Moving a piano is a tough job. If hiring professional movers is out of the question, you will need to assemble a strong and trusty team of helpers among your friends or family.
Be prepared for a good amount of padding, heavy lifting, and maneuvering the instruments. The instructions below will help you move a piano as safely as possible.
Gather the following supplies to make your move a success:
- Piano dolly and piano board
- Hump straps
- Locking belt
- Packing tape
- Moving blankets
- Screw driver
Step-By-Step Guide on How to Move a Piano
Follow these steps to move an upright piano like a pro:
Step 1. Measure doorways, hallways, and stairways
Before trying to move your piano, you want to find out whether it will pass through your entryways.
There is no worse thing than packing up a piano only to find out it cannot pass through an existing door or that the hallways are too narrow.
Pro tip: Cover floors with protective materials to avoid ruining them with scratches. Use towels or baby-proof bumpers to cover furniture, corners, and sharp edges that could scratch your piano.
Step 2. Gather the right equipment
Moving a piano safely is part technique and part securing the appropriate equipment. Make sure you have the following:
- Piano dolly: Be sure to get a dolly specifically built for moving a piano. This particular type has four wheels and upon close inspection, the dolly has a ball bearing around the wheel’s swivel and axle. These features make it easy to maneuver the piano around tight corners.
- Piano board: You will need a special board to move a grand piano. A piano board is padded and is usually tied to the long edge of the piano before mounting the instrument on the dolly for transportation. The board provides both protection and stability when moving the hefty instrument.
- Hump straps: Hump straps are essential when moving a piano up or down a flight of stairs. You will wrap the straps around the piano wheels and then around your wrists when lifting the instrument. Proper use of hump straps will minimize strain on your back, legs, and neck.
- Locking belt: If you will be moving your instrument to a different location, for example, another house further away, you will need to secure it in place. Buy a heavy-duty locking belt with a ratchet for tying the piano in place.
- Heavy-duty packing tape: A strong, high-quality tape is needed to secure the padding and moving blankets used to wrap the piano.
- Moving blankets: Buy or rent moving blankets and padding to cover and protect the piano against scratches, breakage, and other damage.
Step 3. Protect the piano
Now that you have all the necessary equipment and materials for moving the piano, the next step entails protecting the instrument for safe moving.
- For an upright piano, lower and lock the lid to protect the fragile keys. Wrap the pedals with padding and secure with packing tape.
- Next, place moving blankets on the sides, front, and back areas of the piano and secure the blankets in place using tape. Ensure that all corners are completely covered to make it easy to maneuver the instruments around tight corners without scratching walls and the piano itself.
Step 4. Hoist the piano
The technique you use to lift the piano will depend on whether you are moving it across the room or climbing up or down the stairs.
- To move the instrument up or down a flight of stairs, use a hump strap instead of a dolly. Two people should stand at each end of the piano. Depending on the size of the instrument, you might need an additional two helpers to safely lift the piano.
- Place the straps under the piano’s bottom then each person on both ends of the piano should wrap either end of the strap around their wrist. Here is a helpful video showing the appropriate technique for moving an item using a hump strap.
- With the strap in place, use one hand to secure the piano and the strapped hand to lift it. Take one step at a time and be sure to slightly bend your knees to avoid injuring your back.
Pro tip: The two people carrying the piano should mirror each other. This means if one uses their right hand to hold the piano, the other one should use their left hand to ensure stability when lifting the instrument.
Step 5. Secure the piano onto the dolly
The dolly will come in handy if you are moving the piano across an adjacent room or outside to mount it onto a truck.
- Place a hump strap under the bottom of the piano. Have two people lift the instrument by the straps while the other two use their own hands to secure the piano.
- Lift and mount the piano onto the dolly. The instrument should be in an upright position at all times to avoid damaging the inner mechanics.
- Now, with all four people holding the piano in place and with the help of the wheeled dolly, move the instrument to the desired location.
Step 6. Load the piano onto the truck
If you need to transport the piano, you must be strategic about how you load and secure it to the truck.
- First, use the hump strap technique to lift the piano off the dolly and unto the truck. Remember, two people should lift using the strap while the other two secure the piano in place.
- Place the instrument at the back of the truck such that it would be the last item to unload once you arrive at the new location.
- Secure the piano against the truck wall using a locking belt to prevent it from moving, rolling or tipping over when the truck is in transit.
Below are additional recommendations to help you get the most from your move:
Disassemble the legs of your grand piano
When moving a grand piano, a few adjustments are required. The legs and pedals of a grand piano are prone to breaking and can make carrying the instrument quite awkward.
Use a screwdriver to remove the piano’s legs and pedals. As you do this, have at least two people holding the instrument in place to keep your side of the piano from slamming against the floor when you take out the legs
Move a grand piano using a padded moving board
After wrapping the piano with moving blankets, tilt the instrument and place it onto the moving board with the long side facing down. Use locking straps to secure the piano to the board.
With the piano mounted on the board, you should now be able to wheel it to the desired location. Reassemble the wheels and pedals once you have successfully moved the piano.
Don’t depend on the piano’s legs or casters
Pianos have surprisingly weak legs. Avoid lifting your instrument by its legs, which might be difficult to replace if broken. You should also avoid moving the piano by its casters, as they are equally weak and prone to buckling.
Moving a piano is not something you can do quickly and get done with. However, with the right equipment and a good amount of preparation, you should be able to safely move your beloved instrument.
Do you have any questions or comments about moving a piano? Let us know below– we’d love to hear from you!