reliable couriers etc for sending guitars & amps in the uk?

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reliable couriers etc for sending guitars & amps in the uk?

Postby tabbycat » 17 May 2015, 03:50

hey the cafe crowd,

i sold a couple of guitars on fleabay this week (hard times!) which i have to send from the south of england to 'up north' (uk) and wondered if anyone can recommend any companies here that are particularly suited to dealing with packages of this size and vulnerability? one is a semi-acoustic so am especially concerned for that. i don't think that would suit being bashed or thrown around at all. also intend to sell an amp this summer, to which the same question will apply.
my budget is £20 per guitar and they need to be insured for a couple of hundred. other than that my options are wide open.

also, am going to remove the necks and smother in bubbles and thick card (make a box to fit out of the good thick card that triumph motorbikes come in, bike dealership down the road) but are there any other things i should think about when packing a guitar to send?

i've never bought or sent a guitar by post so don't want to mess up. also thought this might be a subject that others here have to deal with at some point, so thought it might be good to pool ideas into a general info resource thread here.

many thanks for any suggestions, thoughts, ideas.
"be a good animal, true to your instincts" (d.h. lawrence).
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Re: reliable couriers etc for sending guitars & amps in the

Postby deltafred » 17 May 2015, 10:34

I've had quite a few guitars delivered by courier and one by the Post Office and haven't had a problem with any. I think that good packing is the secret. It sounds like you intend to make a good job of it so you shouldn't have any problems.

The last one I got was a Tanglewood Violin bass via UPS, delivery was scheduled for Wednesday but it arrived 4 days early. Being hollow bodied I was a bit worried that it would be rather delicate but it was still in tune when I unpacked it.
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Re: reliable couriers etc for sending guitars & amps in the

Postby soulsonic » 17 May 2015, 16:40

+1 to careful packing. I've posted several guitars over the years, and never had trouble with one arriving damaged. I always use a guitar shipping box - you can usually find these at a local music store, they tend to keep a few in the back. Some stores will give one up for free, others might sell it to you. Shipping it with its original case is usually the best way to go too. If the guitar is packed well inside the case, then you should be fairly safe regardless of the box you put it in.

I sold an Eko Florentine last year, which is a rather delicate hollow body, and I shipped it in its original chipboard acoustic-style case. I wrapped bubble wrap around the most of the guitar and used newspaper to pad out the rest of the interior so the guitar wouldn't move about at all. It's important to mind that the neck is well secured and won't bang forward and back while moving around. After it was packed well in the case, I used a nice Taylor acoustic guitar box to ship it. The Taylor and Martin boxes are very good and include interior pieces that support the case very well inside. If you're shipping anything with an acoustic style case, I highly recommend those boxes. Be sure they include the interior supports if you get one of these boxes from a music store! I usually pack the area between the case and box with newspaper or foam peanuts (if I happen to have a bunch handy from things I've received - they are rather expensive to buy new, unless you're buying huge amounts in bulk).

If you're shipping a guitar without a case, it's a little trickier, but it is still possible. Music stores will also have shipping boxes just for guitars with no case - these boxes have thinner dimensions and will include some kind of inner box that is usually a sort of trapezoid shape. Just pack the guitar carefully into the inner box, and the outer box should do fine for keeping it safe. I usually fill these with newspaper too.

I've sent almost all my guitars through the postal service and it was fine. I've used FedEx a couple times, but I now only use them if the purchaser demands it, because they don't give any guarantees for instruments arriving safely - they're actually the worst service to deal with, in my experience. For example: I once sold a Teisco K-2 bass (really cool bass) - I had put "Free FedEx Shipping" in the auction to sweeten the deal. Well, it sold and I felt it would probably be best to just take the bass to the FedEx center and have them pack it up, thinking that this would give me the most assurance that it was packed well and safely. I get there, and they refuse to pack it, they say, "we don't pack any musical instruments, company policy". And then he went on to say that they can't make any guarantees that it won't be damaged, etc... after him telling me all about how using them adds no value, I asked, "So, why would I pay more to have you ship it instead of just going to the Post Office?" He just shrugged his shoulders and gave this "I dunno" look. That was the last time I ever shipped a guitar with FedEx.
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Re: reliable couriers etc for sending guitars & amps in the

Postby okgb » 18 May 2015, 17:46

Pack like you expect it to be dropped or thrown from six feet up and survive.

I recently bought a les paul type guitar came with a hard shell case, the fellow " made " a cardboard
box around it [ not rectangular ] BUT used 1 inch styro foam sheets to totally cover the cardboard box
and packing tape to totally cover the styro foam and hold it together , water proofed.
You feel how the stryo absorbed bumps as you carried , best packing ever I thought.
also this side up markings for the headstock .
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Re: reliable couriers etc for sending guitars & amps in the

Postby tabbycat » 18 May 2015, 21:23

many thanks for the tips and recommendations deltafred, soulsonic and okgb.

have just put myself through a marathon box building sesh (box within a box) so it's two layers of thick corrugated card with two layers of big bubbles between. should be pretty solid.
am going with parcelforce since no one seemed to say anything bad about them. and offices open all day rather than waiting for the pickup person to never arrive when they say they will. may cost a few p more but am not looking to make lolly off the postage, just want the guitar there in perfect order and in good time.

we shall see.
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Re: reliable couriers etc for sending guitars & amps in the

Postby soulsonic » 18 May 2015, 23:03

Another tip I learned while working for Weber about shipping amps: if you're shipping a combo amp, have it upside-down in the box. This puts all the heaviest parts on the bottom, giving it a lower center of gravity, which helps the box stay upright and not fall over. Be sure to include arrows showing which way is up! :D
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Re: reliable couriers etc for sending guitars & amps in the

Postby tabbycat » 19 May 2015, 15:47

Hermes is a god of transitions and boundaries. He is quick and cunning, and moves freely between the worlds of the mortal and divine, as emissary and messenger of the gods...

but check the small print before asking him to carry a musical instrument for you:
https://www.myhermes.co.uk/help/carry-guide.html

or indeed anything. pretty comprehensive 'catch-all cop-out' policy.
"be a good animal, true to your instincts" (d.h. lawrence).
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"ni dieu ni maître" (anarchist slogan).
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Re: reliable couriers etc for sending guitars & amps in the

Postby soulsonic » 19 May 2015, 19:30

Dammit, I will have to find someone else to deliver my filth. :lol:
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Re: reliable couriers etc for sending guitars & amps in the

Postby soulsonic » 19 May 2015, 19:35

I wonder if muck counts as filth. :hmmm:

And Dreugh Wax? I'm looking to send some of that.
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Re: reliable couriers etc for sending guitars & amps in the

Postby Ice-9 » 20 May 2015, 12:14

I have recently bought 3 different guitars from a well know guitar shop via the website store, these were all shipped to me using DHL. All three arrived in perfect condition. I don't know how much DHL would charge but they pick up from your door, and give you a pick up time '1 hour window' on the day of pickup/delivery . They have a web site.
It's fairly straight forward, if you want to start it , press start. You can work out the rest of the controls for yourself !

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Re: reliable couriers etc for sending guitars & amps in the

Postby sinner » 20 May 2015, 13:27

There's no such thing as reliable courier. Reliable packing only. Last time I've paid 15 for a courier and 30 for packing and the amp arrived in working order across Europe
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Re: reliable couriers etc for sending guitars & amps in the

Postby soulsonic » 20 May 2015, 16:48

+1 to DHL.
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Re: reliable couriers etc for sending guitars & amps in the

Postby okgb » 20 May 2015, 21:05

- 1,000 to UPS ! [ never use ! ]
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