Tell me how to ship a guitar.

89strat

Member
Messages
1,201
I may be selling a guitar. Trying to sell local, but might have to ship it. I never shipped a guitar, don't even have a box. What shipping service are you all using? UPS, ISPS, FEDEX?
 

VaughnC

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
17,791
I've used them all and I don't think the shipper makes much difference as they all can have bad days.

1)Any of "their insurance" is practically worthless and they will fight you on a claim...so I'd suggest an outside insurer like Heritage. But I've had the best luck with claims with USPS...but their tracking system stinks.

2)Require a "signature on delivery" so your package doesn't disappear from a porch or a shady buyer claiming they never got the package.

3)Pack your guitar assuming the package will be dropped 20 feet from a conveyor belt on to a concrete slab. Double boxing is best: guitar>packing>case>packing>electric guitar box>packing>acoustic guitar box...or the Stew-Mac shipping system https://www.stewmac.com/Materials_a...tem/Electric_Guitar_Shipping_Box_10_Pack.html.

4)Say a prayer until it arrives safely.
 
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Rod

Tone is Paramount
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
21,820
I've used them all and I don't think the shipper makes much difference as they all can have bad days.

Their "insurance" is practically worthless and they will fight you on a claim...so I'd suggest an outside insurer like Heritage.

Require a "signature on delivery" so your package doesn't disappear from a porch.

Pack your guitar assuming the package will be dropped 20 feet from a conveyor belt on to a concrete slab. Double boxing is best: guitar>packing>case>packing>electric guitar box>packing>acoustic guitar box...or the Stew-Mac shipping system https://www.stewmac.com/Materials_a...tem/Electric_Guitar_Shipping_Box_10_Pack.html.

Say a prayer until it arrives safely.
All so true.. also, take pictures as you are packing it up with the double boxes....
 

Ren007

Member
Messages
537
Start off with a box. You won't believe how many people think slapping the postage stamp on the case alone is considered passable.
 

9fingers

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,537
And put a strip of something (cloth, cardboard) between the strings and the frets. The strings are harder than the frets and will leave nice dents in the frets if the guitar is jarred hard in the case.
 

saltbird

Member
Messages
1,689
If you suspect that you might not have enough bubble wrap or packing material, then you're probably right.

My last NGD came loosely shifting around in a box with about 20% the amount of bubble wrap that it should've had. Fortunately it was in a hard case and judging on the box condition, it never got completely manhandled (which can easily happen) so the guitar was fine. It's just an unnecessary risk being skimpy on packing material in my opinion. Use crumpled up newspaper if you have to, just don't think it's safe if it's loosely in a box. Things can go wrong, boxes can get crushed, and not to mention you're more likely to piss off the buyer - after all, they're the ones unpacking it.

Bonus points if you double box it, which is especially important with expensive items that you just do not want to give the shipping company any opportunity to damage, i.e. getting thrown off trucks, getting placed at the bottom of stacks with heavy items being thrown on top, just watch some youtube videos for an idea.

Rewind to a few months ago when I had a '69 Vibro Champ shipped to me with, yup, you guessed it, not enough packing material and was of course loosely shifting around in a box that was smashed to hell. The cabinet joint was completely split open and separated with the chassis loosely hanging in the amp. To further highlight the sender's idiocy, there was one strip of packing tape across the top of the box that of course had been furled up so one of the box flaps wasn't sealed and was wide open, loosely flapping around... Always an awesome feeling seeing that sitting on your porch!
 

saltbird

Member
Messages
1,689
I may be selling a guitar. Trying to sell local, but might have to ship it. I never shipped a guitar, don't even have a box. What shipping service are you all using? UPS, ISPS, FEDEX?
It almost doesn't matter what shipping service you use because people will have a slew of horror stories from all of them.

