You can reduce your fears about shipping your instrument by taking the right steps to protect it in transit.
Even if you own only one instrument, if you’re an active guitar player, chances are good that sooner or later you’ll have to pack your guitar for shipment. Although it’s hard for some packers to realize, the dangers of shipping your guitar by UPS or FedEx are essentially the same as putting your guitar on an airline’s luggage conveyor belt when you fly.
Of course, thousands of guitars are safely shipped and flown in airline baggage holds every day with no protection besides a hardshell case. But a significant percentage are damaged, too, so the tips you’ll read here will improve your odds. And even when a guitar is in its case and the case is in a sturdy cardboard box, shipping a guitar is risky business. Is shipping a guitar or flying with it riskier than it used to be? You bet. Is there anything you can do to improve your guitar’s odds of survival that doesn’t cost a fortune? Absolutely.
Although caved-in guitar tops and splintered sides do occur sometimes when an acoustic guitar is shipped, the chances of that type of damage when the instrument is in a sturdy hardshell case, especially when the case is boxed, are actually quite slim. And by far, the most common shipping damage to guitars is shared equally by solidbody electrics, which probably tells you that I’m referring to the dreaded cracks that appear around the base of the headstock. This is so common that it’s sometimes called the “airline break.”
What confuses many people is that, despite the fact that their guitar arrived at its destination with a cracked neck, the shipping box shows no damage whatsoever. Along with the mystery of how the crack could have occurred is the added misery of realizing that filing a damage claim with the carrier is usually fruitless, because there’s no sign of mishandling. And repairing the cracks are only part of the pain, for even with the best possible repair yielding a good-as-new result, the guitar’s value has been diminished.
“No matter what the speed your guitar’s case is traveling, the best insurance you can give your instrument for safe arrival is to limit the distance its headstock can travel when the case comes to an abrupt halt.”
If you think of it as a whiplash injury, the cause of the cracks to your guitar’s headstock is easy to understand. Your guitar’s case, or the shipping box containing the case, was traveling at significant speed, but then its movement was stopped abruptly. Maybe it was dropped, or maybe it was on a conveyor system and a jam halted everything instantaneously. The damage occurred because the headstock had room to move within the case, and so it did—resulting in a crack where the headstock curves down at the nut. This is much the same injury as when your guitar is knocked off its stand and falls face-first on the floor. Even nice carpeting won’t save your guitar from headstock cracks for the same reason.
Especially when fitted with cast, enclosed tuners with metal buttons, a guitar’s headstock is a heavy object, and its momentum is simply more than a typical narrow mahogany guitar neck can withstand. A set of metal button Gotoh 510 tuners, for instance, weigh approximately half a pound. That’s about a third of the total weight of a typical mahogany neck on an acoustic flattop. And, of course, the cracks almost always appear around the nut, where the neck is narrowest and where there’s a significant angle. This can also happen when a guitar, in its hardshell case, is left standing vertically on end. If the case is knocked over and the guitar lands face-first, that short drop is sometimes enough to crack a headstock because the barrel of the neck has far less room to move within the case compared to the headstock.
I could natter on for pages about how the dramatic increase in shipping traffic in recent years has resulted in far larger, longer, and faster conveyance systems for both airlines and shipping companies. But no matter what the speed your guitar’s case is traveling, the best insurance you can give your instrument for safe arrival is to limit the distance its headstock can travel when the case comes to an abrupt halt. You can add stiff padding behind the headstock, which functions similar to the headrest in a car, and supplement that with additional padding over the face of the headstock that is slightly compressed when the case is closed. The objective is to make sure that all of your guitar stops moving at the same time when the case is dropped or tossed.
Loosening the string tension is also helpful, but there’s no need to make the strings totally slack. Just tune it down a couple of steps. Packing your guitar in its case in a shipping box doesn’t relieve you of the need to pack the headstock as outlined above, because the same whiplash dangers still apply.
Perhaps the greatest advantage to carefully packing your guitar before flying with it or shipping it is that you’ll sleep easier when it’s in transit.
The key feature is the integrated line of LED lights placed within the interior lid of the case.
Lutz, FL (August 3, 2017) -- Gator Cases sets a new standard for the music case industry by releasing a first-in- class versions of guitar cases â€“ all featuring an interior LED light fixture. This new line of guitar cases is called the LED Edition, and it is available in options for bass and electric guitars.
The key feature of the Gator Cases LED Edition guitar cases is the integrated line of LED lights placed within the interior lid of the case. When the case is opened, the LED lights automatically turn on, illuminating the guitar and interior storage compartment that houses picks, capos and other accessories. The light can also be adjusted to manually turn on and off, as opposed to automatically when the case opens or closes. For musicians backstage or side stage getting ready for a show, this LED light feature is the perfect solution to quickly access your guitar and accessories in low-lighted areas.
Offering options for both electric and bass guitars, Gator cases released the following guitar cases with LED features:
- GC Electric Guitar LED Edition (GC-ELEC- LED)
- GC Bass Guitar LED Edition (GC-Bass- LED)
- GTSA Electric Guitar LED Edition (GTSA-GTRELEC- LED)
- GTSA Bass Guitar LED Edition (GTSA-GTRBASS- LED)
The GC Electric and Bass LED Edition guitar cases are constructed with impact-resistant ABS plastic for premium durability, and fitted with thick EPS foam to protect the guitar from scratches and dents.
