Are you fond of classical music and know your way well around the piano keys? Or, in simple words, do you own a piano?
If yes, then you definitely need a plan to avoid causing harm to this cherished instrument during your move.
Hiring a professional piano mover should be your first choice. But, if it’s off the charts, you must take some extra help because moving a piano is not for the faint of heart!
Make Sure You Want to Do it Yourself
Moving a piano is probably one of the riskiest and difficult tasks to manage on your own. Pianos can weigh up to a thousand pounds, and it may not be the wisest decision to move them without professionals. Ideally, you should get the help of a piano mover as they are best equipped to move this delicate and challenging instrument.
However, if you’re convinced that you want to do it yourself, prepare well and be ready with all the necessary supplies. Read this comprehensive article for some really helpful tips!
Before Moving a Piano
Prepare the Appropriate Moving Supplies and Materials
Finalized the decision to move your piano by yourself? Here’s a list of the supplies you will need:
- Screwdriver to disassemble the piano;
- Heavy duty work gloves for strong grip;
- Dolly, specially for moving an upright piano;
- Moving or weightlifting straps;
- Blankets to protect your piano and the floor;
- Duct tape to secure the covered parts;
- Piano skid board, in case you’re moving a grand piano;
- Moving truck;
- Some extra help.
Verify What Size Moving Truck You’ll Need
It’s important to know the cubic space you need while moving your belongings in a truck.
Pro Tip: Measure and note the dimensions of your piano even if you’re aware of its standard dimensions. It will eventually help you in verifying and selecting the right-sized moving truck.
Assemble a Moving Team
For a safe piano relocation, assemble an active team of your friends and family. Their experience in moving heavy items can also be an advantage!
Usually, a team of 4 people is good for this particular move, but you may need additional help depending on the size and weight of your piano.
If you don’t have friends and family around to help you, check out the options for hiring hourly moving labor. Sit with your team, discuss the plan and get moving!
Measure Doorways, Staircases, and Hallways
When moving the piano by yourself, it’s important to look at each aspect of the move and make it less strenuous. We strongly recommend to measure your doorways, staircases, and hallways – well, any place the piano may pass through while moving.
Ideally, start by measuring your piano and the skid board. Note these measurements and move onto the doorways, staircases, and hallways. Our moving experts advise you to keep all doors open (even unhinged if needed), floors covered, and all other items off the moving path to avoid damaging your prized piano.
Moving companies also provide a COI, that you provide to a building management before you move in. That is helpful in case there occurs any damage to a building you are moving in during relocation.
Wear Appropriate Clothing
Make sure that you and your team are dressed well for the job. Wear comfortable clothes that won’t get stuck anywhere while you’re lifting a 500 pound piano. Wear shoes with flat soles and good grip that provide stability. Oh, and don’t forget to get yourself heavy duty work gloves for a strong grip.
Disassemble the Piano
Moving the piano to your new home? You will certainly need to disassemble it.
• How to Remove a Piano Lid?
Remove the screws securing the lid one by one and keep them safe in a bag labeled as “piano lid screws”. This will come in handy when you’re sitting down to reassemble your favorite musical instrument. Once the lid is detached, cover it up with blankets to avoid scratching or nicking.
• How to Remove a Piano Lyre?
After removing the lid, move on to disassembling the lyre. This is the part that connects the piano pedals and sits just below the piano. Don’t forget to wrap and tape the lyre and keep its screws in a separately labeled bag.
• How to Remove Piano Pedals?
Now that both the lid and lyre are removed, the next step is to remove the piano pedals. Make sure to wrap and pack each of the three pedals separately. This will prevent them from rubbing against each other and save the pedals from scratching.
Cover up the Keyboard
It’s important to cover up the keyboard with the lid and lock it in place. If you don’t do it, there is a high chance of damaging the keys during transit. You can also get the keyboard covered with masking tape if the lid does not come with a lock!
Protect the Piano With Blankets
Protecting the piano with blankets should be your priority. Ensure that the front, back, and all sides of the piano are covered to avoid damaging it. Once covered, secure the blanket with good-quality tape.
Clear the Path to the Exit
Remove all furniture and equipment that may cause hindrances in the big move! If you have carpet on the floor, don’t forget to remove it to avoid inconvenience as you roll your piano to its new home. We also advise you not to leave children and pets unsupervised as you lift the heavy instrument for transit.
Review the Path You Are Taking
Make sure to review the entire path of the move, especially if it involves moving up or down a flight of stairs.
Set up the Ramps
Does the move involve rolling your piano down some porch steps? Get a metal stair ramp on rent. You will also need a truck ramp to load your valuable piano carefully into the moving truck.
