brand name behind meticulous craftsmanship. Each of their piano models consists of 12,000 components. Steinway & Sons is considered to be the founders of modern piano and have been known for 127 patents of pianos connected to its name.
The best-known models of uprights manufactured by Steinway & Sons are the Model K Professional Upright and the Model 1098 Studio Upright. The traditional K-52 model towers at 52″ with the width of 60 3/4″ and depth of 26 3/8.” Its rim has a solid back frame, and it also comes with the birch mortised foot-piece that make its piano more elegant. It also features a solid birch soundboard lining with grand-type maple laminated closing rim. Moreover, it showcases unequaled vertical stability and strength.
Steinway & Sons piano braces feature five full-length spruce braces in the tapered style with an impressive volume of 3,600 cu. in. This assures its owner of a back-frame that will surely remain straight and capable of promoting consistent tuning and stability. Its ribs are made from resinous sugar pine that is durable. The rib ends, on the other hand, are hand-fitted into the mounting surfaces. Its other parts are of sterling quality and design, making this piano model a real quality buy. Lastly, this brand has been continuously receiving awards from world-renowned organizations.
4) Steingraeber & Söhne
Steingraeber & Söhne, this brand has a reputation for rolling out the best pianos, among others. The Steingraeber & Söhne thrives in producing incredible pianos with innovative designs, and for this reason, this brand is undoubtedly the most recognized in the world today. Hence, if you are looking for an upright piano, you should not think twice about considering upright pianos with this brand.
Steingraeber & Söhne has been producing Professional grade upright pianos that feature magnetic action. This feature brings closer the grand piano feel to that of the upright piano. Steingraeber & Söhne upright pianos showcase impeccable and fast action while producing exceptionally vibrant and resonant tone because of their proprietary carbon fiber and aluminum elements.
Steingraeber & Söhne upright pianos exhibit extraordinary innovations, and for this reason, these upright pianos are highly desired by most piano users. Steingraeber & Söhne continues to excel in producing timeless pianos that are classic and focuses more on innovating the piano instruments’ inner intricacies.
Steingraeber & Söhne Flagship Upright Piano Models
138 K (Biggest Upright Piano): The biggest upright piano is the 138 K, an upright concert piano, equivalent to the 6ft-long acoustic salon grand piano. This vertical piano model has been awarded in Paris as the Best in the World. You will find this upright piano model in most universities, churches, and small concert halls as an alternative to the grand piano.
130 T (A Professional Piano for the Pros): The 130 T is a piano model for professional usage that has been tagged as the most successful upright piano of Steingraeber & Söhne for over 90 years. You can see this model in most universities and music academies as a replacement for the grand piano. It features a mechanically superior design than that of the mass-produced studio grand pianos. It also features a fuller sound.
122 T (The House Concert Upright): The 122 T is a classic upright piano that showcases excellent full sound. The reason for this is that it comes with a unique design that includes a sympathetically-vibrating soundboard that brings in that extra oomph or boost at the forte level and beyond.
The Grotrian-Steinweg, also referred to as Grotrian in the United States, is a well-known German piano manufacturer with its headquarter at Braunschweig, Germany. It is commonly referred to as Brunswick in England. Grotrian-Steinweg is known for producing premium grand pianos as well as upright pianos.
The year 1974 saw the construction of the new factory of the Grotrian-Steinweg family, situated northwest of Braunschweig, on what is known as the Grotrian-Steinweg Street. This street is near Bundesautobahn 2, which is a major thoroughfare in the city.
Soon after supervising its construction, Helmut and Erwin Grotrian-Steinweg retired and handed over the factory’s supervision to Helmut’s son, Knut. The factory is still in the current manufacturing site of Grotrian-Steinweg. Knut Grotrian-Steinweg stepped down from managing the factory in 1999, leaving the factory’s day-to-day operation to Burkhard Stein, a piano builder, and an industrial manager.
Until 2012, the Grotrian-Steinweg company is still run and owned by Erwin Grotrian’s daughters, with Jobst Grotrian, as the sixth-gen son of Knuts as a shareholder. Every year, the company manufactures around 500 upright pianos in six different sizes. It also produces 100 grand pianos annually in five different sizes.
Grotrian-Steinweg also produces around 20 concert grands every year, each one necessitating eight months to build. Additionally, in 2010, it issued a special edition of upright piano referred to as Composé Exclusif, measuring 46.5 inches to celebrate its 175th anniversary. Fifty upright pianos of this type have been rolled out.
6) Shigeru Kawai
The Kawai Company has been here for almost 90 years and has already been producing musical instruments for several decades. Kawai Musical Instruments is known to be the architect of modern piano and has been boldly producing sterling piano models for a very long time. Some of its upright piano offerings include the K-series (K-800, K-500, K-400, K-300, and K-200), Anytime Pianos, and the Designer Series.
The pianos produced by Shigeru Kawai are well-known for their blend of technical innovations and traditional craftsmanship. The components of the pianos that this company produces are made from the finest available materials. The soundboards, for example, is derived from 10-year aged wood of the rare Ezo Spruce found in the mountains of Hokkaido. Combined with the piano action of the Millenium III, the pianos of this company are surely continuously receiving high praise from their users. Moreover, Kawai’s pianos are characterized by vibrant tonal depth. The company only produces 250 pianos a year, and for this reason, a piano unit from this company is highly desired and valued by piano enthusiasts.
The founder of this company is Wilhelm Schimmel, a learned and experienced piano maker. He founded his company in the year 1882. The leadership of this company is already in its 4th generation of successions. The Schimmel line of production is generally divided into four levels. The upper level that is mainly focused on latest design using computer-enhanced scale and concept. Classic, on the other hand, is the traditional line, while the “International” is primarily assembled in Germany but have many outsourced parts.
The Schimmel’s Upright Piano Models include the Schimmel C116, Schimmel C120, Schimmel C126, Schimmel C130, and Schimmel C213. Schimmel has also produced upright pianos that are known for sterling quality and durability. Schimmel surely stands proudly for being one of the best piano manufacturers in the world. Moreover, Schimmel has been the most-awarded manufacturer of the piano in Germany. The pianos produced by Schimmel are surely known for impressive tonal quality and beautiful sound. One of its widely popular pianos was the glass piano which was unveiled in 1951.
8) Yamaha Upright Pianos
One Company that has been widely known for producing high-quality musical instruments including pianos and upright pianos is Yamaha. It was established in 1887 as a reed organ and piano manufacturer by Torakusu Yamaha. Yamaha has then grown as a highly respected brand in piano production. Yamaha has various offerings of upright pianos including the U Series, YUS Series, B Series, and P22.
Many experts think that the B series is designed for home player and they consider this series as Yamaha’s best entry-level pianos for school and home piano enthusiasts. B3, for example, is a solidly-designed upright piano made of solid spruce soundboard capable of producing colorful tonal resonance. It is very affordable, however, and is ideal for use by those who are just beginning to learn the rudiments of piano playing. The N series, on the other hand, is more exquisite and is considered a prestige model designed for advanced professional piano players.