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What's the big deal with Grand Pianos - Gearspace.com
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What's the big deal with Grand Pianos
Old 1st May 2013
  #1
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
What's the big deal with Grand Pianos

Okay, okay the title is a little sensationalist. Honestly I have played some nice grand's and they where beautiful sounding, and a pleasure to play but every time I get in front of a good Upright Piano, everything just clicks, like coming home.

Anyone else feel this way? I tried googling around just to see if anyone shared my sentiments and came up blank. Anyone else feel like Upright Pianos are severely underrated?
Old 1st May 2013
  #2
Lives for gear
 
crying1986's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I'm not a piano player. I'm an engineer. So my thoughts are:

If it sounds good, it sounds good. Who cares what it looks like, who made it, how much it costs, or if it's the new hot "game changer".
Old 1st May 2013
  #3
Lives for gear
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
There is nothing like the crisp sound of a Steinway grand. The vibrating open top sound. The key notes are extended. Man, music to my ears.
Old 1st May 2013
  #4
Lives for gear
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
I've heard some beautiful tracks of upright piano. Properly EQ'd and reamped in a nice room. Have never cared for the sound reamped in a reverb chamber though, even in the nicest of chambers.
Old 1st May 2013
  #5
Lives for gear
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
I have always thought the piano itself as an instrument is way overrated. It is very limited in what you can do with a single note. The only time I have really heard interesting piano is when someone like Herbie Hancock plays it percussively and plucks the strings.
Old 1st May 2013
  #6
Lives for gear
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
So much depends on the particular instrument, the player, the room...

We had a huge upright from the early 1900's at one point that really had a good sound. Along the way, we've had some others that were not so good.
Old 1st May 2013 | Show parent
  #7
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by TurboJets ➑️
I've heard some beautiful tracks of upright piano. Properly EQ'd and reamped in a nice room. Have never cared for the sound reamped in a reverb chamber though, even in the nicest of chambers.
Agreed. I think the strength of uprights is in their intimacy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by crying1986 ➑️
I'm not a piano player. I'm an engineer. So my thoughts are:

If it sounds good, it sounds good. Who cares what it looks like, who made it, how much it costs, or if it's the new hot "game changer".
I feel the same way. Of course I'm the kind of person who if someone told me my vintage leather armchair was a replica I'd say "yeah so. It's comfortable and it looks nice"
Old 1st May 2013
  #8
Gear Guru
 
joelpatterson's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
It would be great to get a controversy going, "which is better, grand or upright?" Hours of fun, I can see it now...
Old 4th May 2013
  #9
Lives for gear
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Everybody knows an upright is better because you can put a mirror on it and watch yourself while you play.

And if it's a really old one, somebody has probably painted it a nice color, too.

Old 4th May 2013
  #10
Here for the gear
 
lifesglorydead's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
As both a "I know enough to get by" pianist and an engineer, I've always favored uprights. Especially older, less-kept ones. It may just be the music styles I tend to go for that lend themselves to that, but most grands just straight up turn me off. I've even had the opportunity to sit down in front of an extremely expensive Steinway that made me go "eh."

Give me a Kawai upright any day. Mic'd from behind with some ribbons... now we're talking.
Old 4th May 2013
  #11
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
I love when I have the opportunity to play a grand piano. That said, most of my practice hours and songwriting sessions have been in tiny, insulated rooms with a beaten-up upright and poorly drawn genitalia sharpied on the door. Uprights definitely have that familiarity.

While there is no way of stating that one sounds definitively better, grand pianos naturally produce a fuller, louder sound and are often mechanically superior.
Old 4th May 2013
  #12
Lives for gear
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
They sound.... grander?


lol
Old 4th May 2013
  #13
Gear Addict
 
catawbawine's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Funny, I feel the opposite. I feel "at home" playing my mom's Steinway Grand. The thing is old, slightly out of tune, and she keeps it in a big reflective room. I've spent SO many hours in the middle of the night (with no one home, of course) playing that thing, and I've fallen ridiculously in love with it. It has this big, luxurious, romantic, gritty sound.

I'm a multi-instrumentalist (guitar, bass, fiddle, keys, drums, banjo) and I've always felt that different instruments offer different forms of catharsis; electric guitar is great when you've got a lot of pent up, high strung energy, bass is good for when you just want to mellow out and feel good, but piano to me as always been the most sorrowful, beautiful instrument to play.

Granted, if I play a nice, perfectly tuned, modern grand, I just feel sterile and bored. Don't get me wrong either, I love me an old upright; they have so much character. I think it just comes down to the application.
Old 4th May 2013
  #14
For me as a engineer/keyboardist/songwriter a grand piano never fitted in any song I produced. They just seem too good and perfect. Both a real that I tried a couple of times that I had the chance and the sampled ones.

In the other hand if some classic pianist sits in front of it, or a jazz player my jaw drops on the floor and I feel butterflies in my ears!
Old 4th May 2013
  #15
Gear Addict
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by MountainChild ➑️
every time I get in front of a good Upright Piano, everything just clicks
It may be latency, of the mechanical and acoustic type. Grands' hammers are heavier and slower and their strings are further away from your ears, so the round trip latency between your brain telling your finger to move and your brain registering a note is many milliseconds less with an upright. This affects feel.

Unfortunately you can't reduce the buffer size of a grand piano.
Old 4th May 2013
  #16
Gear Addict
 
PrettyGone's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Uprights are much better. You can't have cool candlesticks on a grand.


