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How to Pack and Ship A Guitar

A little primer on correctly packing your National (or any guitar for that matter) to ship.

National Guitar, Packing and Shipping
There's a huge amount of discussion regarding the merits of having an original cone vs. a new National Resophonic replacement cone for example. While that's a discussion for another day, let's look at some various cones used over the years and some identifying characteristics of the originals...
National Guitar, Packing and Shipping

The Box

First off, you'll need a nice box. To the right are actual guitar specific boxes used by Nat Reso to send new guitars. One nice thing is the dimensions are printed on the bottom. You can get a guitar box free from most music stores, well worth the effort. Also, most carriers limit sizes to 48" in length, so be aware of box dimensions.
National Guitar, Packing and Shipping

The Guitar

For the sake of this series, I'll be sending a sweet early Duolian I just finished to a buyer in France. Better be packed well! Here I use a generic hard shell case, so I have to make sure I tailor packing the guitar INSIDE the case!
National Guitar, Packing and Shipping
National Guitar, Packing and Shipping

Padding the Inside of the Case

Two things to be aware of here. First, the National guitar has a body that is not as deep as many guitars. This particular case is designed for a deeper bodied guitar. Be aware of how the guitar sits in the case. You do NOT want the neck to see-saw on the brace in the pic above. I filled the case (body and headstock area) w layers of small bubble wrap to raise the guitar in the case till it sits flat. Also wrap the headstock in bubble wrap several times, and layer underneath it.
National Guitar, Packing and Shipping

The Cocoon

After it's snug, be aware of the case cover depth. This one is over an inch deep, so my Duo would be loose inside once it's shut. Add layers of bubble wrap on top as shown to make sure the guitar is snugly cocooned INSIDE the case!
National Guitar, Packing and Shipping

Prep the Box

Time to prepare the box. First order of business, pack the bottom 3 inches w packing. Here I used large bubble wrap folded 4 times. This is super important BEFORE putting the case inside the box. Cool Nat's on the left, eh? Sweeeet.
National Guitar, Packing and Shipping

Put The Guitar In the Box

Alright, now we're getting somewhere. Place the case inside the box, and be sure to CENTER it all around so we can COCOON it properly. Note I have an equal 2 inches or so in the front and back between case and box.

National Guitar, Packing and Shipping
There's lots of choices, but good old newspaper or in this case thick paper used for packing and or painting and such works great. Make sure you ball it up kind of gently, not real tight. Of course, bubble wrap works great and could easily be used here also.
National Guitar, Packing and Shipping

Pad the Case in the Box

Here I begin to press the balled up paper into the box both on the sides and in between the front and back. Remember, you're trying to pack so the guitar will be totally surrounded tightly and will not move at all .
National Guitar, Packing and Shipping

Fill 'er Up

Here I continue fillling w newspaper balls. There are no large air pockets anywhere, the guitar is now fully cocooned and stabilized inside both the case and the box. Lookin' good so far!.... Ready to finish her up.
National Guitar, Packing and Shipping

The Peanuts

All right, let's talk STYRO PEANUTS for a moment. As you can imagine , if all I did was fill the box w peanuts, the case would over time shift around in the box, moving the case/guitar to the outer edges of the box where a drop could seriously damage it. If you want to use them, either place them in bags, like this, or put a small amount, then place newspaper balls. Then more, than more newspaper. Here I use a bag of peanuts to cushion the case between it and the top of the box, as I did on the bottom.
National Guitar, Packing and Shipping  
National Guitar, Packing and Shipping

The Tape

Lastly, don't use grey duct tape. It looks like crap and mor e importantly, does not stick near as well as this. Here you see Scotch brand packing tape, super sticky and super thick plastic tape that is very strong. Several pieces over the top flap, going down 6 inches or so on each side. While at it, make sure the tape on the bottom flap is still in good shape. There you have it, not rocket science, but it'll insure your pricey guitar makes it to it's new home! Hope you enjoyed! -Len
National Guitar, Packing and Shipping