Are you thinking of moving to a new apartment with your house aparatus? Maybe you’re relocating to a different part of town or even a different city or state and have a piano in the house? We will try to give you a comprehensive overview of the whole matter so that your questions are answered and you can make an informed decision on your own.
Pianos are not typical household furniture
A piano is not the same as a wardrobe. While both may be made of wood, a piano needs to be handled with a lot more caution. There are various types of pianos and each of them present their own challenges when it comes to relocating them. But whether you have a baby grand sitting in the hall or an upright piano in your study, all pianos are…
Your ordinary piano has about nine thousand to twelve thousand small parts inside of it, while grand pianos may have even more. There are also fragile strings and paddles that control the output of the sound. A majority of these parts are in constant motion during play and every single one of them work together in unison to bring out melodies. A single string out of alignment or a paddle out of place can throw the entire instrument out of whack.
Besides being very fine instruments, pianos are also…
This seems like a redundant point to bring up, but pianos are quite heavy. But more than the total weight, what makes them very tricky to move is the unevenness in the distribution of their weight. Specific tools and equipment are required for each category of piano in order to move them swiftly and efficiently. All of the metallic components that exist inside the piano only contribute to the difficulty even more.
How things can go wrong
It’s not out of place to think you can just call on a buddy, roll up your sleeves and do the moving all by yourselves. But we would highly advise against following through with that line of thought if you do not want to risk damage to yourself or your piano. The uneven weight distribution makes it almost physically impossible to lift a piano and maneuver it through stairs and hallways and expect any precise control over its motion or direction. If you lack the tools or the experience of moving piano upstairs, it is quite likely that you will end up…
As mentioned before, it’s quite an ordeal for amateurs to lift a piano and move it around the house without something going wrong. Without dollies and pulleys, there is a high probability of spraining a leg or pulling a muscle as you are moving it. Not to mention the unfortunate but common scenario of dropping it on your leg. And the last thing you want when relocating is a broken leg. There’s also the risk of…
Damaging the piano:
It’s a very popular troupe in cartoons where the piano falls down the stairs to end up shattered into pieces. While that exact scenario might be a tad too dramatic, we have heard enough horror stories from clients who initially tried to move a piano themselves and had to pay exorbitant amounts to repair the damage done. You can easily chip the body or break one of the protruding paddles of the piano. Some discreet damages may not even be immediately apparent. Things like straining or displacing the strings or a pipe being slightly bent under pressure are not noticeable until you actually play a melody. Damaging a piano in the process of moving it yourself is like putting the horse ahead of the cart – we once again highly advise against it. Furthermore it might also lead to…
Irritating your friends:
Of course, if you choose to do it by yourself, it won’t be all on your own. You might call upon a neighbor or a friend to help you with it. It might initially seem like an easy enough task, a piano requires a specific set of skills and moving quote. It might end up being very frustrating for your friends and you when you face multiple unexpected difficulties when trying to move it. This may result in no further help when you’re trying to move general items if you’re relocating to another house.
Hiring the right people for the job
The average person lacks the skill set and training required to handle moving pianos as moving pianos is a highly specialized job. If you are indeed relocating to a different residence, there are a thousand different things that require your attention. There is a theory which says that people can only make a set amount of coherent decisions or pay a finite amount of attention in a day. It would be a wise move to leave it to the professionals and focus on matters in which your focus is absolutely essential. A professional would definitely also be a huge factor in cutting down the stress of relocation.
Now you might be thinking about hiring people for the move. The question is – who do you hire? Do you hire a general moving company? Or do you hire a moving company specialized in pianos (also called a piano moving company)?
While we do not want to hard steer you into making a choice, ours years of experience in the moving industry has made us privy to a general rule stated by pianists and movers alike:
“You should never hire a household mover to move your piano, and you should never hire a piano mover to move your house.”
Specialize not generalize:
Moving a piano should be considered a very specific job and be left to those who specialize in it – piano movers and piano movers only.
