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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey Everyone! Happy Friday!

I'm anticipating shipping a few saxophones out soon(fingers crossed). What's the most economical safe way to ship them? Obviously I want to make sure they get there intact. Both of them will be shipped from PA, in their respective cases.

I'm looking for extreme details, ex. whats the best shipper to go with, packaging, and anything else that I might not do otherwise.

You guys are the best. Enjoy the weekend, :mrgreen:

Jerry
 

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I've used UPS priority for Altos and a Bass Clarinet that I shipped. I overpacked them and they reached their destination in good shape.

A few years ago I shipped a Bari across the country. I packed it in the case with bubble wrap and secured the keys with foam cubes. Then I brought it to a UPS store and
paid to have them pack it in a box and ship it. It cost me over $200.00, but it arrived at its destination unscathed.


The owner of the UPS store told me that he played sax in High School :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Sax people come out of the woodwork! :)

By over-pack, do you mean with Styrofoam just bubble wrap?

Thanks Bari Sax Guy !
 

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The most cost effective shipper is USPS, but they have size restrictions on the size of box you can send.

UPS and FedEx allow larger box sizes but can get prohibitively expensive.

To pack the horn, first make sure it isnt able to move inside the case. Use bubble-wrap and foam pads to prevent the horn from shifting. Particularly the bottom bow, octave mechanism, and neck, which is prone to dings and dents. Be careful that you don't completely stuff the case...too much packing material can cause keys to bend or be displaced when you close the case. General rule of thumb is you want the horn to fit snug in the case, with no movement possible when the case is closed.

Once you've done this, wrap the entire case in several inches of bubble wrap, with bubbles facing outward. Place inside a box stuffed with a mixture of bubble wrap, peanuts, and packing paper. Ideally, you don't want the case to be able to freely move much inside the box and packaging.

Some go the extra step of putting that box inside another box. You'll hear this referred to as "double boxing." It is certainly safer to ship this way, but often makes the box very large and heavy, which goes into the expense thing again.

Use plenty of tape on the boxes to reinforce folds, seams, and corners. Make sure a label is prominent, and easy to understand. It is usually worth putting a thin layer of tape over the label so that moisture doesn't damage the label.

Some believe in using key clamps when shipping a horn, and others don't. Search the internet a bit and you will find both opinions. If its not an expensive horn, key clamps are not necessary, and if it is packed very well, usually its ok to not use them.

You can expect to pay about $25-$75 shipping altos domestically, depending on service used, and anywhere from $60-$150 for tenors. This is assuming they are packed properly.

Hopefully that helped! Best of luck!

- Saxaholic
 

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I've always used USPS Priority as well with no problems.

For packing, if the horn is in a good contoured case like a protec and fits well then I wouldn't put any wrapping material inside the case, I'd just wrap the whole case in bubble wrap and make sure it is secure in the box (haven't shipped in one of these cases but I think that should be fine).

For older rectangular hard cases I wrap the horn with bubble wrap inside the case and make sure it is secure. Usually I take the horn out, lay a large piece of bubble wrap over where the horn fits in, then place the horn back in the case over it - this ensures the back/bottom of the horn is protected and gives it a natural lay in the case. Then I fold in the edges and place/tape another piece(s) on top, tucking it in around the body and bell. If there is side to side room I pad the edges with extra bubble wrap so the horn doesn't shift - you should be able to close the case and give it a shake without the horn moving around. You should have an end cap to help take up some of that space and to protect the octave key if it extends past the body.

It's also important not to overwrap/overstuff the case to the point where it doesn't close. You shouldn't have to force the lid close or have to apply pressure or else you may be end up bending keys.

The neck I always wrap completely in bubble wrap and place securely in the compartment so that it doesn't shift. Make sure you don't bend the octave key by making it too tight.

I find the hardest part is usually finding a box that fits the case - a few times I've had to make a box by combining two smaller same-sized boxes. I usually wrap the entire case with bubble wrap and depending on how much room is left in the box you can fill it with packing peanuts or something to take up the extra space.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The most cost effective shipper is USPS, but they have size restrictions on the size of box you can send.

UPS and FedEx allow larger box sizes but can get prohibitively expensive.

To pack the horn, first make sure it isnt able to move inside the case. Use bubble-wrap and foam pads to prevent the horn from shifting. Particularly the bottom bow, octave mechanism, and neck, which is prone to dings and dents. Be careful that you don't completely stuff the case...too much packing material can cause keys to bend or be displaced when you close the case. General rule of thumb is you want the horn to fit snug in the case, with no movement possible when the case is closed.

Once you've done this, wrap the entire case in several inches of bubble wrap, with bubbles facing outward. Place inside a box stuffed with a mixture of bubble wrap, peanuts, and packing paper. Ideally, you don't want the case to be able to freely move much inside the box and packaging.

Some go the extra step of putting that box inside another box. You'll hear this referred to as "double boxing." It is certainly safer to ship this way, but often makes the box very large and heavy, which goes into the expense thing again.

