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gbisignaniPlayers Union Member

United States
40 posts
since 7/28/16

01/11/2017 08:43:22 Reply with Quote

Being relatively new here I'm not sure if this topic is floating around.  In a couple of months I'm probably

going to put a banjo up for sale.  I was wondering if I could get some ideas on how to ship it.  I do have a case.

I recently bought a banjo on Ebay and it came in a case and was basically covered in cardboard.  A homemade cardboard box.   It was stuffed with newspaper and plastic bags.

It did the job but it sure didn't look very pretty and I was a bit nervous when it arrived. 


United States
5380 posts since 1/30/07

01/11/2017 08:48:26View BDCA's MP3 Archive View BDCA's Classified Ads View BDCA's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

To do it right get a used guitar box from Guitar Center and use bubble wrap or air pillows around the case. I also use bubble to support the neck and peg head in the case. 



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Zachary HoytPlayers Union Member

United States
1782 posts since 2/18/09

01/11/2017 09:56:23View Zachary Hoyt's MP3 Archive View Zachary Hoyt's Classified Ads View Zachary Hoyt's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

I generally wrap instruments thoroughly in bubble wrap and then put them in a cardboard box filled with foam peanuts.  I don't like to ship in hard cases because the weight and size are so increased, but I have done it a couple of times.  I think one of those foam cases would be a good way to go if you want more protection without too much weight.   Helix ships right in a foam case without a box over it, if I understood correctly.


Edited by - Zachary Hoyt on 01/11/2017 09:56:49

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jswkingsfieldPlayers Union Member

United States
2278 posts since 10/13/11

01/11/2017 10:00:04View jswkingsfield's MP3 Archive View jswkingsfield's Photo Albums View jswkingsfield's Blog Reply with Quote

Some handy websites on how to pack a banjo for shipping:

There have been sad stories on the Hangout, about carriers denying insurance claims where a used box is involved, saying this is improper packing.  Two luthiers that I have dealt with, use double-corrugated boxes.  No, these are not inexpensive, and yes, the additional weight adds to the shipping price.  Gruhn Guitars recently was paranoid to the point that if you buy a banjo from them, they ship with the neck detached (this was a few years ago, not sure if this still is their practice).

A problem with packing peanuts, is that they do settle, which might allow the banjo to slide around.  If you use them, take the time to ramrod them down.  I've made balls of bubble wrap, to secure the instrument case from knocking around inside the box.  Use quality packing tape.  I once had a banjo shipped to me, arrived with a hole punched in it and a lot of the packing peanuts had dribbled out, but the banjo was OK because the case was braced with wadded butcher paper and other materials that still cushioned and kept the banjo immobilized inside the box.

When shipping, I've taken date-stamped digital photos of the packing process, in case of an insurance claim.  I also take pictures of the unpacking process when I'm receiving. Whenever possible, I divert the shipment to a nearby FedEx or UPS site, wait at least 12 hours for the temperature to stabilize, and open the box there so that there's no argument on the condition. So far, so good, but stuff happens, and I figure the prepared are better positioned to fight in an insurance claim if something happens.  

Standard disclaimer:  YMMV.  No guarantees or warranties.  Always some risk when shipping a banjo, stuff happens.  Good luck!

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United States
113 posts since 11/3/16

01/11/2017 10:19:10 View heavy5's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

Gruhn no longer removes necks for ship & they do in their packing info mention how to take the pot weight off the flange (if applicable ) which is a major problem for flange breakage . A properly packed banjo in a hard case is an advantage , not a disadvantage .

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United States
2670 posts since 5/12/10

01/11/2017 12:28:17View OldPappy's MP3 Archive View OldPappy's Photo Albums View OldPappy's Blog Reply with Quote

I have shipped via FedEx, insured, in one of their containers watching closely while they packed it.

Most of the time I supply a case with a new banjo so I ship inside the case, which is placed into a sturdy cardboard box.

Inside the case the banjo is well padded with bubble wrap, and I place a Styrofoam block under the neck. The strings are either removed, or slackened, and the bridge is in the accesory box with instructions for string up and bridge placement. I also wrap the case in flooring underlayment foam before it goes into the box.

I use either FedEx, or USPS and I have never had an issue.

I will not ship a banjo via UPS as a friend of mine had two high end banjos arrive at their destination with broken necks.   

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The Old Timer

United States
9887 posts since 10/30/08

01/11/2017 19:45:15View The Old Timer's MP3 Archive View The Old Timer's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

I've shipped UPS and Postal Service OK. I like having a banjo in a hard case. Even within the hard case the banjo has to be completely immobilized with "stuffing". I mean STUFFED tight. I've used brown kraft paper, newspaper, t shirts, small bubble wrap (not the big Sealed Air "pillows"), etc. Below the heel/resonator area where there's usually a bit of air space -- fill that up tight. UNDERNEATH the neck all the way up. On each side of the neck. Completely below the peghead and ABOVE the peghead. Lay the bridge down flat under semi-slack strings, and cover the head with padding. All around the edges of the pot. The case should be difficult to close and latch from all this stuffing. Sling the case around side to side and front to back and you should hear ZERO movement of the banjo inside.

Then put the case in a good large instrument shipping box (I used old ones from Gruhn, Elderly, etc) padded hugely at the bottom and top with folded cardboard, great huge wads of paper around the circle of the case, folded cardboard BRACING on either side of the case neck, etc. I do not like peanuts, the don't immobilize anything. Shake the box in all directions and you should not hear the case move at all if you've braced/stuffed enough.

Basically, if the case gets thrashed side to side you don't want either the case, or the banjo inside the case, moving freely. The wadded paper, t shirts, folded cardboard etc. should absorb the shock, not transfer it.

Then use all the tape you have everywhere on the box to be sure it stays closed, top and bottom.

Not much you can do about someone driving a foreign object THROUGH a packed box. I received a banjo via UPS from California once and apparently a fork truck fork, or other narrow sharp end/corner had poked a hole through the wide side of the box and through the black layer of the case, but didn't penetrate the furry lining inside the case! Talk about a close call!

I also label boxes "FRAGILE" and "UP" to keep them upright, not at the bottom of a stack laying flat. At the post office, you can pay $10 extra for a "special handling" sticker that supposedly means only hand carrying. I now use that.

So far, have had no damages, and a lot of customers that gave me feedback that I really pack well. My packing is ugly but effective, and cheap. I would NEVER trust UPS to pack a banjo for me. I understand they will take your packed box, and put it inside another of their new boxes, and consider that "UPS packed". I've never tried it.

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