• Chicago Brass Works Movers

Tips for Packing, Moving and Storing Musical Instruments

Although people who have owned musical instruments for some time know how expensive and fragile they can be, they are still often moved and stored carelessly by those who don’t know better. Whether you’re planning to move to a new home or you simply have to put a valuable instrument into storage for a while, here’s what you need to know to make sure that your prized possession stays in working condition.

Understanding the Big Four

The “big four” refers to the four biggest threats to a musical instrument that is placed in storage:

  • Extreme heat
  • Extreme cold
  • Humidity
  • Dust

These can and will do serious damage to an instrument on the road, in storage, or even when it’s sitting in your home not being played. Temperatures over 80 degrees Fahrenheit can cause seams on wooden instruments to open up, while temperatures around or below freezing can cause instruments to shrink and even crack. Meanwhile, excessive humidity can corrode electronic components and other metal parts, while low humidity can dry out a wooden instrument and cause it to crack. All of these things have been known to happen when an instrument is left in an unattended vehicle or a storage unit that isn’t climate controlled for too long.

If you’re not going to play an instrument, try to keep it in an environment that is around 70 degrees Fahrenheit with approximately 42 percent humidity. This might mean buying a humidifier for a wooden instrument if the air is dry where you are and keeping your instrument someplace with plenty of ventilation and a good HVAC system.

As for dust, you probably won’t have as much to worry about there, but you should still wipe off your instruments with a soft lint-free cloth before putting it away. According to Connolly Music, dust can scratch the finish of an instrument, and they can shorten the lifespan of strings on violins, guitars, and other stringed instruments.

Packing Instruments Carefully

Whenever you pack an instrument for storage or a move, Cheap Movers Seattle (www.cheapmoversseattle.com) says to try to stick with hard cases as opposed to soft cases or gig bags. Hard cases will do a better job of protecting instruments from getting knocked around, and they will keep them relatively dust-free. Use your original case for your instrument if you still have it.

If your instrument can be taken apart, do so. This is often the case for clarinets and other woodwind instruments, and it goes a long way towards keeping them safe and secure a case. If you have a bowed instrument, make sure you loosen the bow hair before you put it away as this will relieve the tension on the stick and prevent it from warping or breaking. Instruments in the violin family should have the strings kept mostly up to tension, but guitar strings should be loosened before the instrument is put into long-term storage.

People are often taken aback at how fragile musical instruments can be, and this frequently leads to problems. Always remember that most musical instruments are delicate and greater than the sum of their parts, and remember always to keep them someplace safe if you’re going to travel with them or place them into storage.

How to Pack and Move a Piano Like a Professional Moving Service

Although transporting your piano may seem like moving any large appliance, but it’s much a more complicated and delicate process. Not only are keyboards top-heavy, but they’re awkward to grip and move. Plus, they’re full of fragile parts that can become easily damaged while in transport. Below, are a few tips we recommend to help pack and move your piano, without the need of a professional moving service.

Before Your Move

1. Find the Right Moving Materials to Use

First, before you move anything, it’s essential that you have all the necessary materials to help make transporting your piano as secure and safe as possible. If you have a grand or upright piano, make sure you have moving blankets on hand to protect it as much as possible. You’ll also need tape or move wrap to secure the moving sheets in place. You should also invest in a dolly to support your piano’s massive weight as well.

Since grand pianos can be tougher to move because of their size and build, you may need additional materials. Aside from moving blankets, this Chicagoland moving company recommends using piano skid board (see this article on making your own) to make transporting it a little easier. All you have to do is secure your piano on the skid board with a few straps to cinch it into place.

2. Get Help

No one said you have to move on your own, and we don’t suggest it. You will need four people to help you move the piano, at the very least. Don’t be afraid to ask your friends, family, neighbors, or even the Craigslist community.

Moving Your Piano

3. Transporting an Upright Piano

To carry your upright piano, you want to first protect the pedals and keys from any damage during the move. You can do this by covering them with protective blankets. Next, drape the piano with additional sheets, including the front, sides, and back. Just make sure that you tape the blankets or use the moving wrap to secure them for the move.

Once you wrap the piano in a protective covering, move the piano onto the moving dolly to start the transportation process. Don’t forget to make sure you have someone on every side of your piano while hoisting it. To avoid as much injury as possible, make sure you tell your helpers to bend their knees to prevent damage to their backs. Once your piano is on the dolly, you can then start transporting it to your moving truck.

4. Transporting a Grand Piano

When moving a grand piano, the first thing you should do is lower and secure the top lid. If it is possible, remove the legs and pedals very carefully so that the piano does not hit the ground when you remove the legs. Then, wrap the lid, keys, and sides of the keyboard with blankets secured by tape. You should also wrap the legs and pedals in moving blankets as well.

Next, you can gently tilt the piano onto the piano board. Secure it to the board with straps. Make sure you have several people with you when pushing the piano board. The extra hands will prevent your grand piano from getting damaged or scratched. All that is left is to lift it onto the moving truck carefully.