Packing & Moving Household Goods/Warnings
Piano Moving: Warnings[edit | edit source]
- So you want to save money by moving your piano, huh?
If you're going to have to move your piano over 4 low consecutive low steps at any given point in the move path - our first advice to you, the amateur piano mover wannabee is –
Don't do it!
Piano self-moving can be a very difficult and very dangerous endeavor.
This is especially true when traversing more than 4 consecutive low steps because then you have to actually carry the piano, not just tip and lift it! Piano carrying is so dangerous a task that it could lead you right to the undertaker! So instead why don’t you please just pay a qualified professional piano mover to do it for you?
But if you will not be traversing over 4 consecutive low steps in your entire move path and / or if you still want to further investigate how to move your piano yourself, then read on.
First of all, before we will give you our piano moving instruction on how to move a piano traversing over 4 consecutive low steps up or down at any given point in the move path – We will try to completely discourage you from attempting it!!! We feel that it is our responsibility, in consideration of your personal safety, to first make every attempt to warn you of the many difficulties and dangers involved in do it yourself piano moving. We are giving you these warnings because we're certain that you, as amateurs seeking the high calling and the glory of becoming a piano mover (?), do not fully realize the dangers to which you are about to become exposed!.
Consequently, we ask you to carefully and completely read everything on the rest of this page. Please don't skim by any of it! These warnings cover the entire necessary issues of piano moving safety in order for you to make an informed, intelligent decision on this important matter. Then, after being made aware of all of these dangers, if you're still committed to moving your own piano we will then give you plenty of great piano moving tips.
So, we now ask the question - are you absolutely certain that this task would not be better left to those trained to do it, even if they charge you a few hundred dollars? Normally, do it yourself piano moving involves a high degree of risk of injury to the crew and / or damage to the piano / property versus a very small potential for money savings compared to having a professional do it for you. We especially recommend against do-it-yourself piano moving over 4 consecutive low steps in the move path because pianos are heavy and extremely difficult to balance and carry. If you and your helpers are not constantly diligent to use proper technique every step of the way, it's very easy to have any size piano suddenly get away from you with a resulting nightmare moving day catastrophe!
If you don't entirely agree with us about the extent of the risk involved and you search the internet to seek advice from other piano movers, you will find that they'll all concur with us. Why? Just to get you to spend your money on their services? Maybe? To some degree greed might be involved in their advice to you, but we prefer to believe that they (as we) are more interested in people's welfare. All piano movers know from personal experience (as we do), the inherent dangers of piano moving.
Must you really move your piano yourself?[edit | edit source]
Think about it. Are there really circumstances where there is just no other viable choice except that a do-it-yourself piano moving crew must be sought out in order for you to move your piano? Let’s look into some circumstances that entice people into do-it-yourself piano moving situations.
1. We just can't afford to spend hundreds of dollars to move this piano![edit | edit source]
Maybe you can't, but before you leap ahead too fast trying to save your money by moving your piano yourself, add into your plan the terrible possibility of an unexpected severe injury! Can you afford to be off from work and go unpaid for some protracted period of time because during the piano move your back goes out, your knee gets broken, a shoulder socket is permanently disabled, or you break an arm / wrist / hand / finger or a hip / leg / ankle / foot / toe? How about if that severe injury should instead happen to a friend / relative of yours who is helping you move your piano and he is eventually forced by financial pressures to sue you, thus ruining your relationship? Then again, supposing the piano is moved without any personal injury to the movers but in the process its sound board is damaged or a big, long, deep scratch is gouged into its beautiful finish or a caster digs a big divot into your brand new hardwood floor or the deck / porch collapses from the accumulated weight of the piano and the men.
Now, compared to such bleak scenarios as these the few hundred dollars that you would have to pay to a professional piano moving company turns into a very inexpensive, excellent bargain, doesn't it? That is, if you use a qualified piano mover with a good track record who can prove to you that they have full workmen's compensation insurance for their men and full property liability coverage for each residence and for your piano.
2. My friends and I are big strong guys. The piano's not really that big. Look I can lift one end by myself. Sure it's a little heavy, but with three or four of us it shouldn't be that hard to move.[edit | edit source]
You and your illustrious friends might actually be able to move the piano successfully. However, without correct piano moving technique and without a good piano dolly, piano belt and a strong hump strap, you won't! When there are more than four consecutive steps along the move path you'll have to actually carry the piano. Having to actually carry the piano raises the difficulty factor of the piano move considerably! Throughout a piano carry, good balance is necessary and can only be accomplished when the whole crew is working in unison and properly utilizing their piano moving equipment. The part of piano carrying that requires skill and concentration is keeping the piano in balance (not allowing it to wobble much from left-to-right and / or from front-to-back) while actually carrying it up / down steps. Also, sometimes when moving a piano up / down stairs, a banister has been known to fail right in the middle of the move! If the movers are leaning on it at that time catastrophic things can occur!!
