A Chord-inated Effort: How to Move a Piano
Moving a Piano at a Glance
- Step 1: Plan exit route and gather supplies
- Step 2: Disassemble piano
- Step 3: Secure piano and clear area
- Step 4: Load onto a dolly
- Step 5: Move piano and unload
A piano can be a great investment, especially if you have musically minded children or enjoy playing a melody at the end of the day. But you might change your tune when it's time to move house. A piano is often one of the heaviest and most expensive items in your home, and making sure it arrives at its destination safely isn’t as simple as moving an appliance or dresser.
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You can hire a professional mover to ensure your piano arrives safely at your destination, but it’s also possible to move it yourself with some friends and the right equipment. Before you move your piano across the room, town or country, make sure you know how to keep yourself — and the instrument — safe.
What’s the Best Way to Move a Piano?
The best way to move a piano may be to hire a professional. Although professional movers can be expensive, so are pianos. Ensuring the instrument is protected and moved safely can be complicated, which is why there are moving companies across the country that specialize in moving pianos. However, if that’s not an option for you, make sure you research how to move a piano before you start.
How to Move a Piano in 5 Steps
Although there are some differences between types of pianos, moving any type of piano follows the same basic steps.
Step 1: Plan
Spend some time measuring your piano and doorways and plan your exit route. Then, gather your piano-moving equipment:
- Moving pads or blankets
- Moving straps
- A dolly. A standard dolly may be fine for an upright piano, but a piano dolly (also called a skid board or piano board) is normally required for grand and baby grand pianos
- Stair ramp
- Moving truck
- Some extra hands. Most professionals say at least four people are required to move a piano.
Step 2: Disassemble
Pianos are easier to move and better protected when they’re disassembled. The steps for this differ based on the type of piano, but generally, you can remove the lyre, pedals and legs. Make sure you can put it back together by keeping track of the parts, labeling them clearly and taking a picture of each stage of disassembly so you can reverse the steps. If removing the legs of a grand or baby grand piano, wait until after it's on the dolly.
Step 3: Secure
Lower and secure the lid that covers the keys and the top of a grand piano. Wrap moving pads or blankets to protect the piano from scratches. Pay particular attention to corners.
Secure the area as well. Make sure children and pets aren’t going to get underfoot and that your route is clear of any tripping hazards.
Step 4: Load
Next, load the piano onto a dolly. You may need to move it away from the wall first. For upright pianos, tip the piano backward and slide the dolly underneath.
For grands and baby grands, lower the piano down so the straight edge is on the piano board. At this stage, you can remove the legs.
Never lift a piano by the handles or legs because they can snap off, causing the piano to drop. Make sure the piano is on the center of the dolly so the weight is evenly distributed. Always remember to protect your back by lifting with your legs.
Step 5: Move
Use moving straps to secure the piano vertically to stop the dolly from sliding out. You can now move the piano. It’s useful to have a stair ramp for easily moving up or down stairs. This allows you to roll the piano instead of lifting it.
Secure your piano in a truck. The piano should be placed in the front of the container, closest to the cab, and secured to the wall with at least two moving straps. Make sure the clips lie flat against the piano to avoid scratching. Drive your piano to the new location and reverse the steps to set it up in your new home.
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Can You Move a Piano by Yourself?
You can move a piano without professional help, but you can’t move one by yourself. A piano’s weight can range from 300 to 750 pounds or more, depending on the brand, age and type. They can also be awkwardly shaped, so it’s best to find some friends to give you a hand.
Does Moving a Piano Damage It?
Pianos aren't as sturdy as your stainless-steel appliances, so if you don't use wraps and padding, they can be damaged by a move. This can impact the piano’s value, so make sure you take the proper precautions before moving.
There is a belief that moving can affect the tuning of a piano, but it's not true. Tuning is impacted by changes in temperature and humidity. A long journey in a stuffy truck or a move to a different climate has the biggest impact on sound, but subtle climate differences in your new home can also affect tuning, even if it's only across town. Either way, you should plan to have your piano tuned soon after a move.
Can You Move a Piano in a Pickup Truck?
It's not a good idea to move a piano in a pickup truck. Pianos are generally too bulky to secure in an open environment. Exposing them to the elements also increases the chances of damage. Always hire movers or rent a moving truck to move your piano.