who has shipped heavy fragile bass equipment, need tips and advice

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Tajue17, Aug 14, 2013.

  1. not sure about rules but this is NOT a forsale ad please don't offer anything, I'm looking for the best advice on how to ship this gear when sold, not sure who to use or how to pack.. I'll just tell you what I have so you can tell me what you would do.

    Mesa Boogie 400+ inside the Mesa Boogie shock case & a Power House 1000 cab. I want to post it forsale maybe nationally but the head with case is at least 100lbs and the cab I think it over 100lbs. how do I not lose money on shipping, how to I get it ready for shipping, and even insurance, I'm not sure.

    also if this is allowed what would be a decent price if all was mint used maybe a max 4hrs total in a studio.

    please again I'm looking for advice only and will not respond to PMs to trade or buy these thru this section of the forum.

    thanks for any info,, T
  2. jnewmark

    jnewmark Just wanna play the groove. Supporting Member

    Aug 31, 2006
    Stax 1966
    Play guitar.
    I would try to sell it locally at first. Shipping heavy stuff is always gonna be a gamble; you may have to use a freight company. I would not trust the usual suspects, like Fedex and UPS for something like this. Some guys have used Greyhound, but you would have to ship it terminal to terminal, like a freight company. You can always ask the buyer to split shipping costs, and get it professionally packed at places like the UPS Store. Gonna be expensive though I think, and that's why I would try to sell it locally if you can. I have driven as far as 100 miles to deliver expensive, heavy stuff as opposed to shipping it, but that's just me. I've had a number of damaged stuff shipped to me that was'nt even as heavy as your stuff, and it was a big hassle to make it right. You will probably get alot of suggestions as how to go about it, like double boxing, etc., but shipping that gear is'nt going to be cheap, all things considered. Good luck.
  3. taphappy

    taphappy doot de doo

    Sep 28, 2007
    Tempe, Arizona
    +1 on Local.

    I had UPS pack a Thunderfunk 750-a for me, and the box got to the guy looking like Ace Ventura delivered it. Bent the casing, busted the power switch, crunked one of the pots. Which is a hell of an experience for both seller and especially buyer - but I loved that thing, too. Poor guy ended up having to send it back to Dave Funk, and I sucked up the cost.

    It was insured, but when I talked to UPS, they wanted him to hand over the amp so they could take it and inspect it at their own office. Then it would take several weeks for them to come back with their opinion, and the buyer would've been ampless for a while. So we just had it shipped to Dave.

    If you have it "professionally" packed, I would hover over them like a crazy-eyed wombat eagle badger-hawk and make sure they do it right.
  4. When I shipped my V4-B I made my own double layer box. Used garage door insulation foam panels for a minimum of 2" (3" preferred) all around the unit with a minimum of 1/2" of cardboard between the outer box and foam panels. Removed the tubes and bubble wrapped them in a separate box inside the amp head. Fragile and this side up labels on all sides. UPS could not manage to damage it and the unit arrived in perfect condition. DO NOT USE bubble wrap or packing peanuts for heavy items they compress and the item winds up loose in the packing and most likely will be damaged. Shifting weight inside the box can cause the box to slide off conveyor belts usually from higher distances.
  5. grey area

    grey area

    Sep 2, 2009
    almeria spain
    +1 on local if possible. on another thread some while back i suggested doing a road trip to deliver a big 810. the guy did just that and had a lot of fun doing it. he rented a van and took a couple of days out and had a hoot and saw a bit of beautiful country to boot. of coarse you need the time and will to do this but peace of mind is a lovely thing. good luck with whatever you decide to do.
  6. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    The cab I would definitely sell local.

    The amp could be shipped easy enough though. I would not ship it mounted in the rack case though. Unless both the front and back of the amp were strongly secured you could end up with a bent faceplate and a pile of broken glass.

    Here's an old thread with some relevant info in it:
  7. zortation


    Dec 26, 2011
    Toronto, ON
    If you can't find a local buyer, try going to a local guitar shop and see if they have any cartons and foam spacers for the cab, you might get lucky.

    And yeah, NEVER EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER ship anything in just a roadcase. The recipient will end up with a twisted piece of metal inside. Pay the extra and get the shipper to bubble wrap the whole thing and custom rebox it.
  8. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2008
    The buyer should be paying for the shipping. You shouldn't have to worry about losing money on the deal because you are covering the cost. If the buyer is paying for the shipping, they are responsible for dealing with any issues related to shipping. This assumes that the shipping company, not you, is packing the gear. Otherwise, insurance claims can be a problem if they claim that it wasn't packaged properly.

