Weight of upright piano? Moving tips?
Old 17th November 2008
  #1
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Weight of upright piano? Moving tips?

Soon I have to move an old Steinway upright piano.... from the `50's. Physically it's pretty small. For the heck of it I tried lifting just one end to get a sense of how heavy it is... I couldn't budge it. Then again, I did not want to pull up too hard in what might have been a bad spot to lift from so I aborted. But it certainly felt extremely heavy.

Does anyone have a rough idea of what a typical small upright Steinway piano might weigh?

Any upright piano moving tips from those who have moved such before? How many people needed, special lifting straps, etc...?

Thanks
Old 17th November 2008
  #2
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Is it a spinet, or a full upright?

Most spinet models are not as heavy as you might think... I've moved them many times with just three or four friends and no one having to strain...

2 on each end (just check that what you are holding is solid) and make sure everyone is on the same page... be careful - especially if there are stairs involved...

for a bigger piano like a full upright you might want to get professional movers... don't get someone hurt just to save a few bucks..
Old 17th November 2008
  #3
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what wood is it made of?
Old 17th November 2008
  #4
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A lot of tuners run a moving service as well. Since it is going to need a tuning after the move, you might want to consider hiring the whole deal out. He moves it, he tunes it. Done.
Old 17th November 2008
  #5
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I brought an old steinway upright from illinois to poland last year and it was easy, there are handles on teh back to grab it with. find 4 big dudes and they should be able to lift it maximum 1/2 -1 foot off the ground.

We built a lift in our studio to bring it to the third floor of the building and then two of us were able to manuver it in through the door.
that piano should be built like a tank so unless you drop it it should be fine.
Old 17th November 2008
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 666666 View Post
Soon I have to move an old Steinway upright piano.... from the `50's. Physically it's pretty small. For the heck of it I tried lifting just one end to get a sense of how heavy it is... I couldn't budge it. Then again, I did not want to pull up too hard in what might have been a bad spot to lift from so I aborted. But it certainly felt extremely heavy.

Does anyone have a rough idea of what a typical small upright Steinway piano might weigh?

Any upright piano moving tips from those who have moved such before? How many people needed, special lifting straps, etc...?

Thanks
Depending on the size/wood it could weigh anywhere from 300 lbs to 500 lbs maybe even more its hard to say.

If the piano is valuable to you i would reccomend hiring a company that specializes in moving pianos, not just any moving company.

Do you live high up like in a walk up apartment or on ground level? Depending on how high up or low you live they may choose to just use straps or a combination of a crane and some type of platform and guide it through a window.

If you dont live high up they may be able to just use some type of dolley or lift to move it.

Every situation is unique for this type of thing.
Old 17th November 2008
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Old 17th November 2008
  #8
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Without any stairs to negotiate, you can move one quite easily with 2 strong guys and a moving dolly (the type with 4 casters).



-tINY

Old 17th November 2008
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tINY View Post


Without any stairs to negotiate, you can move one quite easily with 2 strong guys and a moving dolly (the type with 4 casters).



-tINY

Thats what we did... Lift it straight up, roll dolly underneath. Instant wheels
Old 17th November 2008
  #10
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Thread Starter
Thanks for the helpful replies, guys.

As for the questions asked, I'll find out next time I see the piano... it is at another location at the moment. I believe it IS a spinet, I'll find out.

I fortunately do not need to move it up or down any steep staircases or anything like that. Coming out of a ground floor level, into a vehicle, back into another building at pretty much ground floor level. For this reason I am considering trying to do it on my own with a few friends, especially if the piano is not more than say 350 or so pounds. Again, it's physically not too big, should fit in a large mini-van or regular van which I have access to.

Next time I see the piano I'll get more specs.

Handles on the back....? That would be sweet... I'll check for that.

Slightly off topic, but.. tuning...

This thing hasn't been tuned in a while. I was going to try to tune it using a regular tuner. It's easy to get to the tuning pegs. Some have scolded me for even considering trying to tune it myself, not sure why... there's a bunch of strings that need to be tuned... what rocket science is there? Yeah, it'll be a time consuming pain in the butt, but other than that...?

Since this piano has been out of tune for many years, some have suggested it will likely need several tunings over say a several month period before the frame settles back into shape, etc... all the more reason I'd like to tune it myself, otherwise this will get quite costly.

