I love music. Who doesn’t! I know that many of you do and that if you do, you probably have your own collection of instruments that are both costly and sentimental. To preserve the integrity of an instrument, it is important to know how to properly pack them. Interiors for Seniors has sought out a collection of “how-to’s” regarding moving an instrument by following some of the advice that professionals have given. I have chosen the top choices of musical instruments for this purpose. Should you have a piano, please refer to our previous blog: How to Move a Piano.


United Postal Service (UPS) has given this advice for shipping a guitar. I would think that this would work wonderfully for any move as well:

  • Secure the instrument’s moveable parts. Begin by removing all the unnecessary parts, like the slide, capo and whammy bar. Basically, anything that doesn’t need to be in the case should go. This will help prevent scratches during transit, where loose objects have the potential to do serious damage.

  • Loosen the strings. You don’t have to remove the strings entirely—although if you’re shipping a guitar without a protective case you probably should—but detuning them a little will relieve some of the pressure from the headstock and reduce the risk of the strings snapping in transit.

  • Wrap the headstock. Covering the headstock with bubble wrap is an effective way of protecting the tuners from the case. You should also place a rubber band around the bubble wrap to keep it from coming loose while the guitar is in transit.

  • Place padding between the strings and the fretboard. By sliding a towel or a strip of folded newspaper between the frets and the strings, you can help keep them from smashing into each other during shipment.

Be sure to place your guitar in the properly sized guitar case and if at all possible, hand-carry it to your own vehicle. Otherwise, UPS recommends putting the case in a 200# or 250# burst strength box. You can sometimes find these boxes at a music store.

It is important that you keep the guitar vertical. DO NOT LAY FLAT and try to avoid using packing peanuts.

I imagine that the advice given for packing a guitar would work well with other stringed instruments, such as a violin or viola or even a cello. The difference would be that you would also need to protect the bows. If you play this instrument, then you already know that it is important to loosen the strings on a bow even before putting it away after each use. This would hold true for packing as well. After loosening the bow strings, simply place them in the bow holder inside your instrument’s hard shell case. The following website goes into specifics for cellos and shipping across Europe: I feel this advice would work for moving across town as well.


Not many of us have drums, but if you do, I am sure you want them to be treated with kid gloves. Prior to packing a drum kit, you will need to remove all hardware, bag it and label it accordingly. This would include floor tom legs and tom holders. Smaller hardware can be bubble wrapped or else placed in Ziplocs.

You should also remove all bass hoops and heads and cover them in bubble wrap before sliding them on the base shell. The shell’s open space can then be used for the toms. Finish by wrapping all drum shells in bubble wrap.

When packing a drum kit, the key word is “NESTING.” Here again, we are thinking space management. This idea of space management falls under the advice we gave in a previous blog: “Tried and True Tips for Packing.”

When nesting your drums, line the outside and inside of each individual drum with cardboard for cushioning. Cardboard corrugated padding would work well for this. Just remember to eliminate any space by using a packing material such as newsprint paper or else bubble wrap after wrapping and placing the drums in an adequate box.

I found this advice from a musical shipping company called SoundPure: “UPS and FedEx recommend a box with 2 or more inches of space (on all sides) wider than the diameter of the drum you are shipping, filled with padding and protection. So, typically, we add 4” to the largest-dimensioned drum you are trying to ship. This allows for the required padding to protect your drums during shipping. E.g.: Some 3-piece sets with a 22” bass drum will fit entirely in a single 26” cube box (that is 22” + 2” +2”).”

For a more detailed description on how to pack a drum kit, please refer to this website:


Overland Express has given us this advice for shipping brass instruments:

  • First remove the mouth piece and slide and pack separately.

  • Line the hard case with bubble wrap and wrap the body of the instrument with bubble wrap.

  • The slide can be packed in a postal tube, often available free at the post office.

  • Make sure there is bubble wrap inside the bell to keep the rim from making any contact with the case and fill any voids with packaging peanuts, polystyrene, or bubble wrap, as this could result in movement of the instrument during carriage and possible damage.

  • Be certain to fill in those empty spaces!

  • Put additional bubble wrap around the horn, to stop it from moving around. It needs to be a tight fit within the case.

Once this is done, wrap the entire case in 2 or 3 layers of bubble wrap and insert the case into a large cardboard box.


According to Universal Cargo, Electric musical instruments are the 686th most-traded product in the world. Besides you larger items such as guitars and electrical keyboard, which we have covered in a previous blog (How to Move a Piano or above under Guitars) there are many musical instrument-related items to be packed.

Falling under this category would be: metronomes, reeds, tuners, pick guards, strings, radio receivers, microphones, headphones. These items are sometimes referred to as “audio gear.” Of course, if you have this kind of equipment, you most likely have a box they came to you in. If you are like me, you have kept their box which would be the likely place in which to pack them. If not, try to mimic the packaging as it came to you, bubble wrap or else paper sheets around them should work fine, then place them in a secure box.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of instruments. If you have one that hasn’t been mentioned and would like it moved with your other household belongings, then contact us at the number below.

Call Missy Donaghy with Interiors for Seniors for a FREE consultation 321-279-3301.

Interiors for Seniors is proud to have been chosen as one of the top 100 moving blogs on the Internet.


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