Strike any key on a piano and you’ll get an inimitable, resonant sound. Try to move the piano though and you’ll probably get an inimitable headache. They may make beautiful music, but pianos are heavy (even light pianos weight around 300 lbs.), they’re large and awkwardly shaped. If you happen to drop one while you’re moving it, a replacement will cost you thousands. Packing up a piano correctly and making the effort to move it safely can add a lot of time (and a few torn ligaments) to a residential move.
If at all possible, you should hire a professional piano mover to handle the job. Piano movers are moving companies that specialize in getting these unwieldy instruments from point A to point B. Some garden variety residential movers have the experience and tools necessary to safely move your piano. However, if you’re serious about moving your piano right, it’s best to go with a professional piano mover; these are the companies that move pianos between factories and showrooms.
Regardless of who you pick to handle the job, the most important part of moving a piano is packing it. In a nutshell, this means wrapping the piano in a series of blankets and pads so that the surface of the piano isn’t scuffed or gouged (refinishing a piano can be almost as expensive as replacing it). In many cases, a piano’s delicate, internal moving parts will need to be secured as well. Making sure the piano is moved in a way that avoids damaging bumps and scrapes is a piano mover’s second most important task. Any professional piano mover worth their salt will have special tools for the job: like a piano dolly, a heavy duty handcart that can support a piano’s weight and a piano board, a small, indoor bodyboard that can ease big loads down stairs with minimum turbulence.
All this, though, is just the tip of iceberg. Unfortunately, even if you’re feeling like trading in your baby grand for a Kawasaki keyboard, there’s no backing out of it now: you’d still have to get it out of the house. To move your piano as simply and easily as you play it, check out the following tips:
Make sure the place you’re moving too can even fit a piano. What would happen if you moved your piano to your new house and it didn’t fit in any corner of any room? So to reduce a possible migraine, check the measurements of your piano and cross reference them with the measurements of the room you plan to have your piano in.
Make sure your piano is accessible from all sides. Have you ever tried to move a piano before? If you have, then you know it’s easiest if you can push, pull, or lift the piano from any angle.
If You’re Hiring a Piano Mover
To find a piano mover, try searching the 123 Movers directory for a residential mover who can handle your job or check your local Yellow Pages. If you want a piano moving specialist, try calling your local piano dealer and asking them who they deal with.
As with any moving company, be sure to ask prospective piano movers about their insurance coverage. In the vast majority of cases, the amount of insurance they carry will be more than enough to cover your instrument. If it doesn’t, or if you’d like additional coverage, contact your homeowner’s insurance agent and ask about arranging for a rider to your policy that would insure the piano while it’s being shipped.
Occasionally, piano movers may attempt to “keyboard” a piano in order to move it: this entails removing the keyboard so that the piano can fit through tight spots. Let your mover know at the outset that you don’t want this done.
Bear in mind that some long distance piano movers won’t come to your home. Instead, you’ll be responsible for getting your instrument to your local piano dealer, and then the mover will transport it from there to a piano dealer near your destination.
When your piano arrives at its destination, make sure that the movers place it somewhere where it won’t be subject to major shifts in temperature - somewhere away from heating ducts, windows and doors. Even minor warping, caused by small temperature changes, can affect a piano’s sound.
If You’re Doing it Yourself
You’ll realize pretty soon you can’t do it alone: when you get help, make sure your assistants (you’ll need at least four – two in front of the piano and two in back) are wearing gloves and that none have a history of back problems.
Before you start moving the piano make sure the lid is down and locked. Also make sure that there are no obstacles along your planned move route.
Be sure to lift with your legs, not your back.
If you can, place the piano on a heavy duty dolly before moving it. If you don’t have a heavy duty dolly, don’t lift the piano more than a few inches off the ground and don’t move it more than a few inches forward at a time.
Move the piano endways, not sideways.
If you’re moving the piano outside, wrap it in plastic so as to prevent any potential water damage.
When rolling the piano, be extra careful when rolling over thresholds or doorjambs. Even little bumps can put expensive dents in a piano.