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Moving an Upright Piano

Jon Fesmire | October 15, 2018 @ 8:00 AM

So, you have a piano, and it’s time to set the challenge of playing it aside and undertake the challenge of moving it.

An upright piano typically weighs between 300 and 800 pounds, so this can be a challenging endeavor. Here’s how to move an upright piano:

What You Need

You’re going to need help moving your piano. Unless you’re Superman, Spider-Man, or some other superhero, you won’t be able to do this alone.

If you’re moving a short distance, such as within the same city or county, the most affordable option will be to call on your friends or relatives to help. If you’re unable to get together a group of people you know, you’ll need to hire professional movers.

When looking for a company, ask if they have experience moving pianos specifically. Check their reviews on Google Reviews and Yelp, and pick the company that you think will do the best job. If moving within the same county, you can even have them provide and drive the truck to the destination, and unload it there. If you’re moving farther, that will cost a lot more, but is still an option. Alternately, you can have them load it into a truck you rented. You then drive to the new destination, and hire movers there to properly unload the piano and put it in its new spot.

Now, if you do hire movers to handle it completely, you’re done. You don’t need to know any more! But if you and your friends are moving the piano, keep reading.

The next part of preparation is getting the supplies you’ll need. Reserve a moving truck for the day you plan the move, and add six or so moving blankets and a dolly with four wheels to the order. You’ll also need to purchase a roll of electrical tape or masking tape, and borrow ropes or moving straps. If your home has stairs going down from the door outside, you’ll also need metal stair ramps, which you should be able to rent from the truck company.

Prepare the Piano

Before your friends and relatives arrive, put the keyboard lid down and lock it in place. Some pianos won’t have a lock for the lid. In this case, use masking or electrical tape, which has a lower risk of harming the paint or wood stain, and tape the lid down.

Once your helpers show up, you can get the rest prepared. Cover the piano one section at a time with moving blankets and seal them down with tape. Your piano may have lifting handles in back. If it does, don’t cover these. Aside from those handles and the bottom, you should be able to get it entirely covered. Place the metal ramps on the stairs. Also roll down the ramp that goes from truck bed to the ground.

Moving to the Front Door

Make sure there is a clear path to the exit. You may need to scoot furniture and other items out of the way. If possible, carry the piano through a larger door, such as a sliding patio door. However, an upright piano should be able to go through an ordinary doorway.

You’ll have one on either side of the keyboard. These movers will lift underneath the keyboard with one hand, and with the other hand, will lift from the handle in the back. They will need to squat and lift together. These helpers then lift using their legs and not their backs, and place the piano on the four-wheel dolly. However, they must not hold onto the piano legs, as they might accidentally snap them off. If they need to tilt the piano while lifting, they can do so slightly toward its back.

Next, roll the piano to the door.

Moving to the Truck

If your door won’t stay open on its own, hold it, or have one of your helpers hold it. Incidentally, there are children present, the person watching the door, or someone else, needs to make sure they stay far back from the moving process so that they and the piano remain safe.

Your helpers may need to lift the piano again at the door, and have someone roll the dolly onto the porch. The lifters can then ease the piano out the door and center it back onto the dolly.

Carefully roll the piano, sideways, down the ramp, with one helper at each end to ensure it doesn’t go too fast. You may also want helpers stationed at the front and back of the piano to make sure it remains steady.

Move it to the truck, being mindful of bumps in the asphalt. Once you get to the truck, you’ll need to roll it up the ramp. This can be difficult, because the primary work will be done by the person on the bottom end, and you’ll all be fighting gravity. Have a spotter at the front and back, and have your strongest mover, or two, at the bottom. As a group, you will push and ease the piano to the truck bed.

Securing the Piano

Once in the truck, roll it to the wall, lift it off the dolly, and put the back of the piano against the wall. Use the moving straps or rope and the support rails in the truck to secure it in place. Tighten it so that it can’t shift any more than about an inch. Now, it’s ready to travel!

At the New Place

Basically, you’re going to reverse the directions to get the piano into the new place, so keep the previous directions in mind.

Roll down your truck ramp, and put your metal stair ramps in place at the building. Make sure the path the piano movers must take is clear. Unstrap the piano from the truck wall, and lift it properly onto the dolly. Roll it down the ramp in the same manner you rolled it down the metal stair ramp previously, and carefully roll it to the stair ramps at the new building. Roll it up, using the same method you did when rolling it onto the truck previously. Get it over the door jam and through the door, then back on the dolly, and roll it to its new spot.

Once the piano is where it belongs, carefully remove the tape and blankets, and, if you need assistance, have your friends help you move the heavy piano perfectly into place.

That’s it! It’s not too difficult to learn this procedure, but it will be a lot of work for you and your friends. Thank them profusely, and do something nice for them! Whether you’re moving everything or just your piano, stay safe.

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