Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

Shipping a guitar from the USA to the UK? Best options?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by wordmole, Jun 6, 2017.

  1. wordmole

    wordmole TDPRI Member

    Feb 10, 2016
    Apologies if this is in the wrong thread, I just didn't know where else to post it!

    Long story short: I've found my dream guitar on Craigslist (in America) and I'm based in the UK. Currently in an email discussion sorting out payment, etc. I'd promised to make this as hassle free for the seller as . possible, in order to convince them to sell me the guitar as opposed to selling it locally. Now I just need to sort out shipping from them to me.

    Anyone done this before? I seem to keep coming up with about £130 via UPS when searching. Does that sound about right? Any shipping companies I should trust in particular (or avoid!). Any other tips? All suggestions and pointers welcome. I just really really want this guitar!! (Full disclosure: it's not a Tele. It's a Univox hi flier. But I've had some really awesome feedback on here, and generally lurked/learnt a lot about a partscaster build I was doing in the past. Hope that's okay!)

  2. harold h

    harold h Friend of Leo's

    Feb 15, 2004
    If it has a rosewood fretboard, it is not eligible for import per the new
    CITES laws.
    wordmole, bparnell57 and Steve Holt like this.

  3. ricknbaker

    ricknbaker Tele-Holic

    Nov 12, 2014
    Watford, UK
    Cheap flight London - New York is maybe £250 return. Why not have a grand day out?
    studio1087, wordmole and Steve Holt like this.

  4. Steve Holt

    Steve Holt Tele-Holic

    May 29, 2016
    I second this post. I believe though if you actually traveled to the US and carried it back you wouldn't have to worry about it, because there's a stipulation about travelling musicians (be sure not to take my word for it). Otherwise you could try the re-export certificate route. I actually haven't heard of anyone that has actually gotten one, how easy it is, or how costly. This is all new since January. Here's hoping for a maple board!

    Edit: Congrats on the guitar, I'm really curious to see what your dream guitar is!
    wordmole likes this.

  5. Tuxedo Poly

    Tuxedo Poly Tele-Afflicted

    Dec 19, 2011
    Merseyside UK
    US Postal Service Expedited International should be cheaper - if you need/can get CITES export documentation as above.
    Don't forget customs duty may be payable and 20% vat certainly will be on all costs (guitar + shipping + duty) plus an agent's handling fee in the UK.
    wordmole and soulman969 like this.

  6. radiocaster

    radiocaster Friend of Leo's

    Aug 18, 2015
    You get better deals with the neck off + less risk. A long package is like sending 59 lbs. or something, high cost.

  7. wilbarreid

    wilbarreid TDPRI Member

    Nov 23, 2011
    You may need to be aware of import charges unless you can avoid them!
    wordmole likes this.

  8. robotguitar

    robotguitar Tele-Holic

    Dec 29, 2009
    visalia, CA
    I ship internationally all the time. I use USPS International. If you use paypal to pay, and the seller is familiar with it, they can print the shipping label from the Paypal site and save a decent amount for shipping online. Also no customs forms for the seller to fill out at the post office. If you bought from me and wanted to keep it hassle free, that would be my best choice. As a regular guitar shipper, it is much more of a hassle to ship a guitar with the neck off than with the guitar in its normal state.
    studio1087, wordmole and soulman969 like this.

  9. wordmole

    wordmole TDPRI Member

    Feb 10, 2016
    Thanks so much everyone! This is all really useful information; I came to the right place. And thankfully it's a maple fretboard (phew). Looking like the guitar is mine!!

  10. wordmole

    wordmole TDPRI Member

    Feb 10, 2016
    Thanks man! Here's a pic of one exactly the same: ... The one I'm buying is seemingly in mint condition, bought new in '74, w/ original case. I'm really excited!
    Felino likes this.

  11. Mike Eskimo

    Mike Eskimo Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Nov 9, 2008
    USPS/take the neck off/done it dozens of times/congrats !

  12. hydra19

    hydra19 TDPRI Member

    Aug 30, 2016
    London, UK
    I've bought a bunch of guitars from overseas, mostly US or Japan and never had a problem. Would get thet tracking number and it would usually arrive on time, if not ahead. The real issue is Customs. They can keep a guitar for 4-5 days before they can inspect it, and slap some charges on it. I once ordered a guitar from China and they kept it for 5 days saying they have a lot of fake stuff from China and need to check it all. My guitar was released to me and funny, it was a Gibson Les Paul forgery, that cost $200 but it passed. It was a crap guitar, and I sold it for what it was.

    Once I was in the States, and scored a 1966 Mosrite, from California, and I planned to fly back with it with it's case. I was allowed to put it in the cargo hold, where the stewards would put their luggage, and was told it would be put on last, so nothing was thrown on it. When I arrived at heathrow I was told it would be at the Virgin Atlantic desk but it wasn't. I went to pick up my luggage and saw my Mosrite case just lying there on the floor. Picked it up and walked out of the airport, so didn't pay any custom duty, it was an expensive guitar!

  13. ddewerd

    ddewerd Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Mildly related funny story...

    Many years ago, a colleague of mine from the UK spent several months in the states. I helped him buy 2 nice guitars, an acoustic and an electric.

    He had brought an old, beat up empty guitar case with him when he came over, and the plan was to put the electric in the case when he returned, and just pay duty tax on the acoustic. I even had my buddy at the music store provide him with a "discounted" invoice for the acoustic.

    The night before he was to return he went on a pretty serious bender. He woke up about 3 hours before his flight left and he hadn't even packed (and the fact that he ran a bath overnight and flooded the corporate apartment is another story!).

    So he throws all his stuff together and barely makes it to the airport. When he goes through customs, instead of claiming the acoustic and paying the duty (with the discounted invoice), he walks through the Nothing to Declare line, and of course, gets pulled over and checked. They found both of the original receipts for the guitars and fined him triple the duty tax, thus making his "great deals" he got in the states about 3-4x what he would have paid in the UK.

    So whatever you do, don't do that!


  14. studio1087

    studio1087 Telefied Ad Free Member

    May 10, 2003
    Near Milwaukee
    I've shipped two Taylor guitars to Europe (France & Germany) using USPS and 1 electric (neck removed) to Brazil using USPS. No problems.

    You can check rates at the website.

  15. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 16, 2003
    USPS I've found is best to Oz but sometimes they jack up at long rectangular cases. Formfit or boxes no problems. Don't use Pitney Bowes.

  16. E5RSY

    E5RSY Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 5, 2009
    Georgetown, TX
    I sold my Rick 330 to someone in Bristol on eBay. Cost to ship was in the neighborhood of $400 US. :( But, it was an "oversize" guitar due to how wide the Rick cases are. Had to pay a little extra for that.

  17. Alamo

    Alamo Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Nov 15, 2006
    Aye, aye Captain! Guitar on board.

    1-Sailing Ship (9).jpg
    tintag27 likes this.

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