A guitar on a black amp on stage overlay
Posted in How-to on December 6, 2023
Georgia Michaelson

Born and raised in St. Louis, Georgia Michaelson is a content writer with a specialty in moving and traveling. Her tips can help you relocate without a fuss

How to Pack a Guitar for Shipping – A Step-by-Step Tutorial

Transporting string instruments safely and securely requires careful planning and proper packing to ensure they arrive at their destination in pristine condition. In this step-by-step tutorial on how to pack a guitar for shipping, we will guide you through the process of preparing the instrument to protect it from potential damage during transit. So, let’s dive in and learn how to safeguard a cherished six-string companion for the journey ahead.

When it comes to how to ship an acoustic guitar, it requires careful packing, using materials like a hard case, padding, and a relocation box. White glove movers offer expert services for secure transport. Insuring and tracking shipments is also vital. Common mistakes to avoid include inadequate padding and not double-boxing. Preparation, especially for vintage guitars, ensures safe delivery.

The Importance of Properly Packing a Guitar

Guitars, be they acoustic or electric, often hold a special place in the hearts of their owners. Beyond their musical utility, they often carry significant sentimental value, sometimes being passed down through generations or closely tied to cherished memories. Additionally, guitars can have substantial financial worth, with some models and vintage instruments fetching substantial prices in the market.

The average price of a guitar in 2021 was $606.

Consequently, when it comes to how to package a guitar for shipping, the stakes are high. Improper packing can have devastating consequences. A poorly packaged instrument is at risk of damage during transit, potentially resulting in costly repairs or even irreversible harm. Therefore, understanding how to pack a guitar for shipment is not just a matter of logistics – it’s a safeguard for both the sentimental and financial value of these cherished instruments.

Find your best moving solution in 2 clicks Get A Quote

Materials You’ll Need

When preparing to pack guitars for moving, assembling the right packaging materials is crucial for ensuring its safe move. Start with sturdy, padded hard cases to house guitars securely. This is the primary protective layer that will shield the instrument from external forces.

Additionally, gather bubble wrap to provide cushioning, packaging paper to wrap guitars, tape for sealing the package securely, and fragile item stickers to alert handlers to the delicate contents. These essential items form the foundation of a well-prepared package that can withstand the rigors of relocating.

Selecting the Right Guitar Case

Selecting the appropriate case is paramount when it comes to packing guitars for moving. A sturdy, padded hard case is the gold standard for protecting the instrument during transit. These cases are designed to absorb impact and provide a rigid, protective shell around the guitar, shielding it from knocks, bumps, and changes in temperature and humidity.

Soft gig bags, while convenient for everyday use, do not offer the same level of protection and are not recommended for transport. Investing in a quality hard case is an essential step in ensuring your instrument arrives at its new home unscathed, preserving both its physical and tonal integrity.

Additional Packing Supplies

In addition to the primary packing materials mentioned earlier, there are a few other supplies that can enhance the safety of the instrument during transport. Consider acquiring foam padding or foam sheets to provide extra cushioning inside the case. If the case is not a snug fit in the box, you may need additional packaging materials like foam peanuts or foam inserts to fill any gaps and prevent movement.

These supplies can help ensure that the guitar remains securely in place throughout its journey. You can typically find these additional packaging supplies at office supply stores, moving supply retailers, or online on sites like Craigslist, making it easy to gather everything you need for a secure shipment.

Packing supplies
You will need packaging supplies in order to properly pack the instrument

Preparing the Guitar for Shipping

Before placing your instrument inside its protective case, it’s essential to take several steps to prepare the instrument itself. These measures ensure that the guitar is adequately secured and shielded during transit, reducing the risk of damage.

Protecting the Headstock and Neck

The guitar’s headstock and neck are among its most vulnerable parts, and they require extra attention and protection during the packing process. Begin by loosening the strings to reduce tension on the neck, preventing potential damage or warping during transport. Next, use soft materials like bubble wrap or packaging paper or even foam padding to create a protective barrier around the headstock.

Ensure that it’s well-padded but not overly tight to avoid putting pressure on the headstock, which could lead to cracks or breaks. Additionally, provide extra padding around the neck and fretboard, securing it in place within the case. These precautions are vital because the headstock and neck are delicate and prone to damage if not adequately protected. Watch this video if you’d like more advice on how to loosen the strings on a guitar.

