There are several reasons why you would consider moving your piano yourself. First, there’s the added expense, seeing as hiring an entire team of ‘piano moving jacks’ and their piano dolly can be quite costly. They are paid by the hour and usually charge a few extra dollars for every step they have to climb up or down a stairwell.
Apart from all that money, there’s the idea of valuing your piano above anything else. Anyone who has ever owned one such grand musical instrument will know this feeling. The conclusion is that you decided to turn this into a DIY project. Put your mind at ease, as this is actually a lot easier than it seems. All you need are a few of your friends and a piano dolly.
How to move a spinet piano, an upright one or a grand piano
Although all three kinds are different, the basic steps of moving these gargantuan musical instruments are the same. The difference comes due to their size and shape, but it’s not considerable. Here are the main steps of moving a piano.
1. Plan a route
The first thing you need to do before starting to actually budge the piece is to carefully plan the route you and your helpers will follow. Inside the house, move all the furniture, rugs, and objects that might become impediments out of the way. Make sure the pets are locked away, so they don’t trip anybody.
Think about the stairs and the stairwell also, if that is the case. If there are tight corners, take some time to think how you will handle them. When outside, park the truck or car you’re using as close to the building entrance as possible, so as to avoid hauling the piano down the street. If necessary and you know the street to be busy, move the instrument at night when there are fewer people on the street.
2. Prepare the piano for the move
In case you don’t already have this information, the primary action is to measure the piano. Uprights, for example, are usually 58 inches wide while grand pianos measure some 5 feet in width and 6 ½ in length. This is an average estimation, and the size of your keyboard depends on the brand, model, and how old it is. This is why you need to measure it yourself. Remember also to measure all the doors it needs to fit through on the way out.
After the measurement, it’s time to wrap it up in blankets. The upright and the spinet, for instance, can be directly wrapped up, but the grand needs to be taken apart. Have your moving crew gently lift up the piano and unscrew its legs one at a time. In this way, you will get a flat surface to work with, which will be far easier to lift onto the dolly.
Place the instrument gently on the grand piano dolly. Very slowly push the dolly out the doors until you reach your destination. Take as much time as needed because this is not safe and can harm not only the piano itself but the people moving it as well, should something go wrong.
How to choose between piano dollies?
Choosing the perfect moving equipment for such a delicate and big musical instrument depends on its size and numbers and on the space you are trying to move it through. All of them are wheeled, but there are all sorts of piano dollies available on the market, such as heavy duty ones, dollies made for buildings that are more than one story high, singles, winter, digital, tandem, and even small ones for lesser pianos, like a mini spinet or a small Cable Nelson.
Here are some examples of models, reviews, and prices which will help you choose. All the dollys presented here work for the majority of pianos made of wood, be them a Gulbransen, Yamaha, Kimball Whitney, Janssen, Chickering and Sons, Everett or other artist pianos. The dollies also work for other large objects, the likes of furniture or heavy boxes.
- The Schaff Twin Dolly Set for Upright Pianos – retails for approximately $289 and you can find it at your local Home Depot or at Lowes. It’s also available for rental.
- The Jansen Upright Dolly Set – Retails for $299 and it can be used to haul pianos everywhere, thanks to its rubber finish applied to the wheels. This means the Jansen dollie will not scratch the floors.
- The Jansen Heavy DutyTwin Dollies – the system retails for $465 and you will need to use it when moving a grand piano, both big and baby.
- The Schaff Spinet / Console Piano Dolly – its retailing price starts at $580. The machine is made in the USA and its review shows how you can load the biggest of grand pianos on it without damaging the instrument or the cart itself.
- The Digital Upright & Clavinova Dolly – the price can be as cheap as $391. It was designed for digital pianos and it has double wheel rear casters and locking casters for the two wheels in the front. It has a low profile that can accommodate all kinds of digital pianos.
- The Economy Wood Dolly – is available for purchase for only $99. You can also rent this moving dolly for an even lower price, and it’s one of the most amazing tools when it comes to relocating smaller instruments. If you’re wondering where you can buy it, it’s available online at big retailers such as Amazon, where you might also find it for sale.
- The Adjustable Grand Piano Mobileer by GRK Mfg – this one is a spider dolly with a number of three wheels and brakes on all of them. This ensures the dolly nor the piano for that matter will move at all during the transportation.
In case you do not wish to buy your own dolly, you can also use the services of a piano dolly rental. The price depends on the dolly model you choose and whether you wish to hire movers as well or not.
Using a piano dolly is the key to transforming the gruesome task of moving such a grand instrument as the piano into an easy deal. As long as you follow the basic moving rules and securely hoist the piano onto the dolly, the rest should be as easy as a walk in the park.