4 ways to transport a piano

4 ways to transport a piano
4 ways to transport a piano

Transporting a piano requires organization and certain precautions. Pianos are massive, heavy, yet vulnerable musical instruments. Their varnish is easily scratched and their mechanics are fragile. Upright pianos often weigh over 150 kilos and grand pianos over 300 kilos. Old pianos can be very heavy even when their frames are made of wood and their tuners are particularly sensitive. Do you still want to take your mom's Pleyel to your new apartment?


Method 1 of 4: Carry a study piano

Move a Piano Step 1

Step 1. What model of piano do you have

Study pianos are small pianos. Between 1930 and 1990, small economic pianos of the "spruce" type were manufactured which were sold a lot in the United States, but very few in other countries and in particular in Europe where pianos of excellent quality were built by Pleyel among others. A study piano is about three to four feet in height and three feet in width. The width is roughly the same for all pianos except the concert grand Bösendorfer (model 290) which has 97 keys instead of the 88 of all other pianos.

Study pianos are not very heavy (if you don't have to move one every day to sweep behind). They usually weigh around 150 kilograms, so it will be difficult for you to get yours down on your own from the third floor without an elevator

Move a Piano Step 2

Step 2. Clear the passage

Move furniture and objects that are between your piano and its destination before transporting your instrument. Let the people who are going to help you move it know the path you want to take.

  • Make sure it will fit everywhere by measuring the width of narrow places like doorsteps you will pass it through (don't forget to include your fingers).
  • If you are transporting your piano to another house, bring the rear of the truck or van that you will be carrying it as close as possible to the rear of the truck or van that you will be carrying it in, open the door of the van or truck and place the ramp, making sure it is stable. Transport your piano in the van before any other object so that you have room to move it and attach it inside with ropes or straps against a wall so that it does not move during transport.
  • You can move a two-person upright piano around a house, but getting it into a van will require at least three people. For the sake of safety, calculate that each person will carry a maximum of fifty kilos. It is best to have more people so that someone can move an inconvenient object, open a door, or help lift the piano when needed. Movers specializing in piano transport use strength belts.
Move a Piano Step 3

Step 3. Lighten up your piano

Remove the removable parts to lighten the instrument. Remove the cover that protects the keys and front panels (the wood panel that sits above the keyboard and the panel that is under the keyboard). Place thick blankets to protect the corners of the top of the piano by securing them with duct tape. Unfortunately, you cannot protect the corners of the keyboard, as you will place your hands there to carry the instrument.

Move a Piano Step 4

Step 4. Carry your piano

A study piano is quite easy to move thanks to its small size. Lift the piano by placing one person on each side of the keyboard and holding it under the keyboard with one hand and by the table (the back part) with the other, there is usually a handle on the back. If you are three people, one will carry on one side and the other two will share the other side (one person lifting by the table and the other by the keyboard). If you are four people, two people will lift the piano by the table and the other two by the ends of the keyboard.

Move the piano gradually. Take a few steps, put it down gently, breathe and carry it a little further. Pay attention to your feet when putting it down and your hands in narrow passages

Method 2 of 4: Carry an upright piano

Move a Piano Step 5

Step 1. Which model of piano is it?

The upright piano is the best-selling type of piano in the world. It has a variable width of approximately 1.45 m to 1.55 m. Upright pianos, although somewhat larger than study pianos, can be transported in the same way.

  • The "small" upright pianos generally weigh between two hundred and three hundred kilos depending on their wood, their table and their mechanics.
  • Concert upright pianos or console upright pianos weigh a little more, 300 kilos or more depending on their height, the type of wood used in their manufacture and for the soundboard.
  • Small upright pianos with a height of 1.10m to 1.20m have a lower center of gravity than concert upright pianos which can measure up to 1.50m or more in some cases.
Move a Piano Step 6

Step 2. Prepare the piano for transport

Move furniture and objects that are between your piano and its destination before transporting your instrument. Let the people who are going to help you move it know the path you want to take.

  • If you need to transport your piano in a truck or van, park the vehicle as close to your house as possible, open the doors and position the ramp making sure it is stable and immobilized.
  • It is better to have too many than not enough. It will be easy to move the piano around a house, but to mount it in a van, count that each person can lift a maximum of 50 kilos for safety.
  • Put on thick gloves, as well as other people helping you with the piano to protect your fingers. Professional piano carriers use strength belts to prevent lower back problems. Using one would be a good idea.
Move a Piano Step 7

Step 3. Prepare your piano

Remove the cover that protects the keys and remove the upper (above the keyboard) and lower (below the keyboard) front panel to lighten the piano. To make him lose a few extra pounds, you can also easily remove some of the mechanics. Protect the corners of its top with thick blankets, securing them with duct tape. Since an upright piano is heavier than a small study piano, you may consider transporting it with a cart. Lift it with your teammates after placing the cart at the back of the piano and place it carefully on the cart. Place one or two thick blankets between the cart and the piano to protect the piano.

