The piano stool (or bench) is often one of the most overlooked parts of buying an acoustic or digital piano. It is easy to think “I’ll just use a chair”, but just because the stool itself doesn’t make the music, it’s not worth compromising on! You wouldn’t drive a car with a broken seat would you? A piano stool is very much the same, it is essentially the ‘drivers seat’ for all of the intricate movements during playing, pedaling and will impact the overall comfort of your piano playing experience.
As such, we wanted to break down some of the key things to consider when purchasing a piano stool or bench as well as some of the reasons that choosing the right piano stool for you matters!
Piano Benches vs Piano Stools
It’s easy to get caught up in lingos on the differences between stools and benches, but ultimately they are two halves of the same whole and the principles of what makes a great stool or bench remain the same. They dictate your positioning, your posture and allow you to control things such as the height that you are playing at.
Conventionally, piano benches are longer, a little heavier and bigger than stools and ultimately are more of a styling choice, so for the purposes of today, we will be using the two terms interchangeably.
Things to consider when buying your Piano stool:
As expected, there’s no bigger point to make than comfort. If you’re not comfortable on your stool, you won’t have a great time playing your instrument. That’s why many companies such as Hidrau have invested countless time, techniques and materials in order to create the ultimate comfort experience for pianists across the globe.
Many premium benches, many have been ergonomically designed to alleviate pressure on the lumbar spine and thighs through rounded edges and secure padding.
Much like when sitting at a computer desk, it’s easy for piano players to find themselves slouching forwards without proper back support, adding more pressure onto your back, thighs, shoulders and neck. For example the Hidrau Beethoven Stool comes with added back support to encourage better posture.
For optimum piano posture, your back should be straight, your arms relaxed from the shoulder, your elbows elevated slightly above the keys and your feet firmly on the floor and in reach of your pedals.
Another easy one to overlook, but the actual stability of your bench will impact your playing a lot! There’s nothing more annoying than a squeaky or wobbly chair. A lot of this comes down to the mechanics of the bench itself and is why some stools actually use a hydraulics system in order to be as silent as possible during playing and adjusting. Entry level stools however typically have legs that are bolted on and can loosen overtime, whilst this is an easy fix via tightening, they can begin to squeak and lose their robustness after multiple fixings.
Higher end benches typically have the legs directly glued into the frame, meaning that they are ultimately more robust, harder to break and more sturdy to play, some even use dovetail joints to keep things in place.
When it comes to piano stools, it’s certainly not one size fits all! That is why it is generally a better idea to get a stool that has the ability to be adjusted up or down based on your height. Particularly for younger players, you will want a stool that still allows them to comfortably reach both the pedals and keys without strain.
Another great point to touch on is storage within a bench, many benches allow the user to store their music books or other utensils within the seat itself. Generally speaking this is purely personal preference, however particularly for young children, if you are moving the stool around a lot, it can be easy to get your fingers trapped in the hinge, so urge to move with some level of caution!
Hopefully this guide has helped give you a little more insight into the world of piano benches and has given you some food for thought when purchasing your own bench!
If you would like any further assistance on choosing the right piano stool for you, our Customer Experience team are available and ready to help! Get in touch today!