School me on guitar shipping

SixStringSlinger

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I'm trying to sell an acoustic guitar I don't use that I'd prefer to sell locally (less risk/hassle). I posted it on Reverb (along with OfferUp and Craigslist) on the off chance that a local buyer would see it there, but I've since had a few people ask if I'd be willing to ship. It's not getting a lot of interest locally so I'm considering it, if only to move it along.

I've never shipped a guitar before, and this is an old ('60's) acoustic that would ship without a case. Any tips on shipping for a guy who has never done this before and does not intend to do so again? I know about packing it snug so that it doesn't move/shift once it's boxed up. I'm talking more about shipping companies, where to get a box/packing materials, insurance, etc. I intend to have the buyer pay the full cost of shipping over and above the price of the guitar and to make the full cost extremely clear prior to any sale.

Thanks!
 

corliss1

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I just wouldn't ship without a case, but that's just me. Other opinions may vary. I've shipped many, many guitars and amps, but always with cases and always packed well.

Local guitar stores are often willing to give you a box for free.
 

Double Stop

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You can check out here: https://www.uline.com/BL_7906/Guita...VRR6tBh2NwwZZEAAYASAAEgJ0YfD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

You can go with either UPS or Fedex. I've shipped many guitars before (but all electrics in their original boxes) and I tend to favor Fedex over UPS. In my experience, Fedex seems to handle their stuff better. I would recommend getting it fully insured and with signature delivery confirmation.

The last time I shipped an electric guitar, the package weighed about 21 LBS and it cost around $75 Fedex. Rates could differ though depending on the dimensions/weight. Being that its an acoustic, it will most likely be a bit cheaper for you since it will weigh less.
 

Boreas

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How valuable is the guitar?

Since many less-expensive guitars without cases are shipped new to dealers these days, it certainly can be done in the proper shipping boxes. They will ALWAYS be double-boxed with firm, supportive material in the inner box. This keeps the guitar from moving. Obviously the guitar needs to be wrapped with something protective first.
Best to visit a guitar retailer and find a shipping box suitable for your guitar. If the guitar is very valuable, StewMac sells well-designed shipping containers for instruments with or without cases. They are expensive, but worth it if it avoids a damage claim. Shipping horror stories are almost always related to cutting corners on cost and packaging.
 

imwjl

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Have it professionally boxed and shipped. Insure. Charge the buyer.
If not that meet the buyer face to face in a safe place. Many communities have those such as my area where police stations and precinct offices have space.
 

Freeman Keller

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One of the best articles I've seen. I shipped two guitars to Bryan, he shipped them back in perfect condition.

I don't remember if it says so in the article but pull the end pin and put it ins the string pocket of the case. I saw a guitar split up the tail end when it was dropped.

 

KokoTele

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Is this something UPS or FedEx would do?

I'm telling you, I've never mailed/shipped anything larger than an envelope.

The UPS Store will do it. I assume the FedEx store will do it too. It will be outrageously expensive and unless it's a rare or expensive guitar, few buyers will pay for the packing costs, just the ground shipping costs. Expect the packing costs to be > than $100. I've read that it's the only way UPS will honor an insurance claim, though. (No first hand experience there.)

I've received acoustic guitars from retailers without a case. They usually come in a bag that's tied off in a box filled with packing peanuts.
 

ReverendRevolver

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Don't let usps pack it......

When my duosonic was sent to me (from 3 hours away.....) they barely padded it AND dropped it on its lower strap button.

I've never shipped acoustic sans case. I've only shipped one non-electric instrument, and it was an 80s squareneck Dobro. Bought a shipping box for $10 from a local guitar store.
Don't know about what to use, but I reccomend reinforced corners and top/bottom if you're shipping without a case
 

BobbyMac

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If you are shipping yourself, be sure to double box.

Use shipnerd or pirateship for the best possible rate. They use either UPS or FEDEX but you'll pay about a third less than buying a shipping label from those carriers online.

Getting two boxes big enough to double box your guitar is not an easy task. ULINE and CME sell boxes but this will add to your cost.

I'd keep trying to sell in your local market to maximize your return and minimize your hassle.
 

arlum

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Nothing makes me happier than receiving gear, opening the box and finding a second box inside. If required ... I'd pay extra to the seller to ship in this manner. If I was the seller I'd at least offer the option to a buyer noting the difference in the price of shipping.
 

Weazel

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Gaffa.jpg
 

bottlenecker

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There might be better/easier ways, but the only way I've done it is to build a "case" out of styrofoam and cardboard, and a lot of tape. So far, no damage. I've probably only shipped four or five.
 

sloppychops

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I bought a used vintage acoustic awhile back and the seller shipped it using some protective, inflated bubble cushioning that encapsulated the headstock (that was one piece) and the body (that was a separate piece). The body sized piece enclosed the entire body. The whole thing was packaged in a guitar box with lots of craft paper balled up around it.

I've seen these inflated cushioning things for sale online, but can't remember where. They're pretty durable, and I still have one of the pieces in the attic somewhere.

This would be an extra expense for shipping, and my general feeling these days is that it's just not worth the hassle to ship an acoustic guitar without a case.
 

ponycar

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I have used boxes donated from music stores and then internally reinforced with cardboard and packaging foam. I have also modified/cut down boxes from my local bike shop. Always reinforce including the large surfaces over the body to prevent piercing the box in transit. Shipping costs have gone up. UpS is easy in my area.
 

Controller

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Good luck! I bought a Tele Thinline from a private seller out east. They shipped it in a single walled cardboard box with a thin layer of bubble wrap draped (not wrapped) over it. Zero damage, I was floored. I have had electronics completely destroyed by shippers so I know what can happen.
 

Boreas

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Have it professionally boxed and shipped. Insure. Charge the buyer.
Like anything else, the term "professional" is key here. Just because you pay someone to pack it for you doesn't mean they know how to do it properly. A guitar is not a toaster. You can't just put it in a plastic bag, put it in a box, and fill it with peanuts. The only professionals I would trust to package a guitar are people that ONLY ship fine musical instruments. The local UPS store could box your instrument perfectly, but only if the employee knows how to do it. But whether they CAN or CANNOT package a guitar properly, you are supposedly covered by their insurance if UPS packs it. That doesn't do you much good if a rare instrument gets a fork driven through it or it is crushed. Financially, perhaps, but the world has one less rare guitar.

NEVER ship a guitar without being double-boxed. It is your best protection against shipping damage from outside of the carton. Personally, I feel any common shipper has the potential to damage a shipping carton. When packing, it is wise to assume the worst handling conditions.

Most manufacturers ship without packing peanuts. They are a PITA, ecologically bad, and settle during shipping. Use folded cardboard or solid foam blocks to stabilize the instrument case inside of the inner box. A guitar CAN be shipped without a case, but stabilization and protection are obviously even more important.

Even a double-boxed acoustic guitar shipped in a $200+ factory case can be damaged in shipment. Foam padding, bubble-wrap, headstock padding, loosened strings, and end-pin removal will all help an instrument withstand rough treatment and temperature extremes during shipment.

Another way to get packaging hints is to watch "unboxing" videos from YT people who buy NEW from distributors or factory-direct. It shows the techniques manufacturers use to ship their products as efficiently and safely as practical. Ideally, try to track down those same packing materials for your guitar. Usually, they are just recycled and are often gotten for free from retailers.
 
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