  • There should be several people to carry the piano and one more to hold the cart so that you can safely control it when you put the piano on it. A four-wheeled cart is stable, but if you put the piano too far on the edge it could become problematic. A concert upright piano is particularly heavy; one person should stand at each end of the piano to operate it.
  • The law of gravity isn't working in your favor, so don't let it help you put the piano down. Put it down gently otherwise you risk damaging its mechanics and structure.
Move a Piano Step 8

Step 4. Move your piano

Move the piano to its destination by rolling the cart gently. It is desirable that four people are present around the piano in order to hold it on each side.

  • Take precautions when going through the doorsteps. Watch out for your hands, fingers, varnish and piano wood. If necessary, remove the door (s) that could make it difficult for the piano to pass through, you will only gain a few inches, but it can make a big difference.
  • When lifting a heavy object, remember that you should do it with your legs, not by bending over. Bend your legs, grab the piano and lift it up, standing on your legs and keeping your back straight.
  • If you feel the piano is not balanced on the cart, shout stop ! Stop and position the piano properly on the cart with the help of your teammates before continuing to move it.

Method 3 of 4: Carry a grand piano

Move a Piano Step 9

Step 1. Which model is it?

Grand pianos are lower, but longer and more expensive than upright (and heavier) pianos. This allows for a longer soundboard and strings, thus a more powerful and richer tone. They take up more space in your room and are more difficult to transport.

There are different models of grand piano. The smallest model is the toad which is about 1.40m in length, followed by the quarter-tail, the half-grand, the three-quarter-tail, the four-quarter grand piano and the grand concert grand piano (Bösendorfer has an even longer Imperial model). They can weigh up to 600 kilos and measure up to 2.90 m in length, which makes their transport more difficult

Move a Piano Step 10

Step 2. Prepare for the trip

Clear the path that you are going to pass the piano through by removing awkward objects and measure tight spots to make sure you don't get stuck along the way.

  • A grand piano is transported by placing it on a cart on its flat side and then removing its three feet and pedals. If you have to spin your piano, make sure you can get it through by measuring the angles and compare with the length of your piano. Do not forget to also check the accessibility of the place to which it will be transported.
  • If it is not possible to rotate it (for example in a hallway), you will need the help of professionals. It is sometimes necessary to bring in or out a piano through a window with a pulley system or a crane.
Move a Piano Step 11

Step 3. Prepare the piano for transport

Things are now starting to get complicated. A grand piano is transported on a low four-wheeled cart covered with rubber (or a thick folded blanket). It will take at least three people to place it on the cart, four or five would be more reasonable, if it is a pound, you will need to be five people minimum. First remove the cover that protects the keyboard from dust, then the cover over the piano strings if your model allows it, if this is not possible, it will have to be held in place by winding straps or strings around the piano and protecting it from the friction of the straps or strings against the varnish of the instrument. Place the cart against a wall, roll the piano closer to the cart (grand pianos have wheels phew) and rotate it to place it on its flat side on your cart. Then remove the three feet and the pedals from the instrument.

  • If you don't have a cart suitable for carrying a piano, you can rent one from a specialty store (eg Kiloutou) or from your neighborhood music store if the vendors are nice.
  • Don't forget to remove the removable covers, this will lighten your piano by a few pounds. Leaving them would be completely useless and you cannot take it out if it is raining anyway, the piano will be badly damaged. Like all musical instruments and cats, pianos don't like water.
Move a Piano Step 12

Step 4. Transport your piano carefully

Gently lay the piano on the cart after lifting it from both sides at the same time. Place it in the center of the cart and reposition it if it is not perfectly balanced before moving it. You need at least one person on the keyboard side and another person on the other end, and when possible, one person on each side. Slowly roll the cart to where you want to take your musical instrument.

  • The piano should rest vertically on the cart on its flat side with the treble of the keyboard (the right) up and the bottom of the keyboard (the left) toward the cart. This is the only way you can move your grand piano by placing it on a cart.
  • The left part of the piano, where the low notes are located, is longer, the frame is also heavier on this side, which will normally ensure good stability on the cart. If the cart is not covered with a rubber pad, place a blanket over it to protect the varnish and wood of the piano.

