I hear many stories about pianos that got away because not enough
movers were used. Well, let me tell you, having enough movers is not
always a guarantee.
I was moving an upright player from a basement in Oradell, NJ, back
in the '70s, and I had two gorillas with me to help. They had moved
pianos et. al. with me before, so we had our system of signals and
We had the piano in a horizontal sling because the stairs had a steep
incline, with two movers at the top -- one to guide and one to pull --
and I was on the back end lifting the treads. It was a standard move,
minimal cursing etc., until the weight of the piano collapsed the
The tread, which I had the tail of the piano on, physically snapped,
and the piano went backwards and wedged the upper corner through the
plaster and lath. The piano came to rest on a two-by-four on the upper
edge, and on my foot on the bottom edge.
I wound up hugging the piano for two hours while the gorillas went out
to rent a winch.
The exit door was directly at the top of the stairs, but the driveway
was narrow and perpendicular to the door. The car (we had a trailer
for the piano) was backed up to the door so that the winch could be
hooked to the hitch. After we cinched a cable around the leg of the
piano, and secured the winch to the hitch, we were able to slowly coax
the piano out of the stairwell.
Unfortunately, none of us noticed that the torque from the winch was
pulling the car sideways into the house. By the time we had the piano
out of the stairwell (which was just as my back gave out from hanging
onto the piano for the two hours) we had managed to wedge the car
diagonally between the owners house and neighbors house. We wound up
jacking the car up and pushing it off the jack sideways to get enough
room to move the car out of the driveway.
By the time we were done, we had broken a stairwell, smashed a wall,
ripped a leg off the piano, and left most of the cars' paint on the
stucco wall of the house.
I have kept that piano to this day. Every time I contemplate saving
money by moving something myself, I put a roll on the piano, and call
[ A great sequel to Laurel & Hardy in "The Music Box". -- Robbie