Moving a piano can seem like an impossible task for many individuals, and the entire move could go wrong with one wrong move. Moving a piano should be done with professional help before considering any other option.
It’s common for pianos to have more than 10,000 moving parts, making them complicated and heavy. Moving a piano can be difficult without the proper preparation and help. Fortunately, some professionals specialize in transporting this delicate instrument securely. You can do it yourself if you prepare beforehand and enlist a lot of help from trustworthy individuals who know what they are doing.
How to Move a Piano Yourself?
If you want to move the Piano by yourself, make sure that you are prepared. You’ll need the right equipment, and it’s essential to make sure the Piano fits every step of the way. If you indeed choose to move the Piano yourself, you should also get insurance. Pianos are expensive instruments, and they need special handling.
Before you try to move a piano by yourself, make sure that you have the proper equipment for the job. You will need at least two strong dollies, straps, cables, ratchet straps with hooks or chains to secure each end of the Piano securely during transit. If possible, use a forklift or other device that can hold up the weight of your instrument while still allowing it to be moved easily. You’ll also want tie downs for each corner of the instrument, as well as strapping on all sides and underneath it to protect it from harm during transport.
1. Measure the new space
Measure your new home or room to ensure that the Piano will fit, especially if you move to a smaller space. If the Piano does not fit through doors and upstairs, it can be difficult for movers to get around obstacles in confined spaces and potentially damage the Piano.
2. Make sure you have the right piano moving equipment for the job
Moving a piano requires at least three tools – dollies, straps, and padding. One of the most crucial factors for success is determining what kind of Piano you’re moving.
- For an Upright Piano: The best way to move a piano is on dollies, and you should have at least two. Making sure the straps are tight will make it easier for you to move the Piano.
- For a Grand Piano: To move a grand piano, you will need a piano board or piano skid board. These boards are typically a few inches taller than the height of the Grand Piano and require excess strapping and padding.
3. Verify what size moving truck you’ll need
The size of the moving truck or trailer you’ll need will vary depending on what type of Piano you have and its size. Check the door measurement to ensure that your new Piano can fit through, but most importantly, make sure it fits into the height of the truck or trailer.
4. Clear the paths first
When moving a piano, one must ensure that they have cleared all paths before moving the instrument. A piano is not something that you want to move along with other household furniture. It requires extra maneuvering and carefulness, and if done poorly, could cause significant damage or injury to those in the way of its path.
5. Review the path you are taking
If you have to cross stairs with the Piano, make sure those steps can hold the instrument’s weight before you start your move. If you don’t, the Piano could slip or fall downstairs, causing damage to property and injuring those trying to move it.
6. Depending upon the type of Piano, you will need to take several steps to move it:
- Moving an Upright Piano: The most basic way to transport an upright piano is with a small trailer. This can be towed behind any car or truck and fits most standard-sized pianos. The hitch will go on the back of your vehicle; then, you place boards in the bed of the trailer along with rollers. Finally, you push the Piano up onto the rollers and use straps to hold it in place. The other way is to have a small utility trailer that attaches directly to your vehicle. This works for smaller pianos too, but if you’re transporting a large upright or an old piano with little structural integrity, it’s better to use the pickup-bed method.
- Moving a Grand Piano: Moving a grand piano is a little more complicated. The best way to do this is using the skid board method, which involves a long piece of plywood on wheels that supports the instrument as you move it. This means no stairs and less strain on your back. You secure this long wooden board to the Piano’s bottom with straps and then push it wherever you want. If the Grand Piano doesn’t fit on a board, you can try using a special net that attaches to the bottom of grand pianos and makes them lighter. Just make sure everyone is ready before lifting the instrument, so no one gets injured during the moving process.
7. First, load the Piano in the truck and ensure that it is securely tied down
Even if you’re moving the Piano in a truck and it isn’t going far, take the time to secure it. You don’t want to make sharp turns or stop suddenly and have the Piano fall. Secure the instrument with rope, straps, ratchet straps, or chains. If the Piano is coming in a truck making stops, use straps with hooks to secure it while it’s on the open road.
8. Re-tune the Piano shortly after the move
Once the Piano reaches its destination, it is essential to get some advice from a piano technician or tuner. The effects of moving will be different for each Piano, but most likely, it has lost its tuning. Tuning the Piano correctly should only take an hour or so and will make it sound much better.
Don’ts of Moving a Piano
The most basic thing you should avoid while moving a piano is never to use your back to lift a piano. It is very easy to strain or break your back when moving an upright piano. You can hurt yourself by lifting the instrument with brute strength instead of using proper technique, so be careful and don’t attempt it without help. Here are a few other things that one must avoid while moving a piano.
