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Hi everyone,

This is my second post/topic I guess, but a while back I started searching for a first acoustic (grand). My search aside, I was wondering if there was a recommended "maximum" number of moves you should do with a grand piano? I often check craigslist or ebay ads out of curiosity and the seller often is posting their piano because of a pending move. I understand this sentiment for a long-distance move, but what if you're just moving across the state a few hours? If you've invested in a good piano, wouldn't you want to keep it despite a few ~$1000 moves across town or the state?

To further frame my question: I currently live in Pittsburgh and my interest in acquiring a grand has grown immensely over the last year or so. However, I could foresee myself moving to another city (east cost, likely) sometime in the future. Ideally I would be settled down with a house, but if I come across a good deal and end up purchasing a piano that will need moved 2, 3, or 4 times over its life, is that something that should cause concern? What is the threshold of keeping a piano and moving it vs. selling it and purchasing a new one in the new location?

Thanks! smile


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I've already moved my grand (including initial purchase) 6 times in about 6 years. Everything is functioning properly. I think the kids have done more damage than the moves have.

I hate moving, by the way, it's all I ever do wink

Last edited by gnuboi; 07/12/16 01:03 PM.
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A couple years ago, when I was hunting for a piano, I encountered a few sellers who said things like "selling because we're moving." They tended to be people who were not players, but had come into the piano in one way or another: grandma left it to them, or their kids took lessons but have long since left the home, etc.

People in these sorts of situations often realize that they don't want the piano enough to pay to have it moved. They'd rather sell it and put some cash in their pocket than pay out-of-pocket to ship it. Often these same people are shocked at how little their piano is actually worth (but that's a different story...).

Anyway, my point is that they aren't reluctant to move it because of worries about a move damaging the piano. They are reluctant to move it because doing so is relatively expensive, and generally they don't want the piano anyway, at least not enough to incur the expense of moving it.


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Originally Posted by nhr5005
What is the threshold of keeping a piano and moving it vs. selling it and purchasing a new one in the new location?

Thanks! smile


Take the cost of the move and add the amount you could sell the piano for. Then shop in the new city with that number in mind. If you can get a better piano in the new town for that money, you sell and buy. If not, you move.

As for how many times a piano can be moved, there are pianists who have their own pianos moved from concert to concert nationwide. C&A pianos get moved all the time, but within the same city.



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gnuboi,

It's really encouraging to hear moving that many times hasn't had any ill effects, but that sure sounds like a pain! PA definitely has some bad roads (read: potholes!)--were any of your moves longer distance? Does the piano usually need any significant maintenance after? For instance, do the bumps and jolts in the road dislodge anything in the action, for instance?


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Originally Posted by nhr5005

It's really encouraging to hear moving that many times hasn't had any ill effects, but that sure sounds like a pain! PA definitely has some bad roads (read: potholes!)--were any of your moves longer distance? Does the piano usually need any significant maintenance after? For instance, do the bumps and jolts in the road dislodge anything in the action, for instance?


Greetings,
I have set up and maintain several "road pianos" up for touring artists here in Nashville. The pianos travel in Anvil Cases, and are on their sides from 100,000 to 200,000 miles between check-ups. this includes being set up and taken down dozens of times, placed in a wide variety of venues and conditions, etc. I can't say I see much damage that I could ascribe to travel. Waylon's crew dropped his Steinway B a couple of times,but it didn't do much to it beyond cracking the spine,(repairable).

The majority of damage I see in moved pianos is in the pedals and legs, and caused by the mover's ineptitude or carelessness. If you have knowledgable people, I don't think there is any limit to the moves.
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From Wikipedia: "In 1986, [Sviatoslav] Richter embarked on a six-month tour of Siberia with his beloved Yamaha piano, giving perhaps 150 recitals, at times performing in small towns that did not even have a concert hall."

So that's 150 piano moves in six months.

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Originally Posted by nhr5005
gnuboi,

It's really encouraging to hear moving that many times hasn't had any ill effects, but that sure sounds like a pain! PA definitely has some bad roads (read: potholes!)--were any of your moves longer distance? Does the piano usually need any significant maintenance after? For instance, do the bumps and jolts in the road dislodge anything in the action, for instance?


Well moving in general is a pain but piano moving is mostly just coordinating with the movers and watching anxiously while it gets loaded and unloaded. One move was up a couple flights of narrow stairs, then back down a year later... It was pricey and sure put the movers to work. This is a 700-pound 6' grand wink

The longest was from Southern California up here to the San Francisco Bay Area. No adjustments necessary afterwards. The movers assembled everything back together properly. The action was fine. The piano technicians who tuned it since didn't mention anything unusual.

Last edited by gnuboi; 07/12/16 04:37 PM.
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The key things are:

1. Always use specialist piano movers. Moving a piano is a specialist job, and most general household movers do not know how to do it properly. Several times I've come across customers who have left moving their piano to the general removal company and it has been carelessly damaged. It is extremely rare that I come across damage caused by experienced and specialist piano carriers.

2. Every time you move the piano, give it 6-8 weeks to settle in the new home and then get it tuned.

3. Invest in a hygrometer to measure temperature and humidity. When you move this will give you the ability to get used to fluctuations in atmospheric conditions in the new location so that you can take precautions to deal with any extremes that could affect the tuning stability and action regulation of your piano.

There is no reason why you should be afraid of moving your piano if you follow these suggestions. I've known hire grand pianos that spend years going in and out for events and concerts almost constantly, and with the right care they remain beautiful instruments.


I work at Kawai UK but any opinions expressed here are my own, and drawn from many years of playing the piano and working in a multi-brand piano sales department.
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Originally Posted by mattpiano
1. Always use specialist piano movers. Moving a piano is a specialist job, and most general household movers do not know how to do it properly.


I'd agree as to grands, where they have to know how to take the legs and pedals apart and re-assemble them properly, and they need the padded board that straps to the bass side.

Uprights can be moved safely by reasonably qualified general movers. If they won't damage your tables and cabinets, they'll be OK with an upright.



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Ed Foote is right, if you are careful and know what you are doing there really isn't a "limit" to the number of times a piano can be moved. However, moving a piano does involve the risk of damage. I have a number of pianos which have been used for years for event rentals, so they are up and down in all sorts of venues. Most of the damage has occurred at the venues, but some of the nicks are from moving it.

I would only have a company which specializes in moving a piano do your moving, period. Household movers just don't do it enough to become skillful. And I have seen household movers take lids off, lid props, music desks, and anything else they can think of. This is how parts get lost! When someone calls me to find a replacement part it is always because a household mover did the job, never because a piano specialist did the job. I am not sure what these companies are doing with their accumulation of miscellaneous parts, but it has to be a big pile! The specialist might cost a little more, but a new music stand costs even more.

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In general, how expensive is it to move a piano?

I've been wanting to buy one but am hesitant because I know it is expensive to move.

Almost wondering if I should get an electric piano instead but I know the tone will come nowhere close even with the weighted keys nowadays.


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Originally Posted by hello my name is
In general, how expensive is it to move a piano?

I've been wanting to buy one but am hesitant because I know it is expensive to move.

Almost wondering if I should get an electric piano instead but I know the tone will come nowhere close even with the weighted keys nowadays.


Here.....

http://www.costevaluation.com/how-much-does-it-cost-to-move-a-piano/



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Air freight from Brussels to Chicago was about $8,000 for my Bösendorfer 170 around 10 years ago. It was only out of my site for two days. Bösendorfer shipped a special case from Vienna to Brussels for the move.

Steve
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