If you ever moved a piano from one place to the next, then you understand how much of a daunting task it can be. Moving a piano requires a lot of muscle, a lot of help, and the right equipment to prevent any damage to the instrument, its surroundings, and to the movers.
Depending on the type of piano, most people are able to move these massive instruments out of their homes. For some, hiring professional movers reduces the stress and headaches people get when it comes to handling their piano. And for others, they leave their piano behind for the next homeowner to enjoy.
But if you're someone who refuses to leave this beautiful-sounding instrument behind and don't want to pay for professional help, then you need to start planning for a safe and seamless move of your piano. We explain in this article what you need to plan for, what equipment you need, and a step-by-step guide that explains every detail in the process of moving a piano.
- Before Moving Your Piano
- Piano Moving Equipment
- How to Move a Piano
- Additional Tips
- Other Options for Your Piano
- Moving Equipment from U.S. Cargo Control
Considerations Before Moving Your Piano
Before the big move, you need to come up with a strategy on moving this giant instrument out. A few things you should consider while you come up with your strategy:
Pianos are heavy. Pianos are one of the heaviest common instruments out there. Forr some, they can also be the most expensive item in their home. Comprised of wood, metal and string, an upright piano weighs anywhere between 300-500 lbs. with grand pianos weighing much more - in excess of 1,200 lbs!
You need plenty of help to move a piano. As you probably already know, this isn't a one-man kind of job. With the weight of some of these pianos described above, moving this by yourself not only puts you in danger of serious injury, but you could also seriously damage the piano itself. Bottom line: make sure you enlist the help of many people before you attempt to move this from your home.
- Measure out your space. Lastly, make a mental note of the path you plan to take when you remove the piano from your old home, as well as moving it into your new home. You'll want to measure the space you plan on squeezing your piano through, whether it's a doorway, window, or other space.
Once you get a grasp on your piano moving strategy, it's time to supply yourself with the right moving equipment!
What Supplies Do I Need to Move a Piano?
Using the right equipment is paramount to keeping your piano safe and preventing any injury to you or your mover friends. Here are a few items you should stock yourself up with to ensure a safe and smooth move of your piano:
1. Moving Dollies
Moving dollies make moving heavy and bulky items less strenuous for you. A versatile moving item, these dollies work to haul any type of item too big to carry normally such as appliances, furniture, and - for the blog's sake - pianos! Our rubber cap moving dolly and carpeted moving dolly provide an essential cushion for your upright piano to sit on. This barrier prevents scuffing, scratches, or other damage to the bottom of the instrument.
Another option, known as the "Cadillac of moving dollies," is the Snap-Loc Heavy Duty Moving Dolly made to withstand heavier loads of up to 1,500 lbs. This dolly also comes with E-Track singles on all four sides to connect multiple dollies together and create a longer platform for longer, heavier items such as pianos.
2. Piano Moving Board
Another must-have item when you plan to move this instrument is a piano moving board. This padded item provides delicate support when hauling the bodies of de-assembled grand pianos. Each side contains E-Track singles that allow you to tie the piano body down to the board with ratchet straps. Durable rope handles along the side allow you to hoist the moving board up onto any dolly of your choice for easier mobility and less strain for you and your fellow movers.
- Check out more of our E-Track products today!
While these moving boards are primarily used to haul the bodies of grand pianos, you can also secure an upright piano to these boards for additional support.
3. Moving Blankets
Moving blankets act as a layer of protection when wrapped around your piano. Most of these blankets are made with a durable polyester shell and a recycled cotton batting that protects from scuffs and scratches, as well as provides an absorbing cushion from potential damage. U.S. Cargo Control offers blankets of different sizes and makes, with most options being reusable to protect other items like furniture.
4. Tie Down Straps
Ratchet straps, otherwise known as tie down straps, aren't just essential to move a piano, but to move basically anything. Made with a durable polyester webbing, these straps tighten around your piano using a ratcheting component that ensures the webbing stays taut around your moving blankets and other protective equipment.
We offer many different makes, sizes, and lengths to accommodate a multitude of uses. Just make sure that whatever strap you choose can handle the working load of your piano. You could also secure moving blankets around your piano using heavy duty moving rubber bands.
5. Corner Protectors
Corner protectors are a great way to ensure the edges of your piano aren't damaged by tight tie down straps. Slip these over the moving blankets and keep the strap from pressurizing your piano. You can also insert plastic corner protectors underneath the moving blanket to prevent the piano corners from digging into the blanket's fabric.
6. Floor Runners
While protecting the piano is important, protecting your floors and pathway out the door is just as important to do. Using neoprene floor runners adds that protective layer that eliminates another thing to worry about during the moving process. With a non-slip surface that clings onto any type of floor surface - carpet, tile, laminate, linoleum, wood, etc. - these floor runners prevent the heavy piano from scuffing up the floor on your way out of your old home, as well as keeps the flooring intact when moving the instrument into your new home.
7. Shoring Beams
Lastly, if you plan on moving your piano with your own enclosed van trailer, then you need to invest in aluminum shoring beams. Perfect for keeping cargo, like pianos, in place while moving, these durable bars snap on easily to any existing E-Track inside and adjust accordingly to fit the interior space.
How to Move an Upright Piano
Courtesy of MetroMovers
1. Cover Up Keys & Pedals
First, you want to place a protective layer over your keys before you start moving the piano. It can be bubble wrap, towels, or anything that will provide enough cushion in the instance your piano gets knocked around. Make sure to wrap your pedals up with bubble wrap as well, as the pedals can be damaged in the process if they aren't fully protected.
