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Any Tips on Transporting an Upright Piano.
Old 03-20-2012, 02:07 PM   #1
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Any Tips on Transporting an Upright Piano.

4 of us are going to move our in-laws upright piano similar to the photo below approximately 15 kilometers/10 miles. We will use a pick up truck and moving blankets and have to go down 3 stairs at there front door and up 5 stairs at there new place. We'll ensure that it's wrapped well with moving blankets and have it strapped while in the rear of the trunk and drive carefully while in motion. They're going to have it tuned once it's in there new place but I was wondering if anyone has any experience such as laying it on it's back when in the back of the truck, or placing a blanket inside so the insides don't move around much.

I'll estimate that the piano is maybe 500 lbs.


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Old 03-20-2012, 02:39 PM   #2
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I've only ever seen upright pianos being moved in an upright position.

some links that might help....

Piano Moving Techniques. DIY Piano Moving Instruction from learntomove.com

How to move a piano - piano moving | Ask MetaFilter
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Old 03-20-2012, 03:24 PM   #3
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Unscrew the pianos front legs when you move it. With the heavy weight, the legs can easily be broken if they catch on something when you move. You will need to stabilize it once it is sitting in the truck (upright).

My two cents.
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Old 03-20-2012, 03:28 PM   #4
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Old 03-20-2012, 05:49 PM   #5
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We moved an oak upright piano, via U-haul truck, 20-some years ago (and have since sold it, to an ecstatic customer, so we must've been asking too little ) The piano looked just like yours except for being made of light-colored oak.

When I say "we," I mean husband, 20-some-years younger of course, and male friend. Husband was big (6 feet 2) and strong; male friend, 5 feet 9 and strong. The piano was not moved up or down stairs.

As advised above, the piano's legs were unscrewed before moving. The piano body was wrapped in blankets and wedged in place with boxes, probably (knowing us) full of books.

All went well. Good luck!

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Old 03-20-2012, 06:46 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by My Dream View Post
4 of us are going to move our in-laws upright piano similar to the photo below approximately 15 kilometers/10 miles. We will use a pick up truck and moving blankets and have to go down 3 stairs at there front door and up 5 stairs at there new place. We'll ensure that it's wrapped well with moving blankets and have it strapped while in the rear of the trunk and drive carefully while in motion. They're going to have it tuned once it's in there new place but I was wondering if anyone has any experience such as laying it on it's back when in the back of the truck, or placing a blanket inside so the insides don't move around much.

I'll estimate that the piano is maybe 500 lbs.


How far do you have to drive to your other destination? I would`nt put it in a P/U truck.
The piano it topheavy, in a turn, will tip over. If a police officer see`s you hauling it, he might pull you over and ticket you. Use a U-haul, and Strap it to the wall. Much safer, good luck.
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Old 03-20-2012, 08:54 PM   #7
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If the piano is in good shape there is no reason to put padding inside of it, esspecially the short distance you are going. Wait a few days after the move to have it tuned, and make sure the "damp chaser" is working. When wrapping with blankets don't cover the lift handles on the back. Someone already mentioned to remove the legs. Keep it up right.
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Old 03-20-2012, 10:34 PM   #8
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I was considering learning how to tune a piano. I thought I'd get a cheap or free piano to practice on, but the transportation fees nixed that. I also took a lesson in tuning and decided it was much too difficult.
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Old 03-21-2012, 06:57 AM   #9
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Thanks everyone for the suggestions and reply.

Four of us will transport the piano on Thursday evening. We will remove the front legs, wrap it up in moving blankets with the saran type wrap around the blankets to keep them in place. From the living room to the truck will be approximately 50 feet with 3 stairs down from the front door. Lifting onto the truck without laying it on it's back will be a challenge, especially since I don't want to put my back out. Mind you I'll be the oldest of the bunch.

Once in the truck I'll strap it to the rear, transport it 15 kilometers, then unload. Bringing it 5 stairs up the front porch and back into the living room which will be another 50 feet will be the final challenge.

Wish us luck and if I don't post back later on this week, it's because I'm laying in bed with a bad back.................just kidding.

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I was considering learning how to tune a piano. I thought I'd get a cheap or free piano to practice on, but the transportation fees nixed that. I also took a lesson in tuning and decided it was much too difficult.
Just curious, what special tools are needed to so this procedure. Just curious, and yes I could just google it, but Trombone already has the answer.
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Old 03-21-2012, 10:46 AM   #10
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Lift with your legs... ha

sorry, couldn't resist.
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Old 03-21-2012, 10:58 AM   #11
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Way back when I was a kid I worked for a moving company specializing in pianos. The advice here has been mostly good. I would like to reemphasize, DO NOT lay it on it's back or side. Really, the only thing that works are dollies and brute strength. I think transporting it in the pickup will be a problem. If you have to do it, I would get some sort of ramp system set up so you don't have to do a 3 foot dead weight lift of 500 lbs. If you can't put it sideways against the cab, I would put it in the center of the bed, but up against cab. Then I would brace BIG things around it to keep it from tipping or sliding. I don't think putting it against one side or the other is too good an idea. I would personally spring for the $40 bucks or whatever to get a Uhaul with a lift on it. The savings in Ben Gay and hospital bills alone will be well worth it, not to mention the damage to the piano. JMO, of course.
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Old 03-21-2012, 11:12 AM   #12
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There are special piano dollies that work well. I rented mine. I rented a U-Haul truck with ramps. It made life easier, but I was moving it alone.

