The Piano Move

Moving a piano is a huge task for you and your friends and it is also a huge task for the professional. What’s the difference, the pro’s do it all the time and have the tools and the know-how for all the different situations a home or business or apartment can throw at them with stairs and angles and other furniture and walls etc. This is why we constantly speak about this matter because it so important that your piano arrives in one piece.

We are constantly hearing stories of people who wished they hadn’t tried to move there piano by themselves. And the story never ends well, and we have spoken about the why’s of this exact situation over and over and we still recomend hiring professional movers for such a task. Now that you have taken us up on our suggestion of hiring the pro to do the pro work, what about after the move? We get this question often and here some pro’s in the field explain it better than we can. But remember if you’re still thinking of moving a piano with the DIY thoughts go to youtube.com and keyword piano moving, and piano moving falls and you may give it a second thought.

Do you need to have your piano tuned after it is moved?

It depends. The piano is a complex instrument, with over 200 individual strings and thousands of moving parts. Each string must be painstakingly adjusted to put the piano in tune. Even the tiniest change in a string’s tension can be heard by a practiced ear.

You might think, then, that trucking a piano down the highway or even rolling it down a hall could “knock it out of tune.” However, pianos are actually quite tough. They’re built to withstand up to 20 tons of string tension and decades of heavy usage, so the physical movement of a piano usually has very little effect on its tuning or other adjustments.

It’s the climate change associated with the move, rather than the actual move itself, that makes pianos go out of tune. A substantial difference in humidity between its previous location and its new home will change the shape of the piano’s soundboard, changing tension on the strings.

For instance, a well-tuned piano moved fifty miles from a heated, dry apartment to a cool, humid home will sound fine immediately after the move. But a week later, after adjusting to the higher humidity, the piano will sound out of tune. Even moving a piano from one room to another in the same building can affect it if heating or air-conditioning patterns are different.

An exception is the vertical piano. Because they have four legs (grands have three), they occasionally flex enough to distort their tuning pattern immediately if moved to an uneven floor. Moving the piano back to a flat surface will return the tuning to normal. This is most noticeable with lightly built spinets and consoles and can occur simply by moving the piano a few inches if one caster rolls off the carpeting or into a low spot on the floor.

So, do you have to tune your piano after moving it? Pianos need periodic tuning anyway, whether they are moved or not, so it’s likely that a piano that has just been moved was already due for tuning before the move. If so, it’s best to let the piano adjust to its new environment for a week or two, then have it tuned. On the other hand, if the piano had been recently tuned before the move, you might just hold off and see how the piano sounds after a few weeks. If the climate of the new location is similar to the old, your piano will probably sound fine until its next regular service date. This excerpt was from the daily tips provided by the Piano Technicians Guild.