How to Pack a Guitar for Shipping or Moving

For many guitarists, the thought of shipping a guitar via FedEx® or UPS® can be a frightening one. After all, guitars are fragile items usually with both monetary and sentimental value for their owners. It’s understandable that guitar players may want to take extra precautions when shipping a guitar. If you want to ensure that your prized axe gets from point A to point B in the best possible condition, the best thing you can do is use the right packing supplies and packing methods. That way, you can rest assured that your guitar arrives at its destination looking and sounding its best.

An Ahadhi custom finish electric guitar is displayed alongside a U-Haul Lamp Box, Furniture Pads, Enviro-Bubble and Packing Peanuts.

Guitar shipping and moving box (without case)

To make shipping, moving or storing an electric or acoustic guitar simple and effective, we’ve put together a guitar packing kit that comes with all the essential supplies you will need to pack a guitar without a hard case or gig bag.

Supplies Included in the Guitar Packing Kit:

  • 1 U-Haul Lamp Box (12” x 12” x 40”)
  • 3 Furniture Pads
  • 1 Box of Enviro-Bubble (100’ of bubble protection)
  • 1 Roll of Packing Paper (70 Sheets)
  • 1 Roll of Mover’s Stretch Wrap with Dispensing Handle (1000’ x 5”)
  • 1 Roll of Box Paper Tape (30 Yards)

How to pack a guitar without a case

Packing a guitar for shipping without a case may seem counterintuitive, but as long as you utilize the right packing supplies, it can be done. Utilize the recommended supplies that come in our guitar packing kit and follow the steps below to pack a guitar for shipping without a hard-shell case or gig bag.

An electric guitar getting prepped for shipping with Packing Paper underneath the strings and Enviro-Bubble around the headstock.

1. Prep the guitar

  • Start by detaching any removable components, like a capo, whammy bar (or tremolo bridge), clip-on tuner or strap/strap locks.
  • Loosen the strings and place a folded sheet of Packing Paper between the strings and fretboard. This prevents the strings from rubbing against the fretboard and causing fret wear.
  • Protect the headstock and tuning machines by tightly wrapping a sheet of Enviro-Bubble® around the headstock. Secure the sheet using Mover’s Wrap (using Mover’s Wrap instead of tape won’t leave behind any sticky residue).

An electric guitar wrapped in a Furniture Pad and Enviro-Bubble, getting ready to be packed in a shipping box.

2. Wrap the guitar

  • Unfold a Furniture Pad and place it on a flat surface. Lay the guitar in the center of the pad, then fold the pad over the guitar on all four sides.
  • Tightly wrap the padded guitar in Enviro-Bubble® with as much as you think is necessary to fully cushion the guitar. Secure the Enviro-Bubble® using Mover’s Wrap.
  • For extra protection, separately wrap the top and bottom of the guitar a second time using Enviro-Bubble® and Mover’s Wrap so that no portion of the pad/guitar is exposed.

A guitar that is completed wrapped and packed in a box for shipping.

3. Pack the guitar

  • Place one end of an unfolded Furniture Pad in the Lamp Box so that it’s lying flat on the bottom. Lower the guitar into the box; use the other end of the Furniture Pad to fill void space.
  • While holding the guitar in place with one hand, use the other hand to wedge a second Furniture Pad in the empty space around the guitar.
  • Do the same thing with the final Furniture Pad on the other side of the guitar, filling the empty space so that the guitar won’t shift while it’s in the box. Adjust the pads as needed.
  • The guitar should be snug in the center of the box with minimal shifting space. If you want extra protection, fill any empty space at the top of the box with extra sheets of Enviro-Bubble® or Packing Peanuts (optional).

4. Secure and seal the box

  • Before taping the flaps, give the entire box a firm shake or two. If you can feel the guitar moving, you may need to adjust the Furniture Pads or add additional packing material.
  • When you’re satisfied, seal the box using several strips of Box Tape.

An Ahadi custom finish electric guitar being displayed alongside a U-Haul Sport Utility Box, Furniture Pads, Enviro-Bubble and Packing Peanuts.

Guitar shipping and moving box (with case)

If you’ve already got a case, great! But to make shipping, moving or storing an electric guitar and case even more safe, we’ve compiled a guitar packing kit that comes with all the essential supplies you will need to pack a guitar and its hard case or gig bag.

