Pianos are extraordinarily complicated objects. A single, typical piano has over 12,000 parts. 10,000 of those parts are moving. They contain 230 different delicate strings attached to different weights and keys. Even the smallest, upright pianos could weigh between three and four hundred pounds. Larger pianos may weigh up to eight hundred pounds. Grand pianos can even heavier than that! Between their complexity, their delicacy, and their weight, pianos are one of the hardest things to move.
Our first recommendation when it comes to moving an object this simultaneously heavy and delicate is to call a professional. If you can’t call a professional, however, follow these steps when you have to move your piano. If you take your time and follow each step carefully, you should be able to move your piano without damaging it:
First, take measurements.
Once you start moving your piano, you're not going to want to stop. That's why taking initial measurements is so important. You want to measure the piano itself as well as the path you'll be transporting it. That includes hallways, stairwells, corners, door frames, and the piano itself. The last thing you want when moving something as heavy as a piano is getting it stuck somewhere you can't get it out of.
Get the supplies you'll need to move your piano.
Moving a piano isn't as simple as picking it up and setting it down somewhere else. Because it's so heavy and complex, it's easy to damage. For these same reasons, it's just as easy for you to be damaged while moving it. You need specific supplies to ensure both you and the instrument stay safe during the move. Pick up work gloves, duct tape, dense blankets, a four-wheel dolly with straps, and a ramp before you start.
Clear everything out of the way.
You've already made your measurements, and now you want to make sure the move itself is as easy as possible. Move anything that could even possibly be in the way, including rugs or other floor coverings. If you’re worried that the floor you have to walk over could be slippery, but something over it. You should also keep pets and children away from the moving area until you’re finished. It might be difficult for your movers to see while they’re carrying the piano, and you don’t want them to trip!
Gather your helpers and wrap the piano.
You’ll need at least four people to move a piano effectively. If you can enlist more than four movers, you should. At the very least, you’ll need a couple of people to lift the piano and to guide the lifters. It would also help to have a few more movers around to help your lifters avoid bumping into walls and doors. Everyone helping out should switch positions when the lifters get tired. Lifting a piano is hard work!
After you’ve assembled your moving team, you’ll have to wrap up the piano. Have everyone help you wrap the piano up in blankets or plastic as securely as possible. The better you wrap the piano, the better you’ll be able to protect it from scratching. When you’re finally done with all of this prep work, then it’s time for...
The actual moving.
The process is a little different depending on if you’re moving an upright piano or a grand piano.
- If you’re moving an upright piano… Wrap the lid over the keyboard and secure it with tape. You don't the lid to open when you move it. Wrap the pedals with cloth and secure them with tape. Hoist it onto the dolly using weightlifting straps, center it, and secure it with additional straps or rope. Have the people on either side hold the piano in place as you use the dolly to move it. Move slowly and comfortably, especially as you roll up the ramp as you enter the truck or van.
- If you’re moving a grand piano… The first thing you need to do is lower the lid and secure it with tape. You'll then need to use a screwdriver to disassemble the pedals and legs, detaching them from the piano. Your helpers will need to help stabilize the body to keep it from falling once the legs are removed. After you’ve disassembled the pedals and legs, you’ll be able to wrap the grand the same way you could an upright piano. Wrap the piano and move it using your dolly. Wrap, secure, and move the legs and pedals separately. Grand pianos are very heavy, so make sure you take your time.
If your family has a beloved piano that you want to hold onto but don’t have room for, there’s another solution: a storage unit. Climate-controlled storage units are especially good for sensitive instruments like pianos. Climate-controlled storage maintains the cool, dry temperatures required to keep your piano from warping.
Storage Direct offers customizable unit offerings to fit your piano, whether it’s an upright, grand, or somewhere in between. Whatever your storage needs--piano or otherwise--we have you covered.