Reasonably safe to ship tube amp?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by babecker, Jun 11, 2003.

  1. babecker


    Mar 7, 2002
    Sykesville, MD
    I'd like some input from some of you experienced with sending tube amps through the mail. Here's the deal:

    I just purchased a rack-mounted SVT-II (non-pro) from a guy in Pittsburgh, which is about 4-4.5 hours away. Now, my dilemma is whether to drive out to Pittsburgh and pick the amp up in person or just have him ship it. I don't mind paying the shipping costs, but I'm concerned with the possibility of damage to the amp during the course of getting it delivered. It's a damn heavy piece of equipment and if they dropped it, it'd quickly become a pretty pricey retube venture, not to mention the other damage that could ensue.

    So what's the call? If you were me, would you spend an entire day driving 9 hours roundtrip to pick it up, or just bite the bullet and have it shipped?

    Thanks for any help.:cool:
  2. rumblethump

    rumblethump Supporting Member

    Mar 25, 2000
    Pioneer CA. 95666
    I vote, PICK IT UP. Enjoy the drive. The UPS Monkeys will destroy it unless its boxed incredibly well. I speak from experience. I had a Fender 400 PS destroyed in transit. :bawl:

    I changed my mind about selling my tube amp because it was too dangerous to trust those guys.

    Besides, if you pick it up in person you can be sure its as advertised.
  3. babecker


    Mar 7, 2002
    Sykesville, MD
    Thanks for the advice.:cool:

    Yeah, I had UPS completely shatter the bottom of a cabinet that I received. Although, to be fair, it wasn't all UPS' fault -- the jackass who packed it just stuck it in a box with the casters still on it. Needless to say, I received a cabinet with four casters punched through the bottom ply of the cab.


    Any other insights?
  4. wblaze


    Apr 26, 2003
    Boston, MA
    I had a 70's V4-B shipped to me that arrived with a LOUD *thunk* on my porch (thanks UPS) and 2 of the power tubes smashed to bits. The packer neglected to protect the tubes in any way.

    Better to pick it up, or have the seller remove the tubes and pack them seperately!

  5. I've shipped tube amps to Hong Kong without any trouble, but I had to pack the crap out of them - foam pieces cut to exact shape, double-boxed, etc. If he isn't going to pack it that well, then you'd better go pick it up. It has got to be held in place and have at least 4 inches of surrounding material. To do it right, he'd need a huge block of stiff foam that he could gouge out to hold the amp perfectly, or about 40 feet of egg crate foam to wrap around it repeatedly.

  6. babecker


    Mar 7, 2002
    Sykesville, MD
    Thanks for the input. I think I'll play it safe just take a little road trip to tone city.

  7. Ahhhson

    Ahhhson Guest

    Jun 5, 2003
    ALBANY NY 518
    why were the casters above the bottom ply to begin with?
  8. babecker


    Mar 7, 2002
    Sykesville, MD
    The casters were on the bottom of the cabinet as usual, and when the cab was dropped in transit the casters were forced up through the bottom of the cabinet.
  9. Deano Destructo

    Deano Destructo Music Man/Upton addict. Hasn't slept since 1979. Supporting Member

    Dec 10, 2000
    Austin, TX
    I shipped all my gear, (2 cabs, head, etc.) to Seattle, Wa. from Austin, Tx. when I moved here by UPS and it all made it pretty well in tact. Though if there are any doubts in your mind go pick it up. Although even ground your talking about it only being in transit around 36 hours or so I would think. Not much time to destroy it. UPS insurance is around a nickel for every dollar so just insure the sucker and have it shipped ground. You'll pay the same in gas money as shipping costs it sounds like.;)
  10. Richard Lindsey

    Richard Lindsey

    Mar 25, 2000
    Metro NYC
    Just have the guy take the tubes out, pad them well, and pack them separately. They can go in a separate box, and USPS Priority Mail is pretty cheap. Guitar players do this all the time. Once you take the tubes out, I don't know that tube amps are much more fragile, if at all, than SS amps.

    Unless you like driving?
  11. rayzak


    Jan 13, 2001
    Louisville, KY
    Back a few months ago I bought an Aggie DB359 from some dude in N. Carolina (I live in Indy), he didn't pack it very well, an oversized box and some foam peanuts, but not enough to protect it if it was dropped hard. Fortunately, it made it to me without a hitch. It all depends on the packing. If you don't know this guy or he doesn't work at a music store, I say make a road trip out of it. Grab a buddy and make a day of it. Good luck.