Cross country, cold weather, acoustic guitar shipping

kitniyatran

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....

If that's too much dough, 2nd day air, or my old standby, USPS Priority mail, roughly 3 days coast to ....
My experience with USPS Priority Mail was when I bought a mandolin in Connecticut and I sent a money order from Southwest Florida via Priority Mail for $6.70 so that it would get there within a couple of days and in fact the seller received the money order in 7 days , making the money I spent on Priority Mail a total waste,as by regular mail it should have gotten there in 4 to 5 days anyway.
 
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West R Lee

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I just shipped a vintage bass across the U.S., and it's supposed to arrive tomorrow. The customer didn't want USPS which would have been faster, and it's taken a week. It's supposed to arrive tomorrow, and even though I packed it for wartime, I'm dreading the arrival outcome. A somewhat famous Nashville musician bought it, and I really hope it arrives intact for him. The cold weather is the killer. Fortunately, he knows to let it acclimate before opening it. Fingers crossed! 😣🤞
Down here USPS takes far and away the longest to ship. There have weeks we've waited for packages. We have lost packages via USPS. I'm a FedEx shipper all the way baby. Strangely, Collings shipped straight to the house, and they use, and have always used UPS, who I've always seen as the destroyer of guitars. Fedex, here at least, seems to inflict the least amount of damage to our packages and are pretty prompt with delivery. I do like what I perceive as USPS's ability to cover any damages inflicted with shipping as they pretty much have unlimited resources via you and me to cover such losses.

West
 

jp

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Down here USPS takes far and away the longest to ship. There have weeks we've waited for packages. We have lost packages via USPS. I'm a FedEx shipper all the way baby. Strangely, Collings shipped straight to the house, and they use, and have always used UPS, who I've always seen as the destroyer of guitars. Fedex, here at least, seems to inflict the least amount of damage to our packages and are pretty prompt with delivery. I do like what I perceive as USPS's ability to cover any damages inflicted with shipping as they pretty much have unlimited resources via you and me to cover such losses.

West
Hey West!
It's my impression that service and experiences differ for all big shippers by region. For example, we have pretty solid postal service to our neighborhood, but nearby areas have had horrible stories about delivery mess ups. The East and Midwest U.S. seem to have more complaints about USPS than we do here on the West Coast.

FedEx and UPS deliveries to me are often on time, but rough and tumble, without as much care for the state of the packages or where they deliver them, while our local USPS letter carrier is always pretty courteous. Fortunately, Reverb Safe Shipping covers insurance on vintage instruments because the all shippers are lacking in that area.
 

doctormrd

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Thanks again folks!
All the good information and opinions are extremely helpful.
I agree that the carriers and their handling procedures vary from region to region. Around my area, FedX seems to be quicker and gentler on shipments. I have been to a distribution center for UPS and found it unsettling to watch the packages move along the conveyor belts and then drop to the next level, landing on top of other packages with other items landing on top of them. I don't even want to think about how they get into and out of the trucks. I would assume the other carriers operate pretty much the same way.
It is imperative that the shipping carton is well padded and braced on every side and ends to prevent shock and crushing damages. The guitar inside the case should also be protected against movement and shock damage from drops.
As far as the cold temperatures are concerned, I've got enough information from you folks for me to agree to have a guitar shipped during winter conditions.
Insurance protection and signature requirements upon delivery should allow the shipment to survive the journey and be inspected before the driver leaves. I always ask the driver to wait while I look it over and that hasn't been a problem. That's just me being obsessive.

Thank you all !

MD
 

fronobulax

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Insurance protection and signature requirements upon delivery should allow the shipment to survive the journey and be inspected before the driver leaves. I always ask the driver to wait while I look it over and that hasn't been a problem. That's just me being obsessive.
Confirm that the signature requirement is being enforced. It's not happening locally unless alcohol is part of the shipment.

Also there are cases where instruments have been damaged in shipping because of the way they were packed in the case or the case wasn't well packed in the box. There was no externally visible damage. If you are going to be obsessive you might think about whether you would rather unbox immediately and risk thermal damage or let the driver go and have to document discovered damage at a later time.
 

jp

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Update: The bass arrived safe and sound with no damage. Whew! Temperatures in Nashville were mild in the mid-50s. With the cold blasts across the country, though, who knows the range of temperatures the package endured.
 

doctormrd

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Good point Frono.

The temperature difference between the most recent time in transit and temps in the delivery truck would need to be very similar to the temperature at the final destination in order to safely immediately open the case for inspection.
I guess shipping is always going to be more or less a "crap shoot".
Pay your money and hope for the best., eh?

MD
 

Midnight Toker

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Good point Frono.

The temperature difference between the most recent time in transit and temps in the delivery truck would need to be very similar to the temperature at the final destination in order to safely immediately open the case for inspection.
I guess shipping is always going to be more or less a "crap shoot".
Pay your money and hope for the best., eh?

MD
In transit temps shouldn't matter, as temp changes would be gradual to the instrument in a well packaged case. Not to mention, well build instruments are much more resilient than you'd think. The main thing to avoid is very sudden 30+ degree changes in temps to an exposed instrument. Touring bands have for ages loaded their gear in cargo holds under tour buses, in pull behind trailers, and on cargo holds of planes ,etc. None of which are climate controlled. They go everywhere from 100+ degree temps in the south to -20 degree temps in the north. The only rule of thumb is leave it in the case for an hour or two to acclimate after you bring it inside.

If you have to sign for it, just ask the driver how long it's been in his truck. If for even just an hr or two, and the truck's cargo is not far off from outside temps, I'd have no problem opening it for inspection right in my driveway. Even if it was 35 degrees outside. Then I'd close the case, bring it inside, and wait an hr or so before opening it again. Good guitars are tough. I fear dry heat much more than the cold w/ acoustics.
 

fronobulax

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I fear dry heat much more than the cold w/ acoustics.

But if I can prevent this, I'll do it because every time I look at the instrument it will be a reminder of a mistake I didn't have to make. Definitely a personal idiosyncrasy because some people call it "mojo" and like the way it makes their guitar different from similar models.

weather-checking4.jpg
 
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