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What is an Adjustable Piano Bench?

Josie Myers
Josie Myers

An adjustable piano bench is a seating bench used by a pianist that allows for height adjustment. The amount of height adjustment varies with each bench. The average adjustable piano bench ranges between 19-23 inches (48.2-58.4cm) from the floor.

Posture at the piano is an essential part of playing. An adjustable piano bench can correct many posture problems that students and teachers work to correct. To determine how high or low the bench should be for correct posture, a pianist should sit at the piano and place their hands near the keys as if to play. The back should be straight from head to seat, but not rigid. The arm from shoulder to elbow should fall naturally. When the upper arm is falling naturally, the forearm should run parallel to the floor without the wrist flexing up or down. If the wrist is flexed up, the bench should be adjusted up. If the wrist is flexed down, the bench should be adjusted down.

Man playing a guitar
Man playing a guitar

These adjustments are possible without the use of an adjustable piano bench, but require the use of unconventional materials. It is not unusual to see a young player sitting on phone books, remnants of carpet, or pillows to make up the difference in height. An adjustment down for tall players with a conventional piano bench is nearly impossible without literally sawing the legs of the bench.

The mechanism that allows for the piano bench to adjust is found under the seating. The great majority of benches are manual and use a spinning knob to raise or lower the height. A player sits at the piano and turns the knob forward to adjust up and backward to adjust down. There are mechanical alternatives that allow a pianist to use a switch for the same adjustment.

Some seats are a single unit that adjusts up and down. They can be found in a single seating bench or in one that seats two players. Another kind of adjustable piano bench is split to allow for two separate heights. These double seats are especially helpful for playing duets when players are of differing heights.

An adjustable piano bench can be purchased in various types of materials. Leather is a popular choice for the seat as it wears extremely well, but plastic based alternatives provide a similar style without the cost of leather. Wooden legs are by far the most popular choice, as many types of woods are available to match the piano that the adjustable piano bench will accompany. Mahogany, walnut, black, and white finishes are commonly found.

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      Man playing a guitar