Hello, music lovers! Today, I’m looking for the best upright piano in the world. What I’m trying to do here is to show you some instruments that you can actually buy. It would be nice to discuss a bunch of 100k$ pianos, but that’s not really going to help us in 2019, is it?
Whether you’re a pro or a beginner, I’m pretty sure you’ll find some interesting info here. Keep in mind that not all pianos on this list are traditional uprights. Some are even far from traditional. But, once again: my goal here is to guide you through today’s industry of musical instruments. I’ve compiled some top deals, so don’t hate me for not sticking to standard stringed pianos.
That being said, let’s dig into some fun research and find the best fit – the one that meets your needs, preferences, and requirements.
The 10 Best Upright Pianos in 2019
Let me set this clear first. All the pianos in this list are amazing. To choose the upright piano that best suits your needs, you first need to know what exactly you are looking for. I hope my way of classifying helps you figure that out and find your best match.
So, if you want to buy a traditional instrument that will last for long – Kaps of Dresden Model S119 is the right choice for you. The Kaps is the kind of piano that develops and ages just like a human being. You find a place for it in your living room, and it can stay there forever and watch you and your successors throughout your whole lives.
Honestly, I’ll come back to this brand later and tell you even more about it. But for now, let this be a surprise. Hey, if we’re not buying, we can at least watch and comment, can’t we? I’m giving you all my advice for free, so refer back to it any time you want.
The Kaps piano, whichever model it is, has a peculiar, melancholy sound. It is one of those instruments that doesn’t try to imitate the grand piano. It is an authentic upright – humble, mysterious, soft, wise, and heavy. It doesn’t like being moved and transported. Just leave it where it belongs and let it sit there like an old sage.
The piano I’m talking about is manufactured in Germany – a fact that the current owners are very proud of. The quality and precision are undeniable. So, if you are looking for a real, lasting, traditional stringed upright piano, go ahead and get the Kaps of Dresden Model S119. That would be a decision you won’t eventually regret.
Of course, not many of us can afford to accommodate a traditional instrument. That is why, someone was smart enough to invent the digital upright. Although the only upright thing about this piano is a heavy-based wooden stand, it’s a convenient choice for modern music lovers who just want to feel good playing and don’t want to go through the excruciating process of transporting and handling a traditional upright.
Out of the thousands of options you can choose from, I would recommend the Casio PX-870 as the best upright digital piano. Believe me, Casio know the difference between a synthesizer and a digital piano, even though they were a pioneer in computerized music. What I’m trying to say is that the PX-870 was not meant to be a synth machine but rather a good alternative to a traditional instrument.
You will still find some nice presets and features, but the main focus here is on the realistic sound and keyboard – full-weighted keys, combined with the extraordinary AiR (acoustic and intelligent resonator) sampling engine. You will also notice that the speakers are positioned in a particular way, so that you get as close as possible to the real piano experience – the so-called Sound Projection 4-speaker System.
What else? There must be something more than that to get you interested, right? Well, speaking of advantages, I can add that all this quality is worth the money. Once you order the PX-870, you get a number of accessories with it: headphones, a bench, a polishing cloth, a dust cover, and a lesson book.
Why do you need these accessories in the first place? Let me tell you one thing: you do need absolutely all of them! Because you haven’t owned a piano yet, you don’t know what happens to it once you place it against your wall. It’s literally always dusty. You decide to put a cover on it, but the only thing that would do the job is a bedsheet.
That’s where things get messy. If you have a partner, he or she starts getting annoyed by the looks of the bedsheet on the piano. If you don’t have a partner, you start looking at the bedsheet and asking yourself questions like “What have I done to my life?” or “What’s going on with me?”
Someone has already thought about that. You get both a polishing cloth and a dust cover in your PX-870 bundle. Now, why do you need the bench? You have chairs at home, don’t you?
Well, the truth is that chairs never work for piano players. Or they do, but you end up with acute back pain and weird neck spasms. This happens when you start playing for longer periods of time, which you will start doing because you will fall in love with the PX-870. Your body is not in a natural position during piano playing, and a dining chair makes things even more unnatural.
That’s why, there is the piano bench – soft, adjustable, and suitable for people of all heights and weights. But even when you do get a bench, do you really know what the optimal playing position is? Don’t worry if you don’t because you also get a nice lesson book in the bundle.
Even if you’re a pro, don’t be ashamed to take a look in the lesson book. I don’t need to remind you that we’re so absorbed in our ‘projects’ that we keep forgetting basic things about music all the time. Don’t believe me? Well then, what does the sostenuto pedal really do? What are the three basic positions of the sustain pedal?
