Instruments    -    Maintenance and Moving

How to Open a Piano Lid

An illustrated guide to opening a large Viennese piano without damaging the lids in the process

Step 1

If the instrument has a lock, make sure it is unlocked. Lift the horizontal lid by its front edge (a) just enough to get your fingers under the bottom edge of the vertical flap. Continue raising both the flap and the lid by lifting at the bottom edge of the flap (b). DO NOT continue pulling the flap upward by pulling the lid open.

Step 2

DO NOT open the second lid by pulling it upward with the first lid and flap. This is the mistake which causes 90% of lid damage.

The right picture shows the correct method; continue rotating the first lid until it is completely open, lying almost flat on the second lid. The flap will fold against the lid as you proceed. Do not lift the second lid during this process! Leave the fingers of your right hand between the first and second lid.

Step 3

With your left hand, begin opening the second lid by rotating its front edge upward. With your right hand, support the first lid and flap, keeping them more or less parallel to the instrument at all times.

Step 4

When the second lid is half open, move your left hand around to the other side to support the lid as it descends.

Step 5

Continue rotating the second lid downward until both lids are lying flat on the big lid. Let the first lid and flap descend along with the second lid. Do not allow the two lids to form a shallow V, which will damage the hinges between them; keep the first lid and flap more or less parallel to the big lid the entire time.

Step 6

Once the two small lids are completely open, you can open the big lid by lifting it at the tip of the narrow point. Be sure to open it far enough that you can rotate the lid stick without hitting the strings.

To close the instrument, follow the steps in reverse order.


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.