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Moving a Piano

Moving a Piano

First suggestion is, get a professional:


The smallest grand piano starts at 54 inches long (which is equivalent to a 54 inch high upright) with a weight of 5 – 600 lbs.

Grand pianos can extend out to 108 inches long for a 9′ concert grand topping out at 1000-1200 lbs.

Large upright pianos are quite heavy. The biggest uprights have very high backs.

Their height tops out at 60 inches with each of their weight hitting 800+ lbs.

There are smaller uprights, however they too need to be handled with special care for them to be in the same playing shape as before the move as is all piano’s, and of course to avoid all contact that can scratch or damage the outside finish.

Will the piano need tuning after it is moved?

Even if a piano is moved a short distance, and done so very carefully, it may need tuning. The important thing to consider is the change in environment that occurs when a piano is moved. Certainly, if the move is from one city to another, or across town, the new environment with its unique level of temperature and humidity ranges will affect the piano’s tuning. By the way, it is best to let a piano “sit” for at least a month in a new location before it is tuned, to allow it to adjust to the new environment.

Here are some methods a professional would use in transporting and handling a piano for a move. Not suggested for the inexperienced piano mover.

Not only are pianos heavier than you probably think – but also the weight distribution is uneven. They are difficult objects to move safely.

The piano is transported to the truck using a dolly – that is a flat trolley with big strong castors. We suggest never using or depending on any caster (wheels) on the piano if any for they get old rusty dirt in them and don’t move evenly or well at all and can affect the move. For a grand piano, the legs get removed and the piano is balanced on its side. Uprights are generally moved whole.

The piano is secured to the dolly with a locking strap, and a second strap known as a “hump strap” is used to pull, lift and steer from the front. Sometimes a “skid board” is used to protect the bottom of the piano from the ground.

Professional movers have rehearsed techniques for lifting the piano on and off the dolly, balancing it properly, and negotiating one or two steps. For longer flights of stairs, the piano is taken off the dolly, and lifted down.

For transportation in the truck, the piano is taken off the dolly, wrapped in padding, and strapped firmly to the side of the truck — removals trucks have fixtures in their walls, for straps. The front of an upright goes against the truck wall. The top of a grand goes against the wall. That is because against the wall is the most protected area — if something else goes flying inside the truck, it’s more likely to scratch the back of the upright or the bottom of the grand.

As you can see, professionals take advantage of professional equipment — a dolly made for the purpose; a truck specially equipped for furniture removals. Improvising with other equipment is very risky – you don’t want to wind up under a piano.

Second suggestion is, get a professional to do this:

Remember the value, not only in dollars, but also your emotional attachment to your beautiful piano, don’t ruin it by trying to move it yourself and for your safety also.