Guide: How to Pick Your Dream Piano

blog, guide how to pick your piano

January 19, 2023

Was it the 1 million dollar Yamaha Grand that Elton John was playing at that concert you went to? Or maybe it was your grandmother’s beautiful upright and the warm, clear sound of her playing Christmas carols while everyone sang along. Wherever and whenever, the dream was planted in your heart.

Now, you’re ready to pursue that dream! Where to start, what you need to know, who you should talk to. Let’s start here. Dickerson’s Tri-City Pianos has been helping people answer those questions for over 40 years and we can’t wait to help you too!

Here are 10 Ways to Help You Find Your Dream Piano


1. Play Everything from New Grands to Used Digital Pianos  

If you have a dream, but don’t know where to start, first try out a variety of pianos so you get a feel for what you like. At Dickerson’s Tri-City Pianos, we have a wide range of pianos that you can play, test out, and listen to. We recommend starting with our best acoustic grand and work your way through the uprights, digital keyboards, and hybrid pianos. Since each one has a different feel, experiencing a variety of pianos will help you learn what sound and feel you prefer.

2. Understand the Features You Need/Want 

Whether you’re a beginner, enthusiast, or a concert pianist, the next step is to consider what you will use the piano for, and the features you need. 

Are you looking for a piano that can record what you play, provide a full backup band to accompany you, or transpose to another key? A digital piano will do all this plus much more. 

Or are you dreaming of the full, rich sound of an acoustic piano echoing down your home, performance hall, or worship space? In that case, an acoustic grand or upright would fit your needs the best. 

Or perhaps you want the best of both worlds. The Yamaha AvantGrand series are hybrid pianos that combine the digital features with true acoustic action, meaning the pianos are entirely digital but use the action components and design from an acoustic for the same level of responsiveness to your touch as an acoustic piano. 

Yamaha also offers acoustic pianos with the Silent mode feature that allows you to switch the piano to digital and play the instrument using headphones, and connect to your digital studio for music writing.

When you know how you will use your piano, it gets easier to narrow down your options, and find exactly (or as close as possible) what you want.

3. Set a Goal for Yourself to Develop Your Skills & Talents (or Even Your Students)

Another thing to consider when buying a new piano is in what ways you want to grow and develop your piano skills in the future. It is important to choose a piano that will motivate you (or your students) to keep practicing and perfecting your performance and help you grow in the ways that are important to you. 

Many Yamaha digital pianos can pair with a piano-learning app on your phone or tablet to help you learn the notes of a new song or to teach you new techniques as you play. Digital pianos also have a recording option for those who want to expand their music-writing skills. At Dickerson’s, we believe that life’s more fun when you know how to play, and the right instrument will make learning how to play a fun experience.

4. Bring a PDF Quote to Get the Best Value at Dickerson’s 

In a world becoming more and more digital, it can be tempting to go with the cheapest option on the internet and order a piano at the click of a button. Because the feel and response of each instrument varies, we are here so you can experience these elements before you buy. Also, the piano you buy online will be shipped to you in a box and it will require you to assemble the parts and position the heavy instrument in your house. 

At Tri-City Pianos in Richland, we are willing to price match with an internet ad or PDF Invoice showing the offered price you found, plus we can deliver it to your house already assembled at no extra charge. Just bring in a copy of the quote you found so we can honor the amount.

5. Start with Your Most Important  Needs Knowing You Can Trade Up As You Grow

If your child is just starting piano lessons, and you need a good piano to get started. There are many options for beginner players and we would be happy to show you everything available. Keep in mind that whichever piano you choose now can be traded up to a piano of higher value later on when your child is farther along the path to becoming a music-loving pianist. We will grow with you as you move into different seasons of life.

6. Pick a Piano That Invites You in to Play It Longer – It Talks to You & Your Soul 

There is something special about finding your perfect piano. When you sit down to play, the right piano will invite you to keep playing longer. The magic of music speaks to your soul, and the right piano will talk to you in a special way as you explore the way it sounds and its versatility. 

No one can experience a piano for you. Taking the time to look, sit down in the store, and play the piano yourself will give you the most clarity on which piano you love. 

Every piano is different, and every pianist has different preferences and wants that make the experience satisfying. 

