How to Move a Piano

16 Sep

Before we go into any detail on how to move a piano we need to stress that this is not a small job.  Pianos are heavy and moving them is not a task for the unwary. If you’ve done this in the past then you’ll know we’re not kidding when we say that moving pianos is usually best left to the professionals.  However if you have decided to give it a go yourself then there are some things you need to do to make sure your piano move is a success.

Can you move a Piano?

The first and most important thing is to make sure you have enough people. Pianos are not small and can weigh anything up to 1000 pounds.  Even a small cottage upright is likely to weight over 300 pounds. So will need a minimum of three people to shift it. As a general rule of thumb the heavier the piano is, the more it is worth, and so trying to skimp on the manpower is definitely not a good economy.

Once you know you have enough people to shift the piano then you need to make sure your route is fully prepared. You’ll need lots of thick towels or blankets, you’ll need a wheeled dolly that can carry the pianos weight, and the one thing most people forget is to measure all the doorways, staircases, and hallways to make sure the piano will fit before you start to move it.

Once you know the piano will go where you want it to go. And you have recruited all the manpower you can get then you can start preparing the piano itself.

Moving an Upright Piano

If it is an upright then you will need to protect the keys and the pedals.  Use plenty of blankets and tape them in place. Then wrap the piano itself with blankets and tape then.  Be aware that the blankets may move as you transport the piano even if they are taped.

Then you need to lift the piano onto the dolly and carefully wheel it to the van.  The hardest part of moving an upright piano is lifting it in and out of the van. Getting enough people around the paino to be able to lift it is not a simple task.  And it is possible to injure yourself if you do not lift using the proper technique. You should always ensure you lift using your legs and not your back to reduce the chances of injury.

Getting the piano out at the other end is a simple matter of reversing the procedure.

Moving a Grand Piano

Moving a grand piano is a much harder task than moving an upright piano, and that is saying something!

If you are utterly convinced you want to do it yourself there are a few things that you have to do differently from moving an upright.

Firstly you need to remove the music stand.  This usually slides out fairly easily.

Then you need to decide what you are going to do with the action.  You need to either secure it so none of the hammers or dampers can move during transit, or you need to remove it completely.  This is a complex job and so shouldn’t be undertaken by anyone without having some training first. Then you need to secure the lid or remove it.  Then you should lay blankets across the body f the piano and tape them in place.

The next stage is to turn the piano onto its side.  Once this is done you can remove the legs. The pedals may or may not be removable depending on the make of piano.

Wrap it fully in blankets and then tape the body of the piano to a board or special piano moving shoe. This can then be placed on the dolly and transported the same way an upright is.

Moving an antique piano.

Whether it is an upright or a grand we strongly recommend you do not attempt to move a particularly valuable or unusual piano yourself.  They are often of an non-standard construction and can be more easily damaged.

If a piano is not moved correctly it is possible for the frame to shift within the body. This is a serious problem that is expensive to fix.  The action can be damaged if it is not secured. And the fragile finish on the woodwork of the piano can be destroyed if it is not looked after carefully during the move.

When you consider how much effort it is to move a piano safely, and how much it will cost you, even if you do the heavy lifting yourself, it is no surprise that we think the best solution is to get us to move your piano for you.

Why not give us a call to talk about your piano move? We can take all the stress and worry away.