Can you hear the difference between a $600 and a $360,000 piano?

5 September 2017, 17:17

Can you hear the difference between cheap and expensive pianos?

Fabricio Vinheteiro tests a few keyboards...


By Maddy Shaw Roberts

This guy compared a $600 upright with a $360,000 Yamaha CFX grand piano. Can you hear the difference?

If you’ve got a well-trained ear, you might just be able to pick out the sound of an expensive Yamaha grand from a room of cheaper pianos. But in practice, can you tell one from the other? Let’s have a go… 

Brazilian pianist Fabricio Vinheteiro begins his test by playing Debussy’s Clair de Lune on a $600 upright Barthol & Berlin piano, which sounds nostalgically like an old saloon piano. It also sounds a *little* thin and clangy, though.


He then plays a $6,400 German Blüthner model, which immediately gives off a much richer sound than the $600 piano.

We then move onto a restored piano worth $15,000, which was created by the world’s oldest piano manufacturer Pleyel, who shut their last workshop in France four years ago. Pleyel were also Frédéric Chopin’s favourite make of piano – so of course, Vinheteiro tests it out by playing Chopin’s Heroic Polonaise.

Vinheteiro then triples the price, moving onto a $47,000 Yamaha C7X piano, before ending the test on a 2017 Yamaha CFX model worth $363,000. It’s fair to say that the expensive Yamaha does produce a greater depth of sound, and allows the arpeggiated left-hand part of Clair de Lune to feel much more fluid.

But then as a YouTuber points out in the video comments, “Vinheteiro could play a cheap keyboard and make it sound like a $10,000 piano”.

If you managed to spot the difference between these pianos, see if you can hear the difference between a £50 and a £250,000 violin...

Rob Landes plays ‘Hallelujah’ on a cheap and expensive violin

Rob Landes - Hallelujah

'Hallelujah', played on a £50 and a £250,000 violin. Spot the difference!


Find more of Vinheteiro’s videos on YouTube, and Rob Landes’s videos here!

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