A piano is a beautiful instrument, but moving it can be tricky. Whether you’re calling professional movers or doing the job yourself, there are certain steps you need to follow.
This article will look into the proper methods for moving a piano safely so you don’t damage yourself or the instrument.
What Equipment Do I Need to Move a Piano?
Unless it’s a very small piano, you’ll need a partner or a group of helpers to move your piano safely. Trying to move it by yourself can risk injuries to you and damage to the instrument.
Recommended supplies for moving include:
- Plenty of moving Blankets
- Piano Dolly or Hand Truck – Larger pianos may require heavier duty equipment
- Lifting straps and Tie-Down straps
- Packing Tape
- For extra security, you can also invest in cling-wrap or packing plastic.
- Work Gloves to protect hands.
Some experts recommend a tool kit if your piano can be partially disassembled. Certain models can have the legs and base removed to make transport easier.
Others say you may want casters for the legs rather than a dolly. It depends on the configuration of your piano and the potential obstacles you may encounter.
How Do I Prepare to Move My Piano?
If your piano can be disassembled, this should be the first step.
- Lay out blankets on the floor
- Close the lid if it isn’t closed already. Latch or tape to prevent opening
- Carefully tip the piano over onto one side.
- Detach legs and base
- Wrap and prep individual parts for transportation
Once that’s done, or if your piano can’t be taken apart, move on to the next steps.
Make sure the lid and cover are securely closed. Tape them down if necessary.
Wrap your piano securely in moving blankets. If the legs and base are still attached, they should each be wrapped in individual blankets.
Secure the blankets snugly with tie-down straps, tape, or cling-wrap.
Make sure there is no section of the piano left unprotected and that all coverings are firmly secured to the instrument.
Attach the lifting straps in appropriate places. How they are attached will depend on how you plan to transport the piano.
Once that is done, prepare the route you plan to move your piano along.
Preparing the Route:
Double check to make sure you’ve done all of the following:
- Removed all obstacles it is possible to remove.
- Covered any hard surface floors with protective coverings as added insurance against accidents
- Check to make sure you have all the moving equipment you need
- Make a note of any difficult spots, such as doors, corners, and stairs, that you will need to maneuver around.
Where Do I Start When Moving My Piano?
The first steps will involve shifting it onto the transport vehicle. Whether that is casters, a piano dolly, or a handtruck, you’ll need to make sure your piano is firmly settled.
Some professionals may recommend using tie-down straps to secure the piano to the vehicle. However, that only works if you’re not planning on shifting the piano around during transit.
It won’t work in situations where you might need to tilt or rotate the piano.
Should I Tip My Piano Onto the Side to Move It?
Many movers recommend tipping your piano onto one side. For many models, this makes the profile narrower and can help with fitting your piano through doorways.
A downside, however, is that it may make the legs and the base more vulnerable.
General Rule of Thumb:
Vertical Pianos are more likely to have bases and legs that can’t be detached.
Shorter models can be tipped onto a narrow side to be moved, but taller frames will probably work better-staying level.
Measure width versus height to see which profile is smaller before you start.
Horizontal Pianos, such as most grand pianos, often have detachable legs. Tipping them on one side during a move decreases the profile and makes transport easier.
Smaller horizontal pianos shouldn’t cause many difficulties.
You’ll need to be careful if you’re moving one of the larger types of pianos, and make sure they aren’t taller than your doorways when they’re tipped on a side and set on a transport vehicle.
With any type of piano, the best surfaces to lay against the ground or transport vehicle are the sides. These are the flattest and steadiest sections.
What is the Best Procedure for Actually Moving My Piano?
Once it’s firmly settled on the transport medium, you’re ready to begin moving your piano.
Ideally, at minimum, you need one person on either side of the transport medium to support and balance the piano as you move.
Make sure everyone involved has a good grip before you begin moving. You don’t necessarily need to rush.
If you anticipate turning a lot of corners or dealing with stairs, you should try to enlist additional hands and eyes to provide guidance and support.
Take it slow, and make sure to communicate with each other.
What Should I Do In a Narrow Space?
In a narrow space, you may not be able to stand on either side of the transport.
In this case, you should transition to the front and back of the transport. This gives you a narrower surface to brace, so be cautious.
You may want to use lifting straps for extra stability and side support if you need to do this.
The size of the piano will determine who should take the lead and determine the direction.
If the piano is too tall to easily see over, the front-end person should lead. If the piano is shorter, the person on the back end can take the lead and give the directions.
You’re likely going to need this arrangement for going through doors, so be prepared.
What Should I Do When Turning Corners?
Turning corners when moving a piano is essentially establishing a set of pivot points and rotating around them.
Start getting in position as early as you can.
Make sure you take measurements to be sure you can maneuver in the space.
Plan your angles and make transitions accordingly.
The tighter the corner, the more difficult it will be, so double-check the route for any areas that might prove an issue.
Depending on the angle and width, you may need to be prepared to shift positions and grips for better leverage.
What Should I Do About Stairs?
Stairs can be particularly tricky to handle especially if it involves a longer staircase.
This is a place where lifting straps can be absolutely essential to the moving process. And extra hands don’t hurt, either.
Unless it’s a very wide staircase, you’ll probably need to move to the front and back edges for the descent or ascent.
If possible, you want two people on the descending side. The descending side is holding most of the weight, and even at an incline, that can be difficult.
Lifting straps can help the higher person take some of the weight, but the primary job of the person in the high side is control.
Unless your transport vehicle has handles you can use for control, many experts recommend removing it from the equation when going up or down stairs.
Instead, the piano should be lifted free and the transport platform moved to the destination.
Once you have the piano situated and your people in place, start a slow, controlled tilt onto the first step.
This is usually the hardest step since, if you aren’t careful, the piano can go into an uncontrolled tilt or fall. In most circumstances, this step is far more difficult going down than up, so prepare accordingly.
What Should I Do When Loading My Piano?
Once you’ve got your piano safely to the moving vehicle, make sure none of the paddings has come undone. Redo the blankets if you need to.
Load it against a wall or something soft like a sofa if you can.
Make sure it won’t move around much during the drive. Tie-Down straps can secure it to the wall.
You may want to surround it with other materials for protection, but avoid hard objects, like a fridge.
What Should I Know About Unloading My Piano at the Destination?
Follow the same rules as you did when you were loading it.
Clear obstacles, set it securely on the transport platform, and use teamwork to get it from the truck to the destination.
Once you have it where you want it, set it back in an upright position. Then you can unwrap it and make sure everything is in good shape.
If you’ve detached parts, you’ll need to unwrap it and put it back together before you stand it up.
Once it’s set up, you may want to have it tuned. Then you’re ready to play!