Moving a upright piano

Twofingerlou

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Texting a buddy yesterday and he goes hey can you help me go get a upright piano this weekend. I was visiting my grandma and she has a smaller one in her living room. I thought let me see how heavy this one is…. I can’t pick it up or budge it by myself. I never realized they were that damn heavy and looked it up. The average upright weighs 500-800 pounds.

I think he has the impression that we were gonna take the hour plus drive and toss it in the back of my truck and mosey on.

This thing is free and after some homework this keeps smelling like a bad idea to me.

How fragile are these things?

Looks like you have to have it tuned after you move it? Once, maybe twice?

If something gets broken it’s probably expensive or not worth fixing?

This thing needs moved out of somebody’s house, there is some stairs involved getting it out, odds are we will have to deal with stairs to get it in his house unless it goes in the basement.

This smell like a bad idea to you?
 

bgmacaw

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My reaction to someone offering me a "free" upright piano or asking me to help them move it...

drevilno.gif


To answer your questions...

How fragile? It depends on how far you drop it and you will probably drop it. It isn't unusual for them to have hidden damage from previous moving attempts so even a small drop might finish it off. Then again, some are built like tanks, and weigh as much, so it might do OK.

Yes, you will have to have it tuned. That gets expensive and often isn't done well on the first go round. If there's damage, even slight damage, it might not hold tune well anyway.

If it's broken, there may be salvageable material but this is also time consuming and tricky to do right.

Stairs involved? How many guys do you have for this job? Just 2? Then that's a big NO, especially if you don't have good health insurance coverage! 4? Maybe, if everyone is very strong. It's better to plan on 6 to 8 unless the piano in question is a small spinet type and not a full size upright.

BTW, when I was in college in the 70's I worked for a company that specialized in moving pianos and other heavy objects. It was never easy but the worst were baby grand pianos that someone thought would be great to have in a second story conservatory.
 
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PhoenixBill

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I got roped into helping to move a small upright piano many years ago, along with a colleague from work. We had a dolly of some sort and were loading it into a low-profile trailer. How hard could that be, right?

Moving it darn near broke my back, and Tom’s too, and he was a strong guy. That thing was heavy, and awkward, and the two spinet legs in front were flimsy. Never again!

I now have a Yamaha digital piano. Cost me all of $30 off of Craigslist. Easy to move. Many different sounds and won’t need tuning.
 

Twofingerlou

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If you agree to help him, insist that he rent a piano/organ dolly (the kind with straps, handles and casters). You might also mention to him that there are some really good digital pianos out there these days for not very much money. They don't require tuning and are considerably easier to move.

Thanks! We’ve been friends a long time and always help each other out but this is a new one. I’m sure this is his wife’s idea, no way it’s his. I just don’t see how a few of us can safely move that thing. The digital piano or keyboard crossed my mind but I’m sure that idea won’t work. I’ll have to see about the piano dolly rental.
 

stormsedge

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I’ve experience with a few. One we had was oooolllldd…and probably >650lbs because of the super rugged iron frame. We moved it once, then moved it out. My mom’s piano was of similar weight…I don’t know what happened to it as I told my sisters to take it. The one we have now is ~35 yrs old and comparatively light. Two guys and a flat dolly can handle it if there is a ramp on the truck and only one or two stairs to conquer. If I were going to put it in a pickup, I’d use four guys and put a sheet of plywood across the tailgate so it would roll without breaking the legs. All said, Mrs would make me hire somebody nowadays…the move is nothing compared to the day after.
 

tele12

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Dec 2, 2006
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NY
Texting a buddy yesterday and he goes hey can you help me go get a upright piano this weekend. I was visiting my grandma and she has a smaller one in her living room. I thought let me see how heavy this one is…. I can’t pick it up or budge it by myself. I never realized they were that damn heavy and looked it up. The average upright weighs 500-800 pounds.

I think he has the impression that we were gonna take the hour plus drive and toss it in the back of my truck and mosey on.

This thing is free and after some homework this keeps smelling like a bad idea to me.

How fragile are these things?

Looks like you have to have it tuned after you move it? Once, maybe twice?

If something gets broken it’s probably expensive or not worth fixing?

This thing needs moved out of somebody’s house, there is some stairs involved getting it out, odds are we will have to deal with stairs to get it in his house unless it goes in the basement.

This smell like a bad idea to you?
Hire a piano mover.
 

rand z

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trumansburg, ny
I moved an upright piano twice.

It was back in the 70's when I was A LOT younger.

The first one went into a basement via an outside opening with steps.

At least we were going DOWN the steps.

The second time, we were going UP the outside steps (different piano and different location).

We had a pickup truck in the yard above the outside opening coming up from the cellar.

A heavy rope was tied to the rear of the truck and around the piano, below.

With boards placed across the steps, we SLOWLY moved the truck forward, guiding the piano, up and out.

Of course, we then had to use the same boards to load it into the bed of the pickup.

Except, 4 of us had to PUSH it from behind, up into the bed.

I didnt stick around for the unloading; wherever that took place.

I dont move upright pianos... anymore.

imo.
 

Twofingerlou

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Joined
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My reaction to someone offering me a "free" upright piano or asking me to help them move it...

View attachment 1054982

To answer your questions...

How fragile? It depends on how far you drop it and you will probably drop it. It isn't unusual for them to have hidden damage from previous moving attempts so even a small drop might finish it off. Then again, some are built like tanks, and weigh as much, so it might do OK.

Yes, you will have to have it tuned. That gets expensive and often isn't done well on the first go round. If there's damage, even slight damage, it might not hold tune well anyway.

If it's broken, there may be salvageable material but this is also time consuming and tricky to do right.

Stairs involved? How many guys do you have for this job? Just 2? Then that's a big NO, especially if you don't have good health insurance coverage! 4? Maybe, if everyone is very strong. It's better to plan on 6 to 8 unless the piano in question is a small spinet type and not a full size upright.

BTW, when I was in college in the 70's I worked for a company that specialized in moving pianos and other heavy objects. It was never easy but the worst were baby grand pianos that someone thought would be great to have in a second story conservatory.

Thanks for the honest answer!
 




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