What should you know about pianola transport?

A pianola should be transported only by professionals, due to its huge weight (~250-500 kg), especially since inexperienced people may very easily suffer very serious health defects. Of course the instrument can also be damaged - more often still, damages will be caused to the floors or walls. If you need to move a pianola yourself, use two solid trolleys. (Available from hardware stores, for example - please observe the load incl. a safety range!) Most pianolas have handles at their back for better handling. Have the instrument lifted by two persons and ask a third and fourth person to push the trolleys right and left underneath. Always keep the instrument stable on the trolleys or, better still, firmly secure it with straps to the trolleys. Children and, ideally, also adults should stay outside the tilting range of the pianola. In case of doubt, if the pianola should tilt over, it is better to “dismiss” the instrument than to risk personal injury. It is also possible to lift the pianola on one side and push the trolley underneath - but use a support for the two steel castors that still have ground contact to protect the floor and avoid the risk of slipping.


Moving a pianola to another floor

If you have to move the pianola to another floor, always ask for a professional shipper - the risk of an accident is simply too great for laymen. It is too dangerous without special straps and suitable experience. Even experienced piano transport companies are facing a challenge when moving pianolas, because they are heavier, more sensitive and more difficult to handle.

If you have to transport a pianola across a longer distance, e. g., in a transporter or truck, use good protection of the instrument against scratches and temperature variations/humidity by blankets etc. Even more important: Secure the pianola at least twice by suitable straps. Otherwise, unforeseen force braking or accidents may turn these instruments into extremely dangerous projectiles.

Pianola grand piano transport

The same precautions apply to transporting pianola grands. Special material like grand piano covers, slides etc. is needed, as well as a lot of experience and at least three or four persons. Then the grand piano will be turned on its side and set on a trolley, using the grand piano slide. The pianola grand should be carried (and not pushed) across stairs to avoid damages. Sometimes, a stairwell or too narrow entrance will not allow to carry the pianola upstairs - then a crane is required. Sometimes, the crane will be less expensive than difficult carrying maneuvers.


Changing the location of a pianola

How well a pianola will take a transport and the change of environment depends basically on preventive measures and weather during transport, as well as quality and age or condition of the instrument. Provided that the transport was professionally carried out (instrument protected in transport covers, no significant climate variations, no edging or heavy setting down etc.), allow at least two weeks for the instrument to acclimate. Then it may be more firmly regulated and the tuning will be more stable. If the ambient conditions of old and new site are much different, expect several tuning sessions within the first year.


Which location is best for a pianola?

A pianola should be set up where it can be used best and most often, because then it will bring the most joy. Experience shows that an unfavorable location in the house may reduce the motivation for piano and pianola playing. Consider the rest that other occupants and neighbors demand. A restored pianola can be played very much piano - joy of playing will also increase the desire to fully explore the tonal volume of the instrument - and then that may turn rather forte. Electrically driven pianolas in medium or just refurbished condition are generally louder. Muffler felts will help to reduce the volume.

Make sure, please, that the selected location will provide even support (use a spirit level) - because, if a pianola is standing askew, the rim may distort in the long run. If the ground is uneven, compensate with coasters. Protect your floor by using plastic, wood or glass coasters - you may get them in any piano store - or even from me. Parquet and laminate grounds should be protected by coasters with additional felt discs. If you do not have any coasters at hand at short notice, pieces of carpet or doubled cardboard may suffice. Avoid setting up the pianola near or in front of a heater and/or a window. If there is no other choice, turn the heating low or dim the window with a light-restraining curtain. Full solar irradiation may damage the wood and will most likely cause irregular fading of the surface.

What kind of room climate will a pianola need?

A pianola may be found in every normally tempered (living) room. Please note that air moisture should not drop below 50 % (take care during heating periods) and not rise above 70%, ideal is 55% to 65%. A room that is rather consistently tempered is beneficial for your pianola (and the piano rolls), because strong temperature changes and corresponding humidity variations are bad for the instrument - wood and felt are vulnerable. Both can adversely affect the stability of the tuning or damage the solid parts. A place at an interior wall is preferred, because temperature changes are usually lower there - however, newer and generally better insulated houses reduce the significance of this problem. If there is under-floor heating beneath the pianola, careful observation of the air humidity values given above is even more important. If the under-floor heating is very frequently used, prevent the instrument from drying by additional air humidification, if required. Remember that essentially, improper location may cause loss of liability claims if an instrument is damaged.