How to ship a guitar without a case

Shipping a guitar can be a daunting task, especially when you don’t have a case to protect it during transportation. However, sometimes shipping a guitar without a case is inevitable.

Whether you’re selling a guitar online, sending it for repairs, or simply relocating, you need to take extra precautions to ensure that your instrument arrives safely at its destination.

In this article, we will provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to ship a guitar without a case, so you can rest assured that your beloved instrument will reach its destination unscathed.

Easy steps for shipping a guitar without a case

To ship a guitar safely without a case, follow these steps:

Loosen your guitar strings

If the strings are left tight during transit, they risk getting broken and causing damage to other parts of the instrument – so it’s best to loosen or remove them before packing.

Loosening the strings on the guitar will allow flexibility if something presses against it, reducing the chances of breakage. However, some people prefer to remove the strings entirely when shipping it without a case to be extra cautious.

It’s also important to slide something between the strings and frets if you don’t remove them entirely.

This will prevent any damage that could happen if something presses down on the guitar during shipping.

Once you’ve taken care of loosening or removing your guitar’s strings, it’s time to find a sturdy box that can protect your instrument from harm during transport.

Use a sturdy box

You want your precious instrument to arrive safely, so it’s time to find a proper box.

Look for a sturdy box that is slightly larger than the guitar itself. A snug fit is best, but make sure there is still enough room for padding.

When choosing a box, consider the material and strength of the cardboard. You don’t want the box to collapse or get crushed during shipping.

It’s also important to choose a box that has been previously used for shipping or purchase one specifically made for guitars, as they have extra reinforcement around the edges and corners.

Remember, the goal is to protect your guitar from any jostling or impact during transit, so take care to find a suitable container.

Pad your guitar

Now it’s time to protect your precious instrument by padding it with foam or bubble wrap, making sure to support the neck and vulnerable areas while ensuring a snug fit in the box.

Here are some tips to help you properly pad your guitar:

  • Start by placing foam or bubble wrap beneath the neck of the guitar, as this is one of the most fragile parts and needs proper support.
  • Wrap bubble wrap around the bridge and headstock for extra protection against damage.
  • Use newspaper, foam padding, or bubble wrap to fill gaps between the guitar and the box, ensuring it fits tightly and securely.

The more padding you add, the safer your guitar will be during transit and it’s not going to move around in the box.

Ensure every inch of your instrument is well-padded before moving on to the next step: wrapping it in multiple layers of bubble wrap.

Use bubble wrap

It’s time to give your instrument an extra layer of protection by wrapping around the guitar several layers of bubble wrap, ensuring that every inch is covered for a safe journey.

Start by wrapping the delicate parts, such as the headstock and tuners first, then move on to the guitar’s body. Use multiple layers of bubble wrap to ensure fine cushioning, and secure it with packing tape so that it doesn’t unravel during shipping.

It’s important to note that using brown paper or newspaper won’t provide enough protection to prevent the guitar from moving during transit.

Bubble wrap is essential for keeping your instrument safe from any bumps or knocks that may occur.

For added peace of mind, you can also place a piece of stiff card over any areas you are particularly worried about. Remember, taking these extra precautions will help ensure that your guitar arrives at its destination in perfect condition.

Secure your guitar inside the box

Ensuring the safe transport of your precious instrument requires proper securing of the box inside. After wrapping your guitar in multiple layers of bubble wrap, it’s time to secure it in the box.

Here are some tips on how to do so effectively:

  • Place padding beneath the neck to prevent any bending or snapping during transit.
  • Fill any gaps between the guitar and box interior with packing materials like foam padding or newspaper to prevent movement.
  • Use a sturdy box that fits your guitar snugly, leaving little room for any shifting during shipping.
  • Wrap loose parts separately and tape them onto their own separate container.
  • Double-check by shaking the box gently to see if there is any movement before sealing it shut.

Use a second box for extra protection

For ultimate peace of mind and protection, don’t skimp on adding a second box to safeguard your beloved instrument during transit. This step is particularly important if you are shipping guitars long distances or using unreliable carriers.

The second box provides extra cushioning and stability, reducing the risk of damage caused by rough handling or accidental drops. To add the second box, simply find a sturdy cardboard container that is slightly larger than the first one.

You can use packing materials like bubble wrap, foam padding, or even crumpled newspaper to fill any gaps between the two boxes.

Make sure there is no empty space left inside the outer box, as this could cause movement and lead to damage during transit.

Once both boxes have been securely taped shut, do a “shake test” before sending your guitar off to ensure that everything stays in place throughout its journey.

