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Best, cheapest way to ship a guitar?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Dismalhead, Nov 28, 2020.

  1. Dismalhead

    Dismalhead Poster Extraordinaire

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    Hey everyone,

    I'm gonna put my '96 American Hot Rod Series Strat up for sale on Reverb. Haven't sold a guitar online for quite a while. Wondering who you guys use to ship a guitar, who to avoid, how much does it cost approximately, and any helpful advice you may have to make the process go smoothly.

    Thanks!
     
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  2. Sparky2

    Sparky2 Friend of Leo's

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    FedEx, definitely.

    Friendlier service than UPS, more reliable (and accurate) package tracking, and reasonable rates.

    Last time I shipped a solid body electric guitar, I think I paid around $45, domestic.
    ;)
     
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  3. Charlie Bernstein

    Charlie Bernstein Poster Extraordinaire

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    1. On your computer, bookmark the rate calculators for Fedex, UPS, the post office, and any other local shipper you have, and use them to choose the best rate. Put in the dimensions and weight, and up pops a price. When in doubt, round up.

    You might find that one is usually the best, but none of them is always the best.

    2. Do NOT use Reverb.com's shipping label service! It's silly to pay for a label you can fill out yourself for free.

    3. Check nearby guitar stores for guitar boxes. They give them away for free.

    4. I've shipped things via bus a few times — Greyhound, Trailways, Peter Pan, whatever. The buyer has to go to the bus station to pick the item up, and there's a storage cost for items that sit there for more than a day. But once in a while, it's the best choice.
     
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  4. String Tree

    String Tree Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Remove the neck, pack it in a Smaller box with more Packing Material.
     
  5. ReverendRevolver

    ReverendRevolver Tele-Afflicted

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    Get a box. Get packing materials. Pack it. Weigh it. Measure it.

    Then compare fedex and ups. Avoid usps. Avoid DHL even more.

    I've always used UPS. Bad experiences with FedEx from work. I over pack. Dense packaging foam from random stuff is great. I save my air pocket things from Prime deliveries, because I cant find that size at stores. I secure It inside the case, and the case in the box.
     
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  6. mfguitar

    mfguitar Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    On Reverb the customer will be paying the shipping. If your guitar has a case, and it should, the freight is higher because of the length. For me FedEx and USPS are usually the cheapest, I would definitely buy the extra insurance for that guitar. Reverb, Ebay, and Paypal all get serious discounts on freight that you cannot get on your own. Reverb will let you pay for shipping with the sale proceeds, you don't get your money right away so you are on your own if you buy shipping elsewhere.
     
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  7. soundchaser59

    soundchaser59 Tele-Afflicted

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    Hopefully it's in a hard case..... Right?
    Get a bicycle box, cut it down to fit, fill the voids with heavy crumpled brown paper and tape it shut. I've only done it twice but arrived safe both times.
     
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  8. Dismalhead

    Dismalhead Poster Extraordinaire

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    Yes, I've got the OHSC and it will be going with the guitar. I've bought a few new guitars recently, so I already have a box to ship it in too.

    Great answers so far. Thanks.
     
  9. medownsouth

    medownsouth Tele-Holic Gold Supporter

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    I’ve shipped about 20 guitars this year; I say UPS.
     
  10. sudogeek

    sudogeek Tele-Meister

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    Anecdotal, I know. I’ve bought and sold about a dozen guitars over the last 3 years. I’had no problems with UPS, FedEx wrecked a Baja 60s Tele that I had bought, and I’ve not used USPS. I usually ship UPS. Wrap the guitar with bubble wrap inside the case so there’s no movement, then wrap the case and put in the box. Good luck
     
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  11. littlebadboy

    littlebadboy Tele-Afflicted

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    I checked around for the best price, and I found out that FedEx is the lowest... but best.
     
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  12. David Meiland

    David Meiland Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    Last time I did it I bought a FedEx shipping label from shipguitars.com and it was cheaper than what FedEx quoted me directly.
     
