Electric guitars are best shipped in their hard shell cases. However, more precautionary measures in packing the instrument must be observed to ensure that it survive the harsh shipping environment and lessen if not prevent damages due to brutal package handling. Here are some tips on how to properly pack and ship an electric guitar.
1. Loosen but never release all the tension on the strings. This will help support the peghead in case of a backward fall; it will also keep the bridge pins in place. For steel string guitars, detune the strings nearly but not completely slack. Leave a nylon string guitar tuned up because the tension is not so great.
2. When shipping a guitar with a pickup and pre-amp installed, remove the battery and wrap it up inside the string pocket of the case. If it gets loose, a battery can do a lot of damage flying around inside a guitar body.
3. Arch top guitars, mandolins, and instruments with movable bridges should have the bridges, tailpiece covers and any other parts that could come loose removed. Place them in a Ziploc bag, seal and and stow in the string compartment of the case. They could cause damages such as scratches and scars on your guitar if left loose in the case.
4. To prevent the the strings from scratching the face of the instrument after removing the bridge, wrap the strings in paper towels.
5. Place the guitar in the hard case. Get about 3 sheets of newspaper and crumple to form a big wad of paper and stuff this under the peghead to support it. Do the same on top of the peghead. Use enough newspaper so it’s plenty hard to close the case, with the peghead suspended, equally supported on top and bottom. These stuffing will help keep the peghead from moving when the guitar case gets slammed down.
6. If there are spaces on the sides of the case, stuff them with newspaper or bubble wrap just so the guitar can’t ship inside.
7. If shipping a brand new guitar or yours have been newly refinished, it’s a good idea to wrap the areas that will be exposed to packing materials with acid free paper. A relatively new finish may react to packing material, case lining, straps, tape, etc.
8. Close the hard case and make sure that the latches are locked and then sealed with packaging tape.
9. Place the case inside a guitar box and fill spaces with wadded paper on the sides, bottom and top. The stuffing will cushion the guitar in case of a fall so make sure that there are sufficient padding on every part. Close the box and seal with more packaging tape.
10. Lastly, address and label the package and take to a shipping company.