How to Disassemble an Upright Piano

piano image by Allyson Ricketts from

Knowing how to properly dismantle a piano is a necessity for piano technicians and is also helpful for piano owners. Sometimes piano owners must dismantle a piano themselves in order to properly dispose of the instrument. If you're just trying to fix your piano to make it sound better then the dismantling can be kept to a minimum but if you're choosing to restore more than the playing mechanism then the process is more complicated.

Open the top lid of your piano. European models often open from the left but most pianos open from the front. Lean the piano lid safely against the wall and remove the pins connecting the lid. Now you can completely remove the top lid of the piano.

Remove the desk of the piano. The desk is the front of the piano where you put your music. Many older pianos (especially player pianos) have slots and the desk needs to be slid up and out to remove it. Most other pianos have posts on each side which you must remove to remove the desk. To remove the desk, lift toward yourself and out. If you have a tall upright this step may require two people.

Close the key cover and look behind it. There will probably be screws connected to wooden bars connecting them to the end-posts. Unscrew the screws and remove the key cover. Older larger uprights often have key covers which can simply be loosened and removed once they're closed. Other pianos have screws under the end blocks which you will have to remove.

Clean the inside of the piano now that you have it entirely open. Piano technicians are often surprised at how many pencils, pennies or toy soldiers get stuck in the piano. An upright piano is also a great collector of dust, which causes allergies, so vacuum the inside before you dismantle it.

Remove the action. The action is the component that contains all the keys and hammers. This will probably be the most difficult part and may require two people. Remove all the sticks that connect the pedals. Now unscrew the screws or use pliers to disconnect the metal brace so you can take the action out. With two hands, grab onto the metal braces and lift the action up and out. If you're going to reassemble the piano, be extra careful not to damage the action.

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