Dr Piano Tells All 



Piano Benches

Most people don't realize that a piano bench is an important part of the piano playing experience, and the wrong piano bench can make trying to play the piano a nightmare.  I can't tell you the number of times I've gone to a home to tune the piano and found something just this side of decrepit that folks actually expected their kids to sit on. 

The bench can be just plain unsafe, where the glue joints are loose and everything wobbles.  It can be the wrong height.  The bottom of the music compartment can be falling off and the staples can be sticking out for the unwary person to puncture his or her finger.

What you should insist on:  a bench which doesn't wobble, a bench which is the right height (try using a steno chair to get an idea of how high you should be sitting for the most comfort, then measure down from the top of the seat to get the ideal height for the player).  If more than one person is playing the piano, and the heights vary greatly, get an adjustable artist bench Or even an adjustable piano stool or a  steno chair (but you'll have to immobilize the wheels so you don't skate away from the piano!)

I know it seems like a convenience to have a music compartment in the bench, but they really don't work very well, aren't very strong, and can seldom accomodate the amount of music that people try to stuff into them.  This is the weakest link in a piano bench - I see them all the time with the bottom breaking away and the hinges breaking or pulling away from the frame.  I'm not saying you can't get a bench with a storage compartment, like this  walnut wood top grand bench with music storage, just don't put a ton of music in it!  You're better off using either a music cabinet or a barristers bookcase like this: Altra Furniture Barrister Bookcase.

I do restore old piano benches where there is a pressing reason to use the original bench (which usually is not made by the maker of the piano), such as fancy legs or veneers that match the piano, or if it is a particularly beautiful example of furniture making, but this is an expensive proposition.

It is far more economical to simply buy a new one.  You can find some good options here.