2. Secure & Protect the Lid
Shut the lid to your piano and lock it in place. Most lids will stay shut, but as an extra measure of precaution, tape the lid shut. During transit, the lid may unlock or flap open if the road is rough or bumpy. Keeping this tied down prevents the lid from smacking against the top of the piano, potentially damaging it in the process.
3. Wrap the Piano in Moving Blankets
Next, cover the front, back, and sides of the piano with durable moving blankets. Check that every side of the instrument has a layer of protection over it. You can secure these blankets with moving rubber bands, ratchet straps, or both. Just make sure that they keep the blankets snug and from falling off the piano during the move.
4. Secure the Piano to the Moving Dollies
Once that's complete, then you'll want to load up the piano onto your moving dolly of choice. This will require multiple people to pick up one end, slide the dolly underneath, and pick up the other end for stabilization. Check that the piano is sitting on the edges that have a protective layer, whether it's carpet, rubber cap, or something else.
If you're using one moving dolly, then center the piano on it and watch in case it would tip or fall off. You can also tie down the piano to the moving dolly, especially if you're using a Snap-Loc Heavy Duty dolly.
5. Load Up Your Piano for Transport
Finally, the last step is to move the instrument out the door and into the truck of your choosing. Use plenty of manpower to push the piano safely through the doorway and up onto the trailer. Once you load up the piano, tie it down with ratchet straps to keep it from shifting or moving during your drive. You don't want a heavy piano flying around in the back of your truck or trailer!
How to Move a Grand Piano
Courtesy of Little Valley Piano Service, L.L.C.
1. Secure the Lid to the Piano
The first step involves lowering the lid down and tightening it to the piano using tie down straps. Don't make the straps too tight around the piano, as this can potentially cause damage to the casing.
2. Remove the Legs, Other Components
Next, with the help of many people, carefully flip the grand piano on its long side so that you have access to the legs and pedals. With a screwdriver, unscrew the legs from the bottom and put them aside. After that, remove the pedals - these may be connected via screws or simply connected by the rods that move the keys and soundboard of the piano. Some pianos allow the pedal rods to fold up while the rest of the pedals can be removed. Either way, you want to remove what you can and secure the other components once you start covering up the casing of the grand piano.
3. Cover the Piano Body with Moving Blankets
Drape the body of the piano with moving blankets and secure them with ratchet straps. In this case, the ratchet straps might work better than moving rubber bands since grand piano bodies have irregular shapes.
4. Use Piano Moving Board & Moving Dollies
Once your grand piano is covered and protected, then the next step is to tilt the grand piano back enough to have someone slide the piano moving board underneath the body. Tilt the piano back on top of the padded canvas and secure the body to it using ratchet straps.
Next, you'll want to be very careful with putting it up onto your moving dollies. You may want to have a couple for these to position underneath the piano moving board. With the help of your fellow movers, slide these underneath the board and secure them as you see fit.
5. Load Up the Piano
Guide the grand piano through the house and into your truck or trailer. Since the body is on its side, make sure to have plenty of people help guide it out and into your new place. Once it's inside the truck or trailer, tie it down using more ratchet straps to keep it in place during transit.
Your other components - legs, pedals, music rack - should be wrapped up and stored somewhere easily accessible. Do not damage these parts, as they are essential to the functioning of the piano.
Courtesy of Ship a Car, Inc.
Additional Tips on Piano Moving
Take Your Time. This is not a race. If you need to take your time moving this giant piece of furniture, then that's okay! Doing so not only prevents potential injury or fatigue, but it also allows you to recalibrate as needed such as getting a better grip on the piano or adjusting your route out the door.
Don't Be Stiff. When doing any sort of lifting with the piano, be sure your joints aren't locked, that your knees are bent, and that you're not hyperextending any muscles when doing so. Don't try to be a hero - pianos are heavy, and if the weight becomes too much to handle, don't continue to lift and potentially hurt yourself.
- Tune Your Piano Again. Anytime you move a piano from one environment to the next, it requires tuning. Pianos acclimate to their environment that they live, taking as long as a few months to finally adjust to the acoustics of their surroundings. Not only that, but being jostled around during a move is likely to knock some keys out of tune. Get someone to take a look at your piano, tune it, and ensure there aren't any damages to it from the move.
Other Options for Moving Your Piano
If you read through all of this and are second-guessing your choice of moving your piano to your new home, don't fret! There are a few things you can do still:
Hire Professional Movers: No, this isn't a sign of defeat. Hiring professional movers is a safe choice for getting your piano safely from your old home into your new home. However, this is probably the most expensive choice, as movers can charge pretty high prices for moving one piece of furniture - albeit a heavy, awkward piece of furniture!
Sell Your Piano: If you're willing to part ways with your instrument, then there are a couple of ways to do so. Put a listing out on online marketplaces for people to come take it off of your hands. Try selling it to your family members or your neighbors. Or, if you bough it from a music store, you can resell it for a substantially lesser price than what you paid for it.
- Donate Your Piano: A third option is to simply donate it. Many places would love receiving a donated piano: churches, community halls, schools, etc. By doing this, you feel like you're giving back to your community in some type of way.
Moving Supplies from U.S. Cargo Control
May is National Moving Month, and we at U.S. Cargo Control understand this time of year is busy for everyone. Whether you're moving for the first time, or you move professionally, using the right moving equipment makes the world of difference for safely moving without causing any injury, as well as protecting your items.
We have the supplies to help you not only move your piano, but also appliances, furniture, and other bulky items that require the assistance of durable, heavy-duty equipment. Be sure to check out our moving equipment products and get in touch with our product experts for any questions you may have!
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