How to Ship a Guitar, Drum Kit, or Amplifier In Confidence & Style

Posted by Benjamin Meskin on May 17, 2018 5:17:47 PM
Benjamin Meskin

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As a business or organization that ships musical instruments, your livelihood hinges upon your ability to optimize your sales while keeping instruments and gear in pristine working order. This means ensuring that equipment is protected from damage when shipping from one location to another. Fortunately, you can safely transport fragile instruments by air or truck by following a few simple tips.


1. Select a Sturdy Box that Will Safely Accommodate Your Equipment



The shipping process should always begin with the selection of a sturdy shipping box or carton. Attempting to squeeze your guitar case, drum kit, or amplifier into a box that is too small can cause it to tear or pop open during transit. Choosing a box or carton that is too large, on the other hand, can result in exorbitant shipping costs and can leave too much room for your equipment to move around. If you lack access to oversized boxes or cartons, you can contact a company that specializes in manufacturing boxes to safely ship guitars and other instruments.



2. Prepare Your Equipment for Shipping



Preparing your equipment for safe shipping is vital to ensuring that each component arrives intact. Some people mistakenly assume that a guitar will arrive safely as long as it is housed inside its case and the case is protected. Unfortunately, making this assumption can lead to damage. You can avoid this pitfall by taking the following measures to protect your equipment before you pack each:


  • Preparing your guitar for shipping: Make sure you detune the guitar to relieve the tension on the headstock. You will also need to protect the tuning gears by wrapping the headstock with a few layers of bubble wrap.
  • Preparing your drum kit for shipping: The key to packing a drum kit is to use a nesting strategy. By placing smaller drums inside larger drums prior to shipping, you can reduce the total number of packages that you will need to ship, thereby decreasing shipping costs. You will also optimize safety by reducing the total amount of empty space surrounding your drums.
  • Preparing your amp for shipping: Before packing your amp, you should remove the amp tubes and wrap them in bubble wrap for safe transport. You will also need to wrap the power cord with newspaper or bubble wrap and keep it separate from the speaker.



3. Pack your Equipment Case For Safe Transport



Now that you have adequately prepared your equipment for shipping, focus on wrapping and packing each item for safe transport. Whether you are packing a violin, guitar, or a clarinet, there are three things to remember:


  • Line the bottom of the box or carton with packing material: Adding a layer of packing material to the bottom of your shipping box is essential to prevent your equipment from sustaining damage during transport by truck or plane. Safe choices include styrofoam or polyethylene foam.
  • Ensure that there is sufficient packing material surrounding the equipment: Wrapping your nested drum kit or guitar case prior to placing them in a shipping box is critical to their protection. Make sure you use multiple layers of bubble wrap to make sure that you adequately shield your equipment.
  • Fill any space between the equipment and the sides of the box: Once you have placed your instruments in the box, fill any space between the wrapped instrument and the wall of the box. You can use any leftover bubble wrap or styrofoam to fill these gaps. The purpose of this step is to minimize movement of the instruments inside the box during the shipping process.



4. Secure the Top of the Box or Carton with Packing Tape


"Tape the opening of your box and reinforce all seams with 2-inch-wide tape. Use clear or brown packaging tape, reinforced packing tape, or paper tape. Do not use cord, string, twine, masking, or cellophane tape."- United States Postal Service


Once you have positioned the wrapped instrument in a sturdy box, be sure to apply plenty of tape to all sides of the box to prevent your gear from falling out during the shipping process. Once you have liberally applied packaging tape to all sides of the box, you can verify that your parcel is ready to ship by shaking it a bit to see if the contents remain well-positioned inside the box. If you hear the contents shifting about inside the box, you likely need to add more packing material.



5. Do Not Forget to Clearly Label Your Equipment and all Shipping Boxes



Overlooking this simple but crucial step can negate all of your efforts to protect the instruments you are shipping. Make sure that your instruments and your boxes contain your contact information in case they are lost during the shipping process or somehow become dislodged from their boxes. Finally, apply a layer of clear packaging tape over your shipping labels to prevent them from peeling off or being damaged by weather conditions.



What Should You Always Consider Before Proceeding With Your Shipment?



As you prepare to ship musical gear, you should remember to insure your instruments. Even if you securely package your equipment, musical instruments are fragile and are not immune to shipping damage. Additionally, shipping insurance can cover your costs if your instruments are lost during the shipping process.


As you plan to purchase shipping insurance, remember that you also need to protect your profit margin by avoiding high-priced carriers that you cannot afford. When comparing providers, remember that carrier insurance is rarely as efficient or cost-effective as third party insurance. Third party insurance through Cabrella is also a good choice because there are no contracts or service fees involved and creating custom insurance plans with high limits and coverage is not an issue.



Which Carriers Can You Use to Ship Musical Instruments and Equipment?



Many business owners are surprised to learn that they can use popular carriers to ship large, bulky items like guitars and drum kits. In fact, you can use any of the following carriers to ship your musical instruments:


  • United Parcel Service (UPS)
  • FedEx
  • DHL
  • USPS
  • Local/Regional Carriers


You will likely be able to enjoy substantial savings if you use a carrier with which you already have an account. Remember to request quotes in advance to ensure you benefit from the most competitive rate.



What is the Single Best Measure You Can Take when Shipping Your Musical Instruments?



Clearly, there are many steps you can take to ensure that musical instruments arrive safely at their final destination. The single best step you can take when considering how to ship a guitar or other musical gear safely and cost-effectively, is to request musical instrument shipping insurance before proceeding with a shipment. Whether you need to ship instruments overseas or to a neighboring state, we look forward to providing you with customized shipping insurance solutions for all of your musical gear!


Interested in more information?  We have an exclusive ebook dedicated to guitar and music dealers alike, helping them with risk analysis, service level comparisons, in depth shipping insurance questions, and much more. 

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