Beautiful white grand piano in bright, sunlit living room

Grand pianos and baby grand pianos are the epitome of a classic icon in music. With their elegant curves, propped lids, and exposed strings and soundboard, their beauty is often one of the first things people think of when considering a grand or baby grand piano.

In this article, we discuss the difference between grand pianos and baby grand pianos, how they cater to different spaces, budgets, and musical needs, as well as comparing popular grand and baby grand piano brands.

Differences Between Grand Pianos and Baby Grand Pianos

There are five primary differences between grand pianos and baby grand pianos: their size, sound quality, volume, action, and price. Baby grand pianos are smaller than grand pianos, maxing out at about 5 feet 3 inches in length. The larger size of grand pianos tends to produce a better sound quality, volume, and piano action. Conversely, the smaller size of baby grand pianos typically results in a less expensive cost compared to a grand piano.

Read more about the specific differences between grand and baby grand pianos below:

Size and Space

The most notable difference between grand pianos and baby grand pianos is their size. Grand pianos typically range from about 5 feet 7 inches to over 9 feet in length, while baby grand pianos are smaller, usually between 4 feet 5 inches and 5 feet 3 inches. This size difference significantly impacts the amount of space each piano occupies as well as string length, soundboard size, and more.

Sound Quality and Volume:

Due to their larger soundboards and longer strings, grand pianos generally produce a richer, more resonant sound. The sound of a grand piano is especially prized by experienced musicians who find the tone of baby grand pianos to be thin in comparison. The longer strings allow for a greater range of dynamics and tonal expression. For experienced pianists, this can be an important difference to note in baby grand and grand pianos. For advanced players, the ability to produce the softest pianissimos and most powerful fortes is integral to their artistic expression. In contrast, baby grand pianos, while still offering a beautiful sound, have a slightly more limited dynamic range due to their smaller size.

Action and Touch

Both grand pianos and baby grands feature a similar action mechanism, especially when comparing similar brands and model qualities. However, the longer keys and greater key leverage in a full-sized grand piano provide an edge in touch sensitivity and control, which can be the deciding difference between a baby grand piano and grand piano to an experienced pianist. For advanced players, the ability to play the most poignant staccatos and melodic legatos is important when choosing a piano. These players are often more satisfied with a full-sized grand piano or higher-quality baby grand piano that will accommodate the nuances of their playing.

Price

Because of the smaller size of a baby grand piano, they are typically less expensive than a full-sized grand piano. This is especially true when comparing similar brands and model qualities. This is because baby grand pianos typically require less materials, lower manufacturing time, and decreased shipping weight compared to full-sized grands.

Baby Grands vs. Full-Sized Grands: Quality Matters

A high-quality baby grand piano may be priced similarly to a low-quality larger grand piano, but in this case the difference would be more than in just the size. The quality of a piano, that is, the materials, workmanship, and mechanics, have an immense impact on the touch, feel, tone, and longevity of the instrument. These are determined not only by the piano brand, but also by the model series, as some piano brands offer a budget-friendly series compared to their higher-quality series. In most cases, it’s a better purchase and investment to get a good brand, higher-quality piano in a smaller size than to get a larger piano that is low-quality.

Why Choose a Grand Piano vs a Baby Grand Piano?

  • Venue and Use: The choice between a grand and a baby grand often depends on the intended use and venue. Full-sized grand pianos are ideal for large spaces like concert halls and large living rooms, thanks to their superior acoustics. Baby grand pianos, however, are more suited for smaller spaces such as homes or practice rooms, where space is a consideration.
  • Budget: Budget also plays a crucial role. Grand pianos, with their larger size and superior sound quality, are generally more expensive than baby grand pianos. Buyers must consider both the initial purchase cost and ongoing maintenance expenses.
  • Aesthetic and Prestige: Aesthetically, both piano types are striking, but the grandeur of a full-sized grand piano often carries a certain prestige. For many, owning a grand piano is as much about the musical possibilities as it is about the statement it makes.

