Saying that moving a piano is difficult and dangerous doesn’t only sound like stating the obvious – it is also a gross understatement. In reality, only the people who have actual piano moving experience know the true nature of the mammoth challenge ahead.
Moving a piano long distance or even locally is never a joke, even for professional piano movers who do this on a daily basis. There are several excellent reasons why any piano moving instances are better left for experienced professionals who know exactly what they are doing.
- Extraordinary weight: small upright pianos (spinet pianos) can weigh between 300-400 lbs., big uprights go from 500 lbs. up to 800 lbs., while grand pianos can weigh up to 1200 lbs., or even more.
- Awkward bulkiness: the smallest types of pianos are usually 58 inches long and 3 feet in height, while grand pianos, especially concert grand pianos – the largest type among them all – can reach the whopping 9 feet in width.
- Masked fragility: despite their sturdy look and feel, pianos are very delicate musical instruments which can be damaged too easily. The complicated innards of a piano consist of finely-tuned felt hammers, strings, pedals, keys and other complex mechanisms.
Despite the genuine risks of damaging your precious instrument, damaging your property or worse – sustaining a personal injury, the tough task of moving a piano without movers is still feasible provided that all safety steps are taken before the operation.
So, if you’re really interested in how to move a piano by yourself for one reason or another, here are the major steps to turn the mission impossible into a mission possible.
Step 1: Assemble your piano moving team
Our tips on how to move a piano start with the very first requirement – helpers. You can’t possibly move a piano alone, so reach out to your good friends and keep your fingers crossed that at least 3 of them will answer your call for help. Keep in mind that the minimum number of helping hands when moving a piano by yourself is 8, that is 4 people. Even if your buddies are not fitness aficionados, the piano moving task can still be done if the right steps are followed.
All non-professional movers and helpers need to be dressed suitably. Make sure everybody wears comfortable non-baggy clothes and closed shoes with excellent traction and protection for the feet.
Step 2: Obtain the required moving equipment
So far, so good. You have the help you will need to move a piano by yourself, but now it’s time to get hold of some must-have moving equipment as well.
- A moving dolly: attempting to move a piano yourself without the invaluable assistance of a furniture dolly reads like the script of a sci-fi film. Prepare at least one four-wheeled dolly, or even two if your piano is too big.
- Furniture straps: you will need 2 pairs of heavy duty furniture straps which will enable you to temporary lift the super heavy instrument.
- A pickup truck/Rental moving truck: the moving vehicle you hire should have a convenient loading/unloading ramp.
Step 3: How to prepare a piano for moving
- Don’t try to roll your piano on its metal casters! The presence of the small wheels on your favorite musical instrument either has a decorative purpose or enables the heavy object to be moved no more than just a few inches.
- Wrap furniture blankets around the entire body of the instrument to protect it against external and internal damage, and tape the blankets in place with quality tape.
- Close the lid and lock it if possible to prevent possible damage to the delicate piano keys. If the lid can’t be locked, wrap it tightly with stretch tape to keep it from accidental opening.
Step 4: How to move piano correctly
- You must not begin the adventure of moving a piano without having a crystal clear strategy of how exactly you’re going to tackle each and every obstacle along the way. Let your helpers know the next step well in advance and discuss in detail an action before rushing to complete it. Communication and synchronization are key to the success of your bold decision to move a piano by yourself.
- Place the furniture straps underneath each end of your expensive musical instrument and use the combined strength of at least two movers to lift it. The moment the piano is in the air, it should stay in upright position at all costs. Do not tilt or lay your piano on its sides because doing so will only increase the chances of a serious injury to a non-professional piano mover and significant internal damage to the instrument itself.
- With the upright piano still off the ground, have a helper slide one or two 4-wheeled dollies underneath it. Make sure the large instrument is well balanced and won’t slip off during transportation.
- To move a piano to another room, first make sure that there are no obstacles along the way that may endanger the safety of the entire operation. Secondly, provide enough space in the destination room and figure out well in advance the exact spot for the extremely large musical instrument so that you don’t have to wheel it back and forth wondering what to do and where you should put it down.
- To move a piano to another house, you need to load it into and transport it in a moving vehicle, of course. If your path out of the house and to the vehicle involves one or two stairs, you should be able to manage it together with your trusted friends. However, if you and your assembled team members are facing one full flight of stairs or even more, then it’s simply too risky to move the piano entirely on your own and you need to call in professional help.
- When moving a piano from one house to another, the proverb Haste Makes Waste matches the occasion perfectly. Always go very slowly and have frequent breaks to catch your breath and to update your moving strategy as you go along.
- When you reach the moving vehicle, have all of your helpers wheel the well protected instrument up the ramp. Make sure the lighter side of the piano (the treble clef side) goes up first.
- Your piano should be one of the very first household items to be loaded into the truck. Secure it well with straps and ropes to prevent any movements during transport.
- When you reach your new home, your piano may be out of tune due to the uncharacteristic movements it had to go through and the altered conditions of the new environment. This is common, so don’t worry too much. Piano moving experts advise that you should wait at least one month before you tune it properly.
- And finally, follow the piano moving tips above and have a perfectly save piano moving adventure.