1. Do not forget that Pianos are heavy
How do you figure out how much the Piano weighs, since that weight guides the strategy you’ll use for the move as you navigate tight passageways, corners, doors, and, maybe worst of all, stairs?
When it comes to pianos, the weight can vary by model. Grand pianos could weigh as much as 1,400 pounds or as little a 500 pounds, and uprights in the height of fewer than 48 inches often are 300 pounds, while those over that measurement range at least 800 pounds.
Following is the list of most popular brands of Pianos based on their type (Grand & Uprights).
Grand / Baby Grand:
- Steinway Model S: 540 Pounds
- Young Chang Y185: 671 Pounds
- Yamaha C3 Studio: 705 Pounds
- Steinway & Sons Model B: 760 Pounds
- Steinway Model D Concert Grand Piano: 990 Pounds
- Mason & Hamlin Artist Grand Piano BB: 1,090 Pounds
- Mason & Hamlin CC: 1,399 Pounds
- Steinway & Sons Model 1098: 480 Pounds
- Yamaha P22: 490 Pounds
- Young Chang 121: 496 Pounds
- Kawai K300: 500 Pounds
- Baldwin BH-122: 542 Pounds
- Bösendorfer 130: 582 Pounds
- Steinway & Sons Model K-52: 600 Pounds
Also, here is the list of the most common types of Pianos:
- Petite Grand, 4’5″ to 4’10” H x 5’6″L, 400-599 lbs.
- Baby Grand, 5′ H x 5’6″ L, 400-500 lbs.
- Medium Grand, 5’6″ to 5’9″ H x 5’11” L, 600 lbs.
- Parlor Grand, 5’9″ to 6’1″ H x 6’2″ L, 600-700 lbs.
- Concert Grand, 61″ H x 811″ L, 900-1200 lbs.
- Spinet Upright, 3 Hx4’10” L, 200-300 lbs.
- Console Upright, 34″ to 37 H x 4’10” L, 200-300 lbs.
- Studio Upright 4’HX3’9″ L, 400-500 lbs.
- Full-Size or Professional Upright, 3’6″ to 44″ H x 5’L, 600-800 lbs.
- Digital Upright, 3 H x 4’10” L, 100-300 lbs.
2. Do not hesitate to ask for help
Pianos are heavy, and moving them is a challenging proposition. If you aren’t sure how to move one safely, ask for help from friends or hire reputed piano movers who can do the job right. Do not attempt a “Do It Yourself” move unless you have experience in moving pianos AND equipment capable of handling the instrument’s weight.
This is one move where you shouldn’t be trying to save money by doing it yourself. Piano moving can be dangerous if you don’t have the right equipment or experience for the job. Don’t risk injury, damage to your property, loss, or damage to your Piano.
See also: 23 Questions to Ask Your Piano Movers
3. Don’t try to lift the Piano without Equipment
To adequately protect your Piano while moving, it is highly advised to use a sturdy four-wheel dolly and designated straps. Examine these details carefully before you move the furniture. Following is the list of Piano Moving Equipment that you will need when moving your Piano.
- Piano Dollies: Piano dollies are special dollies that have four wheels and rubber on the wheels, so they do not damage floors.
- Strapping: Keep the Piano on a dolly or piano board by attaching straps. You will need to use locking straps or straps with ratchets to tighten and secure them. In addition, you should also get a “hump strap” for lifting pianos when going upstairs.
- Piano board/Skid board: A piano skid board is a flat piece of wood with four legs to keep the piano level and steady during transport. You must place the Piano on a solid surface when you pick it up for moving so that it doesn’t tip or shift during transit. It would help if you also had a piano dolly for moving the Piano.
- Movers pads or blankets: Blankets or pads will help you protect your floor from scratches and damage.
- Shoulder harness or belt: This strap system will help you move heavy items. You can use your arms and legs to carry heavy things. This will not enable you to lift more weight, but it will prevent injuries from lifting.
4. Don’t rely on your Piano’s casters
Some pianos have casters that roll easily but aren’t designed to support the Piano’s weight. They are better for moving a piano across short distances or over flat surfaces. Also, be sure to secure your Piano properly with a dolly if you do use them, so it doesn’t move around while you’re moving the Piano.
5. Don’t move too fast
Slow down when you move a piano. Speed may seem like the best way to save time, but it won’t be easy to lift the Piano from one location to another with any precision or control if you are going too fast. Pushing or pulling a loaded dolly too fast can tip your load and cause major injury.
