Shipping a Guitar Is a Great Option
Shipping one’s guitar can seem like a risky thing to do. Fears of damage are certainly understandable. In the over 25 years I’ve been in business, only two instruments were damaged on the way to my shop, out of easily over a thousand instruments. In both cases where damage occurred, the customer failed to pack correctly. One sent their guitar in its gig-bag with no box! I receive and ship between 50 and 100 instruments per year, so you can see these statistics are very favorable.
In fact, if you do not have a local qualified luthier experienced in proper repair of modern guitars, or restoration of vintage guitars, you are much more likely to be disappointed with the results of not sending it to someone who can do a good job.
I am happy to spend time with you to help you pack and ship your guitar safely. It’s not complicated. There has not been one case where an instrument was damaged when my instructions were followed. So, please reach out to me to talk if you need repair or restoration of your guitar. If you decide not to ship it, no hard feelings, you need to be comfortable with the process and I understand that! If the cost of shipping is an issue, reach out to me; I may be able to help. It’s not about the money for me, it’s about helping you.
One great way to obtain a box is by visiting a music store and asking if they can give or sell you one. If they ask for more than $10 I’d be surprised, and usually they just give them to you. You can also buy guitar shipping boxes for a very low price here: Get Guitar Boxes.
Styrofoam packing peanuts are messy, and migrate around within the box. lease avoid using them. Best, is either bubble-wrap or crumpled up newspapers. You want the case suspended above the padding, around the sides, and above. Please pad-out the guitar wishing the case with the same choice of packing material so it does not slip and knock about within the case. Typically it’s a good idea to wrap the headstock, and pad-out below it in the case, so it is secure. Also, around the body if there are voids between the guitar and the case, fill them with paper or bubble-wrap so movement ceases. It is also a good idea to pack around the neck heel. Any areas where there are gaps should be padded with packing material. If you can remove the endpin, do so, and place it inside the case compartment. If you are shipping an arch top guitars, please do the same with the floating bridge! Secure the cover to the compartment so it cannot open during transit. Taping it closed, or bubble wrap under the neck will do the trick. Bubble wrap can be easily found at post offices, local hardware stores, Home Depot and Lowe’s.
You will hear some say to keep the guitar tuned. Others will say to de-tune it completely. I believe it is best to simply loosen the strings by about two steps. Half tension is fine. This means your high and low E strings will be a C. Write your name and phone number on a piece of paper and tape it to the outside of the case. This way if the label comes off in shipping, they will to contact you! You’re done! Lastly, fold up some newspaper into a strip, and slide it between the strings and fingerboard. Close the box, and tape it up… You’re done!
I suggest NOT using services like the “UPS Store” as they are not really UPS, but a different company. I am not happy with their rates, and they tend to do a poor job packing the case within the box. Pack it yourself, then bring it to UPS, or the US Post Office. Be certain to insure it for what it is worth. This will also make certain they take good care of it. If you have access to “fragile” stickers, put them around the sides and on top of the box. If not, simply write “fragile” in those places. Also, draw an arrow on all sides pointing up, so they will not stack it upside-down. Frankly even if they do, your guitar will be safe if you packed it correctly!
Here’s a great article on Reverb about packing: How to Pack a Guitar.
Remember, please feel free to contact me regarding this, I’m happy to help!