How Do We Pack Guitars? (feat. Yamaha SA-700)

Posted by Team Topshelf on

We get asked how we pack and ship our guitars all the heckin' time. We've decided we should probably go through our process so you can be at ease when your gear is in transit. Here's how we pack our guitars...

image: yamaha sa-700 headstock de-tuned

1.) Prep the guitar/bass

First thing we do when a guitar sells online is get the guitar ready to go out the door. We take it off the wall and check whether it has a hard case or gig bag that it needs to leave in. We pair it with the case or bag and de-tune the guitar to loosen the tension on the neck from the strings. We also do a quick check over to make sure nothing strange has happened to the guitar while it's been on display.

image: box with layer of bubble wrap

2.) Pack the guitar inside the box/hard case

We receive a number of guitars from Japan weekly so we usually have a good supply of boxes to reuse. We also have our own flat-packed boxes we assemble if we run out. Whenever we ship something with strange dimensions, we have to build our own boxes which has resulted in some pretty sketchy looking packs. Rest easy though! We always make sure the gear is tucked away and secure.

It's sort of like making a sandwich... We add a couple layers of bubble wrap, put the guitar (bag or no bag) inside the box and pack it in tightly with paper. We use Japanese newspaper because we have heaps of it, and it's pretty cool when shipping with MIJ guitars. We make sure the guitar isn't moving around in the box then we put a couple layers of bubble wrap over the top.

image: guitar inside gig bag packed into boximage: guitar packed into box with bubble wrap

When packing this SA-700, the padded gig bag meant the guitar was slightly too wide for the box so it wouldn't close fully. Easy fix! We just added an extra cardboard insert to close that gap and now it can be sealed.

image: guitar packed into box with cardboard insert

2.5.) Packing guitars in hard cases

Our process with hard cases varies based on the size of it. In some cases (ha), such as with stratocaster and telecaster hard cases, the case will often fit inside our boxes. This makes the packing really quick and easy. We pack the guitar inside the hard case and use packing paper to fill any gaps that allow the guitar to move around. We still de-tune the strings to relieve tension on the neck.

Often, however, we don't have a box for the case. In these situations, we pack the de-tuned guitar into its case so it's secure. Then, we use our conveniently massive roll of bubble wrap to wrap the case until it's thoroughly padded. We tuck the excess bubble wrap on the top and bottom in for extra padding on the top and bottom of the case.

3.) Seal, book, send

Now we have a packed up guitar, we just seal up the box with tape, sometimes quite generously if it's an unusual fit. We also add fragile tape hoping it will actually mean something to freight companies.

We then book the shipment with the courier service. As of when this was written, we're using A.P./Jet Couriers within Tasmania, A.P./TNT within Australia and DHL Express for international shipments.

Once booked, we print out the shipping labels and affix them to the box. We put one on both sides just in the case that one falls off during transit.

Every shipment that leaves here is insured through a third-party, so if anything goes wrong along the way, refunds/repairs can and will be arranged.

image: front and back photos of guitar box

4.) Order fulfilled

We mark the order as fulfilled and the customer is provided with a tracking number so they can eagerly check its status while waiting for its arrival.

Now, this SA-700 is now on its way to a new home. Wish it well!

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