If you can’t answer these questions, you’re like 99% of today’s musicians. Well, how do I know the answers? I’m looking them up. We can’t remember everything all the time. That’s why, I’m reminding you that it won’t hurt taking a look at a lesson book from time to time. Bottom line: the lesson book and the bench are definitely useful for musicians of all levels of expertise.
Now, the number one accessory in your PX-870 package is definitely the headphones. Stop believing that your neighbors love music or any statements of this sort. Once you start playing at home, you will have problems with your co-inhabitants and you’ll certainly be frowned upon daily.
Avoid this by using headphones. I don’t mean your smartphone earbuds – use the headphones that you get in you PX-870 bundle. They are high-quality, comfortable, and suited to digital pianos. A pair of these would cost anywhere between 50$ and 100$, while you have a chance to get them as a bonus item. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t miss that offer, especially when it’s guaranteed to ease the tension between me and my neighbors.
So, if you want a real deal for a perfect upright digital piano, your best option is the Casio PX-870 bundle. Not exactly what you’re looking for? No worries. There’s plenty of useful advice on other pianos in this list as well.
Who else, but Yamaha? Contrary to the common belief, it turns out that, with enough expertise, a brand can manufacture both world-class motorcycles and excellent pianos. So, if you’re looking for sound, and I mean ‘the sound’, you might want to check out the Yamaha P-515.
How come Yamaha produce the best sounding pianos? The answer is: tradition, combined with innovation – a business model, constantly denied by western companies. Deny it or not, the formula works, and Yamaha has been one of the top piano manufacturers in the world for the last 15 years.
Yamaha pianos possess all these characteristics, necessary to let you experience music. Also, complex mechanics lie on the inside. Yamaha’s engineers alter, adjust, and constantly improve the company’s manufacturing process. As a result, you can enjoy stunningly good instruments from the 21st century – pianos, whose insides are constantly revised by the top engineers in today’s industry.
Let me tell you something: in music academies, the professors get the Yamahas. I think that’s no coincidence, at all. I mean, if so many high-level music experts somehow recommend this brand, it’s got to be worth it. And, honestly, there’s no sound formula more extraordinary than Yamaha’s. I know this from personal experience.
What else does a sound freak need? Definitely, if sound is your priority and value, get the Yamaha P-515. The price is not too high, and there’s also a good deal here. Take a look at these accessories, included in the bundle: a stand, a pedal, a bench, a cover, a book, a subscription, a DVD, and a cloth.
Honestly, all that, combined, would cost a small fortune and quite a bit of waiting. I don’t want that, do you? So, the actual bundle you get consists of: the best sound, the best quality, and the best accessories. Nothing more to do here but get the Yamaha P-515 offer before it expires.
Another true piano gem on the web – the Kawai CE200. Never mind that it’s used. Used pianos are not necessarily in bad shape. In fact, they are often way better than new instruments because they are branded but simply don’t have the proper packaging
Let’s be specific: the most common problem with used pianos is the condition they are in. How is that solvable? All you need to know is which pianos are durable and which aren’t. Since you can rarely find such information, I am pointing you to the Kawai CE200.
The thing is, whatever the previous owner of such a Kawai did, the piano is, most probably, intact. This machine doesn’t mind being transported, moved, or even kicked from time to time. How do I know? Don’t ask me. I’ve had a remarkably weird past.
So, basically, if you’re buying a used piano, what is there to look out for? The answer is: brand, model, overall quality, and overall condition. All these four facets are incorporated in the Kawai CE200, and, this is why, I call it the best used upright piano. There’s not much more to say here.
Piano beginner? No problem – this list has something for you, too. You want to buy a piano that’s both good and affordable? Let’s see which one that would be. Unfortunately, it’s not a traditional 500-kilos piano. It’s a portable keyboard that will get you started on your journey in music.
A bit of insight: the best upright piano for beginners in 2019 is the Alesis Recital. Why? Because it offers an exceptional playing experience, and you can get it for a good price. It has semi-weighted keys (perfect for beginners), all the sound presets you might need at this stage, and a nice, solid, modern design.
What you might find interesting about the bundle is the three-month subscription to the platform Skoove, which allows you to get tips and interactive advice from true music experts. Believe it or not, such features were not affordable back in the day. Make use of them now and practice. Keep practicing and enter the world of melody and harmony – you won’t regret it, even if you don’t become a pro.
The Alesis Recital is today’s most convenient choice for piano beginners, who don’t want to spend a fortune on a piano. Is it good? Yes, it is. Does it last? Yes, it does. Do pros also like it? Of course! Pros like anything, as long as it fits in the trunks of their cars, but you’d better put a little more pure emotion into music for now.
