While preparing a guitar for shipping isn’t all that complicated, there’s a cost associated with it.
That cost will vary depending on several factors, including the weight of the package, where you’re planning to send the guitar to, as well as the courier you choose.
Fortunately, there are several couriers and services that make this process convenient and easy. Let’s look at a few.
Ship Guitars has shipped over one million guitars to 190 countries across the world.
Using their service, you can schedule your shipment, print out and attach shipping labels and have the guitar picked up or drop it off yourself.
Ship Guitars partners with UPS to offer a convenient and affordable service to their customers.
The cost of shipping varies depending on where you’re sending the guitar to, the type of guitar you’re sending, box size, weight of the package, whether you’re having it picked up or dropped off and whether you opt for shipping insurance.
Just for fun, I got a quote on the following:
- Shipping from New York City to Los Angeles.
- One acoustic guitar, with the package measuring 45 x 10 x 24 inches, 10 lbs. and a declared value of $800.
- Drop off.
- With shipping insurance.
The dimensions of the package and weight are relatively realistic.
Here are the rates I was given based on the criteria specified:
- Ground – $87.51
- 3 day – $212.66
- 2 day – $283.01
- Overnight – $399.17
So, the costs of their ground shipping are right in line with what we’d expect to see, if not a little cheaper, in the $100 to $150 range.
Getting a quote with Ship Guitars is easy – just visit this page and input relevant data.
UPS is one of the most popular and trusted courier services available.
We already looked at what the cost of shipping a guitar with Ship Guitars would be, so I’m not expecting significantly different results here, especially since Ship Guitars utilizes UPS. But it’s always worth comparing.
For this example, I changed the criteria a bit. Here are the criteria:
- Shipping from Atlanta, GA to Phoenix, AZ.
- One package measuring 45 x 10 x 24 inches with a weight of 9 lbs. and a declared value of $600.
And, here are the rates I was given based on the data inputted:
- UPS Ground – $107.78
- UPS 3 Day Select – $261.90
- UPS 2nd Day Air – $378.01
- UPS 2nd Day Air A.M. – $454.84
- UPS Next Day Air Saver – $508.08
- UPS Next Day Air – $514.88
- UPS Next Day Air Early – $546.90
The cost of ground shipping is still exactly what we’d expect, with the other rates following suit.
Overall, however, it would seem shipping with UPS would cost more than using Ship Guitars, presumably because UPS doesn’t know whether you’re sending a guitar or just an oversized box.
If you’d like to see how much it would cost to send your guitar, you can check out their time and cost calculator.
As with UPS, FedEx is another well-known and popular courier service and many people use them to ship guitars.
Now that we’ve explored a couple of scenarios that were relatively similar, it’s time to try something a little different.
First, we’re going to shorten the distance between shipper and receiver, and second, we’re going to specify dimensions and weight based on an electric guitar rather than an acoustic guitar.
So, I got a quote on the following:
- Shipping from Boise, ID to Salt Lake City, UT.
- One package measuring 44 x 6 x 16 inches and a weight of 31 lbs.
By the way, FedEx didn’t give me the option of entering the dimensions of the box, but that’s roughly what it would be if you packed the guitar in a standard rectangular electric guitar case.
Here are the rates I was given:
- FedEx Ground – $31.49
- FedEx Express Saver – $71.21
- FedEx 2Day – $83.62
- FedEx 2Day AM – $93.68
- FedEx Standard Overnight – $134.34
- FedEx Priority Overnight – $148.25
- FedEx First Overnight – $181.42
So, it appears the cost of shipping is significantly impacted by distance. Not a major surprise, but good to know.
If you’d like to get a quick quote from FedEx, you can go to this page.
Well, it can’t hurt to get one more quote, can it?
DHL certainly doesn’t have the best reputation. I’ve used them before and remember having to go to one of their locations to pick up boxes (they only attempted to deliver it to my home once) and having to pay extra upon delivery.
What’s hilarious about their website is they didn’t even let me select domestic delivery.
So, let’s try a different scenario. Let’s get a quote on sending an electric guitar from US to Canada.
Here are the specifications I got a quote on:
- Shipping from Lincoln, NB to Toronto, ON.
- One package measuring 44 x 6 x 16 inches and a weight of 30 lbs.
And, here is the quote I was given:
I was not given any other options. I assume this is because of how DHL delivers their packages. But this would basically be the rate for one day delivery, which is good.
If you want to save money, you’ll likely choose the ground shipping options other couriers offer, but for overnight deliveries, DHL might be worth considering.
If you’d like to get a quote from DHL, you can try putting your specifications into this page.
Tips On How To Ship
In general, we recommend following our guide on how to ship a guitar.
But here’s a basic rundown of what you’ll need to do:
You should pack the guitar in a hard-shell case. The strings should be loosened, moving parts should be removed and placed in a separate compartment, the fretboard should be protected with newspaper and the headstock should be secured.
The case should be filled with newspaper and bubble wrap such that the guitar doesn’t shift or move around.
The case should then be placed in a box and you should fill the extra space in the box, again with newspaper and bubble wrap.
Assuming nothing is moving around on the inside, the guitar is ready to be shipped out.
Here are a few other tips to ensure the safe delivery of your instrument.
Read Online Reviews, Blog Posts & Forum Threads
Not all shipping services are created equal, so it’s worth doing your homework.
It’s worth reading online reviews, blog posts, forum threads and anything else you can find on the courier you’re thinking about working with.
For some, I know this will mostly come down to price, and assuming the company has good reviews, shipping based on price is not a problem.
Meanwhile, if you go with a relatively unknown or “sketchy” service, the extra savings may not amount to much. It could even end up costing you.
So, even if you only engage in some basic, preliminary research, it’s worth having some peace of mind.
Get Rates From Multiple Services
Don’t just get a quote from one courier. Get multiple quotes.
There may be times when FedEx is more cost-efficient than UPS, or UPS would be better than DHL and so on.
It depends on the company’s coverage, rates and delivery times among other factors.
Getting multiple quotes will ensure that you always get the best rates possible.
Talk Directly To The Courier
As you’ve seen from the above examples, not every courier has services dedicated to shipping guitars. If they don’t know what you’re shipping, they may not be able to offer a more tailored service.
So, in some cases, talking directly with the courier could be to your benefit. They may be able to offer additional services or take extra precautions to ensure the guitar isn’t broken in transport.
They may add a “Please Handle with Care/Fragile” sticker for you so they don’t end up stacking heavier boxes on top of yours.
In some cases, they may not take any extra steps or precautions on your behalf, so that’s something else to be mindful of.
From the above, we can conclude that ground shipping generally costs $100 to $150, though sometimes it may be cheaper, and sometimes it may be more expensive.
The main factor is the weight and dimensions of your package as well as where it’s going to be delivered.
If you know you’re going to be sending a lot of guitars, then see if you can build a bit of a partnership with a courier. You may get bulk discounted rates, and they should also learn how to handle your shipments more effectively.