Moving a Piano: What You Need to Know

If you have already begun researching local movers, you may have noticed that they all ask if you intend to move a piano. When you consider all of the heavy furniture, delicate electronics, and boxes upon boxes that are going into the moving truck, some might feel confused as to why the piano in the corner of your living room is worth this specific mention.

Not everyone who owns a piano is a musical virtuoso. Many pianos have been inherited, and if you yourself are not musically minded, it may not immediately make sense as to why these instruments require such special care. You may have been viewing your piano as more of a piece of furniture, and might therefore be taken aback when you discover that there is an extra cost associated with moving it.

Let’s take a look at the most common questions about moving a piano, and let you in on why your moving company seems so concerned about it.

Moving a Piano

Why Are Pianos So Difficult to Move?

What you see when you look at a piano is a nice wood finish, a bench, and a set of keys – what you do not see are the 230 strings and nearly 10,000 distinct moving parts. This is true whether you have a grand piano, a baby grand piano, or an upright piano. It is, without question, one of the most complex devices in your home.

To further complicate matters, remember that pianos are extremely heavy. Your average upright piano might weigh somewhere in the neighborhood of 400 to 500 pounds, a baby grand piano usually weighs around 600 pounds, and a grand piano eclipses them all with an average of 1200 pounds.

In other words, you have a very large, very cumbersome, and very delicate musical instrument, and even if you think you are taking every precaution, there is still tremendous potential for something to go wrong.

What Could Go Wrong if a Piano is Moved Improperly?

Aesthetically speaking, there is ample opportunity for the finish of your piano to become damaged if you try to move it yourself. Think of the doorways, steps, and outdoor walkways between your piano and the moving truck. A slight nick along the way can leave permanent damage. In fact, something as simple as a button on your shirt could cause damage as you carry the instrument.

A piano also cannot be leveraged the same way other furniture can. Trying to tip it up on one end, or carrying it unevenly among several people can permanently warp the frame, changing the sound of the instrument forever.

Pianos are also extremely susceptible to changes in temperature and humidity. If you park your moving truck overnight in a humid area, the wood and strings could both become damaged by this change in environment.

How Should My Piano Be Moved?

Professional piano movers will take great care in transporting your instrument. Exact measurements must be taken of every hallway and doorframe that your piano must pass through – it is not at all uncommon for larger instruments to fit through a doorway with mere centimeters to spare. In the case of a grand or baby grand piano, this usually involves removing the legs.

Pianos must also be wrapped in special cloth padding both to insulate the instrument from bumpy roads, and to protect the finish while it is inside the truck. A piano should always be placed into the moving truck first, all the way at the back.

Special humidity absorbing desiccants must be placed throughout the instrument, especially if you are moving through a humid area.

If you have ever watched a piano tuner work, you have probably gotten a glimpse into how complex your instrument is. It will require the utmost care and professionalism to get it to your new home safely.