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An Expert Guide on How to Move a Piano Without Damaging It (or Yourself)

Madison Rogers April 6, 2022
Posted April 6, 2022 In How-to, Moving Tips&Tricks,
Madison Rogers

Born and raised in Houston Madison is a content writer who loves traveling. She has lived in different states and is always eager to share her knowledge with others.

You’ve already contacted your international moving company and scheduled your relocation, but don’t know how to deal with musical instruments like trumpets, violins, guitars, or drums. Perhaps you’ve been even asking yourself – how do you move an upright piano? In this expert guide, we will show you how to move a piano and prepare it for relocation.

Whether you’re trying to relocate to Israel or even move to Argentina, you’ll require the necessary equipment and knowledge about properly moving a piano. It’s not enough to research the best places to live abroad for an effortless move. You want to make your relocation as smooth as possible, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic. If you successfully prepare and organize your move, you’ll ensure that you won’t deal with relocation stress. Your musical instrument will stay safe and protected if you follow this in-depth guide.

Why Do You Need to Know How to Move a Piano?

You might be asking yourself – how do you move a piano easily? Well, first, you need to know that preparation for the relocation day itself lasts up to a month or even two. You’ll have to buy additional equipment, and you will have to decide which path you are going to take. Also, the most common types of pianos people move are upright, grand, and digital. Each type can be packed and moved using similar methods. While figuring out how to move to another country and having to deal with culture shock when you finally move, you don’t want to worry about complex belongings you haven’t correctly prepared for the move.

What is more, it will be quite difficult to balance your finances abroad if you damage your expensive instrument or you need to pay for repairs. You need to be financially stable when you move internationally. Therefore, expensive and valuable musical instruments require special care and attention when you’re moving abroad by sea.

Equipment and Materials You Will Require

If you want to prevent things from breaking, you will require additional equipment and materials that will keep everything protected at all times. So, what equipment do you need to move a piano? Ensure that you have:

  • A big cardboard box,
  • Four-wheel dolly,
  • Straps for dollies,
  • Ramps,
  • Plastic wrap or a blanket,
  • Gloves,
  • Duct tape,
  • Planks of plywood.

You can always find cheap and affordable supplies online, so check the Craiglist website. In case you cannot find the supplies needed for your move, you can always contact your overseas moving company and get more information about what materials and equipment you must have for your musical instrument. If you want to do everything your own way, get advice on how to move a piano yourself. You can also ask about items the movers won’t move and also documents needed for moving overseas so you can adequately plan and prepare.

Additional Supplies That Can Come in Handy

If you own a grand concert piano or a digital one that is very expensive and you want to ensure nothing goes wrong during the move, you might want to invest in additional equipment that can come in handy. Some of these additional items include stair rollers, roller buckles, lifting bars, and a bench bag. Faultless hardwood dollies are a bit pricey but will definitely make your move more efficient.

The Process of Preparing Pianos for the Move?

As mentioned before, you will require manpower and a strategic plan. Since the instrument weighs on average between 300 to 1,000 pounds, you will need to call at least four people to lend you a helping hand. Once you obtain it, use plastic wrap and blankets to cover the instrument. Make sure to cover every inch of it, so the object doesn’t get any scratches. A useful relocation hack you might consider is using towels or clothes if you are relocating on a budget.

Next, use tape to secure the blankets in place so that nothing slips off or moves during the transportation. After securing everything with the tape, you should, together with a couple of people, take the instrument and put it on a dolly. Use straps and rope so it gets correctly attached to the dolly. You should also wear appropriate clothing and work gloves so you protect yourself also because pianos are heavy and complicated to maneuver.

Moving an Upright Piano

You are asking how to move an upright piano? The process is similar to the grand concert pianoforte. First, you want to secure the pedals and keys. Place the plastic wrap or blankets on all sides of the instruments. Cover the back, the front, and sides. Tape the instrument from all sides and ensure that, when you lift it, there is a person on each side.

To avoid physical injuries, plan with your crew at what exact moment you are going to lift the instrument. Explain the intentions and reasons to move the instrument in a particular manner. Also, don’t forget to bend the knees instead of lifting with all of your strength. The instrument should be placed on a dolly and fastened with ropes or relocation straps. Then, you can freely move it but take precautions and don’t rush while you move it.

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How to Move a Grand Piano?

