The RIGHT way to ship an amp

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by MVrider, Oct 18, 2005.

  1. MVrider

    MVrider Member

    Dec 6, 2004
    On an island far from Generica
    OK, guys, listen up. Here's how you pack an amp and prevent damage claims. There WILL be a test later. Cut this info and save it as a text document or print it out right now.

    ~ Read the instructions carefully. This ain't the cheap way to do it, it's the RIGHT way.

    ~ Tell the buyer EXACTLY how you plan to package the amp.

    ~ Tell the buyer he will have to PAY YOU to do it this way

    ~ If the buyer DOESN'T want you to do it this way or PAY to have it done this way, MAKE SURE they send you a letter or an email that says YOU are NOT responsible for damage claims - THE BUYER IS. If you're selling it on ebay, include this in your description or shipping details. Give them an out, but make it clear they're on their on if they don't want it done RIGHT.

    ~ Tell the recipient to be ready to take DETAILED pics of the package when it arrives. The first pictures should be taken WITHOUT MOVING THE PACKAGE AT ALL and these photos must be taken at the exact spot where the shipper put the amp. If there is ANY sign of damage, the recipient is responsible for taking ADDITIONAL, DETAILED photos of the damage IMMEDIATELY.

    ~ Again, tell the recipient he MUST take photos of the package AS SPECIFIED ABOVE when it arrives or HE'S ON HIS OWN FOR THE CLAIMS.

    ~ Ship small amps - one 10 or one 12 type - in a single box. Use two boxes for bigger amps, chassis in one box, cabinet in another.

    ~ Remove all the tubes.

    ~ Mark each tube for location.

    ~ Wrap tubes individually in LOTS of plastic - shopping-type bags, wadded up - or several layers of thin bubble wrap.

    ~ Put all the wrapped tubes in a plastic bag and tape the bag SECURELY to the cabinet of the amp.

    ~ Wrap the footswitch as above and tape it SECURELY to the inside of the cabinet AWAY FROM THE TUBES

    ~ Tape the power cord SECURELY to the inside of the cabinet

    ~ Place a copy of the address info (TO/FROM) inside the cabinet and with the chassis, if that is shipped separately.

    ~ Stuff wadded-up pieces of bubble wrap to fill the void inside the cabinet in order to keep stuff from moving around.

    ~ Cut a piece of plywood to cover the grill and speakers.

    ~ Place the plywood over the front of the amp

    ~ Cover the amp with a strong trash bag and tape it shut then surround the amp with enough tape to make sure the playwood will not move. Tape to the plastic bag, not the amp.

    ~ DON'T BE A CHEAP @$$. BUY some 2" thick builders insulation and cut CLEANLY and EXACTLY to fit every side of the amp, or buy enough NEW bubble-wrap to cover the amp COMPLETELY with NO GAPS and NO pasted-together scraps. Tape the insulation or bubble-wrap on SECURELY. NO GAPS. SAVE YOUR RECEIPTS and take a photo.

    ~ BUY a NEW cardboard box at a U-Haul Store. If it ain't big enough, buy a couple of 'em.

    ~ Lay out the dimensions carefully and with a straightedge, make neat folds and with clean cuts, trim the box to the proper dimension to surround the amp or cut and tape two of them together. Make sure you fold ONLY ONCE. Folding more than once or folding where NOT necessary will WEAKEN THE CARTON.

    ~ Put the amp in the box UPSIDE DOWN. That is, with the heavy part on the bottom.

    ~ Remember, use two boxes if it's a heavy amp. One for the cab and speakers, another for the chassis.

    ~ Use styro peanuts only to take up slack in the box and use LOTS of tape. It's MUCH cheaper than screwing with the jerks at UPS. Pronounced Ooops.

    ~ In BIG letters, indicate TOP.

    ~ In BIG letters, write "SUBJECT TO CLAIMS" on the box in AT LEAST two places.

    ~ Below that CLEARLY write "Packed in accordance with (shipper's) requirements as listed on (shipper's) website DATE".

    ~ And the LAST and MOST IMPORTANT requirement when it comes to shipping an amp: NEVER SHIP VIA UPS. I use the USPO or Fed Ex with NO problems. YMMV.

    The test comes when it arrives. If it's broken, you didn't follow the instructions clearly or the shipper ran it over with a truck and your claims process will be much easier.
  2. agentcooper2001

    agentcooper2001 Member

    May 15, 2003
    Texarkana, Tx
    i take things I ship to the UPS store and have them pack it and insure it. That way if there is a problem, they're responsible since they packed it. I don't mind paying the extra cash for that. I think shipping the chassis and the cabinet in seperate boxes may be overkill.

    Otherwise, there is some good advice there.
  3. 6AM

    6AM Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    Buffalo, NY

    You may be fooling yourself.
  4. sdgvintage

    sdgvintage Member

    Jan 27, 2005
    Bristow, VA
    Actually I remember in the other thread here or maybe it was fender forum that someone took an amp to the UPS store and they packed it up and UPS broke it anyways and UPS refused to pay the claim.

    Thats why they are known to me as United Package Smashers...What can Brown smash for you today?
  5. 69strat

    69strat Member

    Dec 29, 2004
    Mamaroneck NY
    Is everyone listening!!!
  6. glogulus

    glogulus Silver Supporting Member

    Jun 12, 2002
    This is the sucky part about UPS claim filing. They won't work with the buyer on a damage claim. The shipper is responsible for initiating the paperwork and claim process.

