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How to Move a Piano – Basic Steps and Tips

How to Move a Piano - Basic Steps and Tips

If you are among the music lovers lucky enough to have this amazing instrument in their home and are currently in the process of moving, you are probably wondering how to move a piano? The job seems simple enough, and the idea of saving money by doing it yourself and not hiring professional movers is appealing to most. However, do not be fooled by this common misconception. Ask anyone who has had experience in transporting one, and they can tell you that it is no easy task.

Moving these instruments can become incredibly complex, and depending on the model and weight, different approaches are recommended. In fact, the process can be so delicate that many companies charge a special price for it. Though these prices might seem like much, we recommend entrusting such a valuable possession to professionals to avoid possible complications or damages.

Steps to Get Prepared

If only it were as simple as picking it up and carrying it out of the home and straight to the truck. Transporting these great instruments requires some preparation and forethought. You have to prep the right materials and adjust the environment around you before even moving on to the heavy lifting.

Get the Right Moving Supplies

No matter the type of model you have, you will need special tools for the relocation. They are pretty heavy instruments. The lighter ones weigh around 300 pounds, and the heavier ones can go up to 1000 or more pounds. Relying on muscle to carry this amount of weight is never a good idea, which is why there are special tools for the job. There are special four-wheel piano dollies that can support the weight and allow for easier guidance. Apart from dollies, you will need straps or rope to secure them and enough moving blankets. They will protect what you are moving, but also the surrounding environment.

Dress for the Job

There is a reason no mover shows up in tight jeans or a suit to handle a move. It’s just not practical. The attire you wear has to be comfortable. Going too tight or too loose can cause problems. Tight clothing will limit your range of motion during lifting and maneuvering, while loose clothing can get stuck when going through tight spots. 

Dressing comfortably also means getting the appropriate footwear. Shoes need to be able to provide grip both outside the home and outside. Once you are dressed for the job, remove any accessories on you. These include watches, necklaces, or bracelets. Guiding large pianos through some narrow spaces can get tricky, and getting something caught in such spaces is not a good idea.

Clear the Path

Clear the path from the starting point to the truck. This includes clearing the home of any furniture or pictures and mirrors to avoid damage. Remove any rugs, since they can be a problem for the wheels or even cause a mover to trip. Once the obstacles have been cleared, open all the doors. You will want every doorway open and secured in place, to easily go through them. If you have any stairs in residence, double-check that they can bear the weight of such an object. If your stairs are old and not stable, best not attempt to carry heavy objects down them on your own. Get the help of movers, since they will know what to do. However, if your stairs are good, move on to setting up ramps. You will need ramps for the stairs and the truck. Stair ramps can be rented from professional movers.

Measure Twice Move Once

Get the proper measurements for the move. Know the height and width of the instrument and the dimensions of areas it will be passing through. These include doorways, hallways, and stairs. You want to know how much room there is for maneuvering, and if going through certain areas will be a problem.

Get the Right Amount of Muscle

As previously stated, moving is not all about muscle. However, you will still require some power to get it done. Aim for a minimum of four strong and capable individuals to assist you. By capable, we mean people who have no prior injuries and are in shape. Once you have assembled a crew that can get the job done, you can tackle the heavy lifting. Work together as a team and follow safety precautions. These include lifting with your legs and avoiding too much strain. Communicate so that all lifting is coordinated and no member is doing most of the work.

Tips on How to Move a Piano

Depending on the type you have, you will approach the move differently. We have put together tips for both grand pianos and upright pianos. Follow the steps, and your instrument should be secure.

Tips for Upright Pianos

When it comes to these models, you want to start by making sure that the keys and pedals are protected. The keys are secured by covering them with a blanket and by placing the lid over them. The lid should be locked into place if possible, if not use tape that will not damage the surface of the instrument. To move the piano, center the dolly an inch or two in front of the instrument. Have a mover on either side ready to pick it up. Avoid grabbing the legs, since they are not meant for moving and can easily snap. These types usually have handles on the back. 

The job is best done with three people. Place one hand on the handles and the other underneath the keyboard. This allows for a good grip and will enable you to lift it easily. Lift it just enough to fit on the dolly, and while two people lift from either side, one person will stay in front to support and position it. Place the piano onto it and strap it in. To secure it onto a dolly, start by putting the straps underneath the board and then over the top of the instrument. Once that is done, tighten at the back. Upright piano

Tips for Grand Pianos

These models require a different approach and a little more disassembly. The first thing you should do is ensure the top lid is lowered and secured in place. Place blankets inside and over the lid to make sure there is no damage. Once that is done, it is time to remove the legs and pedals if possible. Once these are removed, you will need to place them in their padded blankets to make sure they are not damaged during transport. When it is disassembled, you want to tilt it onto the dolly. Once it is on its side and in the center of the board, secure it into place with straps to make sure it does not fall over during the move.Grand piano

Maneuvering the Instrument Step by Step

Once the instrument is on the dolly, it is time to get it to the truck. A good way to organize this part of the process is to have one person at the front, leading it. Another person should be in the back, to push when necessary. It is also a good idea to have an individual at the front of the piano, to assist if additional help is required. By this point, you should have a clear path to the machine. Guide the instrument through the rooms and carefully move through hallways and tight spaces. Having a person on the sidelines giving instructions is a good way to avoid damage. When going up or down the stairs, there should always be two people at the bottom end, supporting the weight. One person should be on top guiding it. Steep surfaces should always be tackled slowly since rushing is a recipe for disaster.

Getting a Piano onto the Truck

Using the rule of two at the bottom and one at the top, guide the instrument up to the ramp and onto the truck. Once you are there, strap it in the back of the vehicle. You want to make sure that it cannot move around to prevent damage to it and the surrounding objects. Secure it in place and drive it to the destination.Moving truck with a ramp

Cost of Hiring Professional Moving Experts

The cost of this service varies from company to company. Not only that, but the price also depends on the complexity of the job. If there are a lot of stairs, narrow spaces, and challenging obstacles, rates can be higher. A good way to get an estimate is to contact a couple of companies and see how much they quote the service. Some companies have a fixed fee for pianos, other price it by difficulty. Get a few references and pick a company that is suitable for the job.

However, if that is not a possibility, due to your moving budget or you are just committed to handling the move on your own, it is best to have a plan of action. There are a few rules you should follow and some things to keep in mind to ensure the relocation goes smoothly. Following these steps and getting proper helping hands will enable you to carry out such a complicated move

Find out the cost


If you feel you are not up to the job for any reason, it is a good idea to hire professional movers. A moving company with experience in handling pianos might seem like an expense, but it will ensure your prized possession does not get damaged during the relocation. East Coast West Coast movers have experience in handling all sorts of moves and are sure to help you. Contact us, and our customer care team will be able to provide you with any additional information and even offer you a free quote for our services.