Tips on Moving a Baby Grand Piano

baby piano

Owning a musical instrument requires much attention to its keeping safe and working. However, being properly maintained, any piano, grand piano, violin or other musical device may present you minutes and hours of an amazing pastime, if a good musician plays it. In case of a large musical instrument, it brings a unique atmosphere and comfort to the house, especially if it is of great sentimental or historical value, like Mason and Hamlin or Bösendorfer.

However, many piano owners being inclined to their instruments are facing the necessity to change their houses. Refusing the instrument by selling it or donating is not considered now. As well as the relocation of your entire household, a musical instrument relocation demands your attention to the challenge.

This is a serious ordeal, and a baby grand or upright piano move process must be divided into simple steps:

  1. To reveal, what are the variants of baby grand piano move.
  2. To collect step-by-step instruction on the moving process.

What Are The Ways Of Baby Grand Piano Move

baby grand piano move

Actually, there are two variants for you to move: 

  1. DIY move
  2. Hiring professionals

Average pianos have big size, they are fragile, and due to this are very sensitive to any hindrance. Not every moving company provides services on grand piano relocation. But there are professionals, who specialize on moving pianos. And their services make a separate moving market niche. Different modes of move vary in cost.

How much does it cost to move a piano? Self-moving is the cheapest way of transportation ($250 $400), but the most dangerous.

Two other moving variants imply using professional services. Household movers’ services will be cheaper than the same services of specialized piano movers and will make $300-$500. The advantages using expertise of piano moving company’s services are numerous. In case of a local move it will be $450-$600. And if you ask: “How much does it cost to move a piano across country?”, the answer is $1000 – $2000 in case of interstate or cross country grand piano moving. Below in the text we will explain peculiarities of DYI self-move and professional services move.

1. We would advise starting to think about moving a piano yourself only in case you or any of your assistants have already had such an experience and coped with this task.

a) To relocate a great object you will need the sufficient manpower: at least three assistants in case of small object, up to 6 people in case of a bigger one. Therefore, if you have managed to get help of the people including an experienced person free of charge, go on.

b) The next thing to do is collecting necessary equipment and materials. Please keep in mind, that tools are also pricey: a 4-wheeled dolly ($125); 1-2 buckle straps ($25 each one); bubble wraps, pads, mats for move, blankets; packing tape; 1-2 screwdrivers. If some steps or stairs are on your transportation route, you will need a piano skidboard ($125). 

c) Transportation. Using your own or your friend’s pick up car is the cheapest way to relocate an instrument. Nevertheless, we do not advise this due to collapse danger. There will not be special hangers and fixing mechanisms provided to maintain a grand piano during the trip. Try renting a truck or hiring a driver with the equipped lorry from a moving company.

2. Use professional services and you will feel safe, maintain your physical and mental health. If you move with all your possessions, request your moving company to relocate your piano, in case they have experience in such a move. It will be much cheaper to move a piano in such a way than using specialized piano movers. Inform your mover about each detail of this logistic: piano size, make, model, its historical or cultural value, route and its obstacles, narrow places, etc. You will get a more exact quote, if you provide more details.

However, if a piano is of greater value, experienced grand piano movers are needed. Neither you nor your piano and other property will get any scratch or damage. In addition to the skills and abilities, professionals will provide a full insurance coverage of any unexpected situation.

Cost calculation in the event of piano move is very individual and depends on many factors. Try to get 3-5 piano movers quotes to assess the cost move precisely. The costs may be counted on hourly basis ($20-$40 per person) or a flat rate. In the event of local move at least 3 hours are needed to perform all necessary operations. This includes disassembling and assembling, packing and unpacking, piano shipping on the truck and its unloading on both parts of the route. During intercity or interstate move, the distance is taken into consideration, and is calculated around $3 per mile rate and added to the total cost.

You may be offered a number of supplementary services that usually are charged additionally: storing, disassembling, packing, crating. However, these add-ons may also be free of charge moving services.

A Piano Move Instruction

Guide: a piano move

Let’s review each type of great instrument peculiarities.To take a proper decision, how to move a piano, learn these details. Generally, the weight of an instrument depends on its size. This is an indication, whether it is possible to move a piano or not by an amateur (DIY) means.

