How to Move a Piano: A Comprehensive Guide

man reassembling and tuning his piano after a move

How to Move a Piano: A Comprehensive Guide

Pianos are among the heaviest and most delicate items to move, which is why it’s important to properly prepare for the move if you want to do it yourself. Simply put, the process is a lot more involved than packing and moving shoes in your home. If you are moving your piano to a new home or to another space in your current home, the following is our complete guide for how to move a piano safely and efficiently.

Should You Hire a Professional Piano Moving Company?

If your piano is heavy or an antique, you may want to consider having professional piano movers take on the challenge (and the risk) of moving it. In fact, pianos are such a challenge to move that there are moving and storage businesses that specialize in pianos. Depending on the type of piano, the weight of the piano can be anywhere from around 300 pounds to a ton. So it’s important to make the right choice about whether you should hire professionals for your safety and your budget.

Also, professional piano movers know what the process entails. They can supply all the packing materials and expertise needed to transport your piano. You may know how to move a piano. But a team of professional movers will likely be more familiar with the steps involved. They can give you the support needed to prevent damage throughout the process.

Is It Possible to Move a Piano Without Disassembling It?

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

Does Disassembling a Piano Make It Easier to Move?

Yes!

You’ll be able to significantly reduce the weight of each load. It will be easier and safer to move if you take the time to detach the lyre, lid, and other parts before moving it. You can also more easily avoid damage to your piano while moving if you only move individual parts. It might seem more time-consuming to take the piano apart and move each piece, but it will ultimately be more efficient.

If you’re moving the piano across the room or into an adjacent room, you may be able to simply roll the piano if your model includes casters. Alternatively, you can use furniture sliders to gently slide the piano across the floor. However, you will need to make sure all doorways and halls are wide enough to accommodate the piano.

Pro Tip:

Regardless of how and where you plan to move your piano, make sure the new destination is large enough to hold your piano. It should also have enough room for you to comfortably play it.

How to Move a Piano on Your Own

a team of DIY movers moving a piano on a dolly

If you want to learn how to move a piano without professional help, the following are some specific steps to take to make sure the process goes smoothly from start to finish.

1. Gather the Right Equipment for How to Move a Piano

The very first thing to consider is the materials and supplies you will need to safely move your piano. To start with, make sure you have a screwdriver handy to help with disassembly. You may need more than one, depending on the types of screws.

For both grand and upright pianos, make sure you have plenty of moving blankets to provide padding for the lid and other parts. Even a slight scratch can tarnish a piano’s appearance and significantly reduce its value. If you can’t get moving blankets, you can always use regular blankets or towels to protect the piano parts.

In addition to moving blankets or other padding, you will need to have plenty of packing tape or stretch wrap to secure all the covered parts.

If you plan to move an upright piano, then you will also need a dolly that can hold it. Straps can help further secure pianos in place when moving. For grand pianos, you will need a piano board or skid board that can handle the piano’s unique size and shape.

Now that you know what you need, here are the next steps for how to move a piano of any kind.

2. Measure the Doorways and Pathways

You’ll need to make sure you have enough space to move the piano through doorways, hallways, and any flight of stairs between the piano and its new home. You can use a measuring tape to determine the width of each pathway. Then determine if you need to dismantle the piano when moving it to an adjacent room. Make sure you verify the size of the piano, even if you know what the standard dimensions should be. If you’re worried about causing damage to doorways, you can attach some padding (such as blankets) to help prevent nicks and scratches.

Pro Tip:

Measure narrow points at both your current location and your destination. Moving a piano upstairs often requires a bit more room so movers can get a secure grip. The last thing you want is to risk pinched fingers or dropping the piano mid-move.

3. Disassemble the Piano

If you are moving a piano a long distance instead of across the room or into another nearby location on the same floor, you will need to disassemble the piano before moving. This could entail removing the lid if you’re moving a grand or baby grand piano.

How to Remove a Piano Lid

When removing the lid, look for the screws securing it in place and use your screwdriver to remove them. Keep all screws in a bag that’s clearly labeled something like “lid screws” to remind you where they go when reassembling the piano. After removing the lid, cover it in moving blankets or a moving pad to keep it protected throughout the move.