Method 4 of 4: Carry a piano up the stairs

Move a Piano Step 13

Step 1. Call professionals

If you need to transport your piano up stairs, the safest way is to hire piano moving specialists. Whether it is an upright piano or a grand piano, it is particularly dangerous for the piano and the persons carrying it to move a piano from one floor to another and special equipment is required for this.

Move a Piano Step 14

Step 2. Obtain the necessary equipment

Check with an equipment rental store, telling an employee what type of piano you want to move and accurately indicating the dimensions and weight of the instrument before deciding whether or not you can do it yourself..

  • To go up or down stairs with a piano, a special piano cart will be necessary as well as straps and protections for the piano.
  • It would also be desirable to obtain special pads for moving the piano.
Move a Piano Step 15

Step 3. Learn about the strength of the stairs

When were they built, what kind of materials and how much weight can they support. Some stairs will not withstand the three hundred pounds of a piano and the extra three hundred pounds or more of people moving it. If this information makes you doubt (when there is a doubt, there is no doubt), cancel your project in order to avoid an accident and someone being injured. Remember that it is common to run pianos through windows using a crane or pulley system.

Move a Piano Step 16

Step 4. Pay attention to the weight distribution

If you decide to carry your piano up the stairs yourself, you will need several people with you. Whether it is to go up or down stairs, the weight of the piano will be concentrated downwards, it will take several people to support the weight and to be able to lift the piano from one staircase to the next, it will not be possible to people holding the tail to put down the piano because it would slip.

  • No one should stand at the end of the piano. The three or four people carrying the tail of the piano must absolutely position themselves on the sides in case your piano slips, it can happen at the slightest false movement. It will take one or two people at the top for an upright piano and at least two people if it's a grand piano. Downstairs, wearers should have good muscles. Remember that it will not be possible for them to put the piano down on the stairs to breathe.
  • The stairwell must provide sufficient space to allow carriers to escape to the sides in the event of an incident.
Move a Piano Step 17

Step 5. Move the piano very slowly

Take one step forward, breathe and take another step, etc. On stairs, your movement should be well synchronized and very slow, give rhythm to the carriers with keywords. Take your breath with each step. Carriers on the keyboard side of the piano can put it on a step to recuperate for a moment. Then lift the piano with your leg and thigh muscles, do not bend your back or you will have lower back problems.

Move a Piano Step 18

Step 6. Don't forget the cart

Someone should be available to place the cart on the next floor or landing so that the piano can be placed on it and turned to the next section of stairs. Place the piano gently and in balance on the cart, pay attention to its varnish and its wood while rotating it and do not tilt it, you could cause it to lose its balance. Each person should have enough space to move around, maintain balance and have good support.


  • It is better to have more people than the opposite to help you move your piano.
  • Timing is important. Constantly communicate your decisions to the carriers as well as the movements and stops they must make in a loud and intelligible voice.
  • If the weather conditions are unfavorable, cover the piano completely with a plastic sheet to protect it. Pianos don't like water at all (neither does alcohol, unlike many pianists).
  • If a person wishes to put the piano down to recover for a moment, inform all carriers that this must be announced by the affected person with a few seconds of anticipation in order to synchronize the movement.
  • When transporting a piano in a truck or van, place it vertically against a wall and secure it firmly with straps or ropes to ensure that it absolutely will not be able to move around a turn or under braking sudden.
  • On a flat surface, carry your piano by both ends with other carriers placed on the sides to ensure stability.


  • If you lose your balance and your piano falls, don't try never to prevent it. When a piano is out of balance and is about to fall, move away immediately. In trying to catch up with him, you run a huge risk of injuring yourself and even going to musicians' heaven sooner than you would like.
  • It is relatively easy to move an upright piano. Carrying a grand piano is a much more complicated task. Whatever the model, it takes practice and a developed sense of balance. It is common for grand pianos to be damaged in transit, even by seasoned professionals, due to their size and uneven weight distribution. If you decide to carry a grand piano yourself, make sure that the people who are going to be carrying it are muscular, athletic and in perfect health.
  • Do not move your piano by sliding it, you will damage it and damage the floor. Even when a piano has casters it needs to be lifted, the casters often get stuck due to the weight of the piano and scratch the floor. In concert halls, the pianos are placed on a special type of professional “tray” with wheels. This system (for domestic use) seems interesting:
  • If you want to move your piano one or more floors, either up or down, do so only if you have a good reason not to call in the experts. It is particularly delicate and dangerous for the piano and for the people carrying it.

Popular by topic