How To Pack And How To Ship A Guitar Safely

How To Pack And How To Ship A Guitar Safely

You’re probably wondering: how to ship a guitar safely. Your best answer can be found here! When you have spent precious money on your guitar and love it with all your heart, you certainly don’t want it to break during travels and road trips simply because you did not choose the suitable packing material or forgot to loosen the strings of the guitar.

Don’t worry. Here, I will tell you how to pack your guitar safely and make sure it will arrive at its destination safe and sound.

Hot to Ship a Guitar – Choosing The Right Packing Material

Cardboard boxes

The most common material used for packing and shipping any product, a simple cardboard shipping box, is the outermost layer of your packaging. The main advantage of this material is that it will cover the whole guitar case and leave lots of space for you to add more materials like bubble wrap and newspaper to ensure extra protection. Please ensure that the shipping box is big enough and strong enough to handle a guitar case, as cardboard is undoubtedly not the most robust material ever.

Packing peanuts

These are those small foam-like balls that are very light and soft. They act very well as filler packing material for those empty spaces and corners of your shipping box. The best thing about packing peanuts is that they are light and do not increase the weight of your whole packaging much.

Bubblewrap and Air Cushions

An alternative to packing peanuts, bubble wraps and air cushions can also fill empty spaces and add another layer of protection between your guitar and the outside world. They are even more light and will not allow your guitar to shift and slide during transportation.


Yes, even a newspaper will provide an excellent layer of protection during packaging. Just crumple them up and use them to fill up your guitar case, and ensure that the headstock and neck are well supported from above and below. The main advantage of the newspaper is that it can fit anywhere and provides good protection, as long as you use enough of it.

Foam padding

Foam paddings can be found at any general store, probably for free, if you ask the store manager nicely! They are even better than newspapers at fitting in tight little corners and not adding to the weight of the guitar package. You can use 1 or 2 layers of foam padding around your guitar before putting it in the guitar case so that it fits in properly and is supported by the foam layer from all sides.

Preparing Your Guitar For Shipping

Before you even put the guitar in its case and pack it all up in the shipping box, you should make sure you have completed all the following steps to ensure nothing happens to the body, the neck, and the strings. It would help if you went through this checklist to protect your guitar before packing.

Before you even put the guitar in its case and pack it all up in the shipping box, you should make sure you have completed all the following steps to ensure nothing happens to the body, the neck, and the strings. It would help if you went through this checklist to protect your guitar before packing.

  1. Detune your guitar a bit and loosen the strings. This way, the strings won’t be stretched and pulled on while traveling.
  2. Remove all unnecessary items in the guitar case before putting the guitar in. Extra strings, picks, and truss rods lying around may damage your guitar somehow.
  3. Use a folded newspaper or foam padding to cover the neck, the headstock, and the bridge of the guitar so that they are supported from all sides, and nothing can damage them without not going through the papers and paddings first.
  4. Use a layer of paper or cloth to separate the neck and the strings. You want the strings to stay on the frets and avoid getting damaged.
  5. Secure all movable parts like the tuners and the tremolo bridge. Wrap a few layers of bubble wrap or foam padding around them and ensure that the spaces are filled with newspapers or packing peanuts. Nothing should shake and rattle inside the guitar case.
  6. Clean the guitar case before putting your packaged and covered guitar inside o there is no dust, moisture, or fungi. You don’t want your guitar to get damaged from the inside too.

Ship a Guitar – The Packing Process

Now that the guitar case is clean and the packing materials are ready, it is time to start packing and make your guitar safe and ready to be shipped. The same rules will apply whether you use a guitar case or not.

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Wrap up your guitar

As I said, you must ensure that nothing slips, slides, or rattles during transit. So, use newspapers and foam padding or soft cloth to cover your whole guitar and give it its first layer of protection.

Fill up all the empty spaces too

Once you start covering your guitar, you must also ensure you have separated the loosened strings from the fretboard and covered the bridge and neck joint. All these parts are sensitive to damage, so they need to be supported and protected very well. Use crumpled pieces of paper and folded newspapers to fill the space between the fret and strings and between the tuners. Also, keep a thick layer of paper under the neck joint and above the bridge. Make sure the endpin for the guitar strap is also covered.

Put the covered guitar in its case and add padding

After putting the guitar in its case, you follow the second step again. Put in the covered guitar, use the packing material you have to make a second layer around the guitar, and line the whole case with a protective layer. This gives your guitar three shiels – the first layer covering the guitar, the second layer of padding lining the case, and the case itself.

Close the case and box it up

While closing the case, you should feel the case to be complete and face slight resistance. This means all the spaces are filled, and the layers around the guitar are sufficient to absorb any impact which may occur during the transportation. Once the case is closed, please put it in a box and fill more of the packing material around the case and in the box. Heavy packing paper and pieces of cardboard will work the best, as they are more challenging than newspapers and foam and will strengthen your packing.

Tape up the box properly and mark it ‘Fragile’

Closing the box properly is one of the most important things you must remember. Please ensure it is properly sealed and the address is written in clear handwriting. Another thing you have to do is to mark all sides as ‘Fragile, Please.’ Draw a wine glass with a crack on it. This is the international symbol for fragile products and adding a ‘Please’ also makes the transport people pay some attention.

Ship a Guitar – Which Service To Use?

When it comes time to ship the guitar, I recommend shipping via ground rather than by air, as there are no frequent changes in trucks. Also, packages bound for flights are thrown around quite often and moved around a lot too.

Choose air transport only if money and time are a problem. As for the transport company, anything will work as long as it is reputable and handles a lot of baggage. Could you ask the officials about their shipping and damage policy and keep track of the delivery?

If your guitar is well-packed and has a few layers of protection around it, you do not have to worry about shipping. It is only with a lack of attention that damage occurs. Please do your part and ensure everything is padded and snug; your guitar will be great.

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