Moving the Piano to Another Place
1. Take Precautions
Before attempting to move the piano, you must take the following precautions:
- Never make the mistake of lifting the piano by its legs or pedals;
- Don’t use piano casters for moving. These small wheels are only suitable for short moves;
- In the unlikely event of the piano going down during lifting, don’t try saving it, as it may lead to serious injuries due to the weight;
- Don’t use your back to lift the piano. The right way for lifting it is to use your hips by bending the knees;
- Make sure to get the measurements and weight of your piano right to avoid making the move more challenging than it already is.
2. Position the Movers and a Dolly
Get your movers and dolly positioned at the right place! Use a four-wheel piano dolly, which must be at least half the original length of your piano and set it under the piano. Once the dolly is positioned, make sure to strap it well.
Position one mover at each side of your piano for safety. One mover should stand at the front to support placing it onto the dolly steadily. Another mover should be positioned to guide the way to avoid collisions in transit.
3. Find the Best Grip
Movers positioned on either side should use their left hand to grip the corners underneath the ends of the keyboard. Their right hand can be used to have a firm grip on the handle behind the piano. Similarly, the mover on the front should grip underneath the keyboard while standing behind the dolly.
4. Lift the Piano Onto the Dolly
Get ready with gloves and an extra pair of strong arms to help you lift the heavy musical instrument. A squatting position is a right way to lift a piano as it will prevent back strain.
We strongly suggest you get at least three people to help you out, and if it’s a grand piano, make sure to double that figure!
5. Secure the Piano to the Dolly
Now that the piano is lifted onto the dolly, use strong moving straps or rope to tie it. Make sure to pass the straps from underneath the dolly and tightly hold the strap at the back of your piano.
6. Roll the Piano to the Exit
At this step, slowly start rolling the strapped piano toward the exit. If there are any bumps on the way, make sure to stop and stabilize the piano to avoid damaging your prized possession.
7. Clear the Threshold
The right way to clear the exit threshold is to push from the back end while slightly lifting the front end of the piano. This will help the dolly’s first pair of wheels to pass through the threshold smoothly.
Now, the mover that is still inside the residence should slightly lift their side of the piano. With the other mover simultaneously pulling the piano backward, the second pair of wheels will also pass through and clear the exit.
8. Guide It Down the Stair Ramp
Position two movers at the front and one at the back when guiding the piano down a stair ramp. Slowly move the piano on the ramp, ensure that the two movers at the front catch its weight while the mover at the back guides it down from the ramp.
9. Push the Piano up the Truck Ramp
Now that the piano is out of your house, it’s time to load it inside the truck.
When pushing the piano up the truck ramp, position the two strongest helpers at the back. The mover at the front will only guide the piano inside the truck, while the mover on the side will stabilize it.
10. Secure the Piano in the Truck
Once inside the truck, push the piano against the back wall to provide enough support. Use moving straps to fasten your piano to the support bars mounted inside the truck’s interior. Tighten the straps and make sure that the piano won’t move beyond an inch in-transit.
Placing the Piano in the New Place
1. Roll the Piano Out of the Truck
To roll the piano out of the truck, start with unstrapping the straps holding it in place against the back wall. Now station your movers at either end of the musical instrument. This time, get two movers positioned at the front end, one at the back end, and one at the back side along the ramp. Once the movers are positioned, get the piano to move slowly down the ramp.
2. Move It Into the New Space
Now that the piano is out of the truck, get it moving into the new space. Use the stair ramp with a mover guiding up the piano at the lead end and two movers pushing it onto the ramp at the back end. Once you’ve reached the entrance, slowly guide and lift the pair of dolly wheels to pass through the threshold.
3. Set the Piano Into Place
Your next job is to reverse the entire moving out process. Unstrap the piano from the dolly and push it back against the wall for support. Position one mover at each end and lift the piano from the dolly.
Pro Tip: Make sure to lift the piano from a squatting position and get a third mover to hold the dolly while you’re doing the heavy lifting. Slowly place the piano down and set it into place.
Get your Piano Tuned
Did you know? All the jostling and lifting during the move are likely to affect the piano’s tune. Our experts advise that you get professionals to tune your piano once it is settled in the new space.
Moving the Piano
How to Move a Grand Piano?
Do you happen to own a grand piano? Here’s a simple guide on how you can move it:
- Shut the keyboard cover, remove it and wrap it in a moving blanket, tape or stretch wrap for protection;
- Carefully unscrew the plate holding the lid hinge pins in place. Remove the piano lid and make sure to wrap it to avoid scratching;
- Now remove the legs and pedals of the piano, starting with the first leg. Get your team to hold the piano to keep it from falling while you’re doing so;
- Make sure that all parts of the piano are properly covered with moving blankets;
- Place it onto your piano skid board and strap it using moving straps;
- Get help from your movers, start moving the piano by pushing it on the board;
- Put moving blankets on the floor of your truck’s boot and place your piano into the truck for the big move ahead.