Typical Price Differences of Grand Piano vs. Baby Grand Piano

The price of a grand piano versus the cost of a baby grand piano can vary widely based on brand, model, materials, and construction quality. Generally, a baby grand piano can start around $10,000 for a lower-end model and can go up to $80,000 for high-end models. Full-sized grand pianos, on the other hand, often start at around $20,000 and can reach upwards of $200,000 or more for top-of-the-line concert grands.

Buying a Used Grand or Baby Grand Piano

Buying a used baby grand piano or full-sized grand piano can be a great way to extend your budget to access a piano that is larger and higher quality than what would be in your budget for a comparable new piano.

Here are some tips for shopping for a used grand or baby grand piano.

  1. Educate yourself about reputable piano brands and specific models known for durability and performance. Yamaha, Steinway, Kawai, and Bösendorfer are among the respected brands. Knowing about specific models helps in assessing the typical market value and common issues if any.
  2. General Condition: Check for any signs of wear or damage. Look for cracks in the soundboard, frame, and bridges, as these can be expensive to repair.
  3. Keys: Play every key to ensure they all produce sound and feel consistent when pressed. Play them across a breadth of dynamics from very soft to very loud, then press each key quickly multiple times to test the speed and quality of their action, and finally hold each note to hear its resonance.
  4. Pedals: Test all pedals to make sure they function properly.
  5. Look under the lid: Look for rust on the strings or loose tuning pins, which can be a sign of neglect or age. Also look for a cracked or warped soundboard, which can indicate water damage or an unregulated environment which can significantly impact the quality and value of the piano.
  6. Cabinet: While cosmetic issues may not affect the sound of a used grand piano or baby grand piano, they can indicate how well the piano has been cared for.

Our Favorite Grand and Baby Grand Pianos

Yamaha is one of the most respected piano manufacturers globally, known for its quality craftsmanship and technological innovations. The Yamaha C3X Grand Piano is one of the most popular full-size grand pianos among families. Here’s why it stands out:

  • The Yamaha C3X measures approximately 6 feet 1 inch, making it large enough to deliver rich, powerful sounds but still compact enough to fit comfortably in many home environments. This size strikes a good balance between performance and spatial practicality.
  • The C3X model is well-regarded for its excellent sound quality, which is characterized by clear, resonant tones and balanced acoustics. Its longer strings compared to smaller grand or baby grand pianos allow for more expressive play and dynamic range, which can be very satisfying during family music sessions or performances.
  • Yamaha pianos are known for their durability and reliability, and the C3X is no exception. It is built to last, which is crucial for families looking for an instrument that can endure frequent use and still maintain its musical integrity over the years.
  • Yamaha pianos hold their value quite well, making the C3X a good investment. It retains a significant portion of its value over time, especially if maintained properly, which can be a key consideration for families making a significant financial commitment.
  • The Yamaha C3X also has a classic grand piano aesthetic that adds elegance to any room. Its presence enhances the visual appeal of a space, making it not just a musical instrument but also a piece of decor.

The Yamaha GB1K, one of the most popular baby grand models, offers a good balance of performance and affordability. It is highly regarded for its quality and durability, making it a favorite among educational institutions and individual purchasers alike.

Both Yamaha models incorporate Yamaha’s advanced scale design and precision-crafted action mechanism, which provide exceptional musical performance and playability.

Final Thoughts

When choosing between a grand piano and a baby grand piano, considerations of space, budget, sound quality, and intended use are paramount. While grand pianos are ideal for large spaces and professional use due to their superior sound and touch, baby grand pianos offer a compromise between space economy and musical quality, suitable for smaller venues and private homes. Brands like Yamaha provide a range of models that cater to various needs and budgets, ensuring that there is a perfect piano for every pianist and every setting.

Are you interested in exploring grand pianos or baby grand pianos for sale? Click the buttons below to view our online inventory!

About the Author

Mikelle Despain, Piano Insights Author at pianogallery.com, piano expert and former piano teacher

Mikelle Despain

Piano Insights Author

Mikelle is a classically trained pianist and former piano teacher who has been in the piano retail industry for over 20 years. Her dream piano is a Yamaha S5X. She currently provides expert insights for Piano Gallery to share information and advice for buying, playing, and enjoying the piano. When she's not writing or playing piano, she's spending time with her four kids, tending her vegetable garden, boondock camping, hiking, or cooking overly-extravagant meals for friends.

