How to Dismantle an Upright Piano

By Greg Brian ; Updated September 15, 2017

Things Needed

  • Screwdriver
  • Sledgehammer or hammer
  • Wire cutters
  • Eye protection goggles

Consider dismantling an upright piano when the situation arises that you can’t move one as a whole out a room’s door. Usually, this occurs in basements where people frequently store a dilapidated upright piano and have to move one out in a hurry. Apply these tips on how to dismantle one, both as a resourceful exercise and as a way to vent your past piano lesson frustrations through the act of piano violence.

Removal of Parts by Hand

Remove the top lid of your upright piano by taking out the lid’s hinge pins. Set the top out of the way while you continue to remove additional lighter parts of the piano.

Prepare removal of the desk that holds sheet music in the front of the piano by examining which kind of piano you have. Many uprights allow easy removal of the desk by merely jostling it out of slots. Unscrew any screws in the front of the desk that may be holding it in place as other models have. Slide the desk forward and out. Set aside with the piano’s top.

Take on the key cover next by removing the screws that hold it in place between the end blocks of the piano. Lift the key cover up for removal and set aside with the other parts.

Look into the innards of the piano and dispose of the key bed by looking for unusually large screws on the key bed arm. Remove the screws and the key bed should easily be removed.

Set all the prior parts well away from the piano since you’re now ready to use more violent force to dismantle your upright piano.

Removal of Parts by Blunt Force

Consider bashing a hammer against the top lid of an upright piano that has a lid that’s glued on rather than fastened with screws. Give it a good whack, since the glue may be still be extremely adhesive, despite being decades old.

Take a sledgehammer and bang it against the vertical sidings of the piano on the left and right sides of the keyboard. These should easily fall off since they’re also typically glued on.

Set the piano on its back and smash up the skid board containing the pedals with your sledgehammer. This gets rid of extra weight to the piano.

Keep all the screws and any other useful parts to the piano since some of them can be used on other pianos if you’re also into restoring pianos from the brink of destruction.

Removing Strings on Piano's Harp

Know that at this point, the frame in behind the piano and the inner harp containing the piano strings are the only thing left for you to destroy--albeit in a more careful way.

Never take a sledgehammer to the harp of the piano to remove the piano’s strings. Understand that if you do, the wire strings will go flying across the room and could potentially hurt someone--probably you.

Hold something soft, preferably a small pillow, up against the front of the strings while you gently pluck each one out with wire cutters.

Take an axe to the remaining shell of harp and connected frame if you wish after removing the strings. Keep in mind that doing this will make more of a mess to clean up. Nevertheless, the smaller the parts left from what was recently your upright piano, the easier it’ll be to move them out of the room the piano was stored in.

About the Author

Greg Brian is a freelance writer who took his diverse writing skills to the Internet in 2007. He currently writes for various prestigious websites. He earned an Associate of Arts degree in business management from Trend Business College in 1993.