Except for small spinets, a piano is almost always carefully positioned on a customized skid called a piano board. Once the piano is situated, the instrument is covered in padded blankets and strapped to the board. How to move a piano over a level surface for any distance requires that the piano board is carried on a wheeled dolly and rolled to the vehicle or stairway. There the dolly is removed and the piano board is slid in a very slow and controlled fashion up or down the stairs by the team of movers.
A grand piano is typically moved on its side, straight side down. First the lid and the pedal lyre are removed. The leg at the straight side of the piano is likewise removed and the instrument is slowly leveraged onto the piano board. When considering how to move a piano, the lid hinges are removed because they overhang the case side and can damage the case when the piano is put on its side. At other times the hinges simply overhang the edge of the piano board. The remaining two legs are disassembled; the piano is covered with blankets, and then strapped to the board. At this point, a grand piano can actually slide through narrow openings.
If there is any questions about whether the piano will fit its new location, the piano mover may visit the moving site prior to moving day to assess the difficulty of the job. If the piano won't fit in its intended location, the customer will have to pay for its delivery back to its point of departure, to an alternate destination, or to storage. It is important to ascertain whether a window is too small or a stairway has a low overhang or whether corners are too tight to move the piano.
How to move a piano above the first story of a building? Many movers prefer to hoist or rig it rather than move it up or down stairs. Moving a piano by stairs is more dangerous, both to the piano and to the movers, than hoisting through an upper-story window. Most movers will consent to moving by stairs when only one flight is involved, or there is no other alternative such as a freight elevator.
To get around tight corners, sometimes the mover will keyboard a vertical piano. Keyboarding is removing the action of the piano; that is to say, the front keybed and keys. This procedure will not damage the piano as long as the disassembly is done by a knowledgeable professional. Be sure to inquire before the move whether your piano mover has experience with keyboarding. Expect that piano moving will throw your piano's tune out of whack. About two weeks after the move, ask your piano tuner to adjust the instrument.