The banjo is a string instrument with a thin membrane, of animal skin or plastic, stretched over a circular frame or cavity as a resonator. It is based on several African instruments of a similar design and is frequently associated with country, folk, Irish traditional, and bluegrass music.
Because of its long neck and fragile resonator, a banjo requires appropriate packing to ensure that it survives the rough shipping environment. Here are some tips on how to properly pack and ship a banjo so it arrives in excellent condition.
A hard shell case provides the best protection for a banjo during shipping. However, placing the banjo in a case is not enough. Proper packing precautions must be observed to prevent any damage including breaking the neck due to impact.
Start packing by slacking the strings a bit, but not all the way. Then, remove the bridge and the resonator hardware and place them in a zip lock bag. Place the bag in the banjo’s case pocket so they will be out of the way.
Place the resonator in the case and fill it with loosely crumpled newspaper. Then place the banjo into the case on top of the resonator. Fill any void spaces on the sides with crumpled newspaper or bubble wrap.
Stuff a big wad of crumpled newspaper under the peghead to keep it elevated. Fill more newspaper or bubble wrap in the void under the heal of the banjo neck. Add another layer of crumpled newspaper on top of the peghead so that it is suspended and equally supported on top and bottom. The idea is to keep the banjo immobile inside the case. Close the case and secure the latch to prevent it from opening.
Get a sturdy shipping box that is big enough to hold the case and provide some extra space for packing materials. Fill the bottom of the box with packing materials such as bubble wrap and crumpled newspaper. Then, lay the banjo case on top, making sure that all parts of the case are away from any side of the box. Fill the box with more packing materials until there are no space for the case to move around. Close the box and seal with packaging tape. Also reinforce the bottom of the shipping box with packaging tape to prevent it from popping open during transit.
Address and label the box and take to a post office or shipping company. Insure the package to protect you in case of loss or damage during transit.