Moving a grand piano may be a little bit more complicated since the instrument takes up more space. The top lid usually stays open, especially on concert pianos. You have to lower the lid and make sure it cannot be opened in transit. Pedals and legs can be taken off the instrument, and you can do that with a screwdriver.

Piano’s every part, from the lid to the keys, should be covered with blanket or plastic cover, and the legs and pedals can be put in a container or cardboard box. And, for the music’s sake, don’t misplace or lose that box. After the move, you will have to assemble the instrument, so make sure you have the pedals and legs by your side.

Your crew should carefully and slowly tilt the instrument onto the piano board and fasten it with straps. Also, technicians advise against tuning the instrument right after the move and recommend waiting for a while.

How to Protect a Digital Piano?

There are different types of electronic pianos, such as console, portable, and grand. The portable ones are designed to be transported most of the time, and you will probably have a custom-made case for them. If you are transporting this type of instrument, ensure that you detach and disconnect any portable pedals, stands, or power adapters. You don’t want to risk damaging the inputs of the instrument. The case should be put in a cardboard box that is secured at the bottom with plastic covers. If you want to move an upright piece, don’t transport it on its castors. They are intended only for mere adjustments, so if you try to move them to the truck, they might get damaged.

Here is a video of how you can prepare your digital musical instrument for shipping overseas.

Moving the Instrument Down the Stairs

Getting the instrument down the stairs might seem difficult at first glance. But you can follow these easy steps to ensure your instrument is protected. For this task, you will have to get planks of plywood that would be big enough to cover the stairs. When you prop the instrument onto a dolly and get to the stairs, remove it and move it down the planks of plywood. When you get to the bottom of the stairs, use the dolly again and continue transport to the cargo hold.

Don’t Forget to Clear the Path

It might seem like a tedious task, but you have to evaluate the path your instrument has to take. Therefore, you should take a measuring tape and measure the door and the staircase. Figure out if you can manage to maneuver the instrument on that path. Also, get all other belongings and packed boxes out of the way. You don’t want to have a team of people lifting a heavy instrument and not being able to get it to the truck because of overlooked obstacles.

Get Professional Movers to Help You

How much does it cost to move a standing piano? For international moves, the cost is usually somewhere between 2,000 and 5,000 dollars. For this price, you can also get professional packers to help you. Professional packers and movers are experts at preparing their customers for their move overseas. They offer outstanding packing services and know exactly how and what to pack for your move abroad. You can get a crew of professionals at your home ready to secure and move your musical instrument wherever you want.

You don’t have to waste precious time moving the piano yourself. You have to prepare for this life-changing situation and figure out how to live abroad. Professional packers will take the load off your shoulders. They know how to pack fragile, bulky, and expensive items with utmost care. Tell them the exact dimensions and characteristics of the instrument so they can prepare supplies and crew members needed at your home. They will make sure that you move efficiently.

Use an Available Storage Unit

If you’ve been second-guessing whether you should transport your bulky instrument right away, there is a solution for that, too. You can contact your overseas shipping company any time of the day and request storage services for any type of musical instrument. Your items will stay safe inside a well-protected and monitored storage unit. A lot of people find this solution easier because they can prepare and plan when they will come back and transport their instruments. The good news is that, with most legitimate international moving companies, the instruments can be kept in a storage unit for free for up to 30 days.

How to Unpack the Instrument When You Arrive?

You will be new in town, and you will also require someone’s assistance when unpacking. Living overseas can sometimes be demanding, so ensure you find an expat community to help you. When you start unpacking your belongings and especially your heavy musical instrument, ask people in your area for help. Don’t rush and do everything by yourself because you can get hurt or damage the instrument.

During the move-in and the unpacking process, you might get to know some locals. Your big musical instrument may stir up some interest and spark up a conversation, so you will get the chance to break the language barrier. Just remember you shouldn’t do everything by yourself.

With This Guide, You Will Successfully Move Your Instrument

With the right steps and professionals by your side, your instrument will be transported safely and smoothly. You won’t have to deal with scratches and dents. All you have to do is follow these easy steps, stock up on the right supplies, and gather people who can do this with you. If you are unsure you can do it correctly, lean on the relocation company to provide you with professional packers who can help you with this task. We wish you the best of luck with your move.There are certain rules to follow when trying to protect your musical instruments during a move. Here is a complete guide on how to move a piano.



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