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URGENT: Shipping my Sadowsky, advice needed from packing experts

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by tradernick, Jan 15, 2012.

  1. tradernick


    Mar 19, 2008
    I'm hoping the mods will let this stay in the FS section! All the guys who have the packing experience will be in here.

    I have a deal in place to sell my Metro RV4. The buyer is in Europe (very trusted, cool guy, checked out, all is good). I have received several basses but never really packaged one up. I want to make sure this bass gets to the buyer in perfect shape.

    The shipment is going ocean freight. No airplanes or airline handlers involved.

    I have a Fender box into which the Sadowsky Ultralight case fits almost perfectly. Very little room for bubble wrap, peanuts, etc. I have this idea that double boxing is way better. The thing is, the other box I have here is a little soft (it looks like it's been used a few times) It's definitely up to spec in terms of thickness - I could ship the bass in this bigger box no problem, but like I say it's getting a little soft and floppy. I put the Sadowsky case in the smaller Fender box and put a few peanuts and bubble wrap in there (no movement at all when I shake the box) and put the Fender box in the bigger box. Then filled bigger box with peanuts and bubble wrap. The thing is, I can't fill the bigger box with enough stuff to get the smaller box to stop moving around a little within the bigger box.

    Is this okay? Is this double boxing procedure better? Even if the inner box is moving around a bit inside the bigger box?

    Or am I being paranoid? Fender ships guitars in this tight fitting case with (hard shell cases probably but this Ultralight case is pretty nice). However, they use the styrofoam inserts. Should I just use the Fender case, fill it right up with peanuts and bubble wrap to the point that the bass doesn't move when I shake the box, and send it off? I feel like the design of this case requires those styrofoam inserts so that the box performs optimally. Maybe the peanuts will replicate that.

    The double box procedure was used to send me a different bass. when it showed up, I shook it and felt the same movement. My first thought was 'Hmmm... is this really better?'

    Any advice from you guys who have shipped 50 times would be appreciated. I might seem overly paranoid about this but it's my first shipment, and it's overseas, and it's a really nice bass, so I want things to go smoothly.

  2. madbassplaya


    Dec 28, 2007
    Of course the double box is better, it adds another layer. Invest in extra packaging materials if you can. A new box, and some styrafoam sheets or bubble wrap to wrap the inner box in.

    Fender only ships in the smaller box but they are also Fender. If a bass is broken, no big deal.
  3. tradernick


    Mar 19, 2008
    Yeah, it seemed pretty obvious that double boxing is better, the only reservation I have is that the inner box moves around a bit in the bigger box. I'm sure that if I jam the bigger box full of peanuts and bubble wrap I can reduce this a lot.

    The more I think about this, the more I believe that a bit of play in the bigger box might actually act as a sort of shock absorber! Maybe the guy that sent me this bass double boxed left that play on purpose. After all, if the box is going to take a hit, it's going to be the same hit no matter whether the case is moving around inside the box or not.

    Thing is, Sadowsky did not ship this way. They shipped me a new bass once, in an ultralight case, and it was in a form fitting box. No play.
  4. Sean Baumann

    Sean Baumann Supporting Member

    Apr 6, 2000
    Livin' in the USA
    If you don't know how to pack, then the obvious answer is to take it to a store that will pack for you (UPS Store) and insure your package. It will cost you more, but at least you won't worry.
  5. tradernick


    Mar 19, 2008
    Thanks for the reply Sean. I think I've unpacked enough basses and I think I have the cognitive skills necessary to watch the contents as they come out of the box and reverse engineer the situation to the extent that I can figure out how to get a guitar case into a box, add some peanuts and bubble wrap, and tape it shut, which is what everyone who has shipped me a bass on TB has done. Some guys would not bother putting up this post - I have a box in perfect shape here, and the Ultralight case fits in it like a glove. Many guys would pop it in, fill it with a few peanuts, tape it shut and send it off. I'm just trying to do the absolute best job I can, not just an adequate job.

    My question was specifically about the movement of the inner box inside the outer one. I was basically looking to see if anyone purposely packages like this, as the one guy did who shipped to me. Believe it or not, there's quite a bit of engineering that goes into shipping container design. I was just looking to see if anyone had a take on this.

    I do appreciate your taking the time to respond, though. Thanks again and have a nice day.
  6. BluesWalker

    BluesWalker Supporting Member

    Jun 17, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    I have sent and received several basses with shipments within the US. They were usually with the bass in a nice, form or nearly form fitting hard case (bubble wrap added to give a tight fit) and then the case in a sturdy cardboard box.

