Piano Dismantling

Why take apart a piano?

There are two types of piano dismantling:

  • Grand pianos
  • Upright pianos

Within these two types, there is also different degrees of dismantling.

Grand Piano Dismantling

99% of grand piano moves require basic disassembling. This is where the movers take the piano legs and pedals off the grand piano. The main reason why, is because the piano will not fit through a doorway, without it taken apart. The second main reason, is it is next to impossible to move it safely on its legs on. A grand piano is NOT designed to be moved with its legs on. You do not have to tell the movers about this, it is assumed that they will be removed during the move.

Pro tip: If any mover tells you this is not the case, STOP and immediately find another mover. You are at the beginning of a moving nightmare, and are talking to someone who has no clue what they are doing.

The next level of dismantling involves removing either the piano lid and/or action of piano. For true piano movers, this is a last resort. Done only by piano movers to lighten the piano on a tricky move. That said, I should note that regular household movers are known to remove grand pianos lids on a regular basis due to lack of piano moving experience. Household movers are known to smash the hinges on grand piano lids if they leave them on. So a lot of them will remove it to try and cut down on these types of damages. This is generally not included in your basic grand piano quote and is usually an extra charge with a lot of piano movers, but some household movers will not, because it is the only way they know how to move a grand piano.

Upright Piano Dismantling

This is only done for those really interesting tough jobs. This should only be done by a professional piano mover and is becoming a lost art in the piano industry even among professional piano movers. It is generally only done as a last resort by customers that are determined to get it in a particular place up or down a nasty staircase.

Dismantling an upright piano
Dismantling an upright piano

Many staircases are not designed for large pianos to go up and down them. You cannot dismantle past the harp of the piano, as the piano harp and soundboard are considered a single piece. The point of upright piano dismantling is to make the piano narrow enough to make a tight turn (usually in a staircase) where it had no chance of fitting fully assembled. This is a high risk move, that is usually done with NO moving insurance. We only recommend this as a last resort. We should also note that a number of piano movers are no longer offering this service due to the risk and danger level involved.

Upright piano harp
This is basically as small as it gets unless you break the sides off.

If you are thinking that your upright piano needs to be disassembled in your move. Make sure you mention it to the movers before you book the move. It is industry standard: That ALL movers ASSUME that the upright piano will fit in one piece unless you tell them otherwise. They will not know better, till they show up at your place, which is too late on house closing day. This is considered a surprise by you, if it is not mentioned prior to the move. It costs significantly more to do, then your typical piano move.

Looking to learn more?

On tough jobs, you always want to talk to a live person about it. If you want to learn more about piano dismantling, contact our piano moving team, to see if this would be a good idea for you.