Baby Grand Pianos
The term "baby grand piano" is actually not a real term, however these days it seems to be the most used search term on the internet. There is really no such a thing as a baby grand piano, there are only small, medium and large grand pianos. The same is for the term "upright grand piano", there is no such thing either. A piano is an upright piano or a grand piano, nothing else.
Baby grand pianos are desired by people that are mainly looking for three things;
- budget; between 5 and 10.000 dollars
- space restrictions; between 4'7" and 5'5"
- furniture piece; the piano has to "look" good.
Due to its restrictive size baby grand pianos do not have the desired string length to create a nice tone. As a matter of fact, a 52 inch upright made by a good maker will sound better than a "baby grand". A reasonable sound in well constructed baby grand pianos starts at 5'5", that's where it starts to produce an acceptable tone and sound. The string length will determine the quality of tone, the longer the string, the better the overall sound.
As you can understand, for the prices that baby grand pianos are sold these days, makers of grand pianos are forced to cut back on materials, workmanship and quality control to bring cost down. Most baby grand pianos are therefore made in China and other countries where labour is cheap. The materials used by even the most well known makers is questionable at best, MDF board is used, lots of plywood and other inferiour products.
Action parts are made of plastic, even makers like Kawai and Mason & Hamlin are now doing it simply to reduce cost. As long as the piano is nice shiny and black, people will buy them. The sad part about this is that the smaller makers now produce much better product in the baby grand series than the big companies, simply because the smaller makers don't have the overhead the big boys have and therefore can afford to put more money into the piano. As a result the baby grand pianos from obscure makers are often a much better product compared to the baby grand pianos from, say, Yamaha. This is not true for the larger grand pianos, small makers usually refrain from competing in that segment of the market with the big boys.
Long term value:
Due to the fact that new baby grand pianos are sold for prices that are far below the cost of higher end grand pianos, the so called "trade in" value of these baby grand pianos is very good. People do purchase baby grand pianos also out of the motivation that, once their son or daughter gets better, they will trade the piano in for a larger one. Prices of new and used grand pianos always go up, which makes your now used baby grand piano worth good money and an easy resale for the retailer. In other words, your investment is probably going up in value after the initial hit caused by the fact that once you buy a new baby grand piano its value changes from a new piano to a used piano.