piano, piano bench, piano blog

The Highs and Lows of a Hydraulic piano bench

I took a short walk to my student’s place to check out his new Descattiati model 810 Hydraulic. It’s not a sports car by any stretch of the imagination, but a piston-packed piano bench that has a vector design that gently nudges the player forward. Without doubt, it’s the best reminder, absent the shadow of a teacher, that a player should NOT sit too far back, lest he risk compromised posture and keyboard alienation.

For me, Model 810 afforded a built-in joy ride. Sitting back as far as I could to test the limits of dysfunctional ambulation, I was pleasantly pushed downhill over shiny velour, rekindling a childhood amusement park experience: the final red carpet slide after a tunnel of horrors journey.

My model Hydraulic, a 30″ Hidrau (HM), to the contrary, will not catapult me forward, though it has a slight vector that only becomes noticeable if the bench is completely turned around. (My student, with his laser-sharp vision spotted this feature and toyed with it) However, when push came to shove, I was relieved that I’d miss-installed the hydraulic, inadvertently obtaining an even playing field that’s my preference. (By habit I sit, centered, at the front edge of the bench and lean toward extreme registers.)

In all fairness, both Descattiati and Hidrau have dependable pistons making height adjustments effortless and smooth. Their un-oiled ups and downs draw the interest of pianists, and concours directors worldwide. One disclaimer: my particular experience with Hidrau,(HM) attached a two year long difficulty energizing the piston mechanism due to my weight bracket shy of 110 pounds. I could easily “bench press” up, but not descend without second party assistance. The problem could have been remedied by a piston replacement (offered me), but I decided to leave well enough alone and keep one fixed height.

In the present, I have built enough muscle weight through fitness workouts that I can jack the HM up and down without a hitch! So it’s Onward and Upward, if desired.

3 thoughts on “The Highs and Lows of a Hydraulic piano bench”

  1. Shirley – first let me say that your work is a wonderful and generous contribution to all people who love the piano, especially a vision-challenged arthritic adult learner like me, and I could not begin to list the posts I have squirreled away and come back to frequently. (I don’t know if I will live long enough to achieve hand separation as in your Bach E major scales by sixths post, though I have surely tried.)
    I have often wondered how much these benches cost and went searching – I could not find the bench you referenced. I finally figured out that it is misspelled, for your reader’s benefit it is Discacciati . And they are expensive, wow. There are imitators, I wonder if they can approach the articulated motion of the Discacciati . Thank you for what you do.


    1. Thanks, Bill for your complimentary note and for the spelling correction Discacciati of Italy. I will make the change at least in the text after my next two evening lessons. I purchased the HM Hidrau Hydraulic piano bench some years ago that had a piston problem as far as weighting. A player had to be at least 110 pounds to push it back down. I purchased my bench from Sam Bennett in Atlanta Ga who at that time had a teacher discount. So I got it for $500 free and clear–including tax and delivery. The same bench now goes for $684 without tax. I will bet he still has teacher discounts. HM seems to be the gold standard at worldwide piano competitions. My bench is 30 inches so it’s longer than my student’s Discacciati and the HM I own is not as vectored.. very mildly. It was actually installed in reverse by my handyman and his error turned out to be a blessing in disguise as I prefer to sit level at the keyboard, and lean toward extreme outer registers. There is also a German made Hydraulic, Andexinger that you might look into .. it’s a lot cheaper but I have no idea as to its quality. One bench NOT to get is the STAGG that used to be on Amazon.. maybe still is, and squeaks away. I did a blog on it. Shirley K


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