7. Make Sure it Fits in Your House & Decor 

There are many options when it comes to piano size, color, and design. How it fits in your home will depend ultimately on you. Here are some things we help you navigate and consider when you work with us to find your dream piano. 

a. Colors & Wood Tones 

You can’t go wrong with classic polished ebony, but many pianos also come in white or a variety of woods, so you can choose a piano that best compliments your decor. Wood grains for Yamaha pianos include walnut, mahogany, rosewood, and oak. 

Many of the new Yamaha grand pianos are built with a sleek, modern design, but if you are a romantic at heart, check out the French Provincial or Georgian GB1K, which feature elegant, curved music stands and legs with decorative accents. 

b. Size 

For many pianists, the space available at home to keep a piano is one of the major factors in deciding which piano to buy. If you are tight on space or need a piano that can be easily moved from place to place, you might consider a portable keyboard, such as the Yamaha P125 or DGX-670. A third great option for a digital piano is the Yamaha YDP-S54, which has a particularly compact design that is a perfect fit for more narrow spaces. 

An upright piano will also save a lot more space than a grand, but keep in mind that most uprights only vary by a few inches in width and depth. Upright pianos vary the greatest in the height, and can be classified into four different size ranges. 

  • Spinet pianos are normally 36-38 inches tall, Console pianos range from 40-42 inches, 
  • Studio pianos are 45-48 inches, and Upright pianos are greater than 52 inches tall. 

The taller the upright, the richer the depth of sound can be in the lower notes.

Grand pianos have horizontal strings, so the length of the instrument affects the length of the lower strings, and thus the quality of sound. The shorter grand pianos that range from 4-5 feet long are often categorized as baby grand pianos, classic grand pianos range from 5’6”-7 feet, and concert grands measure upwards of 9 feet. 

Shorter pianos may not have the same depth of richness or power in the sound as concert grands, but they are a popular choice for homes and smaller venues. Most of the grands at Dickerson’s tend to range between 5-7 feet, but we do have one beautiful 9 foot, Baldwin concert grand piano in the store waiting for the perfect home or stage. 

As a Yamaha dealer, Dickerson’s also offers the option of ordering a Yamaha piano in the size and color of your dreams. 

c. Fit in the Room 

If your heart is set on a grand piano but you are unsure of whether it will fit in your room, you are welcome to borrow a template from us to get an idea of how different-sized pianos will fill the space in your room. The ideal placement for your piano at home is away from windows, vents, and direct sunlight.

d. Satin or Polished?

For many, the dream piano is a glossy ebony black piano but they feel intimidated that the polished look will be hard to clean and maintain. While the polished finish shows fingerprints in some lighting, it is actually very easy to clean with a soft microfiber cloth lightly sprayed with Windex and finished with Cory polish. 

The polished finish is less likely to absorb oils, so don’t let the glossy look hold you back from the piano you love. Many of the Yamaha wood tone pianos also come with a glossy finish. Satin finish blends well in many decors because it is less dominant than polish.

8. Let Yourself Day Dream About Your Piano


Most importantly, allow yourself time to daydream about your fantasy piano! There is nothing like experiencing a piano you absolutely love. We want you to find the piano that will inspire you to live your dreams, find  and share the joy of creating music. 

9. Picking a Quality Piano That Will Last 

When you pick a piano it’s important that you pick something that will stand the test of time. Something that you can enjoy as your skills evolve and change, as you move homes, and grow as a family or as a student or as a teacher

For years, Yamaha has the advantage and experience to stay on the cutting edge of the piano industry. They continue to fine-tune their instruments and push the limits of piano design and music, because the advancements they have made pairing technology with pianos. Yamaha pianos have withstood the test of time and are built to last many lifetimes. We are an authorized Yamaha dealer because of their fine quality. They are the world’s leading brand of high-quality pianos. 

Here to Help You Find Your Dream Piano

We hope that as you search for your dream piano you will remember that it is a journey, there are some people who know right away what they’re looking for and there are many people who walk into our store with no clue where to start. No matter who you are, start right here, we will be here right alongside you to help you through each step. 

Ultimately, we believe that finding your dream piano can be exciting, and fun. When you give yourself the opportunity to really experience all the options it allows you to find and fulfill that dream. 

We love when we can serve our customers and help their dreams come true. Our team is here to help answer any questions you have along the way, to listen to you, and help you find your dream piano. 

Feel free to walk in and play any time. We are right here in the Richland Uptown Mall on Jadwin right by Papa Murphy’s across from Dairy Queen. For any questions, you can also contact us on our website, or by giving us a call at 509-713-7288

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San Francisco, CA 94220

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