When I first moved to Beaverton in the early 2010’s I wanted to have a piano in my home. I went on Craigslist and quickly found a whole bunch of very affordable pianos. I was so excited! I couldn’t believe I could have my very own upright piano for just $200, but one question remained… Can I move a piano myself?
Yes, you can move a piano yourself. You will need a trailer, a vehicle that can pull a trailer and a few friends. You do not need a piano moving service to move a piano, just be slow and careful.
So you're starting to think about moving your own piano, you have to ask yourself a few questions before you decide if you were the right person to move your piano. The questions would be, what type of piano do you have, how valuable is your piano and how far are you moving that piano. Will break each one of these questions down in the following sections but that is important to think about them up front. Of course technically anyone can move their own piano, but the question is do you really want to.
This question is important because pianos can be all sorts of sizes. Moving a spinet piano is possible with just two people, albeit semi strong people. I personally move to spend a piano with a small U-Haul trailer and just one other person. It is important to note that we were not taking this piano up or down more than three stairs at the time. It can be extremely difficult to move pianos up flights of stairs, they're extremely heavy. Even a small piano is very heavy.
If you have an upright piano you could still move it with just a few people. So make sure you have a pizza and beer on hand for your friends that help you move your piano. If you have a grand piano on the other hand then it gets very tricky. Grand pianos are extremely heavy and extremely large and also quite valuable. The last thing you want to do is scratch up or cause any cosmetic damage to your valuable grand piano.
This is something else that you have to take in mind before deciding to move your piano yourself. If your piano has any value left in it you probably don't want to move it yourself. It seems very silly to save a few hundred dollars on moving a piano, when the piano you're moving is worth $20,000. It's also very important to keep in mind that any scratches or cosmetic damages make your piano lose value rapidly. I know sometimes it can be really disheartening to have to spend more money than you think you have to, but you certainly don't want this move to cost you thousands of dollars. If you have a valuable piano or piano that is in perfect condition, please think twice before moving the piano yourself. You really don't want to put a large gash in a beautiful piano.
This might be the most important question of all. When I moved that small spinet piano I was telling you about, I was just moving it across town. I only had to drive with the piano in a trailer for about 10 minutes. The whole time going less than 30 miles an hour. This is a fairly simple move. I would also caution you before moving your own can or if you're going to be taking your piano and trailer on a highway. Breaking quickly could completely destroy your piano if you don't have it properly secured. So I would only recommend moving a piano if it is short distances at low speeds, and not an extremely valuable piano.
Another question about how far you are moving a piano is, how far are you moving the piano vertically? If you're moving a grand piano from a second-story or higher, you should definitely hire professionals. I move like that couldn't quite frankly be dangerous for a group of friends to do by themselves. You certainly don't want your buddy crushed by your grand piano and your Grand piano destroyed as well. A handful of stairs is one thing, but a full story is another.
The best way to move a piano is with some friends! I've even helped one of my student's families move their piano. I teach them in-home piano lessons in Hillsboro.It is extremely difficult to move a piano as one person, but with extra sets of hands the work gets much easier. It's often best to cover the piano with some sort of blanket when you're moving it so you don't scuff it up. You also want to be extra careful where you grab the piano so you're not lifting it by a fragile part. Your panel will most likely go out of tune when you're moving it so you probably can't avoid that.
Before you start moving the piano make sure you have your path picked out and everyone is on the same page. You'll all have to move slowly and confidently together when you're moving the piano. It is also a good idea to have ramps in place if you're taking it down a couple steps because when you're taking it down the steps you won't be able to put down the piano in an emergency.
You also want your trailer already ready, you can rent one from U-Haul. You'll also need some straps to secure the piano, a blanket as I already mentioned and some ways to stop the piano from rolling. Most pianos are on wheels.
Also before you start moving the piano make sure that you have a way to move the piano into where you live. You should already have the measurements of the piano and measured your entire route into where the piano’s final resting place will be. all this needs to be thought out beforehand. You don't want to leave your piano outside overnight while you're trying to figure out how to get it in the door. You also don't want to upset the people that are helping you move the piano. The last thing you need is them failing before the piano safely in his final resting place.
If you have measured everything and thought everything through, you could go ahead and move your own piano. But make sure not to make these mistakes.
Whatever you do, don't scuff up the piano. This will cost you money in the long run. It is extremely important that a piano is in pristine condition if you're ever going to sell it.
Never drop the piano. Pianos are fragile instruments that have been made with precision. Dropping a piano even though it might not completely break the piano it might compromise its function. And it might never be the same again. Anytime you're moving a piano you are taking it out of tune to some extent, but dropping a piano can be catastrophic.
Don't damage other things with the piano! Pianos are extremely heavy and can cause a lot of damage to hardwood floors or carpets if not moved carefully. Even though the piano has wheels it is not meant to be wheeled around. I know that seems counterintuitive but they're really not wheely chairs. Sometimes the wheels are not in perfect working condition. This is a good recipe for putting a really nasty gash in a nice hardwood floor. You don't want this piano move to cost you money.
After you move your piano you will need to get it tuned. You should call a local trusted piano technician and set up an appointment a week in the future. You want to give your can of time to adjust to the new humidity and temperature of it’s new home. Especially if you're moving it across the country. Or cross drastically different elevations. You don't want to wait long enough for the piano to adjust to being out of tune though. But on the flip side you don't need a tune to mediately and then the whole instrument will adjust to the new temperature pushing it back out of tune. You should call the piano technician and ask them specifically what they recommend for their area and for how long of a move the piano has been through. If you're thinking about tuning your piano or getting into piano tuning check out this article:
Make sure to explain to the piano technician that the piano has just been moved once they arrive at your house. They might have to turn it in a different way and give it an overall lift to get it back in tune. By left I mean lifting the tuning of the piano not lifting the piano course.
Thank you so much for reading my article all the way to the end! It truly means a lot to me. I am very passionate about pianos and piano care.