The GTSA Electric and Bass LED Edition guitar cases are built for maximum guitar protection, specifically designed to combat damage while traveling. The GTSA LED Edition cases feature a military-grade polyethylene exterior, black padded interior and TSA-approved locks. All LED Edition cases feature interior LED lights.
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The Concept series cases feature a Rigidlite, proprietary, precision-molded exterior with a plush, cushion-soft, secure-fit interior.
Oilville, VA (July 18, 2017) -- Utilizing the innovative designs, materials and manufacturing processes that have allowed them to become the preferred OEM case maker for many of the world’s leading guitar companies, TKL Products Corp. currently offers a range of Concept MC and Zero-Gravity cases developed to fit most every vintage and contemporary acoustic guitar on the market. Both series are noted for their unique combination of portability, protection and affordability and both carry TKL’s exclusive 24/7 Protection Limited Lifetime Warranty.
Concept series cases feature a Rigidlite, proprietary, precision molded exterior with a plush, Cushion-Soft, Secure-Fit interior and TKL’s reliable Providence-Forge hardware. Secure-Fit is a exclusive TKL process that ensures a perfect fit and maximum protection for every guitar type/body style. The rugged design is recommended for professionals, semi-pro’s and collectors.
The lightweight but strong TKL Zero-Gravity case offers a tough, T-Cord 600 exterior over a protective, reinforced core along with a Cushion-Soft, Secure-Fit interior and Providence-Forge hardware. Suggested for professionals as well as local heroes, weekend warriors and rising stars, Zero-Gravity provides TKL safety, security and quality at a price that will fit any budget.
The advanced, new Vectra series MC and IPX Impact-X electric guitar cases from TKL represent a huge step forward in safety, security and portability. Their Vectra-shaped cases incorporate more than 30 years of the experience and innovation that have allowed TKL to remain the preferred OEM case maker for many of the top guitar companies in the world. Developed to fit a wide range of modern electric guitar models, TKL Vectra cases are designed and precision-crafted to provide increased strength and lighter weight for greater carrying comfort. The cases also include TKL’s exclusive 24/7 Protection Limited Lifetime Warranty.
Recommended for professionals and semi-pro’s in the studio, on the road or around town, the Vectra MC case has a custom-molded exterior with a plush, Cushion-Soft, Secure-Fit interior and TKL’s proprietary Providence-Forge hardware. Secure-Fit is a proprietary TKL process that ensures a perfect fit and maximum protection for every guitar type/body style.
The Vectra IPX case features a tough, T-Cord 600 exterior over a protective, molded core with a Cushion-Soft, Secure-Fit interior and Providence-Forge hardware. Vectra IPX is suggested for professionals as well as rising stars, local heroes and weekend warriors— providing safety, security and TKL quality at a surprisingly affordable price.
With numerous patents and trademarks awarded for their innovative designs and manufacturing processes, TKL cases continue to set the industry standard for the highest level of quality, reliability and protection of musical instruments and accessories of every type and value. These exceptional features along with their 30-plus years of case-crafting knowledge are among the many factors that set TKL apart from other case companies.
“Our commitment to continuous R&D and attention to detail are two of the reasons we have remained the industry’s top leading supplier of hard and soft cases to the world’s music makers, retailers, distributors and manufacturers,” explains TKL co-founder and CEO Tom Dougherty.
From their innovative, musician-focused designs to their premium-quality interiors and exteriors, TKL LTD, Concept, Vectra and BlackBelt series cases are designed and built to provide a lifetime of performance. They feature a host of premium-quality, proprietary components and manufacturing processes, including:
- Rigidlite HS strong, sustainably harvested, multi-ply, hand-laminated, select hardwood construction.
- Rigidlite MP ultra-strong, ultra-light, precision-formed, custom, resin-blend polymer exteriors.
- Authentic Durahyde coverings.
- Arch Top and Dual Neck Support systems.
- Patented, Secure-fit impact-absorbing, thermally-insulated, Advanced Interlink Cellulair (AIC) interiors.
- Providence Forge hinges, latches and locks.
- Comfort-Grip Series II handles.
- Cushion-Soft custom-woven plush lining.
It is this exclusive combination of elements— plus TKL’s expertise and experience— that have enabled TKL to meet the stringent demands of legendary instrument makers such as CF Martin, Collings, D’Angelico, Fender, Fodera, Gibson, Gretsch, Guild, Heritage, Ibanez and Ovation while simultaneously becoming the choice of the world’s most discriminating musicians, including Les Paul, Eric Clapton, Vince Gill and Alan Jackson, as well as members of P.O.D., Janes Addiction, Bon Jovi, Jerry Douglas, Pat Benatar, Lita Ford, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Foreigner, Queensrÿche and many more.
Combining proprietary designs, premium-quality components and advanced manufacturing processes with an exclusive 24/7 Limited Lifetime Warranty, TKL cases offer a perfect fit and exceptional protection for a wide range of musical instruments. TKL’s exclusive 24/7 Protection Limited Lifetime Warranty provides unparalleled protection for the many millions of musicians who rely on them to keep their instruments Safe and Sound in the classroom, the studio, on stage and on the go.
“Our exclusive 24/7 Protection Limited Lifetime Warranty assures that every TKL hard and soft case will stand up to the most extreme conditions and that we stand behind them 100%,” says TKL co-founder and CEO, Tom Dougherty.
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TLK Products Corp