Old 4th May 2013
  #17
Gear Addict
 
🎧 5 years
You can have a candelabra though.

And a car

Old 5th May 2013 | Show parent
  #18
Gear Addict
 
catawbawine's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kesh ➑️
You can have a candelabra though.

And a car

Now that's kewl!
Old 5th May 2013
  #19
Lives for gear
 
RedTuxedo's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Consider this...

On an upright, the soundboard is facing you. Transmission of sound waves off this fairly large plane are being transmitted right at you.

On a Grand, the soundboard is transmitting down and up. For the player, a lot more depends on the room at that point.

Oddly enough, I do find that playing a grand with the lid down to the lowest supporting peg has the most feedback for the player. YMMV.
Old 5th May 2013 | Show parent
  #20
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kesh ➑️
It may be latency, of the mechanical and acoustic type.
Weird. I never thought of that. It's more than that though, they just feel homier. Grands feel intimidating to me.
Old 5th May 2013
  #21
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Janesaid2me's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I love playing on true grand pianos....has to be at least over 6ft minimum...anything under that to my ears just never sounds right..and never looks right lol. The bigger the better hahahaha....
Moneywise your better off spending towards a nicer upright then a smaller baby grand in terms of sound quality.
Ive rcorded more grands then uprights just because thats usually what i have around.
Honestly it totally depends on the piano and room....ive played pianos that range by tens of thousands of dollas and prefered the cheaper of the two....
Old 5th May 2013
  #22
Jai guru deva om
 
warhead's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by RedTuxedo ➑️
Oddly enough, I do find that playing a grand with the lid down to the lowest supporting peg has the most feedback for the player. YMMV.
I just bought a 6' 1" Yamaha grand and am really loving it on the lower peg, or closed with the hinged section laid open right in front of me. Either way I'm psyched to have a real piano in the studio...and would never trade it for an upright (always played them growing up, do not miss them overall).
Old 5th May 2013
  #23
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
having played, and having seen friends that are much better then me play both, i can tell you for classical nothing beats a grand. the clarity you get matches the music so well. from romantic styles where there is alot happening harmonically, to baroque where the entire point of the music is to be 'clean' and 'polished'. IMO this is especially evident when used as an accompaniment. when i played solo classical trumpet, accompanied by piano, the difference was night and day when we used a grand instead of an upright (though this could also be the room)

i find that uprights tend to be less clear, especially down low, which is great for simple parts in a pop song (and i have a soft spot for the detuned 'honky tonk' sound). any 'mechanical latency' should be taken into account by the player, its not that the hammers take longer to move, its just if theyre heavier you need to press them harder, else that latency is due to your fingers and playing :p similar to how a tuba needs much more air support then a trumpet.
Old 5th May 2013
  #24
Lives for gear
 
Janesaid2me's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Thats awesome you have a grand in the studio War.
I recently got a 6'1 fully restored lester grand... Sounds amazing... Played it in the same room as the Steinway and Baldwin and thought it sounded better... And was more then 10k less then both!
I prefer it on the lowest peg vs fully open or closed.
Old 5th May 2013
  #25
Lives for gear
 
Kierkes's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I've always found that uprights sit far better in a dense mix, but grands are infinitely more indulgent. They take up a lot more sonic space. I grew up on a old handbuilt Steinway (I can't play it too much anymore since it's at my parents' house) and there's something about a good grand that "reads my mind."

Any other piano players get that feeling? I've never been mindread by an upright.
Old 6th May 2013
  #26
Lives for gear
 
Bullseye's Avatar
Hate to bring this up but how a piano sounds has a great deal to do with how it's played and that includes how it "sits in a mix" What a bunch of nonsense. Sure if you're functionally illiterate on the keyboard and banging out some dumb ass triads in a rock song, sure, then you MIGHT be able to say the piano itself has a "sound". But in truth, with a well built, well maintained, full size grand and a pianist that knows what he or she is doing, no upright comes close. It is the positioning of the action with respect to gravity, strings, etc.

Uprights can be nice for home, practice and recording with limited space but they simply are not the equivalent of a full grand piano in any way whatsoever. Anyone that thinks so...well...good for you....
Old 6th May 2013 | Show parent
  #27
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bullseye ➑️
Uprights can be nice for home, practice and recording with limited space but they simply are not the equivalent of a full grand piano in any way whatsoever. Anyone that thinks so...well...good for you....
Well, what if I'm producing country and not classical ;P
haha just saying. Any discussion is all in good fun of course. In my opinion, they're different sounds for different applications. Grand for classical, cinematic pop etc. Upright to accompany hymnals, country (in other words bar music. And YES many old hymnals originated from bar tunes).

I've never held much store in something being superior.
Creativity + Ingenuity + Skill > Equipment
Old 6th May 2013 | Show parent
  #28
Lives for gear
 
Wyllys's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by MountainChild ➑️
Well, what if I'm producing country and not classical
Jerry Lee Lewis & Mickey Gilley - Medley - YouTube
Old 6th May 2013 | Show parent
  #29
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
touche

but I think my point still stands. Upright vs Grand is Apples vs Oranges. I know they're invented to serve the same purpose and as far as mechanical and sonic quality grands are far more superior, but in my opinion their sounds are different enough that it's a context sensitive choice on which to use.
That and I would NEVER purposefully detune a grand, theirs just something sacrilegious about it.
Old 6th May 2013
  #30
Lives for gear
 
Wyllys's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
There are upright grands, you know.
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