There are four different sizes of vertical pianos that are categorized based on their height. They’re called vertical pianos because the strings are positioned perpendicularly to the keyboard and floor.
Spinet: The spinet is the smallest of the vertical pianos and it ranges from 36” to 40”. Spinets use a drop action where the keys do not engage the action directly, but instead pull on rods, which engage a lever that hits the strings. Because of the drop action, the quality and control of the sound on a spinet is poor.
Console: At a height of 40” to 43”, a console piano is a little larger than a spinet. The sound quality is substantially better as a console piano uses a direct action, which has the keyboard engage the hammers directly. Console pianos are typically brown and come in a variety of finishes.
(both spinets and console pianos are rather old fashioned and new ones are rarely produced today)
Studio: Studio pianos are some of the most popular uprights made today. Their increased height of 44” to 48” gives a substantial upgrade to the quality of sound, as the strings are more resonant and rich.
Upright: The upright piano is the tallest of the vertical pianos. It ranges from 50” and up. Because of the their large soundboards, upright pianos offer a beautiful sound quality that can rival many baby grand pianos.
One of primary differences between vertical pianos and horizontal pianos (baby grand pianos, grand pianos, etc.) is the number of pedals and their function. A lot of vertical pianos will only have two pedals or the middle pedal, instead of a sostenuto function, will be a pianissimo stop that lowers a piece of felt between the hammers and the strings to muffle the sound.
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