#InstrumentDimensionsWeightDIY move y/n
1Upright piano54’’ high500-600 lbsyes
2Baby grand54’’ – 72’’ (4.5’ – 6.4’) long500 – 800 lbsyes
3Concert grand6’4 - 9’ long1000-1200 lbsno

It is NOT recommended moving a concert grand piano yourself without using specialized movers. A heavy and massive unit may be dropped or damaged; it may cause scratches or spoil other property, or injure people by transportation. Why a concert grand piano is so heavy? The weight of this instrument is determined by the size of its harp made of cast iron. A part, made of this substance, is tough, which is obligatory to support strings under big tension.

Usually 4-5 people are enough to manage an upright and a baby grand piano. However, minimum 6 skilled people are needed to move a concert one.

How To Move An Upright Piano

help moving a baby piano

Of all the types of pianos, a vertical one is the easiest to move. 2 experienced movers may cope with the task, if there is no sufficient obstacles like several flights of stairs or narrow aisles.

Start the works with fixing a keyboard lid. Than wrap a unit and secure it on the trolley. Once a piano is reliably covered with bubble wrap, packing tape and hump strap, it may be mounted on the dolly, which in its turn possesses special handles and fixers for instrument safe transportation.

Loading an upright piano must be provided with caution. Tilt and balance left and right sides gently.

Moving an upright piano straightforward on the flat surface is simple. But if you need to overcome several steps or even stairs, ask for additional pair of hands. Two people doubtfully will cope with the task.

Moving A Baby Grand Piano

Please do not move a concert piano exceeding 6.4’ and 1000 lbs weight. This is dangerous for both your health and property.

As for the small baby grand, it is possible to do yourself after collecting necessary equipment, wrapping materials and 4-5 skilled assistants. Read the instructions below and assess your abilities.

  • Step 1. A massive lid of an instrument should be either locked if there is a locking mechanism or disassembled with a screwdriver. Prepare plastic bags, collect tiny screws into it and label a bag correspondingly. Do not forget to collect all parts, pack them and label. It will make easier your instrument assembly in new location. 
  • Step 2. Disassembling legs, a lyre and a rack. The aim of the operation to get rid of the parts, which won’t let an item through the doorways. Therefore, two or three friends hold a piano, and one mover should disassemble a lyre with pedals, and 3 or 4 legs. The parts are fixed with screws so may be disassembled easily.
  • Step 3. Tilt an instrument to its longer side, start wrapping it thoroughly with the help of wrapping materials and mats. One of the ways to wrap a piano is to buy a special cover, which is rather expensive. However, it is worth its price as it is made of a sturdy cloth, it fits exactly the form of the piano, has many handles for perfect grab during transportation. Anyway, a wrapped unit should be loaded to the transportation dolly and tied firmly by transportation ropes on it.
  • Step 4. Wrap the parts (lid, legs, lyre with pedals) in the wrapping material so that no polished part could be scrapped or damaged.
  • Step 5. How to move a piano. An average grand piano should fit through any doorways, which are usually 2.5’ – 3’ wide. So moving straightforward, through doors or aisles, in the room covered with a carpet, won’t be a problem. Remember just not to leave a disassembled instrument unwatched. One person should always hold it.

Obstacles are the challenging places for movers and the most dangerous for piano’s transportation. Steps, moving upstairs, moving downstairs, piano shipping on the truck and its unloading are the operations, which requires attention and skills. Moving up and down a baby grand piano, carrying along a flight of stairs, perform the same actions. 

4 to 6 people should carefully tilt an instrument with its keyboard forward. Use an additional sliding board for steps. Once a keyboard is facing forward, attach a hump strap to an instrument with its ends in the top. Sliding should be started only after some people are keeping ends of the strap on the top to prevent a piano’s fall. Therefore, in case an instrument is moving down, these ends are being pulled slowly down. In case it is going up, the ends are being pulled up. 1-2 persons should always keep firmly an instrument in the bottom.

Being shipped on a truck or a pickup, a piano should be reliably tied and fixed in its luggage boot. As for the remaining parts, legs and a lyre, they may be transported either in the luggage department or in the cabin with an owner or a mover.   

Be cautious, when rolling a grand piano in a dolly. It should be 4-wheeled and sturdy, designated specially for piano transportation. Never use the casters of the piano for moving purposes. They are fragile and designated mostly for decoration.