    With a company like Fedex, the buyer can sign up for an account and use their credit card to pay for the shipping. They provide you with their account number. Otherwise, you can get a quote for the shipping after the auction based on their location and pay for it yourself and add that to the total cost. In that case you would be responsible for any damage claims.

    Usually in the US, large heavy gear is usually shipped Ground. Every courier offers this as one of their options. The manufacturers double box the items. I prefer more packing. The best and most expensive packing material that I've used is polyurethane foam. Some companies use scrap rags or cardboard to fill the inside of the box. As others have said don't use peanuts.

    With all this, you can see why selling local is a lot easier.
  9. The amps get from the factory to the store OK, so obviously there is a right way to do it. There are many, many wrong ways to do it. I help with shipping and packaging at work, and I have also packed/shipped a few heavy tube heads.

    Visualize how the manufacturer packages them- heavy duty cardboard box, and large thick styrofoam molded to hold the amp tightly inside. We're going to accomplish something similar.

    If you're insuring the amp, which you ALWAYS should, take some pictures of the way you're packing it. If there's a claim you can show how well you packed it as proof. They will use any method possible to deny your claim. You'll need ammo.

    Most importantly, remove all the tubes! I write numbers on the tubes, then draw a map with the where the corresponding numbered tubes go. You must number them. Tubes shipped in the amp sockets can have issues- the glass can crack at the pins ruining the vacuum, the tube can be jarred loose and float around inside the amp, or they can come halfway out in a high fall and bend all the pins. All are not something I would not want to happen.

    Brace any rack ears by wrapping a piece of cardboard around the ear that is just a little taller than the ear itself. Then, take a large THICK piece of cardboard and wrap it around the amp, twice if you have enough. Tape it.

    Double boxing is a good idea, but not required... you can use a single box and simply cut pieces of cardboard to put on the top, bottom, and sides. This is much easier and way less frustrating that trying to double box something.

    You now have 3 layers of cardboard. Keep reading.

    Don't use packing peanuts. They shift during transport and your amp can end up with one edge right against the box, not good when they decide to drop it. Also things like bubble wrap, newspaper, and those air cells are not the best choices. Bubble wrap, you would need a ton rolled up and put all around the amp, not cost effective at all. Newspaper compresses into a flat piece and offers little protection. Air cells pop if there is a large trauma to the box. Shipping companies use conveyor systems that packages can fall many feet to the ground, in fact UPS even tells us to box things to survive a 6 foot fall. And don't forget how delicately the guy getting $9/hr who is tired, sore, and working a long shift is going to handle a very heavy package.

    What works? Styrofoam. You can buy sheets of it at Home Depot or the like. You want the one inch stuff. Put two layers next to every surface in between the box and the amp you wrapped in cardboard. As long as your box doesnt come apart (see next paragraph) the styrofoam will cushion just about darn near anything. It's gonna be messy to cut to size, so do it somewhere you can vacuum. Score it with a utility knife and break over the edge of a table, workbench, etc.

    Ok, we've got the amp- what about the tubes? I wrap each one in two layers of bubble wrap, then each in a piece of cardboard, then place into a box that goes inside your main package. If there is enough space (which there probably wont be with your amp) I put the box of tubes inside the amp and put the back panel back on. Otherwise, you'll have to really be careful in packing them with the amp, because if the box is dropped upside down they're toast. You might even consider sending them separately in another box, which you would pack similar to the amp.

    You don't want any room for the amp to bounce around, so once you've got everything in there, slit the corners of the box down to the top of the packing material, then score the inside of the cardboard at that spot all the way around with the back edge of your utility knife. Fold the top pieces down and you've got a nice tight fitting box.

    Lastly, tape the box shut and band the tape around the box several times, both the long way and the short way. I also run a couple bands of tape around the sides of the box to keep the box from splitting open.

    Overkill? Maybe... but I've never had an amp arrive damaged, even though the box usually is. A few extra minutes of prep time is worth it.
  10. StuartV

    StuartV Finally figuring out what I really like Supporting Member

    Jul 27, 2006
    Manassas, VA
    I just shipped an SVT VR in a road case from San Francisco to Santiago, Chile.