Stairs? Um, have you considered hiring it done?
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Old 03-21-2012, 11:21 AM   #13
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Best is to call a piano tuner or a reputable store, and ask them to recommend a piano moving service. For no more than $200 or so you can save the possibility of damage to the instrument, the home, or your bodies.

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Old 03-21-2012, 11:39 AM   #14
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Thanks again for the suggestions, my wife called up couple piano movers in the Toronto, Canada area and the average price was around $400.00. Unfortunately my in-laws figure including taxes and tuning it would come close to what they paid for the piano. I guess that's why they asked for our help. I guess I owe them this favour.

My wife will schedule the piano tuner a week after they've settled in and I'll pick up the tab for that one. Yes I do get along great with my in-laws.


Tomorrow evening is the move and no, I'm not really looking forward to it, but a man's got to do what a man's got to do.
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Old 03-21-2012, 03:05 PM   #15
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Around here, I didn't find any dedicated piano movers, and the cost from calling a moving company was over $500. Probably a lot less in a city.

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Just curious, what special tools are needed to so this procedure. Just curious, and yes I could just google it, but Trombone already has the answer.
You really only need a tuning lever (although all the tuners say you need a good quality one for over $200), and some "mutes" and a special strip of felt. To do it right, you need an electronic device that figures out the correct frequency of each of the strings of the particular piano. You'd think you just need to get each note to the proper frequency, but it's not that simple, due to the "inharmonicities" of each individual piano.

However, the difficulty that I discovered, and which made me realize that this wouldn't be a good hobby, was in rotating the pin. I'd push on the tuning lever, and nothing would happen, and then it would jump, and the thing would move too far. There's also the concern of breaking a string.

My dream was to be able to touch up pianos that I perform on, but it just isn't realistic.
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Old 03-21-2012, 06:08 PM   #16
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Thanks for the infomation TromboneAl, the only thing I've ever tuned is a car and a guitar. As for the comparison to the guitar.........well it's like night and day to the piano as you've explained it to me so that's best left to the pro's.

By the sounds of it, tuning a piano takes a certain amount of skill and tools of the trade.
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Old 03-21-2012, 08:49 PM   #17
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You really only need a tuning lever (although all the tuners say you need a good quality one for over $200),
$200! For a little wrench? heh-heh - I had an old junker upright, and I used to pull any obviously bad strings back into tune with a vice-grips.

Sure, getting the entire thing stretch-tuned properly was way-way-way beyond what I would ever tackle, and I wouldn't touch a valuable instrument. But on those mid-range notes with three strings, getting one of them closer to the other two isn't that hard, and it sounded better when I was done than before. And that was all I was hoping for.


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My dream was to be able to touch up pianos that I perform on, but it just isn't realistic.
But if there just a note or two out, I'm sure you could do it.

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Old 03-21-2012, 08:59 PM   #18
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The steps that Laurel & Hardy grappled with when filming that short are still there - on Vendome Street in Los Angeles, just a few blocks south of Sunset Blvd. There's a small plaque at the bottom of the steps.

I loved that film when I was growing up in England, and to see the very same steps as an adult was quite something.

Thanks for posting MasterBlaster.
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Old 03-21-2012, 09:06 PM   #19
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Maybe too late but I would suggest listing an ad on uship.com. I put an ad up there for moving my upright piano halfway across the country and got several bids, the best one for $500 from someone with good feedback which I accepted. Everything went smoothly. You might find that some local movers with a liftgate truck have a spare afternoon and would do it for $100. Or just throw a post up on Craigslist.

You can probably DIY this, but just beware that upright pianos have a strange center of gravity...if that sucker starts to tip over backwards, GTFO of the way.

After my piano was delivered I had a pro tune it, since it hadn't been tuned in over a decade, plus the trauma of moving, he had to tune it twice. Apparently the first time you tune it, the soundboard compresses and previously tuned notes are lost, so a second round is required. It took him about 3 hours and did not seem like it would make a good hobby.
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Old 03-22-2012, 08:00 PM   #20
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That's a good idea to post but yup it's too late, piano has been moved with no issues other then it started to rain for about 1/2 hour.

I think I need to go on a diet starting tomorrow though.
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