Learn How to Move a Piano Like a Pro

October 28, 2021Moving Tips
Daisy Wilson

Daisy was born in Salt Lake City and in her free time, she writes about moving and watches Charmed.

Anything bulky, heavy, and expensive causes headaches when relocating across the country. It’s best to leave that task to professionals, but if you’re on a tight budget, you’ll want to learn how to move a piano yourself and not cause any damage to it. Get ready – it will be tricky, but it’s still doable.

Piano in a living room
Relocating and lifting a big and valuable instrument like this requires detailed preparation

When it comes to this instrument, all relocation tips you know go down the drain. Learning how to move an upright piano or how to move a grand piano is entirely different from packing tips for books, clothes, dishes, or shoes. Even the usual tips for unpacking don’t apply here. This is why we prepared a special guide on the best way to move a piano as professionals do. Read on and find out the answer to the question How do you move a piano easily.

Preparation Is the Key

Pianos can weigh anywhere between 500 and 1,400 pounds and cost between $3,000 and $6,500 on average. Relocating anything like that requires thorough preparation if you want the instrument to survive the trip to another state. In case your way of saving on relocation costs is moving a piano yourself, follow our guidelines and avoid anxiety about relocating.

Think Twice if You Should Relocate This Instrument by Yourself

Material damage isn’t the worst thing that can happen if someone with no experience decides to relocate this heavy instrument. Even if you work out and are in good shape, you could make a wrong move and hurt your back or some other part of your body. The injury will not only slow everything down but also cause a great deal of stress. You won’t be able to lift anything nor prepare for movers. If you wish to have a stress-free move, consider contacting professionals for this arduous task.

Piano ready to be packed
It might not be the smartest idea to move an expensive instrument like this by yourself if you have no previous experience

What Equipment Do You Need to Move a Piano?

The start of learning how to organize a move is acquiring the right equipment. Avoid the most common relocation mistakes and save your instrument, your back, and your home from irreparable damage. Make sure you have everything on the following list:

  • Work gloves,
  • A dolly,
  • Lifting straps,
  • A ramp for stairs,
  • Plastic wrap for packing,
  • Plenty of relocation blankets,
  • Tape measure,
  • Heavy-duty tape,
  • Skid board and a screwdriver,
  • Relocation truck.


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You Will Also Need Supplies to Protect Your Floors and Walls Before Moving

In case you have hardwood floors or are moving to a new home that has them, you have to learn how to properly protect your home. Unfortunately, you can’t rely on the casters of the instrument. They might not be able to support the weight of this heavy and delicate object, especially if you plan on rolling it over carpets or hardwood floors. To avoid scratches on the floor and ripped carpets, use a moving dolly instead. Also, put some padding on the walls if you have to fit the instrument around corners.

Packing supplies
Ensure that there's no damage to the rest of your home when you begin relocating your musical instrument

Get as Much Help as You Can From a Strong Team

If you have ever wondered if movers are essential workers, just try moving a grand piano on your own, and you’ll get your answer. However, if you wish to do this without any help from professionals because you want to save money to move, you’ll require a few helpers.

Depending on the size of the instrument, you’ll need two to four strong friends or family members. Ensure that they’re in good shape and that they wear shoes with good traction. Also, it’s recommended that you and your team don’t wear any jewelry or long and baggy clothing that can get tangled or damaged while carrying the instrument.

Too Many People Will Be a Crowd

Don’t forget that relocating an object this big calls for a lot of space. If you invite too many friends, it will become crowded, and you won’t be able to move freely and quickly. This is especially true if you’re moving from a house to an apartment or vice versa.

An upright piano in a living room ready for cross country moving
Two to four people are just enough for the safe lifting and relocation of these instruments

Measure Hallways, Doorways, and Stairs Before Moving

Another thing on your moving to-do list should be ensuring that the instrument can fit through every door, hallway, and staircase. If you live in an apartment building or in a house that has many staircases, be positive that you can make turns while holding a thousand pounds in your hands. Get the tape measure and check the dimensions of the instrument and all the spaces it’s supposed to fit through.

