"We can move any type of piano except concert grands, the largest-sized pianos,” explained Ron Castiglione, owner and technician at Pitch Perfect Piano in Encinitas (800-205-0076). When moving grand pianos, “You have to protect your floors and take your time and treat them like they are big eggs. You take the legs off, wrap the piano in blankets, put it on its side, and you have a special board that you use to put the baby grands on and strap it to that.”
After the move, “You want to let the piano settle a couple of weeks before you tune it,” added Castiglione. “It needs to get acclimated to your new home. The moving plus the change in humidity, change in temperature,” all affect the tuning.
“Every job is different,” said Castiglione, “a lot of factors for pricing. Prices start about $85 to $90 and they go up. Usually baby grands are about $120 to $140. For a small upright, a local move, one house to another that are pretty close, it is $85.”
“If someone is buying a piano or moving it into a new location,” said Diane, a customer-service rep with Encore Piano Moving located in Miramar (800-444-8071), “it might not fit around corners, up stairways, or by bushes, trees, or obstacles. But if it got in there, it can get out.” Usually. Diane told of an exception to that rule. “One of the high-rises downtown, we put the piano in before the high-rise was even finished. We used a crane and just put it up in the hole. It’s on something like the 22nd floor.”
Any trouble moving old pianos?
“[All pianos] get brittle. The wheels don’t really work on them, even the new ones, so we don’t rely on the wheels for anything. The exteriors of pianos are made out of all different types of wood, but the interiors, the soundboards, are made generally out of the same kind of wood.” According to WikiAnswers, “The soundboard is a thin panel of spruce that underlies the strings.”
The correct way to move a grand piano “is on its side, on proper piano-moving equipment, with the legs off and the lyre off,” offered Diane. “The lyre is where the pedals are. Then the piano is reassembled at the new location. Piano movers are pretty well seasoned, knowing where the areas are in the moving process that are the most vulnerable, like on thresholds. If you don’t use a piano dolly and a piano skid board, then pianos are extremely vulnerable to damage. A piano-moving skid board is a carpeted piece of material that sort of allows for the lip of the [piano] lid to overhang without damage. It marries up to a piano dolly, and the wheels are high enough to where the threshold and the stairs and steps are not going to make it vulnerable in any way. Anybody that would move a piano using muscle power would not be a person that I would choose for a piano mover. Pianos don’t get muscled.”
Where should pianos be placed in a home?
“Away from exterior windows is the best because they will tend to stay in tune longer if they are not subjected to that humidity and temperature change. And if you live in the area of the beach or the desert, sometimes you need a dehumidifier or a humidifier in the room, depending on what area you are in. It helps it stay in tune.”
Pricing for moving “a spinet piano, within the city limits of San Diego, without any stairs, is $85. That means no elevator, no stairs, in or out of the house.” If there are stairs, “That’s quoted on an individual basis.”
All companies called said that each move is different, but all offered example prices.
San Diego Piano Movers (800-499-5733) will move a baby grand within the same zip code for around $160. Verticals (the uprights), whether it’s a spinet or a large upright, cost $135, provided it is all ground floor.
AAA Piano Movers (760-746-1330) will move an upright within the same zip code (no stairs) for about $90; a baby grand, $130.
Coleman’s Piano Moving (866-725-1234) moves an upright in the same zip code (no stairs) for about $150; the grand runs $180.