At Overland Express, we understand that for many people, a guitar isn’t just an instrument. It's an extension of yourself. From Fenders to Gibson's, shipping your guitar by courier doesn’t have to be a daunting experience, in fact, we’ve shipped thousands and thousands of acoustic, bass, and electric guitars to over 220 countries around the world. So whether you’re selling an old instrument on eBay, are in the market for a brand-new guitar, or need to send one in for repairs and restoration, you can depend on us to deliver a reliable and stress-free service.
When trusting your expensive and sentimental instrument to a courier, the most worrying thing is the thought it may get damaged en route. Luckily for you, we’ve put together this step-by-step comprehensive guide on how to correctly pack your guitar ready for shipping. By spending a little extra time and following our easy instructions, you can be confident your guitar will be safe and sound.
What you will need:
Hard case/Guitar box/cardboard box
Packing materials (packing peanuts, paper, etc.)
Cloth to wrap guitar, old T-Shirts can be used for this
Large cardboard box
1. Prepare the guitar for packing
Your guitar needs a little TLC before being nestled into its case and ready for transit. These extra few steps are vital to ensure your instrument arrives at its destination unscathed, so don’t be tempted to skip them.
- Loosen the strings. You should aim to detune the guitar down around two octaves. This is to protect the springs from snapping and damaging/scratching the body.
- Protect the strings. Place a cloth or a layer of thick paper between the fret and the strings to reduce the risk of any abrasions on the fretboard.
- Secure movable parts. Any parts of the guitar that can move around should be wrapped securely in packing material.
- Wrap the headstock. The headstock is one of the most sensitive parts of the instrument, so make sure to wrap it up in packing material to avoid unnecessary damage.
- Wrap the guitar in cloth, to avoid any contact between the bubble wrap and the lacquered finish. Nitro based lacquers can easily be damaged by the chemical reaction from bubble wrap.
- Bubble wrap. Once the guitar is wrapped in cloth, wrap the whole guitar in bubble wrap, this prevents the guitar from chaffing on the sides of the case.
2. Place the guitar in a hard case
When sending your instrument via courier, we always recommend using a hard case designed for guitars for an optimal experience. However, if you don’t have access to a guitar case, find a suitable size box that fits the guitar comfortably and continue with this step.
- Choose the right size. Guitars come in all different shapes and sizes, so it’s important to have the right size guitar case for your make and model. The guitar should fit inside with minimal movement.
- Fill in the gaps. Around the body, fill any voids or empty space in the case with foam packaging peanuts, bubble wrap, or other packing material. The body should not move at all during transit.
- Pay special attention to this area, the case should fit snugly around the neck, but any strain on it can potentially cause damage. Make sure there is no pressure on the neck or anything that could obstruct the case on closing.
- If the headstock rests on the bottom of the case, go ahead and place a piece of balled-up packing material underneath, near the nut, to raise it slightly. Otherwise, keep the area around it clear of material.
- More bubble wrap. Place a layer of bubble wrap over the face of the guitar and the tuning keys, then close the case securely. Wrap the case in bubble wrap and secure it in place with parcel tape.
- Shake, shake, shake. The goal is to make sure the guitar doesn’t move inside its case. Give the case a few gentle shakes. If you detect movement, open the case and identify which area is the problem and fix it accordingly.
3. Box, fill, and seal it up
You’ll need a sturdy cardboard shipping box that fits your guitar in its case/box, plus extra packing materials. These can often be acquired for free at guitar or music shops, so it's worth asking if you have one local instead of buying new. As with the guitar inside the case, you’re looking to pack the case into the box with little to no movement.
- Line the box. Add packing material to the bottom of the box, creating a protective layer for the guitar case to sit on.
- Place the guitar case in the box. Insert the case carefully inside the box. Make sure it sits evenly on the packing material at the bottom.
- Fill in the gaps. As before, our goal here is to make sure the guitar doesn’t move around during its journey. Fill in the surrounding areas of the case with whatever packing material you’re using.
- Double check. Take a few seconds to check there are no open spaces you might have missed, even one open space with no packaging protection can put the safety of the guitar at risk.
- Seal it up. Using good quality packing tape, seal the box securely shut and give it one last gentle shake to ensure there’s no movement inside.
4. Get ready to send
Now that your guitar is safely packed and ready for delivery. You can make use of our quick and easy online booking system and arrange the collection and delivery of your instrument at your convenience.
- Head to our website. Go to overlandexpress.co.uk/guitar-courier and use our instant quote tool to book your guitar shipment in just a few clicks.
- Print shipping label. Once your delivery is booked, you will receive booking confirmation and parcel labels by email.
- Attach the label. Secure the label on the outside of the shipping box in an obvious place, so the driver can see it.
- Commercial invoice. If the guitar is being shipped outside the UK, you’ll also need to attach a commercial invoice to the package. We provide these for you, free of charge. Make sure it’s placed on the parcel in an area visible to the delivery driver.
- Wait for collection. We can collect your parcels from your home, work, hotels, or gig venues and various collection points across the UK. If you have any questions or queries about your booking, our customer service team is available by email, telephone, or live chat.
Congratulations! You’ve packed your guitar the right way and can breathe easily knowing it will make its journey safely. For extra peace of mind, we offer additional insurance up to the value of £20.000.00 which can be added at the time of booking. So you’ll be fully covered in the unlikely event that something goes wrong. Plus, all deliveries get access to our online parcel tracking system, so you can follow your instrument's journey door-to-door. With options to suit every budget, choose Overland Express for exclusive discounts and a fuss-free experience that doesn’t skimp on service. Check out our website today and connect with us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact one of the Overland Express customer services team at +44 (0) 20 8977 2777 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.