Moving a Baby Grand Piano

Updated March 21, 2017

Moving a baby grand piano can seem like a Herculean task and often the most difficult aspect of any relocation. However, this is one instance when you shouldn't trust a regular moving team or do it yourself. Depending on the year and make of your baby grand, you could be transporting a piano with a resale value more than your home or car. When it comes to moving a baby grand piano, put your trust in the right people: a professional piano moving team.

Why Hire a Professional Piano Mover?

It may seem easier and more cost-efficient to have your baby grand piano transported by a regular moving company along with the rest of your belongings. However, this is generally not a wise idea. Unlike a large-screen television or other expensive piece of electronic equipment, a baby grand piano must be dissembled and reassembled in a specific way using specialised tools and equipment. Moving the piano may also require specialised equipment. If you hire a regular moving company to move your baby grand, they may attempt to move it in one piece, or even worse, damage it during the dissembling process. There's no guarantee that a regular moving company will know how to reassemble your piano properly--if at all.

Your can find a professional piano mover by calling reputable music stores that sell baby grands. If you purchased your grand piano from a piano store that specialises in a certain brand, such as Steinway or Boesendorfer, your salesperson or other company representative can recommend a quality piano moving service--it may be the same company the store uses to deliver new pianos.

Whenever you hire a professional piano mover, make sure that the company is bonded and insured. If your baby grand piano is a family heirloom that has been passed through family members for decades, you can file an insurance claim should your piano sustain extreme damage to the point where you must buy a new one. But the baby grand piano that has sentimental value is irreplaceable in your heart.

What To Expect When Moving Your Baby Grand

Moving a baby grand piano means that it must be transported out of your home and onto the moving truck horizontally. A professional piano moving team typically consists of at least two or three skilled, able-bodied employees who come to your home and prepare your piano for relocation. First, the baby grand will be gently tipped onto a soft surface area. If your home has no carpeting, the piano will be placed on several layers of thickly padded moving blankets.

The piano movers will hammer off the legs of the piano using a large, soft mallet. The "lyre" (the part of the piano that attaches the pedals to the body) will be removed. The legs of the piano are wrapped in individual moving blankets so they won't rub together and damage the finish. The braces to the lyre are packaged in a plastic bag and usually affixed underneath the piano case. The baby grand's keys are secured using a special brace that ensures they will remain stable. Some piano movers will remove your piano's lid and wrap it separately; others secure the lid using a special type of tape that doesn't damage the piano's finish. After your piano is wrapped in many layers of moving blankets, it is placed on a wheeled "skid," also known as a piano board, and transported out of your home and onto the moving truck.

If you are simply moving across town, your baby grand can be relocated quite easily. However, if you plan a long move or if you're relocating to a different country, a professional piano moving team will build a wooden crate to encompass the case of your piano and pad it firmly with moving blankets so that no shifting occurs. This permits a freight company to ship the crate along with the rest of your belongings. However, remember that once you get to your new home you must hire someone to reassemble your piano properly.

After the Move

After your baby grand is moved and reassembled by a piano moving team, it will seem perfectly in tune unless it is a cheaper brand, which tend to fall out of tune immediately. You'll notice a profound change in pitch around two weeks after the move. This is because the piano has been exposed to changes in humidity. Play your baby grand as much as you can right after the move; this helps keys that are destined to fall out of tune do so even quicker. After two weeks, it's safe to have an experienced piano technician come to your home and make adjustments. However, in some cases, your piano may need a second tuning a month or two after the first. Moving a baby grand piano is also the perfect time to have desirable adjustments made in your piano's voicing and action.

If you've relocated your piano from a humid area to a dry area (or vice versa), be aware that you may need to purchase a humidifier or dehumidifier, as applicable. Baby grand pianos thrive when humidity is kept between 40 to 45 per cent; moving a piano from a very dry area to a humid area is courting disaster unless you make sure your piano's new home is at the desirable humidity levels. If you're unsure of the humidity in your new home, purchase a hygrometer or ask a piano technician what you can expect.

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About the Author

Lisa Sefcik has been writing professionally since 1987. Her subject matter includes pet care, travel, consumer reviews, classical music and entertainment. She's worked as a policy analyst, news reporter and freelance writer/columnist for Cox Publications and numerous national print publications. Sefcik holds a paralegal certification as well as degrees in journalism and piano performance from the University of Texas at Austin.