I need a piano in my house, not just in my pickup.
June 7, 2007 9:31 AM   Subscribe

Woohoo, I am getting a piano! Now I need help on logistics.

It will be me, young adult female, my dad, 60ish, and my 25 year old brother (hopefully). My dad and my brothers are strong as oxes, but I don't want them to hurt themselves getting the piano into and out of my pickup truck. After that we will just have a couple of little level changes, but not steps.

This is a typical upright deal

Any tips or tricks for this process?
posted by stormygrey to Home & Garden (22 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Consider renting a U-haul with a ramp. The cost is minimal if you're in town. ($35?) and the ramp makes things so much easier. Also, you should be able to rent a piano dolly from U-haul too.
posted by cosmicbandito at 9:36 AM on June 7, 2007

Some info here. Sounds like this isn't an easy task even without the stairs. Maybe hire someone?
posted by sanko at 9:39 AM on June 7, 2007

We had a baby grand moved into our house not so long ago. In the end I called up some professional piano movers to do this (something you might want to consider if you consider the weight of the piano, the value of the piano and the risk of injury from doing something wrong). Anyway they used a couple of people built like mules and a staircase trolley to wheel it on. On another occasion when delivering an upright piano to a friend's house (on the ground floor) we used about 6 lifters.
posted by rongorongo at 9:44 AM on June 7, 2007

I would want more than 3 people to get a piano out of a pickup truck. My wife, adult son and I put one in a pickup truck once, and it was scary. Moving it with a ramp from a porch into a U-Haul was a breeze. A[n extremely strong] ramp would be helpful. Also, check out any (even slight) turns, or level changes with regard to getting an inflexible 3D object through them. We have a former player piano which is a few inches thicker (front-to-back) than a normal upright. To get it out the front door required removing both doors and some moulding to make just a little turn. But my back was better in just a few weeks.
posted by MtDewd at 10:08 AM on June 7, 2007

The only type of piano I would even consider trying to lift without professional assistance is the electric type. Seriously.

If you do insist, I wouldn't try to do it without at least four people (one for each corner), cos not only are they heavy but also oddly-shaped and awkward. Hiring something akin to this would also be beneficial.
posted by goo at 10:09 AM on June 7, 2007

Lifting an upright piano is going to be very, very difficult for three people if they aren't used to lifting very heavy things. I can't imagine trying to lift a piano to the height of a pickup bed without twice as many people. If you insist on putting it in the back of your truck, you should get some sort of ramps to let you roll it up. Of course, YMMV and your piano may not be as heavy as ours.
posted by ssg at 10:17 AM on June 7, 2007

You'll find some piano moving advice in this previous AskMe. As I said in that thread, it is possible for two people to move a piano with a shoulder dolly, but it is by no means easy.
posted by Otis at 10:23 AM on June 7, 2007

Bernard Cribbins had something to say on this subject.

I'm going to hell for this.

posted by genghis at 10:28 AM on June 7, 2007

I agree that it's best to hire professionals.

I know someone who was a professional piano mover for years. He was damn good at it, until he lifted a piano the wrong way and SNAPPED HIS BICEP MUSCLE. It rolled up his arm like a window shade (sorry- gross) and he needed day surgery so it could be reattached to the proper place.

If there's a piano store near you, they may be willing to hire out their movers and equipment for an afternoon, or recommend someone for you.
posted by suki at 10:39 AM on June 7, 2007 [1 favorite]

Hire piano movers. There are tricks to moving a piano, and the job takes a lot more than just brute strength. Experienced piano movers can do the job quickly and easily, and might even be insured if they break the piano.

Some friends of mine once tried to move a piano into a home. They had five or six very strong guys moving it. When they dropped the piano, it didn't fall far -- probably less than a foot. But it was a total loss. If you think moving a piano is hard, try moving a broken piano back out of the house.
posted by The World Famous at 10:40 AM on June 7, 2007

Yeah, I know its difficult. I dropped a piano on my ex boyfriend trying to move it, it snapped his shoulder blade in half. I still have no idea how I got it off of him. Ha!

