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Blog July 9, 2021

How to Move a Piano by Yourself

Posted in Moving Day Tips
Steven Rogers

Apart from sharing Captain America's name, our freelance writer Steven is also a big fan of moving, history, and geography.

If you are wondering how to move a piano, the first thing that you should know is that it’s not an easy task. Usually, we don’t worry as much about handling furniture or other sturdy possessions. Still, when it comes to precious items, especially those heavy and sensitive, such as artwork or large instruments, we get worried.

Whether you’re a pianist or the instrument is a relic from your youth or family, the goal is the same: to protect it, move it safely, and without damage to the instrument, yourself, or the home.

Can You Move a Piano by Yourself?

The short answer is yes. There are many manuals and videos on how to do it. But it might not be the best idea. The testimony to that is the existence of many specialized movers of pianos worldwide.

If you want to save some money by doing it yourself, be very careful. Even though there are brave individuals out there who have managed to successfully move on their own, they would probably advise you not to try it.

Make sure you have at least two to five persons to help you, depending on whether you are handling an upright or a large grand piano. Techniques are also very different for each type. The second thing on the checklist is securing, padding, and wrapping to protect the instrument. For that, you will need the right packing supplies.

Essential Supplies You Need for Piano Moving

Getting organized to move starts with gathering all the right supplies. In this case, you’ll need certain packing materials for moving and equipment. That can be quite an expense, but it is possible to find some cheap moving supplies if you put in some effort. If any of your friends have moved recently, ask them if they have leftover materials. Alternatively, you could check out the local grocery stores for some boxes or browse websites such as Freecycle.

First of all, get some strong straps to secure the instrument and to have a good hold of it. Any parts that move, such as the keyboard cover, should be fastened with straps and not tape to avoid damage to the wood finish. To protect the wood from scratches, get some padding blankets that will prevent different parts from bumping into each other during the move.

You should also make sure you have plastic wrap to protect the instrument properly. If you have to remove some parts before transport, prepare a toolbox. In the end, the piece of equipment that is essential is the furniture dolly or the skid board, depending on the type of piano.

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Moving an Upright Piano

How to move an upright piano? This is, in general, a more straightforward job. Besides protecting it, the main task is to put it on a furniture dolly, and even without much securing, you can move it to a truck. But keep in mind that even a smaller object can cause severe injuries if it falls on you.

There are some interesting techniques that you can use to avoid heavy lifting and spare your back. Here is an example of one, using a basketball and bicycle pump:

YouTube video

Don’t Move a Grand Piano On Your Own

Moving large items is always a complicated job. It’s usually smarter to get help from professional movers when moving a grand piano, as it is riskier and the instrument is quite expensive. If you decide to do it yourself, you will need four to five people to assist you.

As before, start by padding the instrument with blankets so the collisions would be reduced to a minimum. Clashing of different parts is neither good for the walls outside nor for the internal mechanism. The key slip, the lid, and everything else should be padded and later wrapped.

Can you put a piano on its side to move it? Yes, you should turn it to a vertical position. First, you remove the leg that is on the side that is not curved. Then you lift the whole piano and put it to sit vertically on a skid board on that same side. This is the most dangerous moment when you need the most manpower and careful calculations of balance, so having experienced people around you would be the best. If you manage to do this, the final step is to remove the rest of the legs and pedals and secure everything with straps. Legs and pedals should also be carefully wrapped in blankets.

Disassemble and wrap grand pianos

Terrain and Space

An important thing to remember when having to move bulky, heavy, but fragile items is the fact that you should be aware not only of the object you’re relocating but also of your immediate surroundings. You should know in advance where the instrument won’t fit and how to maneuver it around tricky corners.

Measure and Clear the Space

One of the most important things to do before moving is measure everything – the instrument, the doors, the hallways from the room to the truck, and your destination, especially if you’re moving to a smaller home, so you can assure everything will fit. Also, clearing the way through the home and street to the truck will be necessary.

When It Comes to Stairs, You Need a Strategy

If the terrain is more or less even, putting the instrument on a dolly is all you have to do. Stairs, however, can cause problems. If you decide not to get professional interstate moving services, you have a demanding task ahead of you. With simple, straight stairs and a lighter load, you might master it on your own. You will have to do a lot of heavy-lifting and deal with many stairs, use ramps, or perhaps even move it through a window using a crane or a forklift. Once loaded onto the truck, the piano has to be placed against one or more walls and secured and fixed to them. That way, you will avoid any accidents during transport.

stairs In some cases, carrying a heavy object down a flight of stairs is more dangerous than hoisting it through a window with a crane.

The Best Way to Move a Piano is With Professional Help

So what is the easiest way to move a piano? The complexity of the task is definitely one of the good reasons to hire a moving company. Not only do they have far more experience, but they also have all the necessary tools and equipment that can cost you the same as hiring a relocation company. Cross-country movers offer you insurance, which you don’t have if you do it on your own. They will provide a packing service, wrap your belongings, secure them, and use their experience to tackle all challenges that could seem too overwhelming for you. With their help, you can have a stress-free moving experience.

Moving a piano yourself is not necessary when you have reliable state-to-state movers that know how to move a grand piano. Moving across the country could be a risk, but the right long-distance movers will know how to pack sculptures and have experience in packing fragile items for a safe trip. How much does it cost to move a piano? Contact your chosen mover and request a free quote.

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