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Difference Between a Console and a Spinett

Since Spinet pianos and Console Pianos are similar in size, it is difficult to tell the difference by just looking at the outside. There are Spinet Pianos that are the same size as a Console piano, and some Console pianos that are unusually shorter than some Spinet Pianos.

The way to tell the difference between the spinet and the console is to open the top, and look at the hammers (the felts that strike the strings) in relation to the back of the actual keys themselves. The Spinet Piano has a “drop action’, which means that the “action” is “dropped” below the level of the keys. A console action sits fully on top of the keys.

The Console Action (shown below)

Notice the keys fully extend under the action. The Hammers are well above the keys. This is called a “Direct Blow” action.

 

 

The Spinet Action (shown below)

Notice the action is sitting below the keys, and the hammers are almost on the same level as the keys. This is called a “Drop Action”.

Why is a Console piano better? (See Diagram Below)

The big difference is how they feel. When you are playing the piano, your fingers will strike the keys either in the front of the key or toward the back of the key closer to the balance rail as shown below by the arrows.

With a Spinet Piano (Drop Action) the geometry of the action makes it more difficult to depress the key nearer the balance rail.

With a Console (Direct Blow Action) there is much less difference in the feel of the action from the front of the key to the back toward the balance rail.

A Console Piano will always be more valuable than a Spinet Piano, if they are of similar age and manufacture. The console piano will generally have a larger soundboard and longer bass strings due to the additional height, therefore, a bigger sound.

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