Moving With Lots of Guitars / Gear

GuitarDrummer

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I've only recently been building up my gear collection, after losing most of it in 2014 [long story]. Since then, I've amassed a good deal of gear: 13 guitars, 4 basses, a handful of keyboards, 2 drum sets, and other peripherals.

I already have hard cases for the drums and sturdy boxes for the keyboards. My concern is with the guitars. Most of them have some hard cases that are really good, yet others have bags. One of the guitars would probably need a custom case made for it, so I'm open for advice on that.

Has anyone here had to move a big guitar collection? I hope to be moving in a few months, and this will be my first time moving this many guitars. I'm considering selling some of the cheaper ones.

Any advice is welcome.

EDIT: Yes, we will be hiring professional movers for everything else.
 

toothace

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I've always moved my gear myself, in my own car. There weren't any problems when packing them into the car myself...either gig bag or case. Not sure how far you are going...my last move was 20 minutes away, so I took as many trips as I needed.
 

xjbebop

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Saw a video from Normans Rare guitars awhile back, where they had to pack up a lot of instruments to move / store them temporarily. There were some shots of crates full of cases, etc.
Wouldn't hurt to call some dealers like that for advise...
I'm expecting to do the same thing within a few years, a move of around 400-500 miles....
 

bodia

Authorities said.....best leave it.....unsolved
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I've always moved my gear myself, in my own car. There weren't any problems when packing them into the car myself...either gig bag or case. Not sure how far you are going...my last move was 20 minutes away, so I took as many trips as I needed.

I'd do this. Even if it was a move of some distance. I'd rent the appropriate sized vehicle and load it up myself for the haul.
 

veinbuster

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I also always move my guitars myself. Mine all had hard cases, but a couple of acoustic cases were not especially sturdy. I took them in two trips in my SUV. I probably could have fit them all in (at the time, no chance of that now), but didn't want all of my treasure exposed at the same time.

A local guitar store would probably give you some boxes if you wanted an extra layer for the guitars in bags - a layer of bubble wrap and stuff the lot in a box.
 

You-S4-It

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I'd also take the route to move my own gear if possible. You can stop by your local music store and I'm sure they're tossing a lot of guitar boxes into the dumpster (you can build up stock and come back periodically since you have a few months). You could re-use those to pack your soft cased ones. They're pretty sturdy and with the proper foaming/inserts, are meant to be shipped in those boxes (got a few guitars in their gig bags mailed in this manner). Should certainly be fine if you're just going via moving van.

Optionally, maybe consider calling a touring company and see if they can rent you a guitar vault which can hold quite a few guitars (unless you want to buy one... does that count as a tax write off for "moving expenses"?!). The movers should be able to wheel the entire vault into the truck without much issue and you can be a rock star for a day.

Good luck and let us know how things turn out.
 

GuitarDrummer

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So, assuming that I got a U-HAUL van and had a drive ahead of me that was a few days long, what would you do with the contents of the van?

Van could be broken into and pillaged.
Van could get stolen.

Considering building a few big wooden crates, and having the movers do it, with insurance.
 

veinbuster

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So, assuming that I got a U-HAUL van and had a drive ahead of me that was a few days long, what would you do with the contents of the van?

Van could be broken into and pillaged.
Van could get stolen.

Considering building a few big wooden crates, and having the movers do it, with insurance.
A cross country move might change my plan a bit. I would still move my favourites myself, but might let movers move some well packaged items.
 

garrett

...
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Crates are a good idea. The only times pros moved my guitars was internationally and they were packed in a big crate with my other belongings. They survived with minimal incident.

However, if you just box them or wrap with padding, I don't see how it's any worse than what UPS or whoever would do to them. At least here you can supervise the loading, which is a good idea anyway. Accurate insurance is a must.
 

Lee B.

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Wow, good luck with your move there, sounds like it will be quite the endeavor!
 

sloanthebone

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I just moved 1000 miles from Delaware to Florida 3 weeks ago. I had a moving company move all our belongings. I had them take the amps and cabs but I loaded my 5 private stocks and artist cu24 in my jeep and drove 17 hours strait after the movers left. (That is a story in itself!). But I wasn't about to let the movers touch my PRS's. it sucked. But now I am sitting next to an inground pool jamming to the new 311 album and drinking beer in the nice warm sun. #totallyworthit

;)
 

