A Guide to Transporting Musical Instruments
A guide to transporting musical instruments from myParcelDelivery.com – a parcel delivery service provider in the UK – see their guidance on transporting musical instruments if you’re planning on couriering your instrument.
A musical instrument is a valuable possession. Not only can musical instruments be expensive to replace if lost or damaged, but they can also attract great sentimental value. Often, a musical instrument may be the chief source of an owner’s income. For all of these reasons, taking good care of musical instruments is of the utmost importance and particularly when they are being transported.
Whether preparing for a house move or travelling overseas, if you intend to transport a musical instrument over any distance it’s wise to take appropriate measures to ensure that it arrives at its destination in one piece and sounding as good as ever. This guide to transporting musical instruments gives advice on the best ways to protect your musical instrument in transit.
Choose an adequately protective case for your musical instrument
A lightweight soft case may be practical for carrying your musical instrument in everyday use, but may not provide sufficient protection against the bumps and jolts associated with longer periods of travel. A dedicated hard case with a padded interior contoured to the shape of your musical instrument and with a secure or lockable fastener offers far greater protection. If you are travelling by air with your musical instrument and it is of an appropriate size it should ideally form part of your carry-on hand luggage. If, however, your musical instrument needs to be stowed in the plane’s cargo hold, a durable and shock-resistant flight case –whilst expensive – may prove to be a worthwhile investment. For extra piece of mind, musical instruments that are sectional should be taken apart, and each section individually wrapped in bubble-wrap prior to being placed in a case for transportation.
Be aware of, and compensate for, travelling conditions
Safely transporting musical instruments is more than simply a case of protecting them against knocks and scrapes. Many instruments can be adversely affected by other factors such as excessive vibration, exposure to heat or cold, humidity or changes in air pressure. Stringed instruments are particularly vulnerable to climate changes and especially those associated with air transport. The strings of such instruments should be loosened slightly prior to transportation to compensate for the variation in conditions; failure to do so could result in significant physical damage to the instrument.
Use the most appropriate means of transport for your musical instrument
Common sense dictates that you can’t transport a grand piano on a bicycle, although this might be perfectly acceptable for a guitar in a case slung over your shoulder. Ideally though, you should aim to transport your musical instrument in a vehicle suited to the purpose; it’s preferable, for example, for an electronic keyboard to be able to lay flat in the boot or on the back seat of a car rather than be stuffed in at an angle because of lack of space. Conversely, laying the keyboard flat on the floor of a large van could be equally damaging if the keyboard is unsecured and can move around in transit.
Don’t forget to insure your musical instrument
If your musical instrument is particularly valuable it may not be sufficient to simply lump it in with your standard ‘home and contents’ insurance policy. A number of insurers provide policies specifically aimed at covering musical instruments against theft, loss, accidental damage and damage in transit. Provided that you have taken the appropriate measures to protect your musical instrument prior to and during transportation, insuring your musical instrument should at least provide some form of compensation should the worst happen.
Transporting pianos and other large musical instruments
Attempting to transport large musical instruments such as pianos, harps, cellos, basses or tubas that are potentially fragile or antique should not be attempted by anyone other than a specialist in the field. Any potential cost savings achievable by transporting these musical instruments by yourself are easily outweighed by the risk of loss or irreparable damage.