Not only are there various types of top-rated furniture movers (pianos), but there is also a myriad of models from different eras. We won’t bombard you with all the technical jargon as it would just seem like gibberish to a person looking for moving advice, but there are model and era-specific constraints when it comes to moving pianos and the equipment and training required to accomplish the task smoothly.
The wrong equipment or a less than ideal decision might not only cause damage to your piano, but also wreck the new house you are planning to move into. Unfortunately, we have heard enough accounts of such things happening to no longer regard it as a rare occurrence.
Upright pianos from the early 19th century possess a massive amount of weight which isn’t apparent at first glance. Regular movers don’t understand enough about pianos to differentiate – they will use the same dolly, if any dolly at all, to move all pianos. These dollies are not equipped to handle a very heavy piano such as a full-size Steinway or a mid 50’s Grand.
The dolly needs thick rubber-coated wheels and proper suspension to move the piano across the road and up the pavement into the house. The general BuzzMoving.com Home Depot style dolly will not only rattle under the weight of the piano on any uneven street or whenever it encounters a bend in direction, but it will also most definitely tear the carpet and damage the floors of any house it is being moved into.
There are also very specific tools that one needs in order to not tarnish the look of the piano. The piano needs to be covered from head to toe in densely padded moving blankets in order to protect the finish of the piano. Grand pianos require even more work as they have to be disassembled in certain cases and the amount of mishaps that happen during the disassembly, moving and reassembly process is incredible. This requires specific training which brings us to the fact…
Experience is key:
Piano movers tend to be involved in the piano industry themselves more or less. On top of being piano owners themselves, most of them have piano shops and even some once professional pianists take up the helm. These are all very experienced individuals who have been handling pianos for a large chunk of their lives and thus you can trust them to handle your precious instrument with the utmost care and respect.
Most general movers just want to get the work done. They will stack things on top of the piano keys and even place things under the legs. They will often remove every screw and bolt from the piano in order to lessen the weight and throw all the screws in a pile. Some movers have also said to have attempted to remove all the perimeter bolts that hold the pianos plate in place. This is a nightmarish situation where the plate could have cracked and ruined the whole piano.
And we don’t blame them either. They do not have the proper training and lack the information and equipment to do the job correctly. On the other hand, a piano mover only does one thing – move pianos. Not only are they required to know about the various models and piano types, but they are also trained to put the piano in multiple positions and which parts to disassemble to move the piano efficiently.
Just like you wouldn’t expect a pastry chef to make an incredible chilli, you shouldn’t expect that attention to detail from a regular moving company. The choice is entirely up to you.
A stitch in time saves nine
We all have that one friend who is quick to ridicule anyone willing to spend time, effort and money in the things they admire, dismissing them as unnecessary luxury. Little do they know how much every single string, every single damper, the pedals, the smell of the birch wood, the sensation we get every time our anxious fingertips get to open or close the fall of the piano, the sight of the ever elegant paint on the naturals and enharmonics, little do they know how much our piano can mean to people like you and i. Now that we’re on the same page, it should not be hard to understand that…
The risk is not worth it:
To hand something that means so much to us over to people who will inevitably treat it like they would treat any other piece of wood in the house should be considered blasphemy. We honestly can’t comprehend a scenario where someone would so much as dare to clutch tight on the sides of your mason and hamlin.
People may find it insignificant at first but even transporting the piano from one place to another, fastening it with ropes to a tightness in which it is tight enough not to move an inch while travelling and loose enough not to scratch its integrity is only one of the many things we prioritize like no one else would.
You actually save money overall:
“The calculated risk” of not choosing a professional option like ours could easily end up not being worth the gamble. Sure, going back to what was said a little earlier, hiring us on the surface may seem like an overkill to most people.
However, not everyone is aware of how much it can cost for you to repair or replace the string for one of the F# keys if something were to happen to it, of how much it can cost for you to fix one of the hammers that has -without much effort- been displaced a couple of millimeters to the left from where it should be, of how much it can cost to fix the bend on the framework when it is exposed to an atmosphere that is intimidating to its purity.
It is imperative that invisible costs such as these are taken into account to realize how much of a risk it is of choosing virtually any firm other than ours.