Use plenty of tape on the boxes to reinforce folds, seams, and corners. Make sure a label is prominent, and easy to understand. It is usually worth putting a thin layer of tape over the label so that moisture doesn't damage the label.

Some believe in using key clamps when shipping a horn, and others don't. Search the internet a bit and you will find both opinions. If its not an expensive horn, key clamps are not necessary, and if it is packed very well, usually its ok to not use them.

You can expect to pay about $25-$75 shipping altos domestically, depending on service used, and anywhere from $60-$150 for tenors. This is assuming they are packed properly.

Hopefully that helped! Best of luck!

- Saxaholic
WOW!! Amazing details! Thank you so much for taking the time to write all that out. It's extremely helpful.

I put the shipping cost at $50 for my tenor on reverb, maybe I should up that. I just didn't want to scare off prospective buyers. I thought they might think I'm price gouging them with shipping.

I didn't realize the shipping cost could be above $100. That's good to know.

Again, thank you kindly.
 

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You are most welcome. Shipping cost will largely depend on who you use. A tenor CAN ship for $50, you just need to make sure you have materials on hand to pack it yourself.

A UPS or FedEx Office store can pack it for you, but your cost will almost certainly be above $50.

I recently tried to ship 2 horns to Aaron Barnard in Iowa from Texas...FedEx wanted $450! Granted, the boxes were huge and heavy, but that threw me for a loop.

You can use tools on ups.com and usps.com to estimate your cost based on weight and box dimensions. Altos usually run in the 18-25 lb range and tenors usually 25-35 lbs.

- Saxaholic
 

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The most cost effective shipper is USPS, but they have size restrictions on the size of box you can send.
UPS and FedEx allow larger box sizes but can get prohibitively expensive.
I've always used USPS Priority as well with no problems.
USPS is the way to go as far as cost, insurance coverage, etc. They also have a good track record of getting things there on time.
As others have said, they have a box size 'restriction' although for domestic there isn't one, really...the price just jumps way up for anything over a girth+length of 108". For Int'l the size restrictions are onerous, sometimes...making it virtually impossible to send a well-packed Tenor to many places in the world, for example. But usually the 108" Domestic allows most anything other than a Baritone.

For Baritones (in case) I usually have to use UPS...

ONE thing: if you can, AVOID using Express or Priority USPS if you can (take it from a guy who ships out around 3 horns/week and has been doing so for over a decade).

Use Ground/Standard/Parcel if you can (which of course results in longer times in transit). Only because...Priority and Express get air-shipped, and therefore the parcels get handled more roughly as opposed to Ground.

A generalization I know, but one which happens to be true most of the time. A large, heavy parcel gets gentler treatment via Ground/Parcel, generally - this being confirmed by a number of Postmasters in various cities I have spoken with.

So one ups the possibility of ship damage when they go with an expedited option.

I DO Priority ship when I need to, but avoid it when I can. Given the availability of the Ground/Parcel/Standard option, I would not recommend Priority as the default USPS method. There is greater risk involved....increasing incrementally as the package gets larger and heavier, I'd say (i.e. somewhat negligible for a well-packed Alto; not insignificant for a Tenor, and moving into 'damage likely' for even a well-packed Baritone via Priority)
 

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The horn and all objects in the case must be secure. The case must be inside a new shipping carton of sufficient size to leave 3" on every side. This space must be filled with shock-absorbing material. Unlike some others, I like to have a little movement of the horn in the case but it must be limited by soft surfaces. Likewise, a little movement of the case in the carton within the packing material but no open space. This is accomplished automatically if you use soft packing materials like bubble wrap, foam pieces (peanuts), or small air bags.
I like to use 'strapping tape' not only on the seams of the carton but around it in several places as 'burst' protection. This is the packing tape with visible filaments sold where shipping supplies are sold. I've never had a problem with UPS ground but do buy the insurance anyway.
 

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Can't believe this hasn't been mentioned yet, but, in addition to what's been mentioned above, CORK DOWN THE KEYS: upper stack, lower stack, and low Bb, B, and C.
 

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Can't believe this hasn't been mentioned yet, but, in addition to what's been mentioned above, CORK DOWN THE KEYS: upper stack, lower stack, and low Bb, B, and C.
" I packed it in the case with bubble wrap and secured the keys with foam cubes."

To the OP - There are some very good packing tips here and on You Tube and elsewhere.

in Brief- 1. Secure the Sax in the Case, make sure to secure the neck and any other loose items such as mouthpieces, etc.
2. Tape the case shut and wrap up the Case with Bubble Wrap
3. Insert the wrapped case into a box that is larger than the case and pack it solidly usually with newspaper
or brown packing paper, and / or Styrofoam pieces from box that contained a TV or computer etc.
Peanuts tend to settle, so they are not a good choice.

Some people double box as well.

I put my name, address and phone number on a paper inside the box and case.
 
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