Ok... fire away
Old 17th November 2008
  #11
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Tuning it _can_ be done yourself if you do a little research, get a tuning wrench, some foam/rubber wedges for string damping, and a really good (preferably stobe) tuner...

That being said... hire a tuner... it should only cost ya $60-100 dollars, and I can almost guarantee (from personal experience) that it will sound $60-100 dollars better than you can do yourself....

If you're set on doing it yourself, do a little research online... there's a bit more to it than just twisting the tuning peg until the A hits 440...

(but it IS fun... I've done it several times too... but I rely on a pro for the one in the studio....)
Old 17th November 2008
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If it's way out there's no reason you can't do the first few tunings yourself to get it balanced out. Once it's pretty close and stays in tune you'll want to have it done professionally as it harder than you might think. There are 2 strings per key in the mid-section and 3 strings in the upper section. They are not all tuned exactly to pitch - that's where the richness of the sound comes from. And if you go with the concert tuning or stretch tuning you would need to know where to make your changes and by how much. I rebuilt and tuned a Wurlitzer Spinet I rescued from a dumpster and used a Korg rack tuner which got me very close but there were a few chord combinations that had unnatural beating in the harmonics. It's worth the $100 or so to have it done right.
Old 17th November 2008
  #13
jdg
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me and my wife lifted my full size upright down from a trailer, then up 3 stairs.
i actually broke some blood vessels in my arm, as i was doing most of the work.. im a big guy, but man, it was the worst thing to lift EVER.

well, one time, we lifted a resturant fridge down from a 3' tall truck bed.. that was worse.

but, 2 big guys or 3 med guys should be the minimum.

good luck
Old 17th November 2008
  #14
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I suggest these. They work fantastic for moving heavy stuff like pianos and spinets up stairs.

Old 18th November 2008
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clownjuggles View Post
I suggest these. They work fantastic for moving heavy stuff like pianos and spinets up stairs.

Only if you want to break your arms. Those are fine for things with an awkward size/shape, but pianos weigh 300-500lbs for a spinet, up to 900lbs for uprights (real name, vertical) and up to 1500lbs for a grand.

If the piano's worth more than a few hundred $, hire a pro - especially if you have to go up/down stairs.

Scott
Old 18th November 2008
  #16
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Quote:
If the piano's worth more than a few hundred $, hire a pro
Perhaps the two ladies in the photo are available to move pianos in your area. They look quite capable.
Old 18th November 2008
  #17
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Ah moving a piano... . Hopefuly you have a better time than I had. As the owner of a van, I was solicited by a friend to help move an upright with him and 1 other guy. It was honestly alright (although very very heavy) until we hit stairs. They were narrow, steep... it was hell. We ripped up the walls, the corners of the pianos made holes in the plaster, the piano got scratched and damaged, got stuck at horrible angles, all 3 pedals got torn off, and right as we were about to clear the 3rd flight... the owner of my friend's building came in, screaming, about how he had never agreed to have a piano in here and that we had to move it out. The whole process had taken over 2 hours. The piano then stayed in my van for 2 weeks, in the cold Canadian winter, until another home was found for it, one without goddamned stairs. Needless to say, it was in pitiful condition after all this.

But honestly if there are many difficult stairs in the way hire people who know what they are doing. If not you might be OK. A dolly is a fantastic idea.
Old 18th November 2008
  #18
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This brings up the age old ?.....................how much does a Steinweigh!!!!!!!!!!
Old 18th November 2008
  #19
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A heavy upright can weigh some 500 lbs.

Deathwish piano movers in Boston Area.
Old 18th November 2008
  #20
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If I were you, I'd get a piano mover. I had one moved from my in-laws house into my studio. 1 flight of steps at the in-laws house, and none into my studio space. But I would not have wanted to do that on my own.

I have a hard enough time swinging it out when I want to record it via the soundboard (luckily it has casters built in).
Old 8th May 2009
  #21
Gear interested
 

I would agree with some of the other people here. You definitely should find a piano mover or any moving company experienced with moving pianos. Trying to do it yourself more often than not ends up with some damage.
Old 8th May 2009
  #22
jhg
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Craigslist to the rescue

I hired piano movers to move an MTR90, they did a great job. It took me and 3(musician) friends to pathetically move the machine in, 4 piano mover guys effortlessly moved it out.
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