If you’ve found this article as part of a plan to transport your upright piano either across your home or across town, we encourage you to stop right now.
Moving a piano is tedious, cumbersome, and challenging at best. At worst, you can damage your instrument, destroy your flooring and walls, or injure yourself. Investing in a professional moving team will save you time and potential liability.
If you’re set on doing it on your own, even after that warning, continue reading. We’ve shared everything you’ve ever wondered regarding how to move an upright piano.
What you will need to move an upright piano
The best tool you can use to move your upright piano is a piano mover. The hired help comes with multiple people, mechanical equipment to handle the load, and trained eyes to prevent challenges before they arise. None of these are skills or tools available to the general public.
If you’re determined to move the piano on your own, you’ll need basic moving supplies. Specifically, you’ll want:
- A dolly and dolly straps
- Moving blankets
- 3 – 5 strong, active people
- Moving truck or cargo van
The process of moving an upright piano
The first step to moving a piano is to plan its route. Most upright pianos are between 110 to 135 cm high, 150 cm wide, and 60 cm deep. Every keyboard is slightly different, so measure your model first and foremost.
While planning the path for the piano, don’t forget there must be room for those moving it. A tight corner can become impassable, and the process will stall if no one can fit between the piano and wall to provide adequate force.
Then, clear the way of any rugs, pictures, or obstructions. Be sure that your instrument can make all of the necessary corners to get from point A to point B. You want to be able to focus on the heavy object in your hands, not breaking decorations, or getting stuck.
After that, wrap the piano in moving blankets and tape them on securely. Both the top lid and the one covering the keys need to be secured to protect them and your space. Plastic wrap also works to keep everything protected and secure.
If you’re still against hiring a professional piano mover at this point, it’s time to load the piano on your moving dolly. Upright pianos weigh around 130 kg, so you will need lots of extra to load it. Professionals use electronic tools to provide a mechanical advantage during this step.
Remind the people on your team to lift using their entire body, not just their backs. Proper lifting technique prevents injuries during the process. The use of weightlifting straps, lifting gloves, or work gloves can help to keep a good grip on the piano.
Take frequent breaks while moving your upright. Even if they only last a few seconds, these rests allow movers to reset their grip and relax their muscles. Preventive actions help keep everyone focused, safe, and successful in their moving task.
Once you’ve navigated the piano out of your home, the work is not over. The hardest is yet to come because it’s now time to push it up into the truck or van. For this part, it will be necessary to use a ramp up into the vehicle. Because of the ramp’s sharp angle and slope, and the heft of the instrument, people on both ends must push and pull simultaneously.
This step of the upright piano-moving process is where most injuries occur. If the piano slides down the ramp, it can crush the person below. If it falls over sideways, it can hurt people there too. For others’ health and wellbeing, take extra safety precautions when moving your piano into and out of the truck.
Your work isn’t over when the piano is finally inside the moving vehicle. The instrument should go on the back wall and be secured tightly to prevent it from shifting and sliding during transport. The back should face the front seats of the vehicle. From the rear, it will appear as if someone is going to sit down and drive the truck from behind the instrument.