Instruments    -    Maintenance and Moving

How to Move a Piano by Yourself

An illustrated guide to safely getting your piano (even a big one!) onto and off of its feet without breaking any legs in the process

Moving a fortepiano all by yourself is not such a big deal - if you know the tricks. Most important: have good moving cart. Secondly, you need to know how to get it off the cart and onto its legs, and back again. With the method illustrated here, if you have a reasonable amount of strength, you can easily and safely do this by yourself.

Step 1

Here's the piano on its moving cart, cover untied and ready to set up. You'll need a heavy blanket, and a few scraps of carpet or other thick padding material.
Make sure the piano is positioned on the cart so that the bottom edge is slightly toward the middle of the cart, that is, inside of the line of the wheels on that side of the cart.

Step 2

The first leg to go on is the right front leg, under the treble corner of the keyboard. With big late instruments with only three legs, attach the leg in the middle of the cheek (the short treble side of the piano).

Step 3

Now you can rotate the instrument over until it stands on this one leg. Go carefully, and maybe try it once the first time with someone around to help should it prove to be too heavy for you.

If the floor or leg can be damaged by the weight of the instrument, use a scrap of carpet or anything soft and thick to protect them. The piano is now resting on the cart along the bottom edge of the spine and the one leg in the treble.

Step 4

Put some sort of padding under the tail and push the tail down until it rests on the floor. If the piano was in good balance on the cart, it should rest only very lightly on the blanket.

Step 5

Make sure the leg which goes on the bass side of the keyboard end is within reach, and then lift the piano up off the cart and put your knee underneath it to hold it up. Be careful to rotate the instrument up and towards the right so as not to put any undue lateral force on the treble leg. The instrument is now resting on three points: the tail, the treble leg, and your knee.

Step 6

Lift the instrument a little bit higher with your foot and attach the bass leg. Even a big heavy 6 1/2 octave Graf is surprisingly easy to do this way.

The instrument is now standing on the two front legs and sloping downward towards the tail, which is still resting on the floor. The angle of the two front legs is very slight, keeping lateral tension on them to a minimum. Notice again the two pads under the legs to keep both the floor and the legs from being damaged.

Step 7

This is the hardest part, and if your not very strong, you might need help. Lift the tail of the piano up and put your knee underneath it. As you lift the instrument, be careful to let it rotate upward and toward the keyboard to avoid any undue sideways stress on the two front legs. Lift the instrument high enough to get the tail leg under it and screw in the leg. If you have short calves, a book or two can be used underneath your foot to give you more clearance under the instrument.

Step 8

Lift the instrument to install any remaining intermediate legs. With big late instruments which have three legs and a pedal stretcher between the front two, you can crawl under the instrument, lift it up on your back, and slide the stretcher first under one leg and then under the other.


If you choose to follow any of the advice or instructions given here, you do so COMPLETELY AT YOUR OWN RISK. Paul Poletti assumes no liability whatsoever for any damage to any instrument nor for any injury to yourself or others.