I rented a truck with a ramp, we are moving it from Chattanooga to Atlanta. Hopefully, between my mom and weakly brother, my strong as ox dad and other brother, and myself, we can get it in here. Thanks!!!
posted by stormygrey at 10:43 AM on June 7, 2007

Yeah, I'd get a trailer or uhaul. My dad (also 60ish) and my husband moved my Grandmother's 100+ year old piano several hundred miles using an enclosed trailer.

I was terrified the entire time, but they did a good job. We grabbed two male neighbors to help unload and bring it into the house. A month later I hired a professional piano tuner to come over and he said it was in darn near perfect condition.
posted by LadyBonita at 10:45 AM on June 7, 2007

To show you just how hard it can be, even the professionals mess it up sometimes.
posted by spark at 11:07 AM on June 7, 2007

I moved an upright piano this past weekend, down about 6 stairs and into the back of a truck with one other guy. it wasn't very easy, but it wasn't all that hard either.

the big thing is to make sure you have movers blankets and then to use them when getting it out of the truck, as long as you let if down easy and onto blankets, you can just lay it on its back in the truck onto a blanket and then slide it off and let it kinda tilt down onto a blanket on the ground and set it up on its side. then just tilt it into its correct position and lift it.

if you have access to a couple of those simple square dollys it would make the in between easier, though you can do fine without and just taking frequent breaks depending on how strong your brother and father are.

most upright pianos have little handles built into the back to make moving it way easier, make sure you use them.
posted by teishu at 11:26 AM on June 7, 2007

Let's put it this way, as a former professional piano mover, if a friend called me and said "Hey, I've got a piano I need to move in my pickup truck" I'd tell them I had something else to do that day. A pick up really isn't the best vehicle to move a piano with. I'm seconding the recommendation to rent a U-Haul. Get one with tie downs on the walls and a ramp.

Piano movers actually lift a piano very little. The six inches it takes to get it off the ground and get it on a dolly is about the extent of it. 30 or so inches to get it into a truck bed is asking for trouble of all sorts.

Piano moving is about leverage. Little level changes (even as high as 1') are manageable with ease when using a regular $20 furniture dolly (Find a local Harbor Freight or Northern Equipment).
posted by friezer at 11:33 AM on June 7, 2007 [1 favorite]

The cost of pianos is pretty much the cost of piano moving. If someone got you to pay them to take away their piano, you got ripped off. It should go the other way, except for the most expensive, high-end pianos.

It's easy to damage the piano by stretching, warping or cracking the wood, even if you don't drop it; and because of the weight and ungainly nature of the piano, it is expected that untrained people will hurt themselves seriously trying to move one, including muscle sprains and tears, broken limbs, and ruptured interspinal discs. That is why piano moving costs a couple thousand bucks; you need strong, trained people using special equipment.

I suggest you abandon your plan.
posted by ikkyu2 at 12:13 PM on June 7, 2007 [1 favorite]

If you can get a set of these, it will make the job much easier.
posted by wsg at 12:29 PM on June 7, 2007

Here's the correct link.
posted by wsg at 12:32 PM on June 7, 2007

If everything goes right, you can move one with four strong people. If anything goes wrong, you'll wish you'd hired some piano movers. Think about it - if your strong father or brother sprains his back moving the thing, will you still feel it's worth it? He probably won't.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 12:40 PM on June 7, 2007

The thing is, you will probably need to get it tuned after moving it any distance. A good piano mover will also tune it, or will put you in touch with folks who will.
posted by rossination at 1:37 PM on June 7, 2007

wsg has it. I have moved 3 upright pianos with not a problem. You can rent those piano dollies. Well worth it.
posted by JayRwv at 4:07 PM on June 7, 2007

Hire a professional. If you live around Boston, MA hire Death Wish. They are the best here.
posted by vilcxjo_BLANKA at 9:56 AM on June 8, 2007

« Older How to use Moneydance.   |   Are there recordings of Stephanie J. Block's... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.