What’s the best value for your money when it comes to upright pianos? The best cheap item comes next. Right now, we’re talking about value – the best quality at the best price. Looking for this kind of value, I found this for you: the Korg Havian 30.
No.6 is definitely about the piano that’s worth the money spent. Indeed, the Havian 30 is worth every cent – soft and fluent to play, pleasant and balanced to listen to. Try something: type in ‘Korg’ and see for yourself. This brand is endorsed by the world’s top musicians. Another thing to take a look at is the price tags of Korg pianos.
You see what I mean? These are some high-class, expensive items. However, I found a cheap solution and I’m giving you the news right away. There are refurbished and certified Korg Havians out there, and they will soon be gone. Musicians do not sleep, you know that?
Get the Korg while you can and rest assured that you have got yourself a number-one instrument. Once you get it, don’t let it slip away from you. This is the kind of piano whose price will only go up in the future. So, if you’re also looking for a sheer investment, this is the right choice for you, too.
Here’s the right place to slip in an expert tip: there’s no piano which is explicitly meant for jazz or classic. This is the same misconception as with lead and rhythm guitars. No, instruments are not classified this way, at least not anymore.
So, don’t worry, whatever piano you buy, you’ll be able to play anything on it. If you’re looking for real value for your money, or simply for an investment, the Korg Havian 30 is a good decision you can make. If that’s not the case, you can take a look at the other items on this list and find the piano that best suits you.
If you’re frustrated that what you’re looking isn’t a traditional upright, let me tell you: get the deal first and then contemplate on the meaning of musical terms. That would be my advice.
So, probably the best upright piano among the cheap ones is the Lagrima 88. You want to save up? Then, you get the shady brand. That’s how it works. Don’t even need to tell you where the manufacturer is based. What matters here is that if you want to go cheap, then you’d better not overpay for low quality, right?
My idea is that many low-quality pianos are overpriced. For you, I found one that corresponds to its price – you get exactly what you pay for. Also, the Lagrima 88 is actually not of low quality. It is a satisfying piano that doesn’t need much care and maintenance.
I’m not going to lie to you and say its sound is perfect – it is just okay for those who want to hit the keys now and then, not looking for perfection or advanced technology. After all, emotion comes from what you play, not from what instrument you play it on.
Speaking of frills, you get all these extras that come with the overpriced cheap pianos – integrated sounds, songs, rhythms, and so on. The Lagrima has all this, too. Of course, you also get a sustain pedal and a power adapter. Basically, you need nothing else to start playing, in case you want to start from scratch.
Short on money and in need of an okay instrument? My solution: get the Lagrima 88 and start playing. The more you play, the better you become. The better you become, the more money you start making. The more money you make, the more you begin to realize that happiness lies in non-material things.
I’m sure that one day you’ll be able to afford a custom Steinway, but you won’t sell your good old Lagrima. We tend to grow accustomed to such instruments – those that get us through the many different stages of our lives.
However, it should come as no surprise that there are all-time leaders in the industry. These leaders hold huge market shares, have long history in business, and offer some remarkable products.
One leader, though, has been so consistent that it has earned the ultimate respect and dedication of the world’s top musicians. As you might have guessed already, I’m talking about Roland – one of the first brands that comes to mind when the word ‘piano’ is mentioned.
What I’m showing you here is a modern upright – that is, it’s lightweight and digitally optimized. Yes, it’s not a traditional stringed instrument, but, once again: I’m trying to give you something you can actually buy. If you want to spend 50k on a piano, feel free to give me a call, and I’ll gladly be your advisor and agent. If that’s not the case, though, trust me on giving you the most relevant and adequate info about pianos – whether they are upright or simply look upright.
So, the Roland F-140R is for those who want to buy something reliable and sleek. Roland is about simplicity, clear design, functionality, and extreme quality. Therefore, you might find few computerized features on the F-140R, but you will certainly not regret the piano sound and experience you paid for. Technically speaking, this model incorporates an engine called SuperNATURAL Piano Sound.
Frankly, when I see a Roland, I buy it. Do I always need it? Of course, I don’t, but there’s something magnetizing about this brand – careful details, no useless frills, small size, and expensive, top-notch components. It’s the type of piano you want to clean and stroke all the time. You want to keep it safe and warm and you can’t get bored with it. It’s simply amazing.
