Packing a Guitar to Ship. How?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by wetland10, Apr 13, 2010.

  1. wetland10

    wetland10 Tele-Afflicted

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    Hoping for a little insight here. I am looking to sell a guitar through Ebay in the next few weeks or so. Problem is, what do I pack it in? Guitar is in a gig bag, but where do those of you who sell guitars through the internet get your boxes? I know I need a fairly large box to pack it well, of course I never saved any of my guitar boxes so I am at a bit of a loss.

    Any help is appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Wayne
     
  2. LennyEdwards

    LennyEdwards Tele-Meister

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    Ask a nearby store for one, they're always getting rid of them, usually a bit of sweet talk will get you them for free unless the store guys are not the coolest about it.... you can buy them on ebay itself, but sometimes they go for a stupid price for a box....

    hope this helps
     
  3. jaimed

    jaimed Poster Extraordinaire

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    If you only need 1 carton, besides music stores, check with a local U-Haul.
    Wrap the gig bag in bubble wrap, and add styro peanuts.
    Don't forget to add the insurance, at the shipper of your choice.

    For those that buy and sell, U-Line has rugged boxes specific for guitars and basses, and other shipping products.

    Minimum order is 5 cartons.
    Much more rugged than the instrument manufacturer's cartons.

    I have done trades, and the U-Line cartons returned with only minor scuffs.

    Fast delivery from U-Line. Highly recommended.

    Jamie
     
  4. wetland10

    wetland10 Tele-Afflicted

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    Thanks, this is helpful. I know a store that I could check for a box. Have to catch them before they break them down and toss them out.

    I typically use UPS to ship because they are close to my house and will pack everything up.

    Wayne
     
  5. Little Ricky

    Little Ricky Tele-Holic

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    The big guitar stores will have a designated recycling day. Just go to their dumpster on that day and get all the free cardboard you can carry. It's usually a cardboard only dumpster, so you won't have to dig through any messy stuff, and it's usually packed so you can reach the goods at the top without climbing in.
    Make sure to double box it - and I usually bend some scraps into shape to brace the guitar inside the box.
     
  6. studio1087

    studio1087 Telefied Silver Supporter

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    FYI.....retailers usually have a corrugated bailer and they pay to have scrap corrugated hauled away. They pay by the ton. It's expensive for retailers get rid of scrap corrugated.

    I always offer to pay 5 bucks for a guitar box and the store managers usually just smile and offer boxes. I just want you to understand that you are doing them a small favor removing their garbage.

    The most important thing with packing a guitar is bracing and blocking the guitar in the center of the box. You want to use bubble or foam or left over inflatable pillows to get the guitar to float away from the side walls of the box. If the box gets dropped the cusioning takes the blow and the blow doesn't transmit to the guitar.

    Crumpled paper is bad. Crumpled paper will compress and loose it's ability to cushion. Paper is very heavy.....remember that you have to pay to ship the weight of the guitar and the weight of the interior packaging.

    I have recieved acoustic guitars where the shipped crammed an emply 2 liter soda bottle on the left and right side of the neck of the case (brilliant).

    I'm lucky. I work in packaging engineering and the supply of free samples that I have available is uncanny. You can find left over foam, bubble and inflatables in a hurry if you ask at your place of work. The stuff is always around.

    Good luck with the eBay sale!

    John
     
  7. wetland10

    wetland10 Tele-Afflicted

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    Thanks again for the insight.
     
  8. gogirlguitars

    gogirlguitars Tele-Holic

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    I usually wrap the guitar in bubble wrap inside the gig bag, that way it keeps it in place. I also recycle plastic shopping bags and fill the gaps in the cardboard box with it.

    Peanuts are a pain, they are messy and unless packed tight move around. I hate getting a guitar packed with peanuts, but i do recycle them when i sell.

    Safest way is neck off of course, but some people don't know how to re attach it and i wouldn't risk this unless asked specifically by the buyer. I never ship overseas without the neck off!
     
  9. JayFreddy

    JayFreddy Poster Extraordinaire

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    My approach is basically to loosen the strings, slide a fret protector under the strings, put the guitar in its case (make sure it's nice and snug, no bouncing around inside the case), then "cocoon" the case in bubble wrap and packing tape.

    Finally, brace the resulting "bubble wrap cocoon" in the center of a box packed tight with styropeanuts.

    Typically only boutique high-end builders use fret protectors, but they've saved frets for me on several occassions. They're basically free, so I use them whenever I ship a guitar now. You can make your own with a pair of scissors and an old cereal box or a cardboard soda case.

    I second John's idea about making sure the guitar stays in the middle of the box, and not to use crumpled newspaper. The idea of using 2-liter soda bottles to protect and stabilize the neck is genius.

    We drink a lot of bottled water around here, and the plastic water bottles we get are much softer than soda bottles. I think the next time I ship a guitar, I am going to offset some of the styro-peanuts with empty 500 ml water bottles.

    Some music retailers don't like to give away cardboard guitar boxes because they see online sales as competition. If you run into this problem, you can try dumpster diving on recycling day, or you can try your local florist.

    Seriously, I have found several major florists in my area get their flowers in boxes which are about the same size and weight as guitar boxes. I've used these to ship guitars a few times.

    I don't understand this. I can see how it's better if you want to carry a guitar in your suitcase and check it as personal luggage on a flight, but other than that, I don't believe removing the neck offers additional protection.

