Shipping Musical Instruments Internationally: A Comprehensive Guide

Cover Image for Shipping Musical Instruments Internationally: A Comprehensive Guide

Does the mere thought of shipping musical instruments overseas give you cold sweats? Dealing with complex customs, fearing potential damage, and the looming costs can indeed be daunting.

Consider a client of ours who needed to send his banjo all the way to Nashville, USA, for repairs. He was initially faced with a staggering shipping bill of $725.31 due to ill-fitting boxes.

But here's where JustShip stepped in. We managed to trim his cost down to a mere $65.98. That's right; he saved a whopping $659.33.

Inspired by such experiences, we've compiled this guide to help you make the seemingly intricate task of international instrument shipping smoother, more affordable, and less intimidating.

Ready? Let’s dive in.

1. Understanding the Unique Challenges of Shipping Musical Instruments

a. Delicate nature of musical instruments

Musical instruments are known for their complex and fragile structure.

Even minor bumps during transit can cause a musical instrument like a guitar or violin to fall out of tune or suffer physical damage.

b. Importance of proper packing and handling

With musical instruments coming in various sizes and shapes, it's crucial to ensure proper packing to protect them from potential damage during transit.

Every instrument has its own set of specific requirements when it comes to packaging and handling.

Correct packing is the first line of defence in preventing potential damage.

2. Packing Musical Instruments Properly

a. General packing tips

  • Opt for Premium Materials: Utilise bubble wrap to cushion and protect your instrument from shocks, packing peanuts to fill in any empty spaces in the box, and robust, double-walled cardboard boxes for a safe journey.
  • The Importance of Labelling: Label your boxes clearly as 'Fragile' and indicate the right orientation. This way, handlers can treat your package with the necessary care.

b. Specific instrument packing guidelines

i. Shipping Guitar, Violins or Other String Instruments


Loosen the strings to reduce tension. The instrument should be placed in a hard case if available, which is then wrapped and placed in a sturdy box.

For an in-depth guide, check out “JustShip’s Comprehensive Guide to Shipping Guitars”.

ii. Shipping Trumpets, Flutes or Other Brass & Woodwind Instruments


Disassemble where possible and wrap each piece separately in bubble wrap.

iii. Shipping Drum Sets or Other Percussion Instruments

drum set

Dismantle drums and wrap each piece individually.

iv. Shipping Keyboards and Pianos


Piano shipping internationally can be complex. Keys should be locked and the entire piano or keyboard wrapped securely.

3. Preparation for International Shipping

a. Required customs documentation

The customs forms you complete are essential to ensure your package makes it through customs smoothly.

Incorrect or incomplete forms can lead to delays, return, or even seizure of your shipment. Some of the key documents include:

  • Commercial Invoice: This document provides essential information about your shipment, including the sender and recipient details, description of goods and their value.
  • Packing List: It details the contents of your package and aids customs authorities in checking that everything declared is present.

b. Taxes and duties

Taxes and duties are unavoidable elements of international shipping and can vary greatly from one country to another.

Utilise rate calculators and consider these costs within your budget.

c. Insurance

International shipping involves risks such as loss, theft, and damage. Insuring your musical instruments for their full value is crucial.

For high-value items like musical instruments, you may want to consider purchasing additional insurance.

Be sure to understand the terms and conditions of the insurance policy to know what circumstances are covered.

4. Best Way to Ship Musical Instruments

a. Selecting the Most Cost-Effective Shipping Carrier

Shipping valuable items like musical instruments might feel expensive.

However, choosing the right shipping carrier can unlock significant savings.

JustShip delivers competitive rates, ensuring premier service without overstretching your budget.

Check out our price comparison table illustrating the cost of shipping an electric guitar to the USA with various companies:



Price 16KG (S$)


2 - 5 Days


Singpost (Speedpost Express)

6 Days


FedEx International Priority

3 - 4 Days


UPS Worldwide Express

1 - 3 Days



2 - 3 Days


b. Personalised and Hassle-Free Solutions

A great shipping carrier offers custom solutions to cater to your unique needs.

As your one-stop solution for international shipping, JustShip provides bespoke services that save you time, money, and stress.

JustShip provides a comprehensive suite of services designed to make shipping musical instruments as convenient as possible.

Our services include pick-up, professional packing, delivered duty paid (DDP), tracking, and easy access to one-click insurance options.

We also offer a complementary review of your paperwork to help you avoid the most common customs paperwork pitfalls and minimise potential delays.

With JustShip, you can be confident that every aspect of the shipping process is taken care of.

Ready to ship your instrument? Sign up and create shipment now and let JustShip take the stress out of your musical journey.

July 3, 2023

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