You may also be interested in...

Baby Grand Piano Buying Guide

Baby Grand Piano Buying Guide

Baby Grand Piano Buying Guide Baby grand pianos are a smaller version of a traditional grand piano. They are typically 5’ to 5' 6” in length (from the tail to the keyboard). High-quality baby grand pianos, such as the popular Yamaha C1X hold their value extremely...

2024 Guide: Best Grand Pianos For Your Family

2024 Guide: Best Grand Pianos For Your Family

© Piano Gallery 2024“When I had nothing else, I had my mother and the piano. And you know what? They were all I needed.” Alicia Keys Buying a grand piano for your family is no casual matter. People develop deep connections with musical instruments that often start at...

How Much Does a Baby Grand Piano Cost?

How Much Does a Baby Grand Piano Cost?

A baby grand piano is often chosen by musicians and enthusiasts not only for its elegant aesthetic, which enhances any room, but also for its rich, resonant sound quality that is superior to that of smaller pianos. Despite being more compact than a concert grand, a...

How Much Does a Piano Cost?

How Much Does a Piano Cost?

The cost of a piano varies widely based on its type, brand, condition (new or used), and the intricacies of craftsmanship involved in its manufacturing. In this article, our piano experts share price ranges for the main types of pianos, explain what impacts the...

Tips for Buying a Used Piano

Tips for Buying a Used Piano

2024 Used Piano Buying Guide Pianos are well-regarded as holding their value well, making used pianos a popular purchase, especially for new piano buyers or those looking to upgrade their pianos without a significant financial investment. Many pianos can hold their...

Complete Yamaha Disklavier Guide for 2024

Complete Yamaha Disklavier Guide for 2024

In music, innovation often means striking a balance between preserving traditional craftsmanship and embracing modern technology. Yamaha, world renowned for its instruments, has mastered this balance with its Disklavier pianos, which combine a rich, resonant, classic...

10 Resolutions for Piano Players in 2024

10 Resolutions for Piano Players in 2024

For many of us, New Year's resolutions are heavy with responsibility, usually including health and exercise, work and finances, and even family relationships. One thing often overlooked in the resolution process is fun hobbies or passions such as playing the piano....

How a Grand Piano Works

How a Grand Piano Works

If you're a piano player, can feel the magic of a grand piano as you play, your fingers moving across the keyboard with nuanced strokes that bring beautiful music that resounds through the instrument. Behind its elegant exterior lies a complex mechanism that...

A Guide to Buying a Piano as a Family Christmas Gift

A Guide to Buying a Piano as a Family Christmas Gift

The holiday season is a time of joy, togetherness, and creating lasting memories with our loved ones. If you're searching for a gift that will bring joy into your home, consider the timeless and elegant gift of a piano. How to Buy a Piano as a Gift Even though the...

Largest Collection of Quotes About Playing the Piano

Largest Collection of Quotes About Playing the Piano

When you're a pianist, playing the piano isn't just a hobby, it's a lifestyle. Even causal players feel a deep, meaningful connection to the instrument. In this article, we share some of our favorite quotes about playing the piano, because #IYKYK Favorite Piano Quotes...

Encouraging Yourself to Play Piano More as an Adult

Encouraging Yourself to Play Piano More as an Adult

Playing the piano is rewarding, not only for the relaxation it provides, but also for the sense of accomplishment, confidence, and stress release if offers. However, for many adults, it can feel frivolous to take the time to play the piano. With so many other...

How to Keep Your Child Motivated to Practice the Piano

How to Keep Your Child Motivated to Practice the Piano

You picked the perfect piano, hired a highly-rated piano teacher, and bought your child a stack of books to learn how to play the piano—but one thing’s missing: their motivation to practice. Even if a child is super excited to learn to play the piano, there are some...

Top Health Benefits of Playing the Piano

Top Health Benefits of Playing the Piano

There are many reasons people choose to play the piano—for pleasure, skill development, stress relief, and more. In this article, we explore the health and wellness benefits of playing the piano. How Playing the Piano Supports Health & Wellness Playing the piano...