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Shipping guitars

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I'm just wondering what folks think about shipping guitars. I can't seem to find what I want within driving distance so it looks like I may have to have something shipped. Apart from the obvious buyer bewares of not being able to play it first I am curious about the risks of shipping. Particularly by air. Is it hard on the instrument to be subject to such cold temps and rapid changes in temperature and humidity that would it would be exposed to in the cargo hold of an airplane?

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I'm just wondering what folks think about shipping guitars. I can't seem to find what I want within driving distance so it looks like I may have to have something shipped. Apart from the obvious buyer bewares of not being able to play it first I am curious about the risks of shipping. Particularly by air. Is it hard on the instrument to be subject to such cold temps and rapid changes in temperature and humidity that would it would be exposed to in the cargo hold of an airplane?

 

My $.02...

 

I live overseas and order all of my guitars and guitar-related parts from online vendors. I have ordered a few electrics and an acoustic and all have arrived just fine.

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I Ship IN & OUT guitars quite a bit and as yet I have not had any problems. (Inc imports from Japan & exports to Europe & Australia!)

 

But their has to be some rules that the sender follows...

 

# Slack the strings (Less tension on the headstock volute)

# Send in the Manufacturers box as their always thick cardboard and setup correctly, failing that use LOTS of bubble wrap.

 

EDIT, for those WITHOUT a Hardcase, you MUST find a suitable guitar box, it doesn't have to be the same company but it must be at least the correct shape...

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I agree..........lessen the string tension, find a sturdy shipping box and pad any crush points on the box. I always wrap a layer of medium bubble wrap around the case before putting it in the box. If you do not have a hard case, double box it and bubble wrap the inner box. Get a tracking number and insuring it is not a bad idea either.

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.

Good tips.

 

I'll add that occasionally the shipping box looks fine, but the receiver opens the case to find a broken headstock. So - use some padding material around the headstock to keep it from moving back and forth in the case and to prevent the headstock from impacting the sides of the case.

 

I try to buy from local shops, but sometimes have a guitar shipped - no problems so far.

 

 

.

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Great advice. Thanks everyone [thumbup]

keepem coming,, would love to hear more success stories about shipping,, or even not so good ones... lol.

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I've shipped many guitars. I feel better shipping Fender guitars, their maple necks take a little more abuse than those made of mahogany with tilted headstocks. Still, I have shipped many Gibsons. I once shipped a '61 SG ReIssue from Washington (the state not DC) all the way across the country to New York. I consider the '61 ReIssue to be about as fragile a guitar as any could ever be, the neck is slightly thicker than construction paper. It made the trip just fine.

 

I pack the instrument in its case, if it's a Gibson I will support the headstock by placing tissue paper under the headstock to conform as much as possible to the angle. I'll then place some tissue paper on top of the headstock to compress a little when the case is closed. I don't pack it so tight that it's placing any stress on the headstock, I just want a little additional support around the headstock to try and absorb any dropping/banging that the box itself doesn't absorb. I'll double-box if at all possible. Once, and only once, I received an Epiphone Sheraton from an on-line retailer with the headstock snapped...I don't know how it happened but it was mildly upsetting.

 

The string tension thing has been debated. Some guys claim that the relationship between truss rod and fully tuned strings is a delicate balance. Their fear is that slackening the strings but not relieving truss-rod tension could cause mal-adjusted necks...a problem that could be compounded by shipping across varying climates. I've slackened strings and not slackened strings and no matter which I use my guitars have alsways arrived safely.

 

Having said all that, my brother-in-law once shipped his guitar as checked baggage on an airline...he dropped it off in it's case at the baggage counter and picked it up from the conveyer at his destination. It was a Gibson Les Paul Studio and it arrived safely at the airport. I asked a friend who works at the airport if the baggage department on a jet is pressurized and heated, he said that in most cases it is not heated or presurized. So that guitar sustained freezing temperatures at altitude and at least two sets of disgruntled baggage handlers to arrive safely at it's destination. Not a bad advertisement for Gibson's cases.

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I recently shipped an LP from the west coast back to Gibson for a warranty assessment. Had it in an SKB case, bubble wrapped the headstock, brought the string tension down about a step, bubble wrapped the case within the primary box, then double boxed with crushed paper wrap between the two boxes. Shipped UPS ground & insured it. End result, it arrived safe & sound. Many instruments are shipped with far less care & survive, but why take a chance?

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I live in Fairbanks Alaska and everything is shipped in and out. Hot in the summer and way below 0 in winter and everything comes in fine that I have seen. I have a 99 LP Classic, American Tele, Eric Clapton Strat, along with 3 Martins all shipped in with no problem. All had hard cases and put in shipping boxes. I think the hard shell case designed to fit the guitar is the secret!

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The most part of my guitars came from US or Europe. I live in France.

 

I did shipp mylsef amps and guitars to several buyers and I never had problems.

 

It will also depend on the carrier I presume.

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Every new guitar leaving their respective factories lands in the hands of UPS, FedEx or another high volume shipper. Every guitar sold by the Internet dealers, likewise gets shipped a second time. The manufacturers actually are far less "careful" and "concerned" than we are with our own guitars, and they generally have far less cushioning in their packaging. Remarkably, the vast majority of these instruments, numbering at least in the hundreds, if not thousands per day, arrive undamaged (which still amazes me). When I ship, I always follow the most stringent protocols, including tuning down, padding the headstock, stabilizing the neck in the case, cushioning the case in a factory original box, etc. They always come back from the factory barely cushioned, tuned to concert pitch and with shipping scars on the box. Somehow, the guitars still manage to survive. All of this being said, I still absolutely hate to ship guitars and try to avoid it. Nevertheless, always take (date stamped) photos of the guitar, case and final packaging prior to shipping, and always insure it for full replacement value, and always keep your fingers crossed.

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Slightly off topic, but I once read a story that Slash in his Guns n' Roses days, witnessed one of his Les Pauls (in a metal-flight case!) being thrown several feet in the air, off an aeroplane into a baggage-transporter skip. He had to be restrained by several of the band members, from knocking-out the baggage handler. The guitar survived totally unscathed...

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I've ordered most of my guitars from Germany and never had an issue, (as I write this I have a new Gibson Les Paul in the mail) they are always well packed. I've even ordered a Dean Z 79 from the states and it came without any problems.

 

If its insured the better

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