How to Move a Piano

Written by: Pete
Updated:

Pianos have wheels, so they should make moving a piano to your new home easy, right? Technically, pianos do have wheels, but those tiny wheels are only for moving a piano short distances inside your home. They aren't meant for rolling them down your driveway and onto a moving truck. 

The easiest – and the safest - way to move an acoustic piano is to hire a piano mover, especially if you'll be moving your piano up and downstairs. Many piano stores will have their own moving team that will move and tune your piano for you. Or you can hire professional movers who are skilled at moving pianos.

Grand pianos are extremely heavy and should only be moved by a professional. However, if you are moving an upright piano and can manage the 500 to 1000 pound load safely, you'll need to know how to do it right. You can use the same steps for moving a digital piano, but it will be a lot lighter and easier to manage.(Check out the differences between a digital and acoustic piano here). Follow along to find out how to move a piano. 

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What you will need to move a piano 

To safely move your piano, you're going to need a few items: 

  • Moving truck with a ramp or lift. 
  • Moving Straps. You'll use the straps to secure the piano to the piano dolly. 
  • Piano Dolly. Piano dollies are flat dollies with large wheels. They do not have handles.
  • Wood planks. Wood planks will take the pressure off of the dolly wheels in the truck, which is better for the piano.
  • Four strong friends to help you move the piano.
  • Bubble wrap. You'll use bubble wrap to protect the delicate parts of the piano: the keys, music desk, and pedals.
  • Measuring tape. You'll need to measure any doorways, hallways, and your piano to make sure it will fit.
  • Cardboard. You can lay down and secure cardboard anywhere the floor could be damaged from moving the piano. 
  • Painter's tape. Use painter's tape to secure the cardboard to the floor. 
  • Masking tape. Use masking tape to secure the moving blankets and bubble wrap to the piano but avoid getting tape on the piano. 

Step by Step Instructions on How to Move a Piano

You'll always want to put safety first when you move your piano! Keep your children and pets safe. They'll need to be somewhere they can't get underfoot when you are moving the piano to its new location. 

Pianos are extremely heavy – anywhere from 500 to 1000 pounds for an upright piano. They are also somewhat top-heavy, so you want to be absolutely sure that the piano will not topple over on any people or pets. 

  1. Measure and plan. 

    Get your measuring tape and measure the dimensions of the piano, the doorways, and any hallways or places you will need to move through. Make sure there is enough room to manage the piano safely so you don't get stuck or end up with smashed knuckles. 

    Create your moving path and remove all obstructions. You may need to temporarily move things out of the way, like furniture, toys, boxes, and tables. 

    Lay down cardboard anywhere you need to protect the flooring. You can use painter's tape to secure the cardboard to the floor. You want the cardboard to be as flat to the floor as possible so you won't trip over it or catch the dolly wheels on it. 

    Lay your wood planks parallel to the back of the truck. You're going to set the piano dolly onto the planks to stabilize the bottom of the piano. The planks should be positioned so that they fit inside the dolly's wheels. The piano should be the first thing you put on your moving truck (if you are moving other items) and the last thing that you remove from the truck. 

  2. Prepare the piano to be moved. 

    Protect the piano with bubble wrap and moving blankets. First, wrap the music desk and pedals with bubble wrap and secure the bubble wrap with tape. (This is why your pedals are important!) You want to protect these delicate items because they can break easily when moving the piano. Next, make sure the keyboard lid is closed. You can wrap bubble wrap around that, as well, and tape it. 

    Finally, cover the entire piano with moving blankets and secure the blankets with tape. Don't get any tape on the piano's finish – it can be hard to remove and could damage the piano. 

    Line your piano dolly up next to the piano. It will need to be centered under the piano, so you might want to put one person in charge of centering the dolly. Have your movers stand on each end of the piano and gently lift it up onto the piano dolly. It will be about 6 inches high. 

    Do not lift the piano by its legs because they could break off easily. 

    Secure the piano to the dolly with moving straps. You need to tighten the straps enough to hold the piano tight to the dolly. 

  3. Carefully move the piano. 

    Carefully roll the piano through the path you created and up the truck's ramp. You need to communicate clearly with your team of movers so that no one trips or gets hurt. Take breaks when you need to! 

    Roll the piano to the back of the truck flat against the wall. Do not lay the piano on its side. This can damage the mechanical parts inside the piano. 

    Have your movers stand on each end of the piano and carefully lift the piano onto the planks. This takes the pressure off of the frame of the piano. 

    Next, you need to secure the piano to the sides of the moving truck. There will be clips or wooden bars for you to do so. Next, you need to strap the piano to the hooks or the wooden bars so that it doesn't slide around in the truck. If you are loading other items onto the truck, ensure they are secure and won't fall onto or damage the piano. Drive your truck to your new location. 

  4. Unload the piano. 

    As you unload the other items at your new destination, remember to keep the path open for the piano because it will be the last thing you unload. Carefully reverse the process. Remove the straps holding the piano to the truck and gently lift the piano off the wooden planks. Be extra careful when rolling the piano down off the ramp because gravity will quickly pull the heavyweight down the ramp! 

  5. Move the Piano to its new home. 

    You'll want to carefully navigate your piano next to the spot it will be located. Remove the tape, blankets, straps, and bubble wrap and set them aside. Position your movers on each end of the piano and carefully lift the piano off the dolly and right into its new home. Gently wipe any dust off the piano and recycle or discard your moving materials. 

    After three to four weeks in its new home, it will be time to get your piano tuned. 

Final Thoughts On Moving a Piano

With careful planning and teamwork, you can safely move your piano to your new home. Of course, always use caution when moving a piano so no one – and no piano – gets hurt or damaged. Remember to measure and plan your path, carefully strap your piano to the dolly, and get lots of help navigating with the piano! When in doubt, hire a professional to give you a hand. You can watch Home Depot move a piano, here. 

Please let us know in the comments if you liked this tutorial on moving your piano. Also, don't forget to add any tips or suggestions on moving the piano safely, avoiding injury, and setting up your piano in your new space. We'd love to hear from you! 

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