Your best bet is to go with whatever service you've had better luck with in your region/area, so then you at least have an ounce of control over the situation which is better than nothing. Of course, once it ships out into the network, all you can do is cross your fingers at that point.
 

gunslinger

Member
Messages
3,291
I like detuning the strings. Also you need to put all kinds of packing material around the guitar. Foam, waded up newspaper, foam peanuts, foam rubber, everything. And the more boxes the better. A hard shell case is better than a gig bag obviously. Once I received a guitar from California. It was in a box with foam peanuts. And the guitar was in a gig bag. When I opened it up the head was snapped off. It was poor packing on the sender's part. I got my money back. But it was very disappointing. A really good 1987 Kramer Baretta was ruined. I can't help but think the guitar was shipped already broken. But that's a whole other story.
 

flume

Double Platinum Member
Messages
6,596
Isolate and immobilze the guitar in its case inside the box. Foam fitted to immobilize is better and more eco friendly too. Put some thought into it.
 

Scott L

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,292
Fedex at a Fedex Kinkos corporate store, not a strip mall shipping center, will sell you a new box and pack it for $21 if in is in a case. Avoid any sort of UPS store - they will rip you blind.

Got to Fedex.com and open an account to get a discount.
 

Cosmic Osmo

Member
Messages
82
Real pro tip: If you have a guitar shop at all near you that sells online, go there and ask to talk to the guy in the shipping department. Offer to throw him a few bucks cash + cost to ship your gear. I've done this multiple times with my local shop, takes him 5 minutes to professionally pack my gear (totally bomb-proof packing job as it's literally his job to pack and ship instruments), and shipping through the shop's FedEx account with their discount saved me a TON of money over going to a retail location, even after adding a cash tip on top. I shipped a full-sized amp head (egnater MOD50) and an oversized cab this way, went in two separate boxes for $35 total + tip, no joke. Would easily have been triple or quadruple that at retail prices, probably 8-10x more if you got a place like the UPS Store to pack it as well.

Even if your local shop doesn't ship guitars out from their location, you can probably still get some packaging materials from them, guitar and amp boxes, foam corners and inserts, etc.
 

saltbird

Member
Messages
1,689
Real pro tip: If you have a guitar shop at all near you that sells online, go there and ask to talk to the guy in the shipping department. Offer to throw him a few bucks cash + cost to ship your gear. I've done this multiple times with my local shop, takes him 5 minutes to professionally pack my gear (totally bomb-proof packing job as it's literally his job to pack and ship instruments), and shipping through the shop's FedEx account with their discount saved me a TON of money over going to a retail location, even after adding a cash tip on top. I shipped a full-sized amp head (egnater MOD50) and an oversized cab this way, went in two separate boxes for $35 total + tip, no joke. Would easily have been triple or quadruple that at retail prices, probably 8-10x more if you got a place like the UPS Store to pack it as well.

Even if your local shop doesn't ship guitars out from their location, you can probably still get some packaging materials from them, guitar and amp boxes, foam corners and inserts, etc.
Man, that's crazy. I am without a doubt taking your advice on this one next time I ship a guitar. Hopefully they allow it though with liability issues and all of that.

I declared a $3,700 value on an es-335 I shipped through Fedex, which is basically their form of "insurance" even though they can't actually call it insurance - basically if the package gets lost or destroyed on their part, then I get refunded the value I declared when shipping it out.

It added $50 to the shipping charge coming out to $159.09 total.

I knew it was going to cost me a lot, upwards of 100 bucks, but I didn't expect that. It left me feeling kind of irritated.
 

Scott L

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,292
Real pro tip: If you have a guitar shop at all near you that sells online, go there and ask to talk to the guy in the shipping department. .......

Even if your local shop doesn't ship guitars out from their location, you can probably still get some packaging materials from them, guitar and amp boxes, foam corners and inserts, etc.
This can bite you on the ass badly - If something goes wrong, you don't own the claim against the carrier AND you then have to get that shop involved to process the claim. If there is a settlement, the check is paid out to the account owner.
 

89strat

Member
Messages
1,201
My local guitar shop provided me with a box. I'm taking everyone's advice on shipping, including reverb.com's instructions. Thanks all.
 




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