How to Move a Piano: A Comprehensive Guide

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man reassembling and tuning his piano after a move

Are you a piano owner facing the challenging task of moving your valuable instrument to a new location while trying to keep costs down? Whether you’re relocating to a new home on a tight budget or rearranging your space just for the sake of decluttering, the thought of moving a piano without professional movers can be overwhelming. 

Not only is it unnerving to think about potentially causing damage to your piano, but you might also be worried about getting hurt in the process of moving such a massive item. 

However, rest assured that there are ways to move a piano without hurting yourself or your instrument. 

You can even do so without hiring professional piano movers! So, say goodbye to the stress and uncertainty of moving a piano as we explore how you can navigate this moving task with confidence and efficiency. 

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Things to Know Before Moving a Piano

Don’t start lifting and scooting before you’ve prepared accordingly (unless you want dings, dents, and scratches on your piano’s surface).

Here are the things you need to consider for a successful piano transport.

Is It Possible to Move a Piano Without Disassembling It?

While it’s possible to move a piano without taking it apart — particularly a smaller oneit’s not recommended in most cases. Just like any piece of furniture, a piano is more fragile in its fully assembled condition.

You can also reduce the chances of your piano sustaining damage while in transit if you move the piano as individual parts instead of one whole piece.  

By disassembling the piano, you’ll not only protect the various pieces that make up the instrument, but you’ll also significantly reduce the weight of each load, too.

Take our word for it: Moving a piano will be much easier if you take the time to detach the lyre, lid, and other parts before moving it. 

Taking the piano apart and moving each piece separately might seem more time-consuming, but this approach is ultimately more efficient.

If you’re planning to move the piano a short distance, such as across the room or into an adjacent area, you can simply roll the piano from Point A to Point B, especially if your piano model has casters. Alternatively, you can use furniture sliders to slide the piano across the floor gently. 

But first, you’ll need to make sure all doorways and halls are wide enough to accommodate the dimensions of your piano. Regardless of how and where you plan to move your piano, make sure the new destination is large enough to fit your piano–with plenty of space for playing

What Equipment Do You Need?

Before you even think about moving your piano, you’ll want to gather the materials and supplies needed to relocate your instrument safely. But what exactly does that involve?

If you plan on disassembling the piano, you’ll need a screwdriver. The exact type of screwdriver will depend on the type and model of piano that you own. 

If you are planning to transport either a grand piano or an upright piano, you’ll also need to gather moving blankets so that you have padding for the lid and other parts of the piano. Note that even a slight scratch can tarnish a piano’s appearance and significantly reduce its value, so padding is key. 

However, if you cannot obtain moving blankets for one reason or another, you can always use regular blankets or towels to protect the piano parts instead. You will also need plenty of packing tape or stretch wrap to keep the blankets in place. 

If you plan to move an upright piano, you will also need to use a heavy-duty utility dolly that can safely hold the weight of your piano. Check out The Home Depot if you want to rent a dolly for a reasonable price: 

  • 4 hours: $18 
  • 1 day: $25 
  • 1 week: $100 
  • 4 weeks: $300

Moving straps can also help further secure pianos in place when in transit. Note that for grand pianos, you will need a board that has the capacity to handle the piano’s size and shape. 

Have You Measured the Doorways and Pathways?

You’ll need to ensure you have enough space to move the piano through any doorways and hallways you come across

If you anticipate running into flights of stairs while transporting your piano to its new home, ensure you have elevator access, and confirm that the elevator is large enough to fit your piano. 

If you’re worried about causing damage to doorways, you can attach padding or use blankets to create a cushion between the walls and your piano. It’s a safe way to prevent causing damage to your piano or scratching the interior of the building. 

Measure narrow points at both your current location and your destination. When moving a piano, you’ll want to ensure that you give yourself plenty of room to navigate the space without becoming boxed in or feeling cramped. After all, the last thing you want is to risk pinching your fingers or dropping the piano mid-move. 

How to Move a Standard Piano on Your Own: a Step-by-Step 

If you want to move your piano without the help of professional movers, pay close attention to these tips and tricks. When you follow certain steps, you can make sure the process unfolds smoothly from start to finish. 

Step #1: Disassemble the Piano

As we said earlier, if you’re moving a piano over a long distance–as opposed to across the room or into a nearby location–you will need to disassemble the piano before moving

Step #2: Set the Piano on the Piano Board

Rest your instrument on a piano board or skid board when transporting it from one location to another. These boards are specifically designed to help people move their pianos without scratching the surface or causing damage to them. 

If you don’t have a piano board or skid board, stop by your local music store and inquire about their inventory. You can even build your own piano board if you want to avoid spending money on a brand-new one.

Rest the piano sideways on the board, then secure it with the moving straps. After that, you can remove the legs without having to worry about the piano’s weight distribution. Just make sure you keep the legs individually wrapped in bags and separate the screws respectively.

Step #3: Move the Piano

Once the large parts of your piano have been securely wrapped, place the piano itself on a dolly. Enlist the help of friends or family to ensure that the weight of the piano is evenly distributed before you begin rolling it any distance. 

You can then move the piano to the moving truck or van. After moving the main piece into the truck, go back for all the other parts of your piano and gently place them in the truck. 

Once you arrive at the final destination, carefully unload the main piece of the piano, followed by the rest of the piano parts.

How to Move a Grand Piano

Start by removing and securing the lid of your piano. Then, with the help of a screwdriver, remove the pedals and legs. Wrap all parts of the piano — including the sides, keys, legs, and lid — with moving blankets secured by stretch wrap. 

Then, you can move your piano to its new location, at which point you can start to reassemble it. Once your piano is in place, tune the instrument and clean it before showcasing or playing your grand piano. 

How to Move an Upright Piano

You’ll first want to secure the piano’s keys and pedals when determining how to move upright pianos. It’s best to use moving blankets that you secure in place with tape. Then, with the help of family or friends, place the piano on the dolly before loading it into your moving truck. 

After Moving a Piano

Once you move your piano, you can breathe a deep sigh of relief, knowing that your instrument is safe in its new space. 

While you’re at it, take a moment to inspect your piano. Check the piano’s surface for any signs of damage, including scratches, dents, and loose parts.

Once your piano has had time to acclimate to the new temperatures and humidity levels, gently tune your instrument. You might even want to hire a professional piano tuner to tune your piano. 

Last but not least, secure your piano in place. If your piano has wheels, triple-check that they are locked to prevent it from shifting or skidding across the floor–leaving scratches behind.

In Summary

If you plan to take the DIY moving approach to save money, consider other ways to maximize your savings mid-move. If you plan to store your piano (or other belongings) off-site, consider Neighbor for self storage options that are 50% cheaper than traditional facilities. 

With a peer-to-peer storage marketplace like Neighbor, you can conveniently and easily locate storage units in your area (big enough to fit a grand piano). 

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