    Edit: To clarify, the sender will be able to submit forms after the process is started to allow the buyer to continue the claim process, but it's still not a 100% hands off for the sender.
  7. stratovarius

    stratovarius Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2005
    Colorado Springs
    Amen on that one, bro'! :D
  8. GAT

    GAT Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 6, 2005
    I pack amps in a box with 4" of packing, labeled, etc. Then, I take it to a UPS store and have them pack it in a box with 4" of packing. Insure it and it is not customer packed. Last claim they paid in full for a Cowtipper.
  9. agentcooper2001

    agentcooper2001 Member

    May 15, 2003
    Texarkana, Tx
    I don't know about your local shipping stores, but my local UPS Store here in Texarkana, takes FULL responsibility for the insured amount of ANY item THEY pack. Since I'm not the one packing it, they do the claim if there is any damage.

    That may not be the way your local places do business, but I will pay them to double box and pack it the right way above UPS requirements. I think thats the best way to do it. If you think FedEx doesn't screw as much or more as UPS, you're fooling yourself. They all suck, so I think letting my local store overpack it and take responsibility for that is the best way to go.
  10. agentcooper2001

    agentcooper2001 Member

    May 15, 2003
    Texarkana, Tx
    add to clarify: I pay them to pack way above and beyond the actual UPS guidelines, that way the amp is not likely to be damaged and there is no way UPS will get it out of it if the amp is damaged.

    I just shipped a amp the other day, a Bad Cat head. I put the head back in the original shipping box it came from bad cat in and taped it up. Then I took that box to the UPS store where they put it in a bigger box with 4" of foam all around it. It was insured for the full amount of a new amp.
  11. evhtone

    evhtone Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 4, 2002
    I have shipped amps, guitars, drums, etc. via UPS and never had a problem. I would guess that I have shipped 40-50 times with them.
  12. aeolian

    aeolian Member

    Apr 5, 2004
    Santa Cruz, CA.
    As someone who put themselves through school working in a warehouse-shipping/recieving center, I'm concerned with the advice to "tape" things "securely" inside the cabinet. In my experience, tape only works to bind things. It will not hold something to another surface. Peel is the weakest aspect of tape, that's why they test peel strength on adhesives first instead of direct separation or shear. When you tape a foot switch to the inside of a cabinet, the tape will peel away from the wood and leave the footswitch loose. The best advice is to fill in innards with non-compressable packing (no wadded up newspaper) and pin things in place. This will also help the ubiqutous speaker being torn off the baffle. The ideal would be to have a sheet of plywood over the back of a combo with a block fastened to it that butts up to the magnet, pinning the speaker in place. Then take that and your sheet of 1/4" (3/8" if you're into overkill) plywood on the front and trap the amp in between them with fiber strapping tape.
    The big killer is relative motion. You don't want things moving around inside the box. They need to be held in place securely. Some shock absorbtion is good, but err on the side of locked in place rather that rattling around. If you're concerned with transformers being torn from their mounts, fashion something that blocks them in place. That way, any shock is transferred to the blocking instead of the mounting points. Semi-rigid ethafoam is ideal for packing heavy things. You've seen this stuff when you unpacked something from a regular company. That kind of slick open cell plastic foam. High density foam rubber is also very good. Just like the inside of those isolating flight cases. Soft foam crushes one time with loading and is useless afterwards. Peanuts are absolutely useless for heavy items. Not only do they crush, they shift around and leave no shock absorbtion at all.
  13. Guinness Lad

    Guinness Lad Silver Supporting Member

    Nov 11, 2004
    On top a mountain of Chocolate Chips
    From what I understand UPS will deny payment if the product is not in the original box. The shipper also has to file the claim, the buyer cannot do anything. This could turn out to be bad if the seller decided to fly the coop on you.

    I bought a Plinius amp from a guy that was damaged by UPS and it took a while before everything was straightened out. Luckily the guy was honorable and did everything he needed to do. UPS will also send any awarded damages to the shipper so you have to get the money from the seller of the product.

    I have shipped a lot of amps but I don't go through all the items first poster does. IMHO the best place for the tubes is in the amp (as long as there are tube covers and retaining clips). I always put solid foam along the front and back of the amp and a lot of times I look for that hard cardboard that goes in the corners of boxes (this adds a lot of structural rigidity to the corners).

    The UPS store is supposed to guarantee against damages if you bring the item in and they use their stuff and box it up.
  14. Roccaforte Amps

    Roccaforte Amps Member

    May 23, 2002

    Ive seen more damage with FedEx than UPS,
    I use UPS 90% of the time with no issues.
    However, I do know how to pack.
  15. 58gasman

    58gasman Member

    Aug 23, 2003
    My experience with the major carriers, UPS, FEDEX, DHL is the same. Packing pervents damage in 99% of the cases. If you don't pack an expensive, delicate item, like an amplifier, most of which were not really designed for transport, to suvive a 6- 8 foot drop, or inversion during transport, or having a heavy package placed on top of it. DON'T ship it until you do.

    Also, it possible, see if you can ship or receive using your employers acct#. In my case as long as the company is reimbursed for the cost. I am able to ship using our FEDEX#. I get a discount of approximately 50% off list Also big companies like UPS respond far better to larger accts which could be helpful should any claims issues arise.

    Great thread -- lots of good advice.

  16. Bryan T

    Bryan T guitar owner Silver Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2002
    I always find threads like this interesting. I've been at music stores when new amps arrive from the manufacturer and they are never packed with the same care that people on this site recommend. Most of the amps are shipped with the tubes installed and I've never seen an amp chassis shipped seperately from the cabinet.

    I wonder if manufacturers have less difficulty getting claims paid than I would.


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