10 Tips on How To Pack a Vintage Guitar
A guitar must be packed in a shipping box with packing material around it before shipping. It should NOT be shipped in a guitar case alone, as this is NOT enough protection.
Below are packing instuctions I give to music stores. If you sell your vintage guitar to me, we will pay for shipping and professional packing at a Fedex or UPS store.
Guitar shipping box: Please call your local UPS or Fedex retail store as soon as possible to make sure they have a correct size guitar shipping box, which is about 50″ X 20″ X 9″. Many retail stores do not have this size box and will need to order it for you, so please call them several days in advance to avoid delays.
The point is to keep the guitar and any items on the guitar or in the case from shifting or moving around.
1. Loosen the strings on the guitar. Remove any guitar strap
2. Wrap any loose items like capos, tools, bridge covers, whammy bars, straps, etc… that are in the case, in newspaper or paper towels and put them inside a taped bag or baggie inside the storage compartment of the case. This is important, as we do not want any loose items bouncing around, or coming out of the storage compartment and scratching or damaging the guitar.
3. Remove the endpin (strap button on bottom end of guitar), then wrap it and place it in the case storage compartment. The endpin is usually screwed in, however if not, just try pulling it out. If it does not easily come out, pad the area with paper towels well.
4. Packing inside the case: The Idea is to keep the guitar snug inside the case, but not too tight. Many times the case may be slightly oversized for the guitar, and without padding inside the case, the guitar will move around inside the case. You want to avoid this by padding around and on top of the guitar with paper towels. Please do not use bubble wrap or peanuts inside the case.
Fold some paper towels and pad enough around the sides, bottom, top and along the neck of the guitar to keep still, but make sure you’re still able to close the case easily without a much pressure on the guitar. Use crumbled up paper towels to fill in empty places.
Make sure the headstock and tuners are not resting on the bottom of the case by putting paper towels under the neck. Pack snug but lightly underneath and on top of the headstock, You want to keep things still without pressure on the headstock area. Continue by placing crumbled up paper towels around the sides of neck and atop of the bridge area of the guitar. Add paper on top of the case storage lid, the lid may open if not secured down and items may fly out and damage the guitar. Finally, add some crumbled up paper towels to any empty areas on the sides of the headstock. After you are through, close the case. There should be no shifting or movement of the guitar inside the case.
Electric Guitar Additional Info
5. Remove any bridge covers that are not screwed down as well as the whammy bar. Wrap and place in a secure bag inside case pocket.
6. For guitars that have a whammy bar that does not come off easily, make sure the bar is moved down over the tremelo unit, and then wrap around the arm with paper towels.
7. Move toggle switches out of the straight up position to a down position.
8. Pad crumbled paper towels in front of, on top of, and behind the bridge/tailpiece . We don’t want this hardware to move off the post. If the strings are loose, they may come loose from the post.
9. For Guitars that have floating bridges: All pieces of the bridge should be removed, wrapped and bagged, and put inside the case storage compartment. Make sure the tailpiece, or tremelo unit, has padding underneath it, as with the strings loose and bridge off, it will be free to bounce around and might scratch or damage the guitar.
10. For guitars with elevated pickguards, please put some folded up paper towels underneath the pickguard for extra support.
Packing the Guitar in the Shipping Box
The point is to keep the guitar from shifting or moving around inside the shipping box. There should be no movement inside the box.
1. Pad the bottom of the box with several inches of padding with peanuts or crumbled up newspaper.
2. Put the guitar inside the box with the headstock facing upward.
3. Fill the box with peanuts or crumbled up newspaper. The box should be completely and tightly filled, as not to allow the guitar to have any movement.
4. Use a black marker to draw arrows pointing upwards, and label UP on the box, indicating the up position the box should stay in. Do this on the sides also. Be sure to also label as Fragile.
5. Use only clear mailing tape. Do not use duck tape, electrical tape, or masking tape. Make sure the bottom and top have plenty of tape to keep the box closed securely.
6. Include your name, address, and telephone number inside the guitar case. Also, be sure to write our address on the outside of the shipping box.