How to Move a Baby Grand Piano?
Generally, the same steps are followed to move a baby grand piano. The only difference is in the length of the two, as the baby grand piano is smaller in size than a grand. This means that you might need a few people to help you move this instrument.
How to Move an Upright Piano?
An upright piano is generally easier to move than a grand piano because of its shape. Here’s a simple guide on how you can move it yourself:
- Wrap the piano lid over the keyboard to ensure that it stays put during transit;
- Secure the keys and pedals of your piano using a moving blanket. Use tape to hold the blanket in place;
- Lift your upright piano onto the dolly using help from your friends;
- Once it is lifted on the dolly, strap the piano using dolly straps;
- Push the dolly and move towards your moving truck.
How to Move a Piano on Carpet?
Moving a piano on the carpet can be a big hassle if the wrong moving technique is used. If you try pushing your piano on a carpeted floor, its legs will most likely snap due to the piano’s weight and the surface friction of the carpet. This is why we suggest that you follow these steps to move a piano on the carpet:
- Find and place a piece of flat plywood under your piano. Make sure to have all 3 legs of the instrument placed firmly on the plywood;
- Call an extra set of hands to help you lift each leg of the piano. Now, gently slide the plywood beneath each lifted leg;
- Once all 3 legs are lifted on the plywood, apply pulling force on the instrument to lift some of its weight;
- Start pushing the piano toward its destination. Remember, if the distance is long then you must take breaks and not over-exert your helpers;
- Upon reaching the destination, revert the process of lifting the piano on the plywood to dismount it.
How to Move a Piano on Hardwood Floors?
Follow the same tips as moving a piano on a carpeted floor to move it on a hardwood floor. Some additional tips you can consider:
- Don’t forget to close the lid of your piano and lock it into place;
- If the legs of your piano are damaged, be extra cautious or, even better, seek professional help for moving it.
- Try to reduce the weight of the piano by disassembling it;
- Mop the hardwood floor before starting the moving process. This will provide much-needed surface friction to easily slide the plywood sheets.
How to Move a Piano up a Ramp?
Here’s a quick rundown of the techniques you may use to move your piano up a ramp:
- Use a piano trolley or dolly before lifting your piano on a ramp;
- If you’re moving your piano down a flight of stairs, make sure to arrange a metal stair ramp;
- While moving the piano downward on a ramp, position two movers at the front and one at the back end;
- Take smaller steps while pushing and pulling the piano to avoid losing control while it’s on the dolly;
- Look out for obstacles such as bumps and uneven surfaces. Good idea is to position someone to guide you along the way;
- Carefully push the piano on the truck ramp. This time, position two helpers at the back and one at the front end;
- The mover at the front should lift the front wheels of the dolly and place it on the truck ramp;
- Now movers at the back should move the dolly upwards and keep pushing until it reaches inside the truck.
How to Move an Upright Piano Downstairs?
You must be extra cautious while moving an upright piano downstairs. Weightlifting straps can be used to lift the piano with the dolly while carrying it down a step or two. But, for a flight of stairs, the piano should be strapped and lifted by your team to bring it down. We strongly recommend placing cardboard pads on the steps to avoid scratching the floor.
How to Move an Upright Piano Upstairs?
Taking the piano upstairs is a lot more tiring than bringing it down the stairs. The same lifting method is to be followed as with moving it downstairs.
Make sure to place cardboard pads on the steps, remove the dolly, use straps and lift the piano to carry it upstairs.
What Not to Do When Moving a Piano?
Don’t Forget Pianos Are Heavy
The weight of the piano guides your moving strategy. Navigating hallways, door frames, corners, and stairs with a piano is a tricky task, so it’s important to know exactly how heavy it is before planning your move.
Grand and Baby Grand Pianos
Grand pianos usually weigh between 500 and 1400 pounds, while baby grand pianos weigh between 500 and 800 pounds.
Here is a list of some famous grand and baby grand pianos with their weights:
- Mason & Hamlin Artist Grand Piano BB: 1,090 Pounds;
- Steinway Model D Concert Grand Piano: 990 Pounds;
- Steinway Model S: 540 Pounds;
- Yamaha C3 Studio: 705 Pounds;
- Young Chang Y185: 671 Pounds;
- Mason & Hamlin CC: 1,399 Pounds;
- Steinway & Sons Model B: 760 Pounds.
