How to shift a grand piano

To shift a grand piano, there is a strict procedure that I recommend following. If it’s possible to get someone that knows what they’re doing – take that choice. If you have a removalist that says they can do it, just check if they have a proper piano moving trolley in good condition. Wheels with steel rims, preferably with solid rubber wheels. Pumped up tyres can burst under the weight of a piano. See below an image of my piano shifting trolley specifically for grand pianos and uprights.




Equipment you’ll need:

  • Truck with tail gate loader
  • 40mm wide ratchet strap (this is to stop bruising)
  • 2 pieces of carpet
  • Blankets to wrap parts – the more the better, there are about 7 parts that will need wrapping.
  • A felt tip pen to mark legs (not black)
  • A bag to put the pins and bolts into
  • Team of at least 3 people

Steps on how to move the piano

  1. Fold back the top lid
  2. Remove the hinge pins and put them in the bag. Lift the lid vertically and stand it on the floor with the flap at 90 degrees. Make sure it’s out of the way.
  3. Remove the music desk. This slides out toward the front of the piano. Wrap in the blanket.
  4. Remove the fall (lid over the keys). On some pianos you need to lift from the left hand side against spring.
  5. The lid needs to be 45 degrees when you lift it out. Don’t force it. Some pianos need a small flat blade screwdriver to remove a small screw from each end. Check before removing the lid. Wrap in blankets.
  6. Make sure there is adequate space around the piano as it needs to be tipped on the long side.
  7. Check that the lyer is tight if it looks broken or wobbly you can’t shift the piano using this method.
  8. The lyer will need to be removed and you will need more people to hold the weight.
  9. Lift the piano on the corner front Bass. A folded blanket needs to be placed under the lyer. Their needs to be some blanket on the bass side of the lyer.
  10. Someone needs to hold the piano down on the treble end.
  11. The bass leg is now swinging in the breeze.
  12. Place the trolly under the long side of the piano.
  13. Remove the leg by undoing the screws or bolts. Mark this leg bass and mark under the piano the same. Take note of the length of the bolts and if their different mark which one came out of which hole. Generally they are the same.
  14. Lay the piano over onto the trolly. DO NOT LIFT A THIS STAGE. It will swing on the back leg and the Lyer.
  15. Align the bottom edge of the piano with the two wheels closest to the piano. The trolly will want to tip forward. This is ok.
  16. The front edge of the trolly needs to be aligned between the dampers and the tuning pins. Depending on the length of the grand. The longer the grand the further the trolly needs to be toward the middle.
  17. Keep pressure on the piano to hold the piano in place.
  18. With 3 people on the under side on the piano lift slowly and carefully. The piano will tilt back first then it is ok to lift the piano to a vertical position.
  19. Check the balance of the piano. It should be not heavy on to front. Be aware of the balance or put the piano down and move the trolly.
  20. Remove the legs mark them and the piano where they came from.
  21. Remove the lyre some lyer struts slot into a hole and then swing back against the piano. Some are screwed onto the bottom of the lyer. Don’t  undo these screws. Undo the screws on the bottom of the piano.
  22. Be aware of the bolts sometimes the lyer bolts are longer and sometimes the back leg bolts are longer.
  23. Move the piano and turn by lifting one end. Generally it’s easier to lift the round end.
  24. Be careful of the trolly moving under the piano. This edge is sometimes slippery. Some times depending on the tailgate lift it is easier to load the gran over the edge of the loader.
  25. Then tilt the tailgate to the level position. 2 people need to hold the piano as it’s lifted.
  26. Roll the piano into the truck with the bottom close to the side. Cover the piano and strap from the kidney to the middle of the keyboard. Place carpet doubled under the strap. The lid can be stood and strapped to the other side of the van.
  27. Pick up the legs,lyer, bolts, music desk, fall, and piano stool.
  28. If the Piano needs to go up a step. Tilt the piano back so the front wheels go on the step then lift the back of the piano up the step.
  29. 2 steps you will need a ramp. Place the ramp on the first step then tilt the piano up the second step.
  30. 3 steps you will need a longer lamp.
  31. To put the piano down follow the steps in reverse. Remember to put the folded blanket under the lyer.Hope this helps… Gary


If you’re not confident doing this yourself, see our piano moving and shifting prices. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call me!

You can also watch Gary’s tips below in our Piano Moving Safely video.