Pianos can be very elegant-looking musical instruments when in use, but if you've ever tried to move one you know that their design isn't very move-friendly. Here are three of the challenges inherent in piano moving, whether you're moving your piano to the next room or across a continent.
First of all, a piano weighs many hundreds of pounds. In fact, even a spinet (the smallest non-toy upright-style piano) can weigh several hundred pounds and it only increases from there. A grand piano can weigh over half a ton. But, in fact, it's not just the sheer weight of the instrument that makes its weight problematic. It's also the weight distribution. Pianos tend to be top-heavy, and the irregularly shaped components inside them can make them do unpredictable things when you're trying to move them. One of the biggest components that adds weight to a piano is the cast iron frame inside the piano, a truly vital component that may be holding 40,000 pounds of tension to keep strings in tune, but that is very inconvenient to have inside a piano that you want to move.
2. Size and shape
Another aspect that makes a piano tricky to maneuver is its size. In addition to the concentrated weight of the frame, a piano also has empty air underneath its lid to give the sound a chance to resonate. Add the necessity of holding the instrument up off the ground so it can be played by a seated musician, and you get a bulky instrument with an irregular and unwieldy shape as well as a size that may scrape through doors. Grand pianos have to be dismantled (the top part comes off) and have their lids closed so they can be turned sideways and moved through doorways that way. It can be a nearly impossible task and one that's best left to a professional piano mover.
In addition to having all the elegance of a manatee in motion, a piano is also very vulnerable to mishaps during moving. If the instrument is dropped or jarred suddenly, the soundboard may crack, effectively totaling the piano (depending on how valuable the piano is, repairing a soundboard is often not worth the cost). Or even if that doesn't happen, you still have to be extremely careful not to bump into anything while moving the piano. Like wood furniture, wood pianos often have expensive finishes that can be so easily harmed when the piano's enormous momentum bumps into a sharp object. And the piano's legs are so fragile that they must be taken off altogether before moving, no matter what type of piano it is. This may seem odd when you consider that piano legs often have wheels on them; however, the wheels are more ornamental than functional, and bad things can happen if you try to use them. The wheels may freeze up because of the weight of the piano or because of disuse, and this can gouge floors or even cause the leg to jam and snap off.
These three challenges mean that it's often best to use a professional piano mover to move your piano even if you're moving it within the same house. If you have to get the piano up or down a flight of stairs, to another state, or to another country, take the safer route and avoid catastrophe for you and your piano by hiring professionals from a company like Allied International Hawaiian Islands.