Parralax view

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As long as your cases are sturdy, you should be fine. I would consider a hardcase, even a cheapie for those that only have bags. I moved from Texas to Hawaii in 2003. All my stuff down to the last pick, went in cases and then into those large wooden boxes, crossed from Texas to California in August, then went on a boat in Long Beach for the 2 week trip to Hawaii. No one suffered anything but my strat which was ailing anyway with that bad 1990's lacquer chipping issue on the maple necks. Everything else was perfect and I'm sure it wasn't babied by the longshoremen....Just watch them and let them know you're watching as they pack the stuff up.
 

gush

She said "huge bag of dibs".
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OMG......I read this post and thought someone was moving a lot of gear then I realized your moving with a lot of gear. Bummer
 

Strumdum

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You should be fine with the cases I would think. I know of a mover, Three Men And A Truck, that does crating though if you need it. Really only necessary for a long distance move in my opinion, but it may depend on what & how much gear you have. Never a good time dealing with that though. I'm hoping my moving days are all in the past at this point!
 

LSchefman

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Van could be broken into and pillaged.
Van could get stolen..

It's hard to address the van getting stolen part, but touring bands sometimes use a truck or trailer with only rear-door access to the goods inside. They back the truck or trailer up close enough to a wall to prevent the doors from being opened or accessed. This at least prevents casual theft out of the back of the truck or trailer.
 

HANGAR18

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I'm moving too, but thankfully it is only an hour or less South and I have my own pickup truck and a 16ft. utility trailer which doubles as a Harley-Davidson hauler. Thus, I'll be moving my collection of guitars and amps myself. (So I'll wind up an hour & 1/2 away from the factory instead of 45 minutes.)

If you simply cannot move your own guitars and rely on professional movers, I would make sure you have high resolution pictures of every guitar including closeups of the serial numbers and print out an identification document for ever guitar (detailed description, photos, serial number, value, place purchased from and so on) and make sure that the movers, your insurance company and you each have a copy. The you and the movers can each sign a copy of the documents for each guitar showing what we call a chain of custody. They sign for each guitar at the beginning of the move and then you sign for each instrument at the destination showing you received them back.
 

CandidPicker

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When I moved my belongings from my former parental home to an apartment, I used a Penske 17' box van and made 2 trips to and from home. I asked my nephew and a couple of local friends to assist with loading/unloading. One friend brought his pickup and a flatbed trailer.

We piled stuff into the box van, the pickup truck and trailer and made one trip about 7 miles north. Everyone in our group helped unload and carry the boxed cartons and furniture into the apartment through the backdoor. We placed the furniture as near where we thought things would be positioned and then piled cartons stacked up into the bedroom, storage area, and living room and front hallway.

There was still more that needed to make the trip, so we bid the friend with the pickup/trailer goodbye, and my nephew and one other friend returned home to put more stuff into the box van. This time, we included my guitar gear, amps, and effects as well as other items that weren't stored in boxes, like lights, picture frames, table chairs, and other stuff.

The guitars were stored in their cases or gig bags, and then placed back into their cardboard shipping cartons from whence they were purchased. That, plus the amplifiers stored in amp covers (no need for repackaging amps if we were careful) made the 2nd trip and were carried off the box van ramp into the apartment.

From beginning to end, it took from 9:45 AM Jun 29th from when we picked up the van from the rental dealer, to 9 AM Jun 30th the next morning when the van was returned. All items that made the move were offloaded, positioned and/or stacked by 9:30 PM the previous evening. I returned home 10:15 PM the 29th and slept on an air mattress at home so the van could be returned directly from home to the rental dealer with a gas refill along the way.

My boss had given me a 4 week leave of absence from work to begin putting all of my belongings into cartons, then carrying the belonging into our adjoining garage where we staged the moving van 2-½ weeks later. The last 9 days of my leave of absence were dedicated to unpacking and locating places for my belongings in my apartment.

All told, had there been exactly 2 more large cardboard cartons, my apartment would not have been about to contain it all. There were only narrow walkways between the cartons while unpacking, and the empty cartons were returned home for my elderly Mom to use when she would eventually sell her house.

Regards guitar gear, you can purchase cardboard guitar / bass shipping cartons from Staples.com or ULine.com for guitars/basses that will provide modest protection during shipping for instruments. You'll need the correct measurements for a guitar carton, otherwise the search engine will return a load of results. Option is to try Uline's search engine, that was better than Staples. Due diligence is required with correct packaging to protect against having a guitar tossed about inside the carton.

Here's a link that can help:

https://www.uline.com/BL_7906/Guitar-Boxes?keywords=Guitar+Shipping+Box
 
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