What are the differences between kinds of pianos?

There are two basic kinds of pianos: grand pianos and vertical pianos. 

 Vertical pianos can generally be divided into studio uprights, consoles, and spinets.

 

Grand Pianos

4-1/2' to 9-1/2' long


 
Grand
                      piano
  • horizontal strings
  • hammers are below the strings and rise to strike them
  • action sits on the back of the keys

Vertical Pianos

Studio Upright:  over 42" tall


Console:  40-42" tall
Upright
                      piano
  • vertical strings
  • hammers are in front of the strings and move horizontally to strike
  • action sits on the back of the keys

Spinet

(the smallest vertical piano)

36-38" tall
Spinet
                      piano
  • vertical strings
  • hammers are in front of the strings and move horizontally to strike
  • action hangs off the back of the keys and is mostly below them

  
Click here to learn more about why it matters which direction the strings run, or how the hammers hit the strings, or whether the action sits on or hangs off the keys.