A Few Surprising Facts About Moving Pianos
If you have ever tried to move or lift a piano, you know how difficult it is. They feel like they weigh a few tons, and you might even wonder how it got where it is. They have a reputation as being impossible to move, and some people even believe that moving a piano ruins it forever. Here are some facts about moving pianos that may surprise you.
- They come apart. It would be impossible to get pianos up stairs, around corners and through most doorways if they didn't come apart. It may be disturbing too see an heirloom or antique grand piano being disassembled, but that's the correct way to move them. However, it takes special skills, knowledge and tools, so it's not something you should ever try doing yourself. It's also dangerous to both you and the piano, so always leave this to the professionals.
- Two people can move a grand piano. Once it's been correctly disassembled and protected, two people can actually lift and roll the components. Even though most pianos weigh about 1,000 pounds, two people can theoretically get it from point A to point B. However, maneuvering a piano down stairs or around tight turns and hoisting it through windows requires more manpower.
- Piano legs are very delicate. If you have ever smashed your toe against a piano leg, you may find this hard to believe. However, legs are the most vulnerable parts of the piano. Professional piano movers take special precautions with piano legs, including wrapping them in several layers of padding and moving cloth or removing them altogether. Tilting the piano onto its side is the most dangerous aspect of piano moving because it can snap a leg off instantly. Fortunately, there is a special contraption designed just for this purpose called a cradle or rocker. The cradle has a long curved side that lets the piano moving team gently tilt the instrument onto the curved support. If the movers lose their grip, the piano simply rocks back and forth harmlessly. It functions as an additional leg and supports the piano's weight, but prevents the supporting leg from snapping under the pressure.
- You don't use the casters. The piano feet may have casters, but they aren't for actually moving the piano except on proper stage flooring. In a home, they are for sliding it a few inches to allow for vacuuming or dusting, not to roll it through carpeted rooms or down the driveway. The legs may be sturdy, but where they join the body of the piano are weak spots. Casters work well on stages or hardwood floors, but aren't there to make a piano easier to move over carpeting.
- Moving doesn't ruin its sound. Pianos travel surprisingly well. In fact, they are built to be relocated. The highest quality pianos are designed to withstand travel amongst the world's greatest concert halls. However, the sound of a piano takes a bit longer to adjust. Pianos are affected by changes in humidity and temperature rather than the actual humidity or temperature. Once a piano moves, it takes a few days to a few weeks to become fully acclimatized. Pianos sound different in new locations became they are either played while still out of tune and not fully acclimatized, or the acoustics in the new location are different. Depending on the temperature or humidity changes it encountered on its trip, a piano will sound just as good once it's been at its new home for a few weeks.
Pianos are huge, heavy and cumbersome, yet they are easy to damage and sensitive to changes in the weather. Fortunately there are professional piano movers who have the tools and know-how to move them correctly. Even though you now know some of the tricks to moving pianos, don't try to do it yourself. Protect the piano – and your back – and call an experienced professional piano mover like Johnson Piano Moving.
12 January 2016