It doesn’t matter if you are amateur occasional music enthusiast or a professional performing artist. Either way, you want to make sure that your instrument(s) will come untouched during relocation. In short, moving musical instruments should be done in a safe and proper way. Many of those are very expensive and you wouldn’t like to see them broken after your move. Even if you have an old guitar that doesn’t cost much, I bet it has an emotional value that can’t be compensated with money.
Sure, smaller instruments like flute or ukulele you can put on your car seat. But if you have a piano or harp, you’ll need to put it in the mercy of a moving company. So, if you don’t want to see your instrument(s) scratched, damaged or broken, you’ll need to take special precautions.
Choose a moving company with a good reputation
If you are lucky that your movers are musicians as well, then you don’t need to worry. But in the most cases, people who will handle your belongings will only be cautious if there is a “fragile” sign on the box. As you probably know, there is a ton of moving companies on the market. And not all of them are good. Be careful while searching, as there are a lot of moving company scams as well.
Finding a good and reliable moving company should be your number one task. And not just for moving musical instruments. But for your other belongings as well. Being licensed and insured are characteristics of reputable moving companies.
Packing guide for moving musical instruments
Proper packing of a music instrument is way different than packing regular fragile items. It is definitely not enough just to put “FRAGILE” label on the box. Bunch of wine glasses, plates or even a coffee machine cannot compare with your precious musical instrument.
But you cannot pack piano and drums same way. Instrument type, material, and size are the factors that determine how packing should be done.
In this tutorial, we will provide moving tips for the most common instruments. But in either case, there are supplies you’ll need to get in order to safely pack your piece of art:
- Original hard case (if applicable) for the safest moving musical instruments
- Wrapping tape
- Bubble wrap
- Carton boxes
- Packing peanuts
Do not purchase cheap packing supplies. It is much better to spend few extra bucks on the quality ones to prevent possible scratches and damages. Let’s be honest, this extra cost is nothing compared with possible professional reparation.
Guitars, ukuleles, violins, cellos, harps, etc., are very tricky to relocate. This type of instruments are very fragile and can easily crack even with the slightest bump on the road.
Firstly, to prevent damages to the fingerboards, necks or bodies, you should slightly loosen the strings. But be careful with loosening. If you overdo it, the neck can have deformations. This way, temperature changes will not affect your strings. If you are not sure how to do it right, get some assistance at the local musical instruments store. If you have an instrument with the bow, loosen it as well. In case you have an instrument with the tuning keys, turn them parallel with the headstock.
If you have the original hard case, place your instrument inside. For extra padding, wrap your instrument with a bubble wrap or some smooth clothing before putting it in the case. Make sure there is no dirt or anything that can make a scratch in the wrapping material.
On the condition that you don’t possess an original case, use plastic foil or dry cleaning bag to keep your instrument safe from water and moisture. Once you seal it with the wrapping tape, use a lot of bubble wrap to ensure it from the physical damage. Find suitable carton box, and put some packing peanuts before placing your properly wrapped instrument inside of it.
For pianos, organs and similar instruments, you do not need to break your head. If you choose good and reliable moving company, you can let them do the most of the job. Because of its size, most moving companies have special courses for their employees when it comes to moving this type of instrument. But even so, there are few steps you can take to ensure safer moving musical instruments.
Firstly, remove all parts you can, like the music stand and bench. Close and lock the fallboard. Wrap pedals. Put down the lid prop, and close the top lid. Prepare bubble wrap, smooth clothing and wrap tape, but let the professionals handle the wrapping process.
Drums and other Percussion instruments
Percussion instruments are probably most grateful for moving. And simplest. Remove each part of the set and pack it separately. Cut the thick carton box and shape it to fit the Drumhead (Batter). This part is most sensitive, and it needs extra protection. Place shaped carton over the Drumhead and tape it. Once you do that, find a box slightly larger than the instrument. Use bubble wrap to pad the top, sides, and bottom, and place the drum inside. Put some packing peanuts and close the box.
Wrap all other parts such as tension rods, spurs, legs, and drumsticks and put them in the separate box. Be patient and attentive so you in order to be calm while moving musical instruments.
Brass and Woodwind instruments
Most of these instruments have big parts, which make them great for moving. And even if you do not have the original hard case, you will easily find it in the music store.
If you have the hard case, place the instrument inside and wrap it in the bubble wrap.
However, if you can’t find the hard case, completely take the instrument apart, and wrap each piece separately in a few layers of bubble wrap. Be careful while putting pieces in the box. Use towels to prevent bumping. If you are using packing peanuts, use wrapping tape to seal the instrument.