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How to pack: Guitars

How to pack a guitar.

How to pack a guitar.

If you play a guitar, or really any musical instrument, you probably understood how musician Dave Carroll felt in 2008 when he saw baggage handlers at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago unceremoniously fling his $3,500 Taylor guitar onto a pile of suitcases before loading it onto the plane. Carroll famously wrote a handful of songs about the experience when the airline refused to pay for the damage it caused.

It's important when packing an instrument to make sure it will be secure during transport. Yes, of course it's important to do that with all your belongings, but instruments are fragile in a different way than mugs and plates. To their owners, guitars aren't just shapely chunks of wood with a few strings thrown on, and any damage done to a guitar or instrument is keenly felt.

Make sure you have the right packing supplies to get your guitar safely to its destination. Get lots of newspaper - it's the key to your guitar's survival.

Start by putting the guitar inside a hard case. These types of cases are typically custom made to fit a particular style of guitar, but there is usually some wiggle room around the body and neck of the instrument. Gently pack newspaper between the walls of the case and the guitar, and underneath the neck of the guitar. Don't pack too tightly, but make sure the guitar won't shift around inside its case.

It's a good idea to cover the top of the guitar with a soft cloth to keep the front finish from scratching. Also, you'll want to loosen the strings a bit.

You're going to need to find the right box in which to pack your guitar. The perfect box should be roughly two feet wide, one foot deep and four feet tall - big enough to comfortably fit your guitar case, but not so big that there's a lot of extra space inside the box. If you're going to use packing peanuts, put them in the bottom of the box. They have a tendency to shift and settle during travel and lose some of their insulating support.

Ideally, you should first line the bottom of the box with tightly wadded newspaper. Then pack around the edges of the box in between its walls and the case. This time, pack it in as tightly as you like. Your moving company is going to handle it with extreme care, but it's always best to be safe.