Do a “Shake Test”

Before you send off your guitar, do a shake test to ensure it arrives at its destination in one piece.

This simple step will help you determine whether or not your guitar is held securely in place inside the shipping box.

To perform a shake test, close up the box and give it a gentle shake. If you hear any movement or rattling sounds, then additional padding may be required.

Here are some key things to keep in mind when performing a shake test:

  • The guitar must be snug and padded on all sides
  • Fill any gaps with newspaper, bubble wrap, or foam padding
  • Check for loose parts and secure them separately if necessary

Performing this simple yet crucial step will help give you peace of mind knowing that your guitar is properly secured for its journey.

Check out this video for more details:

Packing material you can use when shipping a guitar

inside of the shipment box


Here’s a list of packing materials to consider when shipping your guitar:

Bubble wrap

Use bubble wrap to protect the headstock and tuners from hitting the hardshell case or other objects during transit. Cover the entire guitar headstock and use rubber bands or packaging tape to keep it secure.

Newspaper or other sturdy paper

This is a cost-effective option that can be used to wrap the fretboard after removing the guitar strings. You can also use a folded piece of newspaper and slide it between the strings and the frets. It can also be used to protect the pickups.

Foam padding

Ready-made foam padding is a great option for those who have a budget for packing materials. It provides excellent protection and can be used to wrap the fretboard or slip under the loosened strings. It can also be used to cover the top of the guitar before putting it in the shipping box.

Do you need a special shipping box for a guitar?

You may be surprised to learn that you don’t need any special box to transport your beloved instrument safely. An ordinary shipping box can do the job just fine.

However, it’s important to note that a snug fit is ideal for protecting the guitar during shipping. A larger box not only increases the risk of getting damaged due to movement but also requires more packing materials and will cost more to mail.

To avoid these risks, take the time to find a box that fits your guitar snugly. You can modify the box by creating a wedge shape that supports the neck or simply add extra padding if needed.

Remember, finding the right size and shape of a shipping box is crucial in ensuring your guitar arrives at its destination unscathed.

Most common guitar shipping damages

A sudden change in temperature may affect the wood and finish in different ways. Common guitar parts that may get damaged during shipping are headstock and truss rod. Some guitarists recommend waiting for 24h before opening the package during cold winter days. Some light damages, such as fret buzzing, can be easily fixed at home, while others may need help from a professional.


Properly packing your guitar is crucial to ensure it arrives safely when shipping it to another location. By using cost-effective materials such as newspaper or sturdy paper, bubble wrap, or ready-made foam padding, you can effectively protect your guitar during transit.

Remember to use enough packing material to secure the guitar throughout the journey. With a little care and attention, you can safely ship your guitar without a case and be confident that it will arrive at its destination in good condition.


Is it better to ship a guitar with a case?

If you’re looking for the safest way to protect your instrument during shipping, using a guitar case may be the best option for you.

Cases are designed specifically to keep guitars safe from damage, with padded interiors and hard exteriors that can withstand knocks and bumps.

If you choose to ship with a case, it may also eliminate the need for a second box.

While cases provide an extra layer of protection and make packing easier, they also add to the shipping weight and cost. If you’re trying to save money on shipping costs, sending your guitar without a case is possible but requires extra care in packing.

Is it cheaper to ship my guitar without a case?

It’s cheaper to send your instrument without a case, but keep in mind that placing it inside a heavy, hard shell case increases the cost of sending it by adding weight and dimensions to the package.

Shipping costs depend on how big and heavy the package is, as well as the target destination and duration of the shipment.

Can cloth be used for wrapping the guitar during packing?

When packing a guitar for shipping, it’s not recommended to use cloth as a wrapping material. Cloth doesn’t provide enough protection to the fragile components of the instrument, such as the headstock, neck, and bridge.

Instead, it’s best to use bubble wrap or foam padding to wrap these areas multiple times for added protection. The body of the guitar should also be secured with a larger quantity of wrapping material.

It’s important to pack the guitar snugly in its box and fill any spaces between the guitar, box interior, and outside with newspaper, bubble wrap or foam padding to avoid movement during transit.

How much does it cost to ship a guitar without a case?

Did you know that the cost of shipping a guitar without a case can range from $50 to over $200, depending on the shipping method and destination?

While it may seem like a more affordable option, it’s important to consider the potential costs of improper packing and damage to your instrument. Guitars are fragile and require careful handling during transport, and even small cracks or scratches can affect their sound quality.

It’s crucial to use good quality packing materials and proper techniques and conduct a shake test before shipping to ensure the safety of your guitar.

Read more:

How to remove stickers from a guitar?

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