Are you a musician planning on moving long-distance soon? If so, you might be worried that you don’t know how to pack a guitar for shipping properly. Luckily, this is not a difficult task. However, whether you’re planning on doing it on your own or hiring cross-country movers, there are still some things you need to do when packing a guitar for shipping.

Step 1: Get the Right Packing Materials to Protect the Instrument

The first step to any successful relocation is to get the right packing materials for moving. Some of the things you will need include:

  • Clean packing paper – you will use this to protect the surface of the wood
  • A few sheets of bubble wrap – this will ensure the paper stays in place and provide additional protection
  • A hard case, the original box, or, if you don’t have either, a specialty box
  • Duct tape (optional). If you’re using a box, you’ll need duct tape to seal it.
  • Markers (optional). They are the quickest and easiest way to create labels for moving boxes.
bubbles, paper sheets, and tape
Getting the right supplies is a crucial first step

Step 2: Prepare the Guitar for Shipping

Once you see all the packing tips and tricks that go into learning how to pack a guitar for shipment, you’ll realize this process is much easier than, for example, moving furniture. That being said, it’s best that you still prepare properly. Here’s a quick guide on how to do that.

Clean Your Instrument

Whether you want to learn how to ship an acoustic guitar or an electric one, the first thing you should do is clean it. If you’re not sure how to do that, check out the following video.

Remove Detachable Parts Before Shipping Guitars

Now that everything is nice and clean, it’s time to remove any accessories and custom parts. Some accessories you might want to remove include cables for electric instruments, capos and similar tools, shoulder straps, and so on. In other words, pretty much anything that can be detached.

Loosen or Completely Remove the Strings

Leaving the strings as they are is one of the most common moving mistakes people make when learning how to package a guitar for shipping. The least you should do is loosen them so that they don’t break while in transport. Broken strings will not only cause you a headache, but they can damage the fine surface of the wood. To be extra safe, the best course of action is removing them completely.

twisting the tuning keys
Loosen the strings

Step 3: Refrain from Using Low-Cost Materials to Wrap It

Now that we’re done with all the preparatory steps, it’s time to get down to business. Packing guitars is far from being one of the most difficult things to do when moving into a new home, but as any musician will agree, it is one of the most important ones. Here are the steps you should take:

  • Wrap everything in two sheets of paper. If you haven’t removed the strings, place a sheet or two between them and the fretboard.
  • Move on to bubble wrap. You will also need several layers. If you’re not sure how to use bubble wrap, don’t worry. Just make sure that the bubbles are facing the object and that the tuning keys are protected from all sides.
  • Secure the wrap with a few pieces of tape. Then, thoroughly inspect the instrument to make sure there are no exposed areas or corners.
  • Place all detachable parts for guitars in ziplock bags and label them clearly with a marker. Make sure the cables don’t get tangled. For more information on handling cables, check out how to pack electronics for moving.

One final note: try not to use low-cost, second-hand, or alternative materials, as they don’t provide enough protection for guitars.

the end of a cable
Learn how to handle cables properly

Step 4: Use the Original Box or a Case if You Have It

If you have the original box or a hard case, you already know what to do. Simply place the instrument inside, fill any empty spaces with crumpled paper, seal the case or the box tightly, label if necessary, and you’re good to go. However, if you don’t own a hard case or the original box, this process will be a little different.

How Can I Ship a Guitar Without a Hard Case?

Protecting guitars without their hard case can be a little tricky. If you have a soft guitar bag and aren’t planning on using car shipping services from your long-distance moving company, consider simply taking it with you. This way, it will be completely safe. As a bonus, you’ll get to have some fun on your breaks along the way.

However, if you’re planning on flying to your new destination, you’ll have to do some extra work. First, you’ll need a specialty box. You should be able to find one in music stores or on Amazon. Additionally, you can ask the interstate movers you’re getting moving services from if they provide specialty materials.

Hard case and a portrait of a child
Always go for hard cases if possible

Now You Know How to Pack a Guitar for Shipping

As you can see, preparing your instrument for cross-country moving is not too difficult, at least when it comes to guitars. Soon enough, after you’re done unpacking in your new home, you’ll get to sit down, play, and forget all about the anxiety of relocation. As long as you follow our steps, you’ll surely have a stress-free moving experience.

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