How To Pack An Acoustic Guitar With No Case

This explains our approach to shipping packing an acoustic guitar with NO case. Cardboard and foam cases are not adequate protection.

A lot of shippers think wrapping an acoustic with bubble wrap will prevent crush damage. Not true.

Over the years we have seen how badly bubble wrap fails in this regard. The diagram above shows a better way.

  1. Use a standard shipping box for all acoustic guitars. This box is made of hard card board and are rated for cross country truck shipping. They can only be opened on the ends, not down the middle. These boxes are available at most Fed Ex, UPS, and Postman Plus stores.
  2. Do not use a liner box. These are triangular shaped soft cardboard intended for use inside a hard cardboard box. These are not designed or rated for cross country truck shipping. There is a reason the guitar stores throw these in the dumpster.
  3. Do not use a rectangular soft card board storage box. These open down the middle. They ship cases in these boxes. They are way too soft. They are not designed or rated for cross country truck shipping of an acoustic guitar.
  4. Always remove strings, bridge pins, saddle (if removable), and strap peg from guitar and place inside the body in a ziplock bag. Pack the strings outside the guitar. If the strings are worn, discard.
  5. Put the guitar in a plastic bag to prevent scratches. Seal the bag with tape or string.
  6. Wrap the entire guitar in one or two layers of white foam sheet. This is much better than any known plastic bubble wrap.
  7. Assuming a proper guitar shipping box, slide two cardboard sheets into the shipping box. These should be slightly narrower than the wide side of the shipping box and as long as the box. One of these goes against the front and back of the shipping box. If the guitar is really valuable, substitute 1/4 inch plywood for the cardboard sheets.
  8. Cut four or six cardboard strips at least 3 feet long X 7 1/2 to 8 inches. Make sure the corrugations are perpendicular to the long side of the strips.
  9. Roll the strips tightly and use packing tape to make sure they do not unroll. These are now pillars. The rolls or pillars should be at least 5 inches in diameter.
  10. Put two pillars in the bottom corners of the box so that the corrugations are perpendicular to the large sides of the shipping box. The pillars go between the added sheets mentioned above. This is to say the pillars are perpendicular to the large sides of the box. (See diagram)
  11. Add at least six inches of foam chips or dense foam sheet or green bubble wrap to the bottom of the box. (Packing paper won’t work here.)
  12. Slide the plastic and thin foam wrapped guitar into the box. Gently!
  13. Pour a couple hand full of foam chips on each side of the guitar. This is to prevent side to side movement.
  14. Pour more foam chips around top and bottom of the guitar if there is room for this.
  15. The guitar should now be centered in the box.
  16. Slide one pillar down to each side of the guitar between the side of the shipping box and the waist of the guitar. (See diagram)
  17. Add more foam chips to cover the guitar sides.
  18. Slide one additional pillar along each side of the upper bout.
  19. Add more foam chips to cover the guitar upper parts.
  20. Slide one additional pillar along each side of the neck. These are optional, but are a good idea for long distance shipping.
  21. Slide a foam block under the neck near the neck heel. Height for this should position the gear head at the mid-point between front and back of the box.
  22. Put extra rolled up padding (bubble plastic, foam sheet, foam blocks) between the front and back of the box and the gear head. This is to prevent whiplash damage to the gear head.
  23. Fill the rest of the box with foam chips.
  24. Tape the box shut.

©2016 D.R. Hanna