Upright Moves : Call me anytime if you need any step by step piano moving tips. We have over 90 years experience in moving pianos in all types of terrain. I am sure we can figure out your issues. 615 425 6238.
We will start offering equipment shortly for sale, some of it specifically designed by us to make handling pianos much easier.
If you are planning on moving a piano yourself or having someone move one for you here are some helpful tips to have followed.
1) Never use a 4 wheel dolly with hard black rubber wheels, these dollies have a parting (mold) line down the center of the wheels and will instantly trash your prefinished wood floors, it will look like someone ice skated randomly across the floor. Another thing about these black wheeled dollies are that they have ZERO shock absorbing abilities so every single vibration encountered will flow right through your prized piano.
2) Always use a 4 wheel dolly with the grey rubber wheels, some dollies have neopreme wheels that are blue or red, these are fine in summer but can shatter when the weather is cold. Pro movers use grey wheeled dollies. A good source is New haven moving equipment. You can google them.
3) The formula for piano weight is 150 lbs per foot of height so for example a 60 inch tall piano is 5 feet tall, 5 X 150 is 750 lbs This formula is pretty accurate.
4) Putting piano on the dolly, Yes you can do it alone, I do it all the time and it is very easy. Or you can use two people and just lift it up and set it on there using the two handles on the rear. 1 person method is as follows : Build a jack, a boxed frame of 2x6 construction grade spruce. about 28 inches long and 7 inches wide, enough space to put your foot in laying it on the floor. Lift end of piano, with your foot slide jack under piano about 1/4 the way. Make sure jack is centered. Big uprights are 27 inches wide so split that with the jack.
Now the piano is leaning and the rules have changed with the weight you are lifting. It is now a 1/4 of the original weight. Lift it up and rest it on your thighs while placing the dolly. It goes long ways with the rubber caps touching the skid plate. You want it centered like the piano on the top of the homepage. You dont need two dollies if you have the correct 1000 pound capacity single. That's it you are loaded. steering occurs from the end opposite you with a helper. Remember all the weight is to the rear so if the yard slopes face the rear AWAY from the slope or it will turn over. If you have to go over a small step or sill you lift the piano from your end NOT the person helping you. The dolly will follow under pressure at the other end and flow right in there.
Lift Gates: If you rented a truck with a gate, get a section of chain about 6 feet long, after you have gotten the piano on the gate still on the dolly make a large U shape around the dolly wheels with the chain on the gate surface. Leave the open end towards the truck door. The chain will ensure that the dolly wont roll backwards and off the gate . Tuckaway gates are particularly dangerous and prone to leaning backwards. The chain is just an extra safety precaution that the piano stays on the gate. Once raised up you can just move the dolly over and strap the whole thing to the wall.
5) Try not to use a pickup truck to move a piano, all the weight is centered near the rear of a piano and it will flip over backwards in a turn, also if you have to use a pickup always face the rear towards the crown of the road ( center). Always use straps not string for tie downs. The piano is never just heavy enough to not be strapped in, it will fall out in a sharp or abrupt turn.. Do not rock the piano into the truck or on the stoop of the house, this will break the pedals off every time.
6) If you have an enclosed truck, leave the piano on the dolly and strap it to the wall, the straps go under the key bed and against the lower harp cover, not across the legs, make sure you pad it first and remove the music rack 1st if it comes off. 2 little screws will save the headache of breaking it.
7) Positioning near a tight wall, if you have hardwood floors or concrete and cant get in to position the piano or there is a stuck caster use Pledge furniture polish, just spray a spot in a line towards the slide and that caster will slip across the floor, it wont scratch it.
8) Never lean against the front an upright piano standing freely in an open room as it will flip over easily and anything on the falling side will be crushed.
9) Always get a professional if considering putting any piano up stairs, remember its heavy and you have to account for the piano weight as well as the weight of everyone standing on the stairs lifting it. It may look like a breeze until you get up maybe 4 steps and then you may not be able to get it up there. A good rule of thumb for hiring or asking friends to help is that Body Builders and Weight Lifters are the WRONG choice for help, It's a totally different type of weight and lifting.
10) Never trust the legs on any piano for lifting and never wrap any straps or tie downs around them. Also if you are planning on rolling the piano using it's casters they will dent any wood floor. Make sure that the wheels will turn and are not broken or rusty.
11) A good rule of thumb to think about when hiring a mover is the cheaper the price the less likely it's going to be that they have adequate or any insurance. Most piano only movers have high coverage and their prices to move pianos will reflect that. Most furniture movers that move pianos will only pay a maximum of .60 cents per pound for your piano. So on that 6 foot Yamaha grand that is worth 12k dollars you will be paid 360 dollars in insurance if they break it.
In the State of TN and probably other states as well. It's a good idea to make sure that your mover is USDOT/MC/ICC registered. If not that is a red flag. If the carrier is stopped for a roadside inspection by the State Police and does not have the correct licensing you could be fined for hiring them and the load could be confiscated. This is especially an issue if any state lines are crossed.
12) Other tips : Always move any piano on a piano dolly ( known as 4 wheelers by the pros) length wise, never laterally. If you are putting it on a lift gate one end goes on first then swing the rest of the piano around and raise the gate.
Spinets or pianos with legs, Usually spinets or consoles, if you have to move them , always tip them back a tad before tilting it to get the dolly under it. This is especially important on pianos with French Provincial styling ( curved legs) So that you dont snap them off.
Ramps : If you need a ramp to deal with the front steps of the house try to use wood over using an aluminum ramp. Fiberglass Melcher brand walkboards are the best you can get but are expensive, A truck ramp is fine but if you have access or can build a wood ramp use that. Wood will let you know it is breaking and Aluminum will just snap with no warning at all, Aluminum is also very wobbley on side to side movement with your movements when you walk. They can tip over easy if they start wobbling.
Piano Placement in a room, Beware of putting your prized piano beneath upstairs bathrooms or near/under a place that has a water heater. If there is a leak you know where that water is going. It happens every time.
You can google piano placement in a room to get some do's and don'ts.
*** High Gloss Lacquered Finishes*** AKA Polyester, It's not a good idea to move these in cold weather without a heated cargo box. These pianos can easily suffer finish damage if the wood beaneath the finish heats up faster or cools off faster than the finish. Which will cause cracks. Some of the upper end piano movers will have heated cargo boxes for this exact reason. You have to use extreme caution when moving Polyester pianos, The surface has to be covered and any pads used with any hints of dirt can completely trash the finish. Non covered parts can also be damaged by the slightest tap by a strap buckle so moving these pianos is usually expensive.
Should yours become damaged there are very few repair people in the US. Google the Refinishers Group and there are a few people on there that do that work.
Grand Piano Moves: Can be complicated so they are best off left to a professional, Never move one without taking the lyre and legs off, I prefer to take the top off & action out as well when I move them but some movers will leave them on/in. , Always use a skid board and make sure the mover has one.