Sensitive keys? Oh, yes – in this case, they’re called the PHA-4 Keyboard System! The keys are full-hammer but they don’t feel like actual hammers, which is the case with many modern keyboards. Roland manufactures some of the best keyboards in the world. And also, there’s this thin red velvet lining behind the keys. This is such an exquisite detail. I often stop playing and take some time to simply observe the red lining, which fits so well in the simple, overall black design.
Bottom line: if you want a branded, professionally-designed, and high-quality piano at your house, get the Roland F-140R. That would probably be one of the best decisions you’ve ever made. It’s one of the best deals, too – the piano comes with a polishing cloth, an Austin Bazaar instructional DVD, and a two-month subscription to Take Lessons.
Okay, I know… This was about upright pianos, and now I’m giving you a stage keyboard… I’m literally crossing the line here. But think about that: when you put a keyboard on a stand, does it not become an upright piano? Quite a stupid argument, huh?
Look, I’m not trying to trick you. This is about the best piano for recording purposes and live performance. I know it’s not what you expected, but let’s imagine that it is for a while. Also, what I’m reviewing here has the price tag of an upright, so we might as well put it in the category of ‘real pianos’.
The most fast-growing, trusted, and constantly developing brand in today’s music industry – Nord. I can say, for more than 20 years of performing, recording, and teaching, Nord has been my absolute personal favorite. I’d trade anything for a Nord. I’ve tried much more expensive and intricate instruments, but Nord beats them all.
The question is: “Why?” I’m probably not the first person you hear jabbering about Nord, so there must be a reason why this relatively new brand has been gaining such popularity. We’re talking about product leadership and detail orientation here – a revolution in the musical instruments industry.
You probably know that digital keyboards utilize pre-recorded sounds of acoustic pianos. That is, somebody sits down at a studio and starts pressing every key on a piano, using all possible levels of dynamics while playing. Thus, you get touch-sensitive or full-velocity keys on your digital piano. When you touch a key, you actually hear someone else touching it in the same way as you, all pre-recorded.
Keep in mind that this holds true only for good and expensive keyboards. The cheap ones simply have volume levels – if you press a key lightly, you get the original tone at a decreased volume. This is far from the real piano-playing experience.
Nord took the concept of good digital keyboards to a whole new level. They not only pre-record single tones at different velocities, but also full chords, intervals, and vanishing sounds (the sounds you hear after holding down a tone or a chord, before the moment of full silence). There’s more: they record the noises which occur during playing (clicks, quiet thumps, and so on).
In other words, Nord give their machines so much information about what you might possibly ever play that you cannot hear the difference between acoustic and digital if you close your eyes. It’s no wonder they keep receiving numerous awards and endorsements.
So, when you press the piano button on your Nord Electro 6 HP, you will be stunned by what you hear and feel. You’ll most probably never consider buying another piano again, especially if you need one for recording or live performance.
The best piano for recording and live performance is the Nord Electro 6 HP. Also, as you might have seen already, I always give you a deal, in addition to high quality. So, yes, there is also a deal here.
The Nord Electro 6 HP bundle includes: an adjustable stand, an expression pedal, a sustain pedal, an Austin Bazaar instructional DVD, and a polishing cloth. I’ve already talked about the cloth and the usefulness of instructional DVDs or books, so let’s focus on the new thing – the expression pedal. I’ll skip the stand because, you know… It’s a stand. It’s long-lasting, useful, and adjustable, and you need it because using tables or chairs as piano stands is ridiculous.
So, what is the expression pedal used for? Ask the recording professionals, and they will talk for hours. However, what you need to know about this pedal is that its main purpose is to give expression and dynamics to organ music. When you press the organ button on your Nord, you’ll hear that the keys become non-sensitive by default. This might come as a surprise if you’re not familiar with organs.
Yes, organs do not have a dynamic range. That is why, church organs have huge pedals below the keyboard. These pedals basically control the volume of the music. However, they are called expression pedals because they actually control the expression of music – quieter means softer, and louder means more aggressive. So, not only does the volume change, but also the character of the overall sound is altered when expression pedals are used.
This same concept applies to electronic organs. You might notice that you cannot get the volume down to zero using the expression pedal. This is because, on real church organs, you cannot simply turn off the sound. All you can do is take control of the dynamics of actual music – from quiet and soft, to loud and aggressive.
Learn to control that, and you’ll immediately find a job as a musician. The point here is that, instead of buying an expression pedal, you get one as a bonus to your Nord Electro 6 HP – the best piano for recording and live performance.
Many musicians record themselves these days. Many have struggled to achieve the perfect piano sound through software. However, touching a real piano, they often end up realizing that nothing can replace the actual truth.