Supplies Included in the Guitar Packing Kit:

  • 1 U-Haul Sport Utility Box (15” x 15” x 48”)
  • 4 Furniture Pads
  • 1 Box of Enviro-Bubble (100’ of bubble protection)
  • 1 Roll of Packing Paper (70 Sheets)
  • 1 Roll of Mover’s Stretch Wrap with Dispensing Handle (1000’ x 5”)
  • 1 Roll of Box Paper Tape (30 Yards)

How to pack a guitar in a case

Packing a guitar that’s in a case isn’t much different than packing just a guitar. Keep in mind that you will need a larger box; the Sport Utility Box is an ideal size for standard 40-inch guitar cases. Follow the steps below and use the recommended supplies that come in our guitar packing kit to properly pack a guitar in a hard case.

An electric guitar being prepped for shipping.

1. Prep the guitar/case

  • Follow the steps listed above to prep your guitar and its case for shipping.
  • For added protection, crumble extra sheets of Packing Paper or newspaper and place them in the empty spaces in the case (optional).

A hard guitar case that is wrapped in Enviro-Bubble, ready to be packed in a shipping box.

2. Wrap the case

  • Stand the case upright, then wrap the exterior in Enviro-Bubble®. Use as much as you feel is necessary – one layer should be the minimum amount.
  • Secure the Enviro-Bubble® with Mover’s Wrap using as much as you feel is necessary. The goal is to keep the Enviro-Bubble® firmly in place and leave as little of the case exposed as possible.
  • For extra protection, separately wrap the top and bottom of the guitar case a second time using Enviro-Bubble and Mover’s Wrap so that no portion of the case is exposed.

A top-angle view of a guitar case that is completely wrapped and packed in a shipping box, ready to be shipped.

3. Pack the case

  • Place one end of an unfolded Furniture Pad in the Sport Utility Box; make sure it’s lying flat at the bottom. Lower the case into the box; use the other end of the pad to fill void space.
  • Hold the case upright in the center of the box with one hand and use the other to wedge a Furniture Pad in the empty space on the side. Repeat this step on the other side.
  • The case should be snug in the center. Adjust all three pads as needed so there is minimal shifting and the pads are about flush with the case at the top of the box (see photo above).

4. Secure and seal the box

  • Before taping the flaps, give the entire box a firm shake to ensure that the case doesn’t rattle around too much. Since the guitar is in a case, some movement is okay. Adjust the pads as needed.
  • After you’re satisfied, use several strips of Box Tape to seal the box shut.

An acoustic guitar case and U-Haul packing supplies set up on display.

Packing an acoustic guitar for shipping

Need to pack an acoustic guitar for shipping? Follow the same steps listed above and use the same packing supplies, just remember to accommodate the larger sized body with a larger box. Below are the recommended boxes for packing an acoustic guitar with or without the case:

  • Acoustic guitar WITHOUT the case: Sport Utility Box
  • Acoustic guitar WITH the case: Wardrobe Box (18” x 21” x 46”)

How much does it cost to ship a guitar?

Different couriers often have different shipping rates and policies. But in most cases, the cost of shipping a guitar depends on two primary factors:

  • Distance – In-state shipping is cheaper than out of state and international shipping. Couriers often use zip codes to calculate the distance.
  • Weight – Most major couriers use the actual weight or the dimensional weight – whichever is greater – to calculate shipping costs.

Dimensional weight measures how much space the box will occupy in relation to its actual weight. You can get an idea of your guitar/box’s dimensional weight by multiplying your package’s length times width times height, then dividing that number by a divisor (usually 139 for domestic shipping).

U-Haul boxes have their dimensions listed on the side; each box’s dimension is also listed throughout this guide for added convenience. So to find the dimensional weight of shipping a Lamp Box via FedEx® (whose divisor for domestic shipping is 139), multiply the dimensions (12” x 12” x 40”) then divide the total by 139. The dimensional weight is 42 lb.

If your guitar is valuable, you may want to consider adding insurance (offered by most major couriers). This will add to your cost, but it may be worth it, as it protects against damaged, stolen or lost packages.

Pack and ship a guitar today

With the right supplies, packing a guitar for shipping is easier than you might imagine. If you’re ready to pack your guitar and send it on its way, shop for your guitar box and other guitar packing supplies today!

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