How to Remove a Piano Lyre

The next part to remove and secure will be the lyre, which sits under the piano and connects to the pedals. You can use a screwdriver to remove the screws that hold the lyre in place. Set the wrapped and taped lyre aside, and place all screws in another labeled bag.

How to Remove Piano Pedals

After you’ve removed and secured the lyre, you will need to remove the pedals. Pianos typically have around three pedals. Wrap each pedal separately to keep them from rubbing against each other and scratching.

Pro Tip:

Musical instruments have a lot of tiny, intricate parts, so keep track of where each screw and part came from! You can tape all the bags of screws to the parts they belong to, which can help keep everything organized and simplify reassembly. We also recommend taking a picture during each stage of disassembly so you can reverse the steps later.

4. Set the Piano on the Piano Board

After removing and securing all the parts, rest the piano on a piano board or skid board. These are specially designed to help people move pianos without scratching or jarring them. You can keep the piano up on its side by securing it with moving straps. If you don’t have a piano board, you can find one at a music store. You can even build your own piano board if you want to avoid spending too much money on one.

Set the piano sideways on the piano board and secure it with the moving straps. After that, you can remove the legs without having to worry about weight distribution. Keep the legs individually wrapped, and bag and label their screws.

5. Move the Piano

With the large parts of the piano securely wrapped, place piano itself on a piano dolly with the help of a few other people and make sure the weight is evenly distributed. Make sure the dolly can gently move loads down stairs if you have multiple floors. You can then move the piano to the moving truck or van.

After moving the main piece into the truck, you can grab all other parts and place them in the truck. When loading the piano, keep it positioned vertically and make sure it’s not liable to fall or slip during the drive. Also, ensure that all other parts are properly secured to prevent damage to them.

Once you arrive at the new destination, carefully unload the main piece and the rest of the parts. Again, make sure there’s enough space through doorways and other pathways to avoid any inconvenience and damage.

Keeping in mind these steps for how to move a piano, let’s review some steps for each specific kind of piano.

How to Move a Grand Piano

Before you attempt to move a grand piano, make sure you lower and secure the piano’s top lid in place. You can then use a screwdriver to remove the legs and pedals. You should work with a small team to help keep the piano from falling on one side while removing the legs.

The next step will be to wrap the keys, lid, and the sides of the piano using moving blankets and tape or stretch wrap. Also, ensure all legs and other parts are individually wrapped with blankets.

After wrapping the piano, carefully tilt it sideways onto the piano board and secure it using moving straps. With the help of at least a couple of other people, you can begin moving the piano by pushing it on the board. Once you’ve moved the piano to the new destination, it’s time to reassemble it. If you have a team of people to assist with reassembly, this process should be quick.

With the piano all set up, it’s time to clean and retune it.

How to Move a Baby Grand Piano

Generally, the same steps that apply to moving a grand piano will apply to a baby grand piano. The key difference between the two pianos is their length.

Remove and secure the lid first. Then use your screwdriver to remove the piano pedals and legs. To protect the parts during the move, wrap the parts — including the sides, keys, legs, and lid — with stretch wrap or moving blankets.
With all parts wrapped, you can move the piano to the new location and reassemble it. Depending on the weight, you may need the help of a couple friends to carry it safely. Once it’s set up, retune and clean the piano to get it ready for showcasing and playing again.

How to Move an Upright Piano

Some of the steps involved with moving an upright piano may differ from how to move a piano, a grand piano, or a baby grand piano. When moving an upright piano, the first step to take is to secure the keys and pedals. We recommend using a blanket and securing it in place with tape.

Next, have a team help you place the piano on the dolly. You will then be able to move the piano to the moving truck or new space.

Whether you’re moving the piano yourself throughout your current home, moving it to a new residence, or preparing the piano for placement in a storage facility, you now have a clear idea of how to move a piano. Remember to take your time, stay safe, and approach the task one step at a time.

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