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Dec 3, 2019 - 5:48:33 AM
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2261 posts since 1/16/2013

Earlier this year I acquired a vintage Gibson banjo from a person out west. Payment was secured and tracking info sent. A few days later The FedEx driver came to the door carrying the banjo. No box, no padding, etc...just the banjo.
After a careful inspection to my surprise everything was fine. Its original case had the FedEx label on it including 2 stickers where it had flown through O'Hare in Chicago and BNA in Nashville.

I'm not fussing about it at all....(now)...., I'd like to hear other stories of banjos that made it safe to their destination against all odds!!

Edited by - 9470 Granada on 12/03/2019 05:49:14

Dec 3, 2019 - 5:58:58 AM

SBPARK

USA

330 posts since 2/25/2011

When I was younger I shipped an acoustic guitar in a rather cheap SKB case (basically styrofoam covered in plastic) where I just put duct tape over the latches and slapped the UPS or FedEx sticker directly on the case! I remember the last time I did this one of the metal knobs/feet on the bottom of the case was pushed in and the case was crashed/depressed, but the guitar was just fine. I had that guitar for over 20 years before selling it (in that same case, btw).

Definitely not recommending anyone do this, and I just got VERY lucky a few times doing this. We do stupid things when we're young.

Dec 3, 2019 - 6:08:47 AM

39 posts since 4/8/2019

I used to fly across the US regularly when I toured for several years with a band, including a three-week sojurn to Japan to play for the Smithsonian American Festival. My 1890s WA Cole was carefully packed in a vintage hard case with a few extra pair of socks and I never had a single problem with rough treatment of the instrument. This would be unwise today with the new normal of brutal baggage handling by disaffected baboons. Perhaps baggage handlers intuitively understand that anyone silly enough to transport a banjo is in need of special treatment.

RA

Dec 3, 2019 - 6:27:33 AM

R Buck

USA

2691 posts since 9/5/2006

I got two fiddles sent to me with their cases taped together and mailed from Kentucky. Our mailman called me and I met him on his route. He was worried about the condition of the fiddles. They were fine but the fellow making them was suffering from a condition with his eyes so that colors were no longer true to what he thought they were. One was Clemson orange and the other Yelllowjacket gold. But that is another story.

Dec 3, 2019 - 7:45:27 AM
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WesB

USA

192 posts since 12/17/2014

The only answer has to be that all of the FedEx people who handled that instrument were banjo players.

Dec 3, 2019 - 8:07:13 AM

SBPARK

USA

330 posts since 2/25/2011

quote:
Originally posted by WesB

The only answer has to be that all of the FedEx people who handled that instrument were banjo players.


And probably fans of Mumford & Sons. 

Dec 3, 2019 - 8:28:24 AM

12355 posts since 10/30/2008

Do you mean he handed you the banjo IN THE CASE? I thought at first you meant the banjo didn't even have a case!

I'm sure Gibson shipped a pile of instruments in just their cases -- especially Railway Express Agency.

I once bought an ABS Martin guitar case via eBay, and I asked the seller to just put tape over the latches and mail it that way, no box. It arrived perfectly fine.

In the REAL old days when Martin shipped their guitars via rail, they often built a custom wooden crate -- stamped Martin -- with the wooden coffin case and guitar inside the custom crate. Almost none of those crates were saved, but I do remember a few years ago seeing an ancient Martin for sale with both the coffin case and the factory wooden crate!

Dec 3, 2019 - 9:24:58 AM

902 posts since 8/7/2017

An anonymous box, Who Cares if it falls off the conveyor belt? Hey, the shipper was supposed to pack for gorillas and gravity.

But an obvious instrument case, well, that probably hits a human chord, and sympathetic treatment goes up.

Perhaps also baggage handlers get tired of being treated as mindless robots. When someone shows that they trust the handler with something delicate, they respond with, "All right, this guy realizes I'm not just a robot. He honors me, so I'll return the honor by handling his package carefully."

Dec 3, 2019 - 9:42:24 AM

261 posts since 8/17/2010

I purchased a used banjo on-line and specifically asked the seller to ensure that it was well packed/padded for shipping. The banjo came with a very old, beat-up chip board case. When I received and opened the cardboard box, I discovered that the banjo case had been very well padded with bubble wrap but it was still able to slide around within the cardboard box. I unwrapped and opened the case to find the banjo completely unprotected. The case had no padding nor bracing of any kind, allowing the banjo to move freely in every direction, colliding with the interior of the case. So, while the case was well protected, the banjo had a rough ride across the country. Happily, no damage.

