The guitar is a fragile instrument and should be handled with care especially when it is being shipped from one place to another. When packing a guitar for shipping, extra care should be observed to ensure that it is properly secured to minimize any chances of it being damaged. The key to shipping a guitar safely and in good condition is to pack the item properly within the box so that it can endure the external forces that can occur during shipping and handling. Below are some tips on how to ensure that your guitar will reach its destination unscathed and can play beautiful music.
The best way to ship guitars is to double box them. You can use the hard shell case as an inner box or a triangular-shaped cardboard guitar box available in most shipping supplies stores. For the outer box, use a sturdy double-walled cardboard box. Looking for a box big enough to ship a guitar can be quite a challenge because of the length of the instrument. You can ask your local music store, and they may willing to give you both a used triangular box and a suitable outer box from shipments they have received. Take note of the actual dimensions of the box: length, height, and width. These are very important to calculate shipping costs and in keeping with regulations of shipping package sizes. Remember that you can always cut a box down if you need to.
Prepare the guitar for shipping. Loosen the strings to reduce strain on the neck. In hollow body arch tops, the bridge should be removed from the top if possible and secured elsewhere. Newspaper or other padding should be placed between the strings and the body of the guitar. Some suggest removing the strap button from the bottom of the guitar (especially in hollow bodies) to prevent damage when the box is in the upright position.
Place the guitar in the inner box (or case) and fill any spaces with packing peanuts. Make sure the neck joint of the guitar is properly supported and padded. This is the most common place damages occur.
Once the inner box is secured, place several inches of packing material at the end of the outer box. Stand the box upright and place the inner box (or case) into the outer box with the body end (not headstock end) of the guitar down. Now fill spaces around the inner box with packing material. Give the inner box a few good shakes during this step to make sure the packing material fills all the spaces. Top the box off with several inches of packing material for the end, cut any excess length of the box, tape it up, and you’re done. If you have packed the guitar properly you should be able to shake the package and not feel anything move around inside.
Label the box with the address of its destination and take it to your shipping company.