How To Pack And How To Ship A Guitar Safely

You’re probably wondering: how to ship a guitar safely? Your best answer can be found here!

When you have spent precious money on your guitar and love it with all your heart, you certainly don’t want it to break during travels and road trips simply because you did not choose the correct packing material or forgot to just loosen the strings of the guitar.

Don’t worry. Here, I will tell you how to pack your guitar safely and make sure it will arrive at its destination safe and sound.

how to ship a guitar safely

How To Ship A Guitar

Choosing The Right Packing Material

  • Cardboard boxes

The most common material used for packing and shipping any product, a simple cardboard shipping box is the outermost layer of your packaging. The main advantage of this material is that it will cover the whole guitar case and leave lots of space for you to add more materials like bubblewrap and newspaper to ensure extra protection. You just have to make sure that the shipping box is big enough and strong enough to handle a guitar case inside it, as cardboard is certainly not the strongest material ever.

  • Packing peanuts

These are those small foam-like balls which are very light and soft. They act very well as filler packing material for those empty spaces and corners of your shipping box. The best thing about packing peanuts is that they are light and do not increase the weight of your whole packaging much.

  • Bubblewrap and Air Cushions

An alternative to packing peanuts, bubblewraps and air cushions can also be used to fill empty spaces and add another layer of protection between your guitar and the outside world. They are even more light and will not allow your guitar to shift and slide during transportation.

  • Newspapers

Yes, even a newspaper will act as an excellent layer of protection during packaging. Just crumple them up and use them to fill up your guitar case and make sure that the headstock and neck are well supported from above and below. The main advantage of newspaper is that it can fit in anywhere and provides good protection, as long as you use enough of it.

  • Foam padding

Foam paddings can be found at any general store, probably for free if you ask the store manager nicely! They are even better than newspapers at fitting in tight little corners and not adding to the weight of the guitar package. You can use 1 or 2 layers of foam padding around your guitar before putting it the guitar case so that the guitar fits in properly and is supported by the layer of foam from all sides.

Preparing Your Guitar For Shipping

Before you even put the guitar in its case and pack it all up in the shipping box, you shouldm kae sure you have completed all the following steps to ensure nothing happens to the body, the neck and the strings. You should go through this checklist to start protecting your guitar before you even pack.

Before you even put the guitar in its case and pack it all up in the shipping box, you shouldm kae sure you have completed all the following steps to ensure nothing happens to the body, the neck and the strings. You should go through this checklist to start protecting your guitar before you even pack.

  1. Detune your guitar a bit and loosen the strings. This way the strings won’t be stretched and pulled on while travel.
  2. Remove all unnecessary items in the guitar case before putting the guitar in. Extra strings, picks and truss rods lying around may damage your guitar somehow.
  3. Use a folded newspaper or foam padding to cover the neck, the headstock and the bridge of the guitar, so that they are supported from all sides and nothing can damage them without not going through the papers and paddings first.
  4. Use a layer of paper or a piece of cloth to separate the neck and the strings. You do not want the strings to slap against the frets and get damaged.
  5. Secure all movable parts like the tuners and the tremolo bridge. Wrap a few layers of bubblewrap or foam padding around them and make sure that the spaces are filled by newspapers or packing peanuts. Nothing should shake and rattle inside the guitar case.
  6. Clean the guitar case before you put your packaged and covered guitar inside it so that there is no dust, moisture or fungi in there. You don’t want your guitar to get damaged from the inside too.

The Guitar Packing Process

Now that the guitar case is clean and the packing materials are ready, it is time to start the actual packing and make your guitar safe and ready to be shipped. The same rules will apply, whether you are using a guitar case or not.

  • Wrap up your guitar.

Like I said before, you need to make sure that nothing slips, slides and rattles during transit. So, use newspapers and foam padding or pieces of soft cloth to cover your whole guitar and give it its first layer of protection.

  • Fill up all the empty spaces too.

Once you start covering your guitar, you also need to make sure you have separated the loosened strings from the fretboard and covered the bridge and neck joint. All these parts are the places sensitive to damage, so these need to be supported and protected very well. Use crumpled pieces of paper and folded newspapers to fill up the space between the fret and strings and between the tuners. Also, keep a thick layer of paper under the neck joint and above the bridge. Make sure the end pin for the guitar strap is also covered.

  • Put the covered guitar in its case and add padding.

After putting the guitar in its case, you essentially follow the second step again. Put in the covered guitar, use the packing material you have to make a second layer around the guitar and line the whole case with a protective layer. This gives your guitar 3 shiels – the first layer covering the guitar, the second layer of padding lining the case and the case itself.

  • Close the case and box it up.

While closing the case, you should feel the case to be completely full and face slight resistance. This means all the spaces are filled and the layers around the guitar are sufficient to absorb any impact which may occur during the transportation. Once the case is closed, put it in a box and and fill more of the packing material around the case and in the box. Heavy packing paper and pieces of cardboard will work the best, as they are tougher than newspapers and foam and will strengthen your packing.

  • Tape up the box properly and mark it ‘Fragile’.

Closing the box properly is one of the msot important things you cannot forget to do. Make sure it is properly sealed and the address is written in clear handwriting. Another thing you have to do is to mark all sides as ‘Fragile, Please’. Draw a wine glass with a crack on it. This is the international symbol for fragile products and adding a ‘Please’ also makes the transport people pay some attention.

Which Service To Use?

When it comes time to ship the guitar, I recommend shipping via ground rather than by air, as there are no frequent changes in trucks. Also, packages bound for flights are thrown around quite often and moved around a lot too. Choose air transport only if money and time are a problem. As for the transport company, as long as it is reputable and handles a lot of baggage, anything will work. Just make sure you ask the officials everything about their shipping and damage policy and keep a track of the delivery.

If your guitar is well packed and there are a few layers of protection around it, you do not have to worry about shipping. It is only with lack of attention that damage occurs. Do your part and make sure everything is padded and snug, and your guitar will be completely fine.

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