YouTube video

Step-by-Step Packing Guide – How to Pack a Guitar for Shipping

Now that you’ve gathered all packaging materials and prepared guitars, it’s time to follow a step-by-step guide to securely and efficiently pack them for transport.

Placing the Guitar in the Case

The first step of packing a guitar for shipping is carefully placing it in the case. Start by opening the case and ensure it’s clean and free of debris. Lay the case flat on a stable surface, such as a table or the floor, with the latches facing upward. Carefully place your prepped guitar into the case, ensuring it fits snugly without any excess movement.

Ensure that the guitar’s headstock is facing toward the headstock end of the case and the body of the instrument is positioned correctly. Add additional padding, such as bubble wrap or foam, to fill any gaps between the guitar and the case’s interior. This helps prevent any movement during transit. Close and latch the case securely, making sure it’s tightly sealed.

Sealing and Padding the Case

Once the instrument is placed in the case, you can move to the protection. Follow these steps to secure it properly:

  • Double-check that the instrument is securely in place inside the case,
  • Add more padding, if necessary, to ensure that it doesn’t shift or move within the case during transport. Focus on areas where there may be gaps or spaces,
  • Secure any loose items within the case, such as cables or accessories, to prevent them from causing damage during transit,
  • Close and latch the case once again, verifying that it’s tightly sealed.

Preparing the Outer Shipping Box

In the final step, preparing the outer moving box is essential to complete the packing process. Select a moving box that is slightly larger than the case, leaving enough room for packaging materials. Begin by placing a cushioned layer of packing peanuts, bubble wrap, or foam sheets at the bottom of the box. Carefully position the closed case into the box, ensuring it is centered and surrounded by the padding materials.

Fill any remaining gaps between the case and the outer box with additional packaging materials to immobilize the instrument and prevent it from shifting during transit in the moving truck. Finally, close and seal the outer box securely with strong tape and affix “fragile” stickers and moving labels to the box’s exterior. This meticulous attention to detail in the final packing stage will help ensure the instrument’s safe arrival.

A guitar in a case
Always ship guitars in their cases

Selecting a Shipping Carrier and Service

Choosing the right carrier and service is a crucial decision when transporting guitars. To ensure a reliable and safe journey for the instrument, consider a carrier with a strong reputation for handling delicate items like musical instruments. Check online reviews and ask for recommendations from fellow musicians or sellers who have shipped guitars.

Additionally, consider factors like speed and cost. While expedited services may offer faster delivery, they can be more expensive. Evaluate priorities and choose a service that aligns with your moving budget and delivery timeframe.

Insurance and Tracking

When transporting valuable items like guitars, it’s highly advisable to invest in insurance coverage. Insurance provides financial protection in case of loss or damage during transit. Most carriers offer insurance options, and it’s worth considering coverage that matches the instrument’s value. Additionally, tracking the shipment is essential for peace of mind. Tracking allows you to monitor the progress as your guitar makes its way to its destination, ensuring you can address any issues promptly and know exactly when it will arrive. Together, insurance and tracking provide a safety net and visibility into the relocation process.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

While transporting guitars, there are several common moving mistakes that individuals often make. Avoiding these errors is essential for ensuring the instrument’s safety during transit. One frequent mistake is inadequate padding. Failing to use enough padding and cushioning material can leave guitars vulnerable to damage from bumps and shocks during transport.

Another common error is not double-boxing the guitar. Using only the case without an outer moving box can expose the instrument to potential accidents and mishandling during its journey. To safeguard it properly, it’s vital to steer clear of these and other common pitfalls.

Inadequate Padding Means Higher Risk of Damage

One of the most critical aspects of packing guitars is ensuring that they’re adequately padded. Inadequate padding can result in damage caused by the instrument shifting inside the case during transit or from external impacts. To prevent this, use ample padding materials such as bubble wrap, foam, or packing peanuts.

Focus on areas where there may be gaps or empty spaces, ensuring that the guitar is snugly secured within the case. Proper padding not only cushions the instrument against physical harm but also absorbs shock and vibration, minimizing the risk of any potential damage during transport.

