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Shipping a Double Bass from USA to Canada

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by jmlee, Nov 29, 2020.


  1. jmlee

    jmlee Catgut? Not funny. Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2005
    Halifax, Nova Scotia
    Does anyone here have recent experience with shipping a double bass from the USA up to Canada? My new bass is about ready to go (from Connecticut to Nova Scotia) and I think my builder is getting significantly more complexity from his shipping agent than makes sense. I'd like to simplify both our lives if anyone has experience or suggestions of where I might look for a good alternative. Thanks!
     
  2. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Augusta GA
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Without you going into what you assess as "complexities", it's hard to say. What's the VAT situation with importing into Canada? Are there any product restrictions on non-manufactured goods (like fees put in place to help protect local craftspeople)? Any issues with materials used (i.e. provenance to prove non-endangered species, etc.)
    I was going to tag Nick Lloyd, but it looks like he's not on this site any more. Check with James Condino maybe...
     
  3. bassmanbrent

    bassmanbrent Supporting Member

    Apr 5, 2011
    Vancouver, BC
    I'll jump in here, assuming it's alright with the OP, as I've been down this road before. Anything made in the USA is not subject to duty, but will be subject to GST and PST, which varies from province to province (it's 12% here in BC). None of the 'normal' materials used in DB construction are restricted, but I think ivory and some shell material can cause problems. Where the real issue lies is with finding a shipper that has experience sending something this big across the border. Almost nobody will do this as a one-off. You have to have an account or be a 'known shipper' (which is basically the same as having an account). My only suggestion, since the border is closed to us regular folks, would be for the luthier to reach out to a larger shop, like Kolstein's or David Gage, to see if they might be able to ship the bass on his behalf. Best of luck!

    Edit. This is a long shot, but he could also try a local Fedex. A friend of mine sent his bass to Italy and back with them and it all worked out. It was not cheap though. And I actually bought a bass here on TB from a guy in Tuscon and his local Fedex built a crate for him and shipped it. Again, not cheap but it worked without issue.
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2020
    Malcolm35 likes this.
  4. BobKay

    BobKay Supporting Member

    Nov 5, 2012
    Estero, Florida; USA
    Try calling the guys at Upton. They are very helpful and may be able to tell you who the use.
     
  5. jmlee

    jmlee Catgut? Not funny. Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2005
    Halifax, Nova Scotia
    I did have a look at FedEx and they're offering to take the package for ~$2000 CDN which is double what my builder is looking at for the crated instrument. Neither is cheap, but really... The challenge for my guy is that he's being forced to set up as an exporter to Canada in a rather complex way, much moreso than he's had to deal with when shipping to say Sweden. This is much tougher than the last time I did this, which was admittedly 15 years ago. There's no rare materials involved here, so that's off the table at least. I will call Upton and ask the question. That seems a really good idea.
     
  6. BobKay

    BobKay Supporting Member

    Nov 5, 2012
    Estero, Florida; USA
    They are not open on Monday, at least usually not.
     
  7. Malcolm35

    Malcolm35

    Aug 7, 2018
    From experience with training material, you need a custom agent, and yes it is not easy or cheap. I would not try to do it myself, if you need it delivered by a certain date.
     
  8. Stringed instruments played with a bow are not subject to import duties.
     
    MYLOWFREQ and longfinger like this.
  9. jmlee

    jmlee Catgut? Not funny. Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2005
    Halifax, Nova Scotia
    If they're played with a bow like I do it, they *should* be subject to duty! :roflmao:
     
    MYLOWFREQ and longfinger like this.
  10. jmlee

    jmlee Catgut? Not funny. Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2005
    Halifax, Nova Scotia
    There's no hurry on this since this is my second (upgrade) bass and I'm not gigging anyway. My original plan—in the old days—had been to drive down to New York, visit my brother, and drive the bass back with me to Nova Scotia. Then the pandemic landed not long after my order went in. Now it could be quite a wait before I could imagine driving down to Connecticut. [Actually, they'll let anybody into the States. I'd just never get back in...]
     
  11. DirtDog

    DirtDog

    Jun 7, 2002
    The Deep North

    Given the cost and complexities involved, road trip could be in order. Admissibility to the US right now is your biggest unknown.

    if you’re a Canadian citizen you have every right to enter back into the country, but you’ll be required to quarantine for 14 days. Questions are: are you willing to take the gamble on admissibility and are you willing to quarantine upon re-entry? The first part of that equation is easy: drive to the closest crossing and see if you can get into the US. The second part of that is: can you justify having to quarantine for 14 days upon return? I think I’d do it to save thousands. As long as the appropriate public health precautions are taken.
     
  12. bass12

    bass12 A very hungry caterpillar Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    My family has property in Vermont and I thought that this fact might qualify me for admission into the U.S. by land. Nope. I can fly in but driving in is a total no-go according to the agent I spoke to.
     
    DirtDog likes this.
  13. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2008
    I’d try shipping LTL. That thing is going to have to go on a pallet.
     
  14. jmlee

    jmlee Catgut? Not funny. Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2005
    Halifax, Nova Scotia
    Not exactly “essential travel”.
     
  15. Malcolm35

    Malcolm35

    Aug 7, 2018
    Back in the day... I flew into Canada several times a year. I would fill out the custom papers on the plane and check the box that I was coming in on business. This was always a trip to the custom agents where I was asked questions about who will benefit from my visit. I would say; "The Canadians", they would ask how and I would say; "With my training they will be able to better sell the product and make more money for their family".

    That got the stamps out and after pounding my passport I was free to go.

    We hired a professional speaker (X Pro Football Player) and he being a theory X person he answered the question about who will benefit with; "I will". That led to a "green" card, that cost $50.

    I ended up paying for it, but, enjoyed chiding him for his theory X answer.

    Glad I am now retired and not making a living traveling all over North America.
     
  16. bass12

    bass12 A very hungry caterpillar Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    Is the bass in question a New Standard?
     
  17. bassmanbrent

    bassmanbrent Supporting Member

    Apr 5, 2011
    Vancouver, BC
    So much for 'free trade'. Yeesh.
     
  18. jmlee

    jmlee Catgut? Not funny. Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2005
    Halifax, Nova Scotia
    Wondered about that.
    The last few years have been pretty ugly.
     
  19. jmlee

    jmlee Catgut? Not funny. Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2005
    Halifax, Nova Scotia
    Yup. I’ve been playing a plywood Cleveland for the last 15 years. The new bass is a La Scala hybrid.
     
    longfinger likes this.
  20. bass12

    bass12 A very hungry caterpillar Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    Cool, I bought my La Scala hybrid from Wil three years ago (drove down to check out some of his basses in person). I’m surprised the shipping is such an issue as I would think he ships pretty regularly (though not necessarily to Canada). Given the costs quoted it would be cheaper to fly down, rent a car and drive the bass back.
     
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    May 11, 2021

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