The Do’s and Don’ts of Piano Moving

Posted by Gordon Bolton

Relocating the contents of a residence requires careful planning on the part of the resident and the professional moving company. No two moves are alike, thus the movers need to be aware of any special situations that require extra care on their part. For example, moving a piano from one area of the home to another is stressful enough, as there are many moving parts that may be damaged during the process. This stress multiplies when the instrument will be taken a much farther distance. Following are some things to keep in mind to ensure music can be played once again when you arrive at your dwelling. 

Consult with Professionals

Speak to moving companies that handle instruments of this type regularly, and consult with a minimum of three. Although the owner may ultimately decide not to go with any of these companies, have each explain what steps they will take when transporting the instrument to ensure it arrives at the destination in the same shape it left the former residence. 

In addition, speak to staff members of music stores that sell instruments. They observe the process undertaken by the movers when a piano is sold and ready to be moved to the buyer’s location of choice. As they don’t actually handle the process, they might see things that movers fail to mention simply because they move through the steps so frequently they have become second nature. The staff members often notice these things when other people don’t. 

Packing the Piano Before Its Move

Insulating the piano from all potential types of damage is crucial. Begin this process by placing packing desiccants inside the piano. These items help to protect the instrument in the event it sits overnight or for several hours in a humid location. Without the packing desiccants, the wood may warp and lead to cracking in the future. 

Shock absorbers should be used to ensure the keys and other moving parts are protected and lock the lid during transport. Finally, wrap the piano in non-slip blankets and secure them with moving cords so nothing happens to the finish as the instrument makes its way to its new location. 

Grand Pianos

Grand pianos need to be treated differently than their upright siblings. First and foremost, the size of the grand piano may require special measures be taken to remove it from the residence. Unlike an upright piano, this instrument will not fit through typical doorways in the home. Make certain the movers take this into account before the move begins.

Remove the legs of the grand piano so they aren’t at risk of damage during the move. The legs tend to be fragile and can be packed separately to prevent this from happening. In addition, the movers might find it easier to transport the instrument, as they may be able to turn it vertically to allow it to fit through doorways and other tight spaces. Contacting the movers early ensures they have ample time to plan the best strategy for the move. 

Moving the Piano Within the Home

Plan carefully to ensure no problems arise when moving the piano out of the home and into the truck. First and foremost, make sure any obstacles are removed to prevent accidents. Talk with the movers to learn their plan for the move. Make certain they know where each person will be located during the process. Experienced movers will easily be able to share this information to provide you with peace of mind. Do the same when the piano arrives at the new location.

Never allow the piano to be tipped during the move, as this can upset the delicate balance of the moving parts. Doing so could also put stress on various parts of the instrument and warp the frame. The movers should try to keep the piano in an upright position at all times unless other arrangements have been made such as when a grand piano must be vertical to move through doorways in the home. 

Make certain the movers aren’t wearing anything that could become tangled in the piano during the move. For example, a necklace that hangs down may become caught in the instrument and lead to the mover easing off on his or her part. This could result in additional weight being placed on the other movers, weight they weren’t expecting, and an accident might happen. The same is true of baggy pants or shoes with open toes. Have everyone wear clothing that is snug enough to not be a concern.

Loading the Piano in the Truck

Experts recommend placing the piano in the moving truck first and securing it against the wall. When securing the instrument, make use of heavy-duty straps designed for items of this weight. The regular straps used by moving companies aren’t sufficient in this situation. Furthermore, in the event the floor of the truck is not level, obtain wood planks to be certain the piano remains level and the weight remains evenly balanced. 

Once the instrument is properly secured, place additional insulation around it. Any movement of the piano may lead to damage that is not easily seen when unpacking. In addition, loose items in the truck might shift and land on the piano, causing damage that was not anticipated. The more protection the instrument has, the less likely these issues are to occur. 

After the Move

Tune the piano once the move is complete. Atmospheric differences have a negative impact on the instrument, and a new residence differs in many ways from the former one. In fact, experts suggest the piano be tuned a minimum of four times the first year after it is moved to the new location and twice yearly after that. 

Moving a piano is unlike moving most items in the home. Not only is the size a factor, but this instrument also contains numerous delicate parts that must be protected. If there is any doubt, hire a company that specializes in the relocation of this instrument. This is true even when the piano is only being moved from one room in the home to another. It’s always better to be safe than sorry when dealing with a precious item such as this.

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