By all means, high value guitars should never go into the courier system, period!But on some level of reality, this is almost impossible as good deals is not always around the corner, and for sellers you'd want the maximum exposure to potential buyers across the country or even worldwide. Having sent quite a number of guitars ( Gibson's mostly, some PRS and boutiques etc ) all around the UK & Europe with zero to none problem so far, I'd like to share a few little tips to help both buyers & sellers gather the confidence & competence to send the guitars into the 'wild'.
The main questions that linger around are typically what packaging to use, how to pack, how much, and so forth.
This guide is to help, but by no means guarantee, to ensure that those high value guitars will arrive safely to the destination and at cheaper cost.
Hence it's two fold;
It's a no brainer, sending a guitar without a proper case is like sending your beautiful girlfriend across the street full of nasty perverts - naked.
This is not some cheap copies we're talking about baby, this is the guitar that costs money and earth, one you've been lusting for since you were a kid watching bluesbreaker doing 'er on stage! If the one that came with it already lost, or badly damaged, then insist a new one, or you should never even bother wasting those precious guitars to be wrecked the minute you set it out on the courier's van.
Do not use guitar boxes! Those cheap little boxes do not have proper paddings inside, and even if they do, a lot of critical parts like the neck and headstock are not protected well enough. Don't be a cheapskate, £40 is a good investment considering that the one you're protecting costs 30 times that.
Inside the case-
Movements inside the case is bad. Put some extra paddings like some old newspapers to keep the guitar still. Don't overstuff though, that will put unnecessary tensions to the guitar. Remember that the guitar will go through at least 8 different people before it gets to the destination, and every possible vibration, knock, drop, will probably degrade the quality of your guitar.
Do not use plastic or PVC materials as paddings if the guitar would be sent to a long journey, these will damage the lacquer finish if left in contact for too long.
Cut off extra wires on the headstock, keep it neat.
Outside the case-
Of course, finding a box to fit the case or a thick bubble-wrap paddings is definitely necessary , but on top of that, there is something more important to consider.
I'll be brutally honest with you.
My very first guitar that i sold was sent in the similar way i was sending it today with only one thing different - No 'FRAGILE' tapes. That poor baby was single-handedly thrown like a potato sack a meter high into the back of the van. Approaching the courier man politely, he explains that there was no single mentioning on the packaging that says it's fragile or should be handled with care. That idiot must have never touched a guitar all his life, but either way I've learned an important lesson. ALWAYS USE FRAGILE TAPES
Luckily enough, the guitar arrived safely without any damage, thanks to the thick layer of bubble-wraps and tough, durable case.
It doesn't matter what's outside really, just do your best to protect both guitar & case, but make sure the 'men' knows that there is something expensive and fragile you want to protect in there, make it stand out, otherwise it'll have better chance being treated like any other parcels.
Always use the fastest service available. I always opt for 24-hour delivery whenever possible. The less time it is with the courier, the less risk it has being damaged. Simple
It doesn't necessarily cost a fortune. There's a lot of courier agents these days offering cheap prices for collecting & sending your parcels, preferably those on ebay. Look for the one with additional insurance cover. It's a straightforward business actually, the agents bought the bookings in bundle to get a very low price, then sell it to you so they can make some money out of it. Plus that, they are personally responsible to any queries and after sales service. Try asking questions-even the dumb ones-just so you know that the customer service is responsive and reliable. Depending on the value of your guitar & destination [hence insurance], you can go as low as £5.99 to £49.99, and save up to 80% from going straight to the courier.
This is the tricky one. Most people like me have no time to spare waiting all day for the courier to come at the uncertain between 9-to-5 period. Consider to arrange collection at work, leave it with your neighbour etc. Don't be shy, come on. Remember why you never got a chance with Sally the hot chick back in the highschool? Shy.. yeah.. that's why.
Well that's basically everything as far as i can remember to always practice when sending these precious babies out.
Feel free to click the 'yes' button if you find this guide helpful, thank you.