Upright pianos with a height of fewer than 48 inches can weigh about 300 pounds, while those with a height of 48 inches or taller can weigh as much as 800 pounds. Here is a list of some famous upright pianos with their weights:
- Young Chang 121: 496 Pounds;
- Steinway & Sons Model 1098: 480 Pounds;
- Bösendorfer 130: 582 Pounds;
- Baldwin BH-122: 542 Pounds;
- Yamaha P22: 490 Pounds;
- Steinway & Sons Model K-52: 600 Pounds;
- Kawai K300: 500 Pounds.
Don’t Skimp on Help
Imagine dropping your prized piano while moving it to your new home. Sounds like your worst nightmare, isn’t it? This is the reason you must not skimp on help! Make sure to gather a team of minimum 3 or 4 members for a swift move.
Don’t Lift the Piano Without Equipment
Getting the right equipment is as important as recruiting the right team. Before moving the piano, you must know that not all dollies are created equal. Get a four-wheel piano dolly, piano skid board, specially designed piano straps, and other essential supplies in advance.
Don’t Rely on Your Piano’s Casters
The worst thing you can do is rely on your piano’s casters (if it has them). They are only useful for shifting your piano to a short distance. Casters often get jammed too, which can cause potential damage to your carpet or floor.
Don’t Move Too Fast
Remember, pianos are expensive, and moving them is challenging. Don’t make the mistake of moving them in a hurry. Plan ahead, slow down and take one step at a time to avoid damaging the piano or getting your team injured.
Should You Hire a Professional Piano Moving Company?
Moving a piano is not only challenging but is also quite risky. Professional piano movers are aware of the moving process, own the right supplies, and familiar with the steps involved. If your piano is antique and has great sentimental value, it is better to let a professional mover handle this task for you!
You may know the process of moving a piano, but a specially trained team knows all the critical aspects involved in a piano move. So, make the right decision and hire a professional piano moving company to carefully do the job for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Move a Piano Laying Down?
Yes, you can. Rotating or tilting your piano won’t cause any harm. Look out for its small parts, such as pins or pencils, as they can cause great damage if wedged in any wrong place.
How Much Does an Upright, Baby Grand, or Grand Piano Weigh?
- Upright pianos weigh between 300 and 800 pounds;
- Baby grand weighs between 500 and 800 pounds;
- Grands weigh between 500 and 1400 pounds.
Can You Move a Piano in a Pickup or U-Haul?
- While you can move a piano in a U-Haul, we strictly advise against moving it in a pickup truck;
- The pickup truck can be bouncier and may not have a place to secure the moving straps;
- Getting the piano up to the pickup truck’s tailgate can be quite challenging. Even if you get a ramp to lift the piano up to its level, it may not have enough strength to support the instrument and your team.
How Much Does It Cost to Hire Piano Movers?
Normally, the cost of hiring good piano mover starts at $500. The difference in cost is based on the distance to be covered, type of piano, flight of stairs involved, cost of living of your specific area, and more.
Does Moving a Piano Damage It?
Not really, unless it is bumped or dropped. However, you will need to get your piano professionally tuned after the move.
As long as there is no structural damage to the instrument during the move, pianos can be fine-tuned to their previous condition.
How Do You Move a Piano Without Scratching It?
As mentioned already in this article, make sure to properly cover your piano with moving blankets and/or stretch wrap to avoid scratching. Plan your move and position a helper to guide the team as you navigate your way to the new location.
Is It Possible to Move a Piano Without Disassembling It?
You can certainly move a small piano without disassembling it, but we don’t recommend it. The expensive instrument is particularly fragile in its assembled condition.
Does Disassembling a Piano Make It Easier to Move?
- Yes, most definitely. It may take a little more time to detach the piano lid, legs and lyre but once it is done, you can move it easily.
- Once disassembled, it will also be safer to move the piano because each part will be individually wrapped. Even the weight of the piano will be a lot less when it is in disassembled condition.
Other Options For Your Piano
Having doubts about your decision to move the piano? Consider finding a new home for your piano! Here are some other options that you can consider:
Family, Friends, and Neighbors
Once you’ve decided to get your piano in a new home, let your family, friends, and neighbors know first. You may give it to them as a gift or charge them, but let them know that you won’t be offering delivery.
Sell It on Online Marketplaces
You can list your piano across online marketplaces such as Facebook or Craigslist. Make sure to mention that you won’t be providing transportation, and the buyer must arrange for the move.
Resell It to the Music Store
You can also resell your piano to the music store you purchased it from. While you won’t get a good price for it, the music store will certainly arrange the transportation.
Donate It to a Church or School
You can also consider finding a church or school willing to give your piano a new home. The only problem here might be a lack of funds on their part to get it transported.
List It On PianoAdoption.com
You can use this website to connect with piano lovers willing to take in your piano for free. Don’t forget to add in the listing that the interested party must make arrangements for moving the piano.