Moving and storing a piano can be a daunting task for many owners... and not just because it may mean not playing your favorite instrument for an extended period of time. The physical bulk of most pianos, combined with the delicate instruments, makes it a real challenge. But the good news is that with some know-how and planning, you can successfully move and protect your instrument. Here is a handy guide to get you started.
One of the most important aspects of moving a large piano is to prepare the instrument properly before starting. This preparation should begin with cleaning and polishing the entire piano. Then, remove the pedals, legs and lid, then wrap them with pads or quilts and shrink wrap. Once this is done, remove any other loose parts in the same manner, including the lyre, desk, lid prop, hinges and fall board. Securely store these and any other items that must stay with the piano in a well-cushioned and solid box with a clear label.
A large piano generally requires that you use a 4 wheel dolly big enough to comfortably carry the instrument. You can tip the emptied piano on its side on the dolly by using what's commonly called a "piano board" -- a flat piece of equipment specially made for this job. Place the piano board along the side of the piano, cover it with a clean pad, then tilt the legless piano and lower it onto the board. Be sure you have at least (but probably more than) 3 or 4 strong movers working together. Wrap the entire piano in pads or blankets and secure it with stretch wrap.
If you have to store the piano for any length of time, be sure you choose a cool and temperature-controlled environment. It should be out of the sun and away from any sources of moisture or extreme changes in temperature (heaters or vents, for example). Avoid the temptation to store heavy items on top of the piano even though it seems sturdy. Loads can warp or dent a valuable instrument. Do, however, keep the box(es) of miscellaneous parts close by the piano itself.
One recurring question for owners is whether to store the piano on its side or upright. If you have the space, it's usually preferable to store pianos in the correct position they were designed for. However, you can store a bulky piano on its side in a cool, dry climate without too much risk. Be aware that you will have to have the action worked on later to correct warping that occurs when its stored in this position.
Replacing the piano in its new home is basically done by reversing these steps. Once the piano is back in the correct position, it will usually need to be professionally tuned again -- particularly if its a grand or baby grand piano. Generally, it's a good idea to wait a week or two to let the piano adjust to its new environment (especially in terms of humidity and temperature) before hiring a tuner like Las Vegas Pianos. Doing so will likely save you money and frustration.
Even though it may seem like a big job to move your piano, the joy of taking your instrument to your new home will undoubtedly outweigh any challenges offered by moving it. And then you can get back to happily playing!