How is that solvable? Is there an ultimate solution to all needs? Is there an affordable piano that combines all the best features we’re looking for? I’m happy to announce that I found this instrument and I want to give you the details straight away!
Ernst Kaps – sounds familiar? That’s right! This was that same brand but different model. I just used an alternative name to keep this little surprise until the end.
These pianos are the ultimate solution for recording, practicing, and playing while staying at home, with or without your family – traditional body and architecture, combined with modern advanced technology.
What does that even mean? Well, if you want to really record a piano, you need a set of stunningly expensive mics, mixers, and software bundles to achieve even the slightest resemblance to what you hear in major-label recordings. That’s why, someone was brave enough to invent the all-in-one upright piano – the number one in this list, the Ernst Kaps Model R132.
All-in-one means that the piano-recording gear you might need is already there – it’s integrated. All the mics are properly placed inside, all the hardware is connected and operating, and all you need to do is plug in and start playing. All the hassle and technical measurement is done for you in advance.
On the other hand, you still have a traditional upright – hand-manufactured from natural materials, such as wood and ivory. So, you get an actual piano that can be plugged directly into your mixer or computer. Sounds good? There’s more. That’s certainly not all you get from the Ernst Kaps Model R132.
The German manufacturers are extremely proud of the feature called Quiet Time. Yes, it’s exactly what you’re thinking. You can choose to play the piano without anyone hearing your music. All this happens by pressing a single button. Something switches inside, and, suddenly, your piano gets quiet. You can continue playing but you can hear the music only in your headphones.
How come a solid-made, heavy-based, wooden piano transfer all its sound and energy to a bunch of headphones. The answer lies in advanced engineering. Remember: if you can think of it, it’s possible! That’s the mindset of the guys who invented the Ernst Kaps Model R132.
Now, you probably understand why I call this thing the all-in-one piano: real keyboard, real body, and real piano mechanism, combined with leading-edge technology for recording, quiet practice, and sound control. Anything else? Of course! I won’t offer you something that comes with just average perks. This list is about the best quality AND the best deal.
The Ernst Kaps Model R132 comes with a 20-year-long warranty. When was the last time you saw a warranty card that said something different from “1-year warranty?” And if you got 1 year, you’re still lucky! When was the last time you actually got something fixed for free during a warranty period? I don’t know about you, but I can’t clearly remember such good times.
Well, today, I’d like to introduce to you the instrument that is guaranteed to perform at its best for 20 years after you purchase it – the Ernst Kaps Model R132. If someone offers something to you and signs for responsibility for the next 20 years, this someone must be pretty assured in the product quality he or she offers. Makes sense, right?
I don’t think anyone would be dissatisfied with the above-mentioned warranty period, but, in case you still want more, here it is: free shipping. Yes, this piano ships for free, although only to ground floors. It’s still something, though. I think you’ll be able to manage moving the instrument to your home after someone has brought it to you from half-way across the world.
All in all, get the all-in-one Ernst Kaps Model R132 and stop worrying about playing, recording, neighbors, and children. You can do anything with this piano, which is shipped to you for free and comes with a 20-year warranty. Taking all this into account, I rate the Ernst Kaps Model R132 as the best upright piano on today’s market.
The Grand vs. the Upright
As you’ve seen, I haven’t reviewed only standard stringed pianos. That’s because I want this article to be of practical value to you. To finish strong, I want to give you some knowledge that will certainly prove useful one day.
You need to know that the upright piano is not a smaller version of the grand piano. The opposite is also not true. This is a huge misconception among small talkers. The grand and the upright are two different instruments. They produce different sounds and have different internal architecture.
The grand piano is about grandness, majesty, and space. The upright is about intimacy, honesty, and emotion. These are two different styles and emotional mindsets in music. Of course, you can play any piece on any piano, but that’s not my point here.
The only thing that I want you to remember is that you’re not buying an upright because you can’t accommodate or afford a grand. You’re buying it because you want to have a unique instrument, which will inevitably become a part of your life. You will grow to love it truthfully.
Many great songs were recorder and written on upright pianos. Take a look at some old Beatles’ videos, and you’ll see what I’m talking about. The upright piano produces a focused sound, perfect for recording and composing. Grands are primarily meant for big halls and video clips (I mean it). If you buy a grand, though, keep in mind that these are coquettes.
I’m joking, of course. Any piano is good as long as it’s the right one for you. I hope this list opened your eyes, at least a little. Which one is the best upright piano for you? It’s the one that best suits your particular needs. So, if you want more honest and practical expert advice on music and musical instruments, stay tuned and follow what’s happening on Karaoke Bananza! See you again soon!