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  13. uriah1

    uriah1 Telefied Gold Supporter

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    Watch it. I got hosed over 200 including insurance. Had to ship
     
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  14. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity

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    Use the Reverb shipping service, sometimes it's half! I sold a guitar with case west coats to east coast. I have a Fedex account. They wanted $71, Reverb Fedex was $38
     
  15. Drew617

    Drew617 Tele-Meister

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    Yeah, I've probably shipped about 10/year for several years and have only had negative experiences with FedEx. Otherwise, I'll pick whoever is cheaper between USPS and UPS. USPS has been great with guitars in my experience, but use priority mail - keeping a guitar in any carrier's hands longer than necessary increases their opportunity to mishandle it. Priority mail may be prohibitively expensive or surprisingly cheap depending on region.

    I guess I might be missing something but I'm not sure I understand the concern about paying Reverb to fill out a label. They get much better rates than us private citizen schmucks who would otherwise ship retail, it's less work and carriers can be cross-shopped in one step, and the buyers (or you) are ultimately paying freight either way. Not to mention you can buy into Reverbs's safe shipping, which is most assuredly not a scam. I've had them cover losses that FedEx etc. never would, with almost no questions asked. Makes me feel much easier about sending a $1K+ guitar across the country in a cardboard box.

    Seriously, there are legit reasons Reverb might suck a little, but their shipping isn't one of them. IMO, don't overthink it. You'll work harder to spend more.
     
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  16. bigbean

    bigbean Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    What they said: Generally UPS is more reliable but your best defense is good packing and short shipping times
    • Guitar in a hard case inside a box with a minimum of 1" on all sides / more space is better - if it's a gig bag consider a box within a box
    • Snug with packing material on all sides
    • Ship at the beginning of the week (bad things happen on weekends!)
    • Some tension on the neck is good I like C# tuning
    • forget about insurance, it's a joke, spend more on shipping for shorter time exposure to the "shipping machine" it's much better insurance
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2020
  17. MojoTrwall

    MojoTrwall Tele-Holic

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    Removing the neck is a good Idea.

    I can't even see why it's not that common on set neck, it's literraly made for it to be removed easily.
     
  18. medownsouth

    medownsouth Tele-Holic Gold Supporter

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    Following up on this: I've had nothing but positive experiences w/ Reverb even though the support process can be cumbersome when issues arise. One gripe about Reverb shipping, after the seller fees increased from 3.5% to 5% suddenly everything I want to buy is 100 or more for shipping even though when I ship a guitar it usually costs less than half that...
     
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  19. Drew617

    Drew617 Tele-Meister

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    Yeah, for me 3.5 to 5% wouldn't have been too insulting on its own, but: Actual cost including other surcharges and fees was already much higher than either figure, and the increase seems to have coincided with their acquisition and a notably decreased quality of support. So far I've continued to use them out of convenience, perhaps kinda begrudgingly. They are convenient, but I used to feel some goodwill that I don't anymore.

    As a rule, I don't buy from sellers who are insulting about shipping. Call it "free" or $150, the cost is more or less absolute and anyone with two brain cells to rub together can see what they're doing. Consider the total cost and decide if they're aligned to the market, or to me, or not...
     
  20. Torren61

    Torren61 Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

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    GET INSURANCE TO COVER THE FULL COST OF THE GUITAR INCLUDING THE CASE. USPS lost a Two Notes Torpedo Studio that I sold to a Reverb buyer for $1000. I figured I wouldn't need the extra insurance because it would be there in three days or less and they are tracking it. WRONG! That thing is STILL missing and there is nothing you can do. I know this because I went as far as getting my congressman involved and even THEY couldn't get USPS to haul some people in there to explain where that large package ended up. It seems like to me that there is a license to steal or lose any package they decide they want to take home and there is no recourse unless you have insurance. Obviously, I refunded the $1000. I'm STILL butthurt about that after two years.
     
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