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Proper packing is an absolute necessity for shipping your guitar safely.  Never ship your guitar in its case only.  We suggest you go to your nearest music shop and ask for an empty cardboard shipping carton (they receive guitars in them all the time), into which you should place your guitar within its case for shipping.  This provides extra protection from wear and tear from handling.  Pack the guitar inside the case by FIRMLY placing crumpled paper on top of and underneath the headstock and nut, so the peg head sits slightly off the neck rest.  This practice should reduce the chances of neck damage dramatically.  Take care not to overdo it though, as it is dangerous to wedge the guitar in the case too tightly.  After placing the case in the cardboard carton, snugly fill the spaces around the case with more crumpled paper.  Boxing your guitar in this way not only helps insulate against a sudden rise or drop in temperature during shipment, but also helps disguise the fact that it is a guitar, and thus decreases the chances of theft.  You can sticker it fragile, breakable, or handle with care, but we recommend never labeling it "Musical Instrument."

Do NOT take tension off the strings when shipping your guitar. This is a dangerous practice as the machine heads and headstock are the heaviest parts of the guitar, and the string tension from proper tuning serves to counteract the stresses these parts place on the instrument. Some people on the internet will tell you that loosening the strings is a good idea - If it was such a good idea, then every manufacturer would do it. Martin, Taylor, Gibson, Larrivee, Collings, etc all ship our guitars new from the factory at full tension - What makes your guitar any different?

Always insure your guitar for it's full value, and when you receive your instrument immediately examine it for damage.  Doing this while still in the baggage room or presence of the delivery person will negate the question of whether and/or where any damage occurred.

Here are the packing instructions we include with our RA documents:

DO
DO NOT

Make sure that there is good support underneath the headstock. Newspaper or brown packing paper works well. It should firm and rigid enough that the headstock is sitting on the paper, and not floating. The idea is that you want to eliminate the headstock from snapping back if the box falls over during shipping. Notice that the strings of the instrument are on, and at normal tension.

Do not ship your guitar without support under the headstock. The tuning machines on the guitar weigh a substantial amount; and if the box were to fall over during shipping, the tuners could "snap" backwards, and shear the headstock right off of the neck.

If you have a pickup installed on your instrument, make sure to remove it, and secure it inside the compartment in your case. This will prevent the battery from coming loose during transit and damaging the inside of your guitar.

Do not leave the battery connected to your pickup during transport. Though the battery clip is designed to keep the battery in place during normal conditions, it is not built to withstand the sudden shock of a drop. If the battery is left in the guitar, it may come loose during shipping and cause damage to the braces or even crack the sides!

Whether you are shipping the guitar, or taking it on an airplane, you want to make sure that the guitar is placed in a durable cardboard box. Most music stores regularly take delivery of guitars, and probably have an extra box they will give you for free. A second benefit of doing this is that often the packing materials are still inside the box. The provides the instrument with some protection from the rapid changes in climate

Do not under any circumstances, EVER, ship your guitar this way. This method WILL result in damage or theft. Your guitar case is only built for basic normal conditions, not the tossing of an airport baggage handler. Your guitar also has no protection from the elements in this scenario. It is not unusual for freight forwarders to store packages/pallets on the tarmac at an airport for hours - Can you imagine if this black case sat in the sun at 100 degrees?

Always pack the case inside of the box with adequate packing. Cardboard is preferable, multiple layers of bubble-wrap are also effective. If you obtain a used box from a music store, ask them if they have the original packing materials. You want to make sure that the top,and bottom of the case are supported and not directly in contact with the outside of the box.

Foam chips do not protect your instrument. The guitar will settle through the chips to the top or bottom of the box. This method can cause serious impact damage if the box is dropped.

 

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