Why is it so Difficult to Move a Piano?

Posted by Gordon Bolton

The connection that people have to a piano typically runs deep. A piano can serve as the centerpiece of a home. It can bring people together for special occasions, or just when the timing is right. A piano can set the mood, elicit memories and bring out a range of emotions. It is easy to see, then, why most people want to move their piano with them rather than sell it or leave it behind. While this may sound like a not so complicated task, there are many factors that make the moving of a piano extremely challenging. 

Access Point and Door Dimensions

Moving most items in and out of a home is a straightforward task. Items go out through the front door and are loaded onto a moving truck. The problem with most pianos is that they are too large to fit through the standard front door. This means that the piano has to exit the home via a different route. This could be a sliding patio door, or a set of French doors. In any case, the route is likely going to be more challenging once the piano is through the door. Rather than walking on a sidewalk, the movers might have to take the piano through a yard, or over uneven ground. This adds to the possibility that the piano is dropped and damaged while in transit. 

Most items that are going to be moved out of a home have fairly easy spots for movers to grab. A good grip on a piece of furniture is critical to successfully moving the item. Pianos don’t have great hand holds for movers to grasp, so this makes keeping a strong hold on the piano tough. Combine that with narrow hallways or a narrow door opening, and there becomes an increased risk of dropping the piano. Dropping anything while moving also increases the risk of getting injured for those involved in the move. 

Piano Size and Distance of the Move 

Even the smallest console pianos can still weight 300 – 400 pounds. Larger pianos can weigh upwards of 1,000 pounds. This presents an extreme challenge for any mover because most items are much lighter. Movers that are prepared will have some specialized equipment with them to make moving the piano more doable. Dollies, straps and covers are all items that movers can use to help move pianos. 

The distance that a piano is going to be moved should always be considered on moving day. There are two different types of distance to think about. One is the distance from where the piano is inside the house to the actual moving truck. In addition to finding the shortest route possible, it is advisable to clear a path for the piano. The second distance is how far the piano will travel once inside the truck. Due to the considerable weight of a piano, movers need to ensure that it is properly secured while inside the truck. Any movement or shifting of the piano while in transit can cause damage to the piano or surrounding items. 

Weather and Stairs 

Pianos can be adversely affected by certain temperatures. These negative effects can render the piano unplayable, or cause considerable damage leading to a large repair bill. It is best to choose a time of year, if possible, when the weather will not be too hot or humid. If a piano has to sit in a moving truck for any length of time during hot and humid weather, the damage to the instrument can be devastating. If the move has to happen during typically warm weather, it is a good idea to seek out moving companies that have temperature controlled trucks. This might increase the cost of the move, but it can be worth it to ensure the piano is successfully moved. 

Stairs pose a challenge for any type of moving, but they are a special type of challenge when moving a piano. Many moving companies will charge an extra fee to move a piano up or down a flight of stairs. Stairwells are narrow, corners are tight, and there are usually unmovable things like railings that add to the complication. Finding a moving company that has a good deal of experience with pianos is something to consider. 

Delicate Parts and Moving Techniques

Some pianos can have up to 7,000 moving parts inside of them. Any damage, tweak or shifting of any of these components can cause the piano to function poorly. The delicate nature of this instrument is one of the biggest challenges in making a move. Parts of pianos can be taken apart, and other parts protected with extreme measures, but there is still a chance that a small part cracks or breaks. Preparing the piano as well as possible, and having a clear plan for the piano can help to reduce the risk of damage

There are a few techniques that experienced moving companies use to successfully move pianos. Using a crane to lift the piano to a window that it is able to fit through is one such technique. This is a dangerous process, but when done properly can be very effective. The piano must be wrapped and secured before any moving starts. Another technique is to use a four wheel dolly. This works very well for moving the piano a short distance. The weight on a piano is not distributed evenly because the section with the keys weighs much less. The piano needs to be placed on the dolly with that fact in mind in order to be able to move the dolly smoothly. 

Moving pianos is something that happens on a regular basis despite all of the challenges. The level of attachment and sentimentality to a piano is why they are moved from house to house. The best way to ensure a piano makes a safe move is to hire a moving company that has a proven track record of moving these beautiful instruments. Pianos are more than just an instrument. They bring people together and create memories that will last a lifetime.

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