Not Double-Boxing Equals Much Less Protection

Not double-boxing a guitar is another common mistake that can lead to damage during transport. While a case provides excellent protection, it may not be sufficient to withstand the rigors of shipping on its own. Using an outer relocation box adds an extra layer of protection by creating a buffer zone that absorbs impacts and protects the case from being crushed or punctured.

This extra step significantly reduces the risk of damage caused by rough handling or accidents in transit. Always remember that the outer shipping box acts as a shield for the precious item, making it an indispensable part of the packaging process.

A man sealing a box
Double boxing adds an additional layer of protection

Hiring Long-Distance Movers Will Make the Whole Process Easier

When it comes to navigating the complexities of a long-distance move, enlisting the expertise of long-distance movers, especially those offering white glove moving services, can prove to be a game-changing decision. These dedicated professionals are well-versed in the intricacies of long-distance relocations and go above and beyond to ensure a seamless and stress-free experience. What sets white glove moving companies apart is their comprehensive approach to the moving process.

Not only do they handle the transportation of your belongings, but they also offer an array of invaluable long-distance moving services that can greatly simplify the move. From packing services that ensure all items are meticulously and securely packed for the journey to storage services that provide flexibility during transitions, these additional offerings can be indispensable.

Our Services

Auto Transport

Move your car across the country in an open or enclosed trailer – for an affordable fee. We offer car transport as a standalone service, but you can bundle it with your household move and get a hefty discount.

Learn more Learn more

Packing Service

Sit back and relax. We’ve got packing services covered. We use moving blankets, shrink wrap, bubble wrap, and even custom wooden crating. We will protect and carefully handle your stuff during the move.

Learn more Learn more

Furthermore, a white glove moving company often provides moving insurance options to safeguard your possessions in case of unforeseen events, offering you peace of mind throughout the entire moving process. By entrusting the long-distance move to these professionals, you not only streamline the logistics but also ensure that all cherished belongings are treated with the care and attention they deserve, making the move easier and the entire journey significantly more manageable and worry-free.

Long-distance movers carrying boxes
Hire professional movers to make the move stress-free

Ensuring a Safe Journey for Your Beloved Guitar

Whether you’re an avid musician, a collector, or a seller, this tutorial equips you with the knowledge and techniques needed to ensure your instrument arrives at its destination in perfect condition, ready to continue making beautiful music. Mastering the art of packing a guitar for shipping through this step-by-step tutorial is an essential skill for anyone moving a cherished instrument. And, of course, if you want to ensure that your guitars will arrive safely in a new home, hiring professional movers is the way to go. So, contact us at Long Distance Movers and allow us to take care of your precious six-string possessions.


What Type of Case Is Best for Shipping a Guitar?

A sturdy, padded hard case is the best choice as it provides the highest level of protection.

How Do I Calculate Shipping Costs?

Shipping costs depend on factors like distance, weight, and moving service. You can calculate them using online calculators or consult with a moving carrier for accurate quotes.

Can I Leave the Strings Tightened During Shipping?

It’s recommended to loosen the strings during shipping to relieve tension on the neck and prevent potential damage.

Should I Remove Any Accessories From the Guitar?

Yes, it’s wise to remove accessories like straps, capos, and tuners to prevent them from scratching or damaging the guitar during transit.

What Should I Do If My Guitar Arrives Damaged?

If your guitar arrives damaged, document the damage with photos, contact the carrier, and file a claim for compensation.

Can I Ship Multiple Guitars Together?

Yes, you can ship multiple guitars together, but each should be properly packed and protected to avoid damage.

What Kind of Packing Material Should I Avoid?

Avoid using packing material with strong adhesives, as it can damage the instrument’s finish or leave residue.

How Far in Advance Should I Prepare My Guitar for Shipping?

It’s advisable to start preparing for the move well in advance to ensure a thorough and careful packing process.

Are There Any Special Considerations for Vintage Guitars?

Yes, vintage guitars may require extra care, and it’s essential to use appropriate packing materials and consider their value when insuring them during shipping.

Get a Quote

We Cover

© Copyright 2022 Long Distance Movers. All Rights Reserved.
Get a Free Estimate 323-949-2929