    - Initial shipping quotes from FedEx and UPS were $2300 and up! I called FedEx and asked them ***. They put me on hold then referred me to their Great Rates program. Bottom line, the total package was 120 pounds and I shipped it for just under $300. I don't know for sure if FedEx Great Rates is available for domestic shipments (versus International), but you should definitely check with them to see.

    - I shrink wrapped the road case, being careful to not cover the casters and wheels, and shipped it just like that. Whoever handled it could not use the handles on the road case, but at least they could roll it. No cardboard. No bubble wrap. Just 6 - 8 layers of plastic wrap (which I got from Home Depot in their "Moving" section) around the whole outside.

    - The amp and road case arrived in perfectly fine condition. And why shouldn't it. That's pretty much what a road case is for, right?
  11. T-MOST


    Dec 10, 2004
    NJ via NYC
    I shipped a Hartke 4x10 cabinet (99 lbs) and the amp (32 lbs) from NJ to Wisconsin. 2 seperate boxes. it was a home pick up by UPS. This was about 8 or 9 years ago when it was cheaper to do. I think it was around $100 both pieces. I can't imagine what it would cost now. But it arrived in perfect condition.
  12. bludog

    bludog Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2012
    Brooklyn 11217
    I had a fellow TB'r ship me a vintage Ampeg V4B and he basically did exactly this. It arrived in pristine condition. I was amazed at how well it worked because the V4B is like 70 lbs. I was surprised because I had an Ampeg B-15R (117 lbs total) shipped to me a year prior and it arrived all smashed up, both the head and the cab, so I was anticipating the worst. Of course, the B15 was not well packed (at all) even though it shipped from a Music Instrument Dealer who assured me they knew what they were doing. Bottom line is do your due diligence to get it right and it can be done very successfully.
  13. Did you get it from Willsellout?
  14. mpdd

    mpdd neoconceptualist

    Mar 24, 2010
    just have it pro packed by an art handler, or have them show you how to do it and buy the packing from them wholesale, separate tubes, wrap in plastic or bubble (bubbles in), box within a box, 2" foam between boxes, arrows for correct orientation, label as fragile or glass, should be fine
  15. bludog

    bludog Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2012
    Brooklyn 11217
    It was not. I tracked the B15R from a "collector" to a GC in SoCal he sold it to. I mentioned my concerns about shipping and their lead sales mgr assured me they had the materials and the know-how to ship this type (all-tube, flip top) of amp to me in NYC. I reluctantly pulled the trigger after a few phone calls. Turns out they very much lived up to their lack luster reputation and fell short on their promise.

    They shipped them separately due to weight. I had heard from a good source that shipping the head in the cab is the way to go, although I've also heard that on the vintage units the shock mounts can give out and damage the driver. That said, never heard that about the reissues. Anyway, asked them to do that and they did not for better or worse. Neither was packed well and when it arrived the tube cage was completely busted in, the plexi logo was toast and the tolex under the chassis was all scuffed and torn. Luckily the chassis itself was fine and the internals were not damaged. The cab had a dented corner (the metals ones) and a few scuffs, tears and rips. The dolly was mounted when shipped and now it doesn't secure to the cab as tightly as it does OEM from the factory. Still works but is a little janky. I replaced some parts from fliptops.net and it's about a 8.5/10 so I still got a really nice amp that functions like new and sounds great, but it was a hassle. UPS was terrible and did the whole "we have to inspect it to help you with insurance" thing, so I went into pocket for the replacement pieces. It's now a great amp with very few (and slight) imperfections so I'm over it and happy I did it but would have either gone local or found a better dealer/shipper in retrospect.

    All that said (sorry for the tangent), I know it can be done successfully. Just takes some attention to detail - I might even consider crating something like this and shipping it freight on a truck, not parcel service. The suggestion above is spot on though. My V4B is immaculate!
  16. I was actually referring to the V4-B, it sounds like the box I made.


  17. bludog

    bludog Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2012
    Brooklyn 11217
    Oh, that's why "willsellout" sounded so familiar... I've seen that name around these parts before. Just didn't put 2 and 2 together. Actually it was someone else, denton57. Great guy and he did a helluva job packing that V4B. It was a double boxed, then packing foam, then in another box, which had padding in it, tubes in a box in the head. Floating a box inside a box with multiple layers of foam is the way to go. Your pack job is pretty similar, well done, sir!

    OP - take notes. ^This is the way to do it.
  18. hey everyone thank you very much for all the responses,, I will first try a local sale and if it doesn't work out I'll be putting a lot of that advice above to work. thanks again, T