    I could be wrong, but I don't think so. Absolutely none of the Asian guitar factories ship their guitars with the necks off, and this includes high end factories in Japan as well as lower end stuff out of Indonesia and China.

    If there were measurable benefits, I think the big Asian factories would ship all their guitars that way, and then let the retailers put the neck on as "final assembly".

    Then they'd all have big USA flag stickers on the front of their guitars proudly proclaiming "assembled in USA"... :oops:
     
  10. kingnimrod

    kingnimrod Tele-Holic

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    I wrap the guitar in bubble wrap, then fill the rest of the box with underinflated party balloons. Works great, and is much cheaper than buying peanuts.
     
  11. TeleTim911

    TeleTim911 Friend of Leo's

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    Check with music stores....they might have some empties.
     
  12. Gareth John

    Gareth John Tele-Afflicted

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    If you've ever received a guitar brand new in the post, often it is just in triangular/ trapeze shaped carboard box, and then inside an outer rectangular cardboard box. I've just shipped two guitars in soft cases in the outer card box, with some innner card/ bubble wrap to prevent movement. As long as the guitar is stable in the box it should be fine. You don't want to over pack it and risk splitting the box or losing any loose items. A good strong card box and make sure the guitar doesn't move inside. That should be fine.
     
  13. Telesavalis

    Telesavalis Friend of Leo's

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    Ask the guys at your nearby Guitar Center for a guitar shipping box. Best one I've found so far is the Taylor shipping box. It has some spacers for the top and bottom to protect against side impacts. Then take it to the UPS store and ship it insured. I've shipped a couple of dozen guitars and banjos this way and never had an issue. One went to Sweden! Got there safe and sound.
     
  14. brewwagon

    brewwagon Poster Extraordinaire

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    add extra cardboard on each side of the box bubble wrap the guitar in the gig bag foam chips in the air space & foam blocks for support lots of tape


    insure goods for replacement value

    bw
     
  15. JayFreddy

    JayFreddy Poster Extraordinaire

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    If I was shipping a guitar without a case, a small box like the one BW pictured above would form the core of my "bubble wrap cocoon".

    Then I'd put that inside a larger box filled with styro-peanuts and/or empty plastic bottles.

    I like Kingnimrod's idea of using partially blown up balloons too. Bet those are easier if you've got kids around the house.

    "Hey you guys! Wanna help me blow up balloons and eat cookies?!" ;)

    Even including the price of cookies, it's still probably cheaper than buying styro-peanuts.
     
  16. bug music

    bug music Tele-Afflicted

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  17. nrand

    nrand Friend of Leo's

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    Wisdom is only temporary -

    Suggestion number 1: Don't ship to Australia.
    Story 1> 10 years ago I bought a G&L ASAT from Buffalo Bros in California and UPS shipping was around $100. - case in box

    Story 2>Several years on and needed to round out my aquisitions I start looking on ebay - but shipping costs have tripled in most cases. Luckily I found a source for a good Takamine acoustic in Arkansas who was able to ship me the guitar in its case by USPS for $120.00. - case in box

    Story 3>Feeling encouraged, I hunted down an early MIJ Epiphone Casino, but the guy won't ship overseas so he sends it to my parents place in Hawaii - figuring it will be a simple matter for them to forward it. Wrong
    The cheapest quote they could find there was around the US $300+ mark, so finally we decided to unbolt the neck [its a Matsumoku Epi]. My brother came around with a saw and they hacked the case in two to use a a basis for packing. The total cost for the guitar to be shipped in two pieces is now around $135.00. - case and guitar in two boxes

    Story 4>Feeling very confident with my new new found wisdom I cast my net wide to buy a replacement for my PJ Bass copy that was stolen some time back. I bid confidently thinking the cost of shipping the bass with the neck off could not be too much more than for the epi - Wrong. Shipping USPS through official ebay links was $351.00! - guitar in two pieces -n no case, one box

    Thankfully I now have 'one of everything' in my guitar stable again and don't need to shop on line for guitars.

    Story 5> box of toothpicks and some scrap wire and magnets for reassembly - $12.50 FLAT RATE BOX
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2010
  18. kp8

    kp8 Friend of Leo's

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    Box in box if you can.. Guitar in guitar box, guitar box in bass box.
     
  19. sneakyjapan

    sneakyjapan Poster Extraordinaire

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    depending on how far it`s going...I`d take the neck off if possible...I have done it before with excellent results...you can even cut the box down some that way. Bubble wrap is good and sometimes I ball newspaper up and put it into those plastic supermarket shopping bags and tie them at the top...much easier for the buyer to get rid of that just balling up the paper into the box. I place cardboard around the neck so that it comes in contact with the sides of the box, sometimes tape it so it won`t move. I make sure theres plenty of padding on the bottom of the box, where the guitar will be sitting as well as at the top. We bought a hand wind paper shredder for our place and I had been saving it up, so the second to last guitar I sold I used a lot of it all around the guitar in the box but the buyer complained...too much packing...I must say, that was a first...didn`t use any for the lsat guitar I sold. But the balled up paper in plastic bags works well, no complaints. I have sent guitars from Japan to Europe, North America and all over Japan and so far I`ve been very lucky, and maybe I am extra careful and use a lot of packing but I`d rather that than risk damage...I mean I buy on line too and know whats it`s like to open a box and see a nice guitar thats well packed so I try to do the same for the folks why buy from me.
     
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