Step-by-Step Guide to Moving an Upright Piano
- Place the Piano on a large, flat surface. A carpeted room is the ideal place because it can reduce potential risks of slipping.
- Open all of the cabinet doors and shelves and remove any items that are in the way. Ensure that there’s nothing in front, behind, or under the Piano that could get knocked over or damaged when it’s being moved, such as lamps or furniture.
- Tape down the pedal that operates the mechanism that lifts and lowers the keyboard cover to prevent it from opening up during transit.
- Push buttons on the control panel to lower back legs and raise the top half of the Piano until it is upright, making sure both halves are touching each other squarely at their joints.
- Place shipping blankets over the back and front of the Piano to protect it from any damage or scratches. Attach straps to hold blankets in place during transit, ensuring that they are securely fastened over each half of the Piano so it won’t move around on top of a dolly or moving van. Using at least two people is also recommended for moving an Upright Piano.
Step-by-Step Guide to Moving a Grand Piano
- Using a dolly, roll it from its current location to the entry room (if possible). If you cannot do so, place it on a flat surface where it is currently located.
- Open the cabinet doors and shelves and remove anything that could get in your way during transit. The keyboard cover should already be opened up on this type of Piano, which makes rolling easier than an upright model.
- Lift the front half of the grand Piano off the floor by pushing control panel buttons until the bottom case rests on top of a dolly or hand truck. Keep track of any loose items stored inside cabinets; if they fall out during transport, they could damage the instrument or cause injury to you or someone else nearby, such as small children.
- If there are any wires from the action or damper underneath the Piano, tie them up with string to avoid damage during transit so you can reconnect them later once it is safely in its new location. Take a picture of their positions beforehand for reference if necessary.
- Once upright, place the back legs onto a dolly and secure both halves of the Piano together with straps from soft blankets over each half to prevent scratches and movement while on your way to its destination. Attach all loose objects inside cabinets before pushing this heavy piece of furniture into the hallway or elevator for final transport to its new location.
If you want to move your Piano, there are two ways. One is to hire a professional mover who will charge anywhere from $200-1,200. The other option is for you and a friend or family member to move the piano yourselves. That will cost less money but also has the risk of being unsafe. If you are looking to move your Piano, it is best done with a specialist. Movers will put great care into properly transporting the instrument and minimize the risk of damage and injury.
It is cheaper to do it yourself, no doubt. But there is a risk that something might get damaged or someone may get hurt — especially if you don’t have all the right equipment. It might be best to take advantage of those with previous experience. They will save you time and money; just in case something goes wrong during the move.
See also: How Much Does it Cost to Move a Piano
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you move a piano by yourself?
If you are not a professional mover, there is a high risk of injury when moving any large or heavy item. 75% of back injuries occur when moving the wrong way to move out furniture. Pianos can be more dangerous than usual because it is rather difficult and risky for one person to carry the Piano.
See also: Piano Moving – The Do’s and Don’ts
What is the best way to move a piano?
If you are moving a piano, you should always be sure to use wheel dollies with the help of lots of padding and blankets. This will ensure that your floors do not get scratched or damaged during transport while also ensuring that the Piano is kept on its level position throughout the move.
Does moving a piano damage it?
You should expect the Piano to experience some wear and tear during the move. Even with proper handling, some minor damage may occur; however, this is unlikely if the mover or delivery service is experienced and professional.
It’s also important to note that moving a piano isn’t exactly cheap. If you’re considering it yourself, be prepared for the possibility that you may have to spend more than you originally planned. If a piano is moved improperly, it’s likely to sustain significant damage during transport. It can also be damaged by improper packaging and handling along the way. If this happens, there may be no recourse for repair or compensation.
Is it expensive to move a piano?
Piano moving is a professional job. A lot of strength and experience are required to move a piano without causing any damage to it or nearby objects since it can be quite heavy. Since pianos are very expensive, the cost associated with hiring someone to move them for you is not much more than the cost of doing it yourself.
Can you move a piano in a pickup truck?
If you have no other option, yes, you can try moving a piano in your truck. However, it will be very difficult and dangerous for you to do it on your own. It is suggested that the best way to move a piano – even if only a few blocks away – will always be hiring professionals to do it for you.
What is the heaviest part of a piano?
The heaviest parts of a piano are the piano frame and the strings. The frame is rather heavy, plus a lot of additional attachments are attached to it. For example, the keyboard cover, legs, and hinges keep the Piano in place on top of its stand.
See also: Piano Moving Checklist | How to Move a Piano Across the Room Safely?