Dec 3, 2019 - 9:42:50 AM

2261 posts since 1/16/2013

The FedEx driver was carrying it "hugged"...not by handle. Thought that was nice. The driver mentioned the need to be careful as well.
 
Originally posted by BrooksMT

An anonymous box, Who Cares if it falls off the conveyor belt? Hey, the shipper was supposed to pack for gorillas and gravity.

But an obvious instrument case, well, that probably hits a human chord, and sympathetic treatment goes up.

Perhaps also baggage handlers get tired of being treated as mindless robots. When someone shows that they trust the handler with something delicate, they respond with, "All right, this guy realizes I'm not just a robot. He honors me, so I'll return the honor by handling his package carefully."


Edited by - 9470 Granada on 12/03/2019 09:43:17

Dec 3, 2019 - 10:46:26 AM
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426 posts since 8/14/2018

quote:
Originally posted by BrooksMT

An anonymous box, Who Cares if it falls off the conveyor belt? Hey, the shipper was supposed to pack for gorillas and gravity.

But an obvious instrument case, well, that probably hits a human chord, and sympathetic treatment goes up.
 


Obviously, the thing to do when shipping an instrument is to put a picture of a TV on the box:

https://www.bicycling.com/news/a20027122/vanmoof-tv-on-box-damaged-bikes/

Dec 3, 2019 - 12:34:08 PM

10734 posts since 4/23/2004

I bought a Zither Banjo about 20 yrs ago. Shipping from the UK was more than the banjo. It arrived in a scarred and mangled cardboard box...no packing, no wrap, nothing. Just thrown in a box and sent on. No damage, no issues. Crappy banjo...but it made it!

I usually send out very specific and detailed instructions for packing a banjo. I've never had anyone pay the least attention to it. I've received just one banjo with a snapped peghead from shipping. Thankfully, it was for a conversion and the original neck was worn and twisted so badly that it couldn't have been used anyway (which I knew when I bought it). Not worth complaining about.

I also received a rifle once (legally shipped out for customization and returned). UPS sticker on my front door said it was waiting for me at the local UPS facility. No box, just a shred of a box with enough of an address that my neighborhood driver recognized it and knew it had to be mine. No damage at all.

Dec 3, 2019 - 1:59:15 PM

6351 posts since 8/28/2013

All I get from this is and counter threads about damage inflicted on well-packed instruments is that shipping is a crapshoot and care should be taken. Not every package handler is a moron, and some probably do take extra care when they are trusted, but most shipping involves more than one person and some of them may not care at all.

Dec 4, 2019 - 6:00:15 AM

3741 posts since 5/1/2003

I really think that if a case handle is available to grab,even if the case is only wrapped in bubble wrap,the handler will treat it more gently than a box that must be picked up with 2 hands. Doesn't that make sense?

Dec 4, 2019 - 10:36:39 AM

12 posts since 11/2/2019

Several years ago I stopped by a FedEx store to ship a (carefully packed) acoustic guitar. While I was waiting on my receipt, I saw a banjo case with a shipping tag hanging from the handle sitting with all of the other packages behind the counter. I always wondered if that banjo made it to its destination intact...

Dec 4, 2019 - 4:20:07 PM
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Players Union Member

Helix

USA

11987 posts since 8/30/2006

Hurricane Sandy. People are huddled around a trash barrel fire

Late in the evening, the Postman walks up over the rubble with the banjo I shipped to them , now they had a fire And music

Rod durst is right. I buy special handling from the post office all the time
Give em a handle

Dec 4, 2019 - 6:27:28 PM

Brett

USA

1955 posts since 11/29/2005

Not shipping, but an amazing true story. My buddy and I were pulled out in front of at probably 65 mph or so, his d28 was in camper shell in back of his truck, and he never saw it or lifted despite my yelling. His Datsun king cab was totaled, as well as the station wagon we hit broadside. Naturally, our instruments were in quality wooden hardshell cases, which were undamaged. It knocked braces loose inside his Martin, from the impact.....
All that happened to my stelling was broken 5th string.....and the other 4 strings were still in tune! Amazing to me, and still a mystery to this day.

Dec 11, 2019 - 11:49:45 AM

2261 posts since 1/16/2013

Great stories.

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