In the piano moving trade the person on the bottom holding the main part of the piano and carrying most of the weight is described as the man on "heavy" and he really is! During a piano carry, when a man's positioned on heavy, the blood can almost come out of his eyes. Even with the smallest piano, the weight that can be dumped onto that bottom person is immense! An unbalanced piano means that 350 - 500 lbs. minimum(!) for a small upright piano and 600 -1000 lbs. for a grand piano or a big upright, can all be mostly dumped onto the guy on heavy! This is why mover's backs can go out so easily. Everyone on the crew can be a big strong guy, just like your friends are, but this kind of weight in an unbalanced situation is just humanly impossible for even the strongest man to handle without injury. When the weight gets to be just too much for any member of the team he will just have to let the piano go! Then, goodbye piano - hello injuries to anybody who does not get out of the way!!!
A few more piano moving warnings[edit | edit source]
Four Consecutive Low Steps[edit | edit source]
Piano moving up or down up to 4 consecutive low steps at any given point in the move path can be accomplished by amateurs by simply using our tip and lift or lower piano moving techniques that are much easier than having to actually carry the piano. If, and only if, you and your big, strong friends carefully follow our instructions you should be able to readily move your piano up or down four consecutive low steps or less anywhere in the move path. Carrying a piano over any more steps than that is another story, however.
The important thing to notice in this video is that even though these men make it look easy, the piano is trying to wobble all over the place! Watch it again and look for that! Because they're professional piano movers they know how to keep it steady. Then watch it once again and watch for the wobbling and see how they steady it.
Actually carrying a piano forces the amateur out of the comparatively easy realm of the tip and lift / lower piano moving technique and into the most difficult and dangerous part of piano moving - actually carrying the piano. As you can see watching the video, traversing more than 4 consecutive low steps at any given point in the move path requires complicated piano carrying techniques. With large or small pianos, their extreme weight brings such great danger on a piano carry that we 99% advise against amateurs attempting to do it.
Winding / Circular Stairs[edit | edit source]
If any piano must go up / down winding circular stairs we will not give instruction because in our opinion this situation is just too difficult and dangerous to be attempted by amateurs. Winding / circular stairs require the piano moving services of highly skilled experienced professionals in order to avoid personal injury and / or property damage to the stairs or to the piano. There is just no easy way to move a piano up / down a winding stairway. There is no opportunity for the crew to stop and set the piano down on the steps in the middle of the winding stairway. So, the piano must be carried up / down the winding stairs without stopping which requires exact, precise top level piano moving technique combined with properly-focused brute strength! We highly recommend that only trained professionals move pianos up / down winding circular stairs! Please do not do this kind of piano move yourself!
4-Legged Upright Pianos[edit | edit source]
If your small upright piano has 2 legs in front and also 2 more decorative legs in the back with the case hanging between them, then we again highly recommend that only professionals be used. Untrained people cannot handle this style of piano going up / down more than just 1 step at any given point in the move path without a 99% chance of damaging the piano. The indenting of the piano's lower casing to accommodate the exposure of its decorative rear legs interferes with the normal positioning of a small upright piano on its side on the dolly which is the moving procedure used when traversing more than 1 step. As you can visualize, there is nowhere to place the dolly under this kind of piano's side without the legs of the piano overhanging and dragging the ground. If, during the entire piano move, the piano is only traversing one step at a time then it can be successfully moved on its feet on the dolly. We will train you to move this kind of piano with the dolly under its bottom instead of under its side but this only works with a maximum of one step at any given point anywhere in the move path. If you will encounter 2 or more consecutive steps the piano should instead be handled by a qualified, experienced, professional piano mover. Because of the difficulties inherent in this particular kind of piano's design we highly recommend that amateurs do not attempt to move it if there are 2 or more consecutive steps at any given point in the move path! Instead, please just pay the trained professional!
Big uprights / Player pianos[edit | edit source]
If the piano is a 'big upright' (over 46 inches (1,200 mm) high weighing 500 to 900 pounds (230 to 410 kg)) or if it is a 'big upright' with a player mechanism (increasing the overall weight of the piano by 100 to 200 pounds (45 to 91 kg)), we highly recommend only moving it to / from locations with no more than four consecutive low steps at any given point in the move path. If possible take the player mechanism out of the piano before the move in order to lighten it. 'Big upright' regular and player pianos are extremely heavy and therefore very dangerous to the people doing the piano move. If more than 4 consecutive low steps at any given point in the move path must be traversed then the piano must be carried by the movers and this extreme dead weight is just beyond what any normal person can bear! Any kind of minor out of balance condition can very quickly and easily put people in the hospital and / or completely clobber the piano. In the moving industry upright pianos taller than 46" are referred to as "KILLER UPRIGHTS!" We seriously recommend that big "KILLER UPRIGHTS" only be moved by professional movers, if over four consecutive low steps are going to be encountered at any given point in the move path.