There are 5 core features on uprights that we use to quickly gauge value. In most product lines, these features are added or improved as the price rises. Essex pianos, by Steinway, have all 5 features in every model. 



Nearly all the best upright pianos in the world have 5-post asymmetric (unevenly spaced) backframes, which serves as the support against approximately 20 TONS of cumulative string tension. Pianos with strong backframes construction will likely have better tuning stability and perform better later in life. The cheaper pianos in the industry may have only two outer posts, or evenly spaced posts placed only for aesthetic purposes.

Strong Backframe 1800




The best pianos in the industry are made with hammers that are reinforced with dense underfelt to maintain hammer shape. The underfelt prevents the hammer felt from wrinkling at the time of production and then prevents the hammer felt from becoming unglued or going out of shape from years of impact with the strings.

Reinforced Hammers 1800



Patented in 1880 by Theodore Steinway, who noted that replacing a solid bridge with one made from multiple layers of wood “more energetically propagated” vibration from the strings into the soundboard. By delivering more energy to the soundboard, every part of the musical experience is enhanced and the piano plays like a bigger piano.

Vertically laminated bridges 1800



Not all “solid-spruce soundboards” are created equal. Premium spruce is highly sought over the world for its sonorous qualities and its favorable strength-to-weight ratio. A piano soundboard endures cumulative pressure from the strings as high as 700lbs. Grain lines that run closely together mean the wood is stronger. A soundboard should also be free of knots and irregularities.

Solid Spruce Soundboard 1800



The soundboard is sanded to gradually become thinner toward the edges. This design allows the soundboard to vibrate most freely, providing better tone and longer, stronger sustain. It is an extra step that is omitted from most lower-priced pianos.

Tapered Soundboard 1800

Steinway Makes it Easy. All Essex Uprights Have All 5 Features.


So, What Does All This Mean?

We do not necessarily feel this is a choice between good or bad, but rather a matter of “best value.” We encourage anyone shopping for an affordable piano to try and see what they have to offer. We think you’ll be impressed by Steinway’s Essex.

Essex EUP-123S

Designed by STEINWAY & SONS in collaboration with renowned furniture designer William Faber, the Essex has been created as a tribute to the idea that beautiful piano styles and finishes can and should be possible in every price range, while inculcating the Steinway DNA. With elegant traditional styling and museum-quality finishes, Essex will be a stunning addition to your home. And it is available in an array of models, sizes, and veneers to fit every décor and every lifestyle.

The Essex 123S Studio Upright, is an Examination Model ideally equipped to provide great performance and durability in a variety of locations such as an institutional setting or the comfort of your homes


6 Standout Features of the Steinway-designed Essex 123S

1 Double rubber casters for easy room-to-room transport 4 A wider and deeper music desk, accommodating up to 6 pages (144cm) of music displayed side-by-side
2 Durable, attractive polyester coating and finish 5 Toplid and fallboard are equipped with security locks, all using one standard key for convenience
3 Heavy-duty, sturdy construction – including leg pillars with extra-long toeblocks and additional screws, and full bird’s-eye hammer centers 6 Bass sustain pedal allows the player to lift bass dampers without disengaging treble dampers