    A bit different is the Status Streamline (see my Avatar) that was shipped from Status Graphite in the UK to me in the US. The bass was in a soft case. The softcase had a few layers of bubble wrap around it and was placed in a tight fitting box. The box was then wrapped with about 4 layers of bubble wrap and the entire outer bubble wrap was covered with packing tape. I have heard that is how they ships all basses to the US even basses packed in hard cases. The bass and package arrived in perfect shape but boy did it take a long time to open the package.
  7. madbassplaya


    Dec 28, 2007
    A little movement won't hurt, but I wouldn't want a ton of movement.
  8. Exemonium

    Exemonium Supporting Member

    May 13, 2010
    I've always looked at the whole purpose of all of that is to be a shock absorber. I've always made sure my basses were secure inside the hardshell case and the case secured inside the box. The firm cushioning is what I've always felt best with instead of something hard that won't give with a light jolt. I would say there's definitely a slight advantage with the double box method, as it adds yet one more layer of protection. I'd secure the space between the boxes with peanuts, or the air bag things. I wouldn't think you need anything specific, just something that isn't rock hard. The people I've sent to have always seemed pretty pleased with my packing, but I'm pretty paranoid about $800 basses, I can only imagine how you're feeling.

    I hope that made sense haha. I know what I'm talking about, but sometimes I can't convey that.
  9. tradernick


    Mar 19, 2008
    Thanks BW. The Sadowsky Ultralight qualifies as a form fitting case, that's for sure. Never thought about putting bubble wrap inside the case itself, though. I'll see if that's even possible.
    Yeah, it's not much at all, but whenever I ship other stuff I go for the 'shake it but can't feel any movement' thing.

    I think your first comment is right. Double protection is double protection no matter how you slice it.
  10. tradernick


    Mar 19, 2008
    Yep, you got it exactly, makes perfect sense. First shipment, real good guy on the other end who's an experienced buyer, I just want it to go perfectly, and it will.

    It's cool to hear your take on the shock absorber effect.

    I have those air-filled bags. I saved a lot of packaging from all the TB buys I've made over the past couple of years so I have plenty of stuff here.
  11. funkingroovin

    funkingroovin Conquering A-D-D,and all the other notes as well!

    Apr 19, 2009
    I would consider getting a couple cans Great Stuff expanding foam for filling the wiggle room between the boxes. BUT--first be sure there won't be any "bleed-through"

    Another thing..fill the voids in the case! I hate the mess packing peanuts make,so I use the large/small bubble wraps.Fill around the headstock and lay some over the top of the guitar as it lies in the case..like a blanket. I've found out the hard way that this is the only way UPS considers it "properly packaged" and eligible for damage coverage/replacement.
  12. tradernick


    Mar 19, 2008
    This right here is why I started the thread. BW mentioned it too. I would not have thought to do that. I have to be honest, no one who has shipped to me has done that either. Detroit to Toronto in a truck is one thing, but from here to Western Europe...

    Good advice, thanks.
  13. Moe Monsarrat

    Moe Monsarrat Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2006
    Austin, Tx.
    Endorsing artist:Regenerate Guitar Works Carvin, Micheal Kelly Guitars
    I've used empty bottled water containers with the caps on to fill in spaces. They're durable & will give a little without totally collapsing.
  14. tradernick


    Mar 19, 2008
    I just re-read this. A soft bag wrapped in bubble wrap, inside a box, which is then wrapped in bubble wrap which is held in place with packing tape? Wow.
  15. Charming attitude...
  16. MarTONEbass


    Jun 19, 2009
    Norton, MA
    Along a similar line, in a pinch, go to the post office and get some free priority mail boxes. Assemble them and use them to fill the voids.
  17. tradernick


    Mar 19, 2008
    I assume you meant this
    Thanks, that's a cost effective way to go as well.

    I think I have what I need. Any further comments (on topic comments) are appreciated.
  18. What shipping service do you use for ocean freight?
  19. Kal-El

    Kal-El Supporting Member

    Nov 11, 2010
    I've shipped guitars and basses to Europe and the Middle East,and all over the US. I de-tune the instrument, use the hard case and get a large guitar shipping box from U-line. For a one shot deal you can get a single guitar box at UPS stores. Get the 50" long box. The case will flop around in the box. I then go to K mart target or similar store and buy a cheap foam mattress topping pad in the housewares/bedding department. They used to cost about $10 to $15. Cut up the mattress pad to fill the voids in the box and keep the case from moving around. Another way to immobilize the case in the box is to go to Lowes or Home Depot and get 1/2 or 3/4 inch thick styrofoam insulation boards. Cut the boards to fill the gaps around the case. If you are shipping in a gig bag the mattress pad is preferable. If the bass flops around inside its case use a soft towel or sweater to keep it from moving.
    Peanuts are not effective ,shift and get crushed. Bubble wrap can't stand up to the force of multiple drops. After the first drop the bubble wrap punctures leaving little protection for the next drop. Shake to test movement; adjust as needed.
  20. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    Have you ever used that stuff before for that purpose? That's a terrible idea. I would be pissed if I received a bass encased in that stuff.

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