Clear the Path You’re About to Take While Carrying the Instrument

Remove everything that might stand in your way before you start lifting the instrument. That includes all decorations, dressers, flowerpots, coffee tables, cables, and carpets. If there’s something you can bump into or trip over, move it before you start taking the instrument out. This is also a great opportunity to see what to get rid of if you’re looking to downsize for a move. Review the path from the instrument to the front door – it should be as straightforward and clear as possible. Also, if you’re relocating with pets or kids, make sure they are out of the way.

A pile of empty boxes on the floor
Everything that might cause stumbling or tripping should be removed

Wrap and Protect the Instrument Before Putting It on a Dolly

No matter if you’re moving an upright piano or a grand one, it must be covered and protected before it’s moved. The process will be different since grand ones must be disassembled, while upright ones can be moved as they are. Here’s how to protect different types of pianos.

How Do You Move an Upright Piano? By Protecting It First

We still haven’t got to the relocation, but we promise we’re close. This essential step will ensure that your instrument arrives safely. First, you should take plastic wrap and cover the lid over the keyboard so that it can’t open during transportation and cause damage. Then, protect the pedals with a cloth or plastic wrap, and lastly, cover the whole instrument with thick relocation blankets. Get enough tape so that you can secure the blankets tightly, and don’t skimp on packing materials.

How to Move a Piano if You Own a Grand One?

Grand and concert grand pianos have to be disassembled, as we mentioned before. Once you close the lid and secure it with tape, take a screwdriver and remove the legs and pedals. While you’re taking off the legs, your team of strong friends should keep the instrument stable and put a blanket underneath it. Wrap it on all sides and secure the blankets with enough tape. Pedals and legs should be wrapped in separate blankets.

Don’t Forget About the Bench

Even though it might seem like a basic piece of furniture, the bench also requires some extra care. Get enough relocation blankets and wrap the bench on all sides. After that, tape everything up tightly.

An old piano
Cover and protect each part of your valuable musical instrument

How to Move a Piano Once It’s Protected?

First, let’s tackle upright pianos. Once you check that everything has been firmly taped, put your gloves on and hoist the instrument on the dolly. Have one person on each side and make sure that you lift using a proper technique to avoid putting pressure on your back. Carry the instrument carefully to the relocation truck and use the ramp to load it. Leave it on the dolly and use straps to secure it against the wall of the truck. When it comes to unloading, the process will be the same – place the instrument on the ramp and carry it to its designated room.

Unlike upright ones, grand pianos require a skid board. When the legs and pedals have been removed, gently tilt the instrument on the board and secure it with straps. Use a four-wheel dolly and place the instrument on it once tilted. After that, you can move it as you want.

An old piano before being moved with a USA car shipping company
The approach is slightly different, but both types of instruments should be relocated once wrapped and placed on dollies

Have Someone Help You With Unloading and Reassembling

Your relocation isn’t over once you leave your current home. If you’re relocating to another state, be sure that you have someone over there as well to give you a hand with this heavy object. You’ll need help unloading and reassembling legs and pedals. Also, your new place should have a clear path to the room where you plan to put the instrument.

Piano and nots ready for a move
Contact a crew that can assist you with unloading and reassembling once you arrive in the new state

If This Doesn’t Work Out, Contact Professional Movers

Pianos aren’t one of the items movers won’t move – on the contrary. These instruments are actually something you should call movers for. Ensure you learn how to choose a relocation company, no matter what your reasons to move might be, and emphasize that you plan on shipping your valuable instrument. They will answer questions like: How much does it cost to move a standing piano, so you can calculate whether it’s better to do this yourself or get a team of experienced professionals to provide their services. If you see that the DIY option isn’t for you, hire the best relocation company you can find and be sure that you’re in good hands.

Relocation Companies Offer Many More Services

Relocating hefty and valuable objects isn’t the only thing a reputable company can help you with. If you plan on getting auto shipping services and taking your vehicle with you, for example, you’ll get to choose between an open trailer and the more secure option – enclosed auto transport. A professional auto transport company can provide you with door-to-door auto transport and terminal-to-terminal car shipping as well; just ensure that you’ve read all the car shipping FAQs before booking your relocation.

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