Under Lock and Key: How to Store a Piano

GuestBlogger | Apr 02, 2015 @ 03:33 PM

A close up shot of a keyboard.

Whether you’re moving or making extra room in your home, you need to store your piano, which comes with some unique problems. Pianos, like other musical instruments, are sensitive to the slightest changes in the environment. Humidity, temperature, and other factors can deteriorate the piano’s sound and cause permanent damage, but with proper storage, your piano should provide good tunes for years to come. Let’s take a look at how you should store your piano.

1. Clean your piano and note any imperfections.

Wipe down the keys with a damp, soft washcloth and polish the piano’s body to eliminate dust and dirt that can work its way into the piano and cause problems. This is also a good opportunity to check for any dents, scratches, and imperfections.

2. Cover your piano.

Covering your piano prevents dust from settling on its surface and making its way into the piano’s inner workings. Tie several blankets over and around the piano using rope or bungees. Avoid plastic coverings, which are likely to cause damage. Fabric coverings also provide plenty of padding for bumps and bangs when you move or shift your piano in storage.

3. Remember the accessories.

Keep all your piano-related accessories together with your piano for easy retrieval when you do eventually take it out of storage. Cover the piano bench, and place music books and other accessories in a sealed box. Avoid placing any items on top of your piano. Even with the fabric covering your piano, heavy items placed atop your piano’s lid can cause damage.

4. Find a climate-controlled storage unit.

Sudden changes in humidity and temperature can:

  • Cause your piano to go out of tune much easier
  • Warp the body
  • Wear down the finish
  • Damage the wool cloth of the piano’s action

Extreme variations in humidity and temperature can force glue joints to fail and create cracks in the

wood and soundboard. Keep the piano away from vents, outside walls, and direct sunlight to

prevent drastic swings in temperature. Ideally, your piano should be kept at a relative humidity of 42

percent.

5. Wait to tune your piano.

Don’t tune your piano before you move it into storage. The change in environment can loosen or tighten the strings, causing your piano to go out of tune. Wait until the instrument has had time to acclimate. To play it safe, give the piano two full weeks before you tune it. With some simple preparations, you should have no problem ensuring that your piano stays in great condition in storage and beyond. Do you have any additional tips for storing pianos and other musical instruments?

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