How to Pack a Guitar for Shipping?

Have you spent a lot of time wondering how to pack a guitar for shipping? It doesn’t matter if you’re doing this for the first time or not, you’ll be looking for the best tips to make sure that your guitars are transported safely and on time.

guitar overlay
November 25, 2019 Posted in How-to

You’ll want to avoid any damages, cracks, and splinters, and you are probably wondering how much it costs to ship a guitar as well. There are many things that may be out of your hand, as accidents happen, but you can do your best to prepare your instrument for the relocation properly. There’s no need to stress about it though, just stick to the following tips.

First Step – Choosing the Right Case

A crucial first step is to store your instrument inside a protective case instead of a gig bag when preparing it for transport. Even though using a gig bag may seem like a viable option, it’s nowhere near as protective as a sturdy guitar case. So, if possible, use the original case, and you’ll feel much better about its safety during the move.

a guitar in a case
A gig bag won’t be protective enough for a long-distance move

Get the Right Shipping Box

Next, you’re going to need a quality shipping box, sturdy enough for you not to have to worry about any damages to your instrument. Maybe it will be packed with other moving boxes stacked on top of it. Or perhaps, the box will be handled without care. No matter the situation, you’ll feel much better knowing that it’s placed in a high-quality box. You’ll find one at your local music instrument store as they will surely have an abundance of them, and you won’t find many better places to look for free moving boxes. However, if you can’t find a music instrument store near, you can order a package online, like Amazon, for example. And if you’re working on a tight budget, you can get a box for a larger appliance, like a refrigerator, searching on Craigslist could be useful.

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Other Packing Supplies You Will Need

You will need a variety of moving supplies and packing materials to prepare your guitars for shipping safely. If you are relocating your entire household besides your beloved instrument, and you hired professional packing services, the packers will bring with them all the necessary supplies. If, however, you decided to do all by yourself, you will need the following materials.

Cardboard inserts will be perfect for padding the sides of the instrument’s neck. You will also need lots of bubble wrap, which you can use to envelop your instrument and smaller parts in. When you are through with the relocation, you can find further use for your bubble wrap. If you can’t get your hands on some quality bubble wrap, newspapers will do the trick, but don’t expect the same level of protection. Lastly, you will need high-quality packing tape in order to stabilize and seal everything up.

Some bubble wrap, string, and tape on cardboard

Prepare the Instrument Before You Ship It

Before you start thinking about how you’re going to place everything inside the case and the box, you’ll have to prepare your instrument for shipping. Maybe you’re doing this for the first time and are wondering should you loosen the strings before the relocation. And the answer is a resounding yes. The good news is that you don’t have to detune it completely, just loosen the neck tension a little bit.

Secure the Movable Parts for the Shipping

You will need to remove and secure all the movable parts on your instrument, like the whammy bar and the tremolo bridges. You’ll have to do this because you don’t want any parts rattling around inside the package during transport. It may not seem like an important step, but loose objects moving around inside can cause substantial damage to your instrument.

Use Bubble Wrap for the Headstock

You will want to make sure that the headstock is properly secured during the move. It’s one of the most fragile parts of most guitars, which is why you should envelop it safely. You can use newspaper or bubble wrap, depending on what moving supplies you have on hand.

girl playing a guitar
You’ll have to take good care of the more fragile parts like the neck

How to Pack a Guitar for Shipping

Packing your guitars is not that different from packing your furniture for the move. You will want to cushion the cardboard container with packing paper or bubble wrap before you place your instrument inside. If you don’t have the necessary moving supplies, you can still use newspapers as a budget-friendly option. Just make sure that you’re not placing your instrument on a hard surface inside the packaging.

Pack Around the Case

Once you’ve stored your instrument inside the case, you’ll need to pack around it as there will surely be a lot of space to fill. You can again use bubble wrap or any other cushioning material which you have available.

Secure the Guitar with Tape

If you are satisfied with how you have packed the case and the box, secure everything with packing tape. We suggest using high-quality packing tape to be extra sure that everything is properly sealed and not shifting around.

Do the “Shake Test”

When you think that you’ve finished and that nothing is rattling inside, you should do the “Shake Test”. Give it a light shake and listen if anything is moving around inside. You want everything to be stable and immobile in order to minimize the risk of scratches and damages before you ship it away.

How to Further Protect Your Parcel

Whether you plan to ship your instrument to a new buyer or moving to a new home and want it shipped there, you’ll want it to arrive safely and in one piece. You can further cover your parcel in cardboard sheets if you are still worried about it getting damaged. Place the sheets around your package and use tape to secure everything in place.

guy holding a guitar
Be careful when packing up your instrument

The Cheapest May Not Be the Safest Way to Ship Your Instrument

If you’re working with a low moving budget, you may be searching for the cheapest way to ship your guitar. But remember that safety when moving should be your number one priority, even if you don’t plan on spending a lot of money. Not only is spending a little bit more much safer, having it shipped by professional movers doesn’t have to cost you a small fortune either.

Jane Davis

Apart from being a freelance writer and moving expert, Jane is also an art and museum lover.



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