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View Full Version : Shipping a guitar overseas - I need help!


g2c
12-28-2006, 02:13 PM
Hey everyone, I am in need of your expertise!

I live in the US, and I need to ship a guitar to the UK (the guitar is in its original case, and the case is in the box, just like you would get it new at the store). The total weight of the package is about 26 lbs. Unfortunately, the rates to ship such a package are absurd. UPS and DHL want over $300 to send it. I thought I had found a winner with USPS - they quoted me about $120 - but when I brought it in they said they do not accept such large packages to ship overseas.

Can anyone offer any advice? Or do I have no choice but to charge the $300+ dollars?

Thanks in advance for any help.

aaronsdb
12-28-2006, 03:45 PM
I am going through the same thing. Both UPS and DHL want $350 to ship a guitar insured to Australia and the insurance is just a small amount ($30-40) of the total. I don't know how some of the dealers do it, but there must be a way, although I suspect the it is not through UPS or DHL from the origin but only from the point that the guitar arrives in the foreign port.

From what I can gather they arrange privately to have the guitar shipped with other goods going overseas and then have it shipped again locally once it is overseas via UPS or DHL. If anyone can help, I would also appreciate it.

Nippon_Gakki
12-28-2006, 05:21 PM
I just shipped a full size dread w/case from my local USPS office for $55 including insurance. It went Airmail and takes 4-10 days. You just have to make sure that the box is no greater than 108 total inches (length + 2xheight + 2xwidth). Mine was full size in a case and only came to 96 inches or so. Maybe your post office is just lazy or something. :D

whimsmith
12-28-2006, 06:04 PM
My Brook came from England via USPS. Prior to that, in England, it was handled by DHL, but I understand that USPS is the cost definer. It wasn't expensive for Brook, under $100 USD. And, TYL, arrived in pristine condition. Talk to the folks at your local USPS, even if they told you one thing, I bet you get a different answer next time. Good luck and please, please, insure.

davidyan
12-28-2006, 09:25 PM
I've shipped a few guitars from the US to Singapore and they all cost around $300 or more. There doesn't seem to be any cheaper way to ship. Unfortunately, USPS does not accept guitar-sized boxes to some countries, like Singapore.

martinedwards
12-29-2006, 02:42 AM
I had a scare shipping a dread the other direction.

The UK post service will handle the boxed case fine, but it was bigger than the USPS limit.

I was asked if I wanted to risk it being returned for being too big and I took the gambol......

It got there all in one piece for 95 ($190)

DHL would have been over $300

DaveO
12-29-2006, 03:58 AM
I sent a jumbo sized 12 string USPS to the UK, but, the people at the post office told me when I shipped it that it might come back if someone down the line thought it was too big. Alot depends on your local post office.
Dave

Big Bad Bill
12-29-2006, 05:06 AM
I am based in Scandinavia and have shipped dozens of guitars back and forth to the US. Like nippon_gakki said, USPS is the cheaper option but you must make sure the box doesn't exceed 108 total inches, length + 2 x height + 2 x width. The drawback with USPS is that it takes longer, and of course the fact that you can't track it internationally.

For expensive guitars I always prefer UPS, I like the fact that it's quicker (I figure the less time it spends in transit the better) and I like to know exactly where the guitar is at all times.

J. R. Baker
12-29-2006, 06:26 AM
I just shipped a full size dread w/case from my local USPS office for $55 including insurance. It went Airmail and takes 4-10 days. You just have to make sure that the box is no greater than 108 total inches (length + 2xheight + 2xwidth). Mine was full size in a case and only came to 96 inches or so. Maybe your post office is just lazy or something. :D


The USPS will only ship packages with a total of 79 inches (length+girth) to the UK, Australia, and most othe countries. The only way around the 79 inch rule is to ship it ''Guaranteed 2-3 Day'', which is really Fed-Ex, and costs $300, or so.

re17
12-29-2006, 06:35 AM
I've recently received a boxed guitar from a US dealer sent via USPS, for which the despatch charge was around $120. So it can be done.

Richard

Bern
12-29-2006, 07:06 AM
A couple of years ago I shipped a guitar to Germany via a cargo airline. You might want to look into that. I don't know the cost, insurance etc.

Nippon_Gakki
12-29-2006, 10:13 AM
Now you guys have me worried! I shipped a guitar to the UK last week and the USPS didn't give me any problems. It cost me $63 with insurance. Are you saying it might get rejected when it reaches the UK? What a hassle!

delray
12-29-2006, 12:05 PM
Ok, here is the skinny on this from my experience sending to France, Japan, New Zealand and Australia.

USPS does have the size restrictions noted. Sometimes the clerk will see that, sometimes they won't. They have Global Express, which is actually a contract with FedEx planes (it goes via FedEx). It should cost no more than $120ish, and somtimes much less depending on weight. The same service with Fedex can be $300-480.

Make the box as small as safely possible. The standard Taylor box is too big. If the clerk tells you it cannot be sent, or gives you an astronomical price (Global Express Guaranteed then an extra ding for dimensional weight taking it up to $300 plus) tell them go ahead and send regular Global Express and you will take the chance of it being returned.

It won't be returned. Buy insurance also, it is very cheap.

g2c
12-29-2006, 02:29 PM
USPS does have the size restrictions noted. Sometimes the clerk will see that, sometimes they won't. They have Global Express, which is actually a contract with FedEx planes (it goes via FedEx). It should cost no more than $120ish, and somtimes much less depending on weight. The same service with Fedex can be $300-480.

Well, I went to a different USPS office, and they accepted the box no problem and charged me about $120 (whereas the USPS office closer to me said it exceeded 79 inches, so it couldn't be done). So I guess it really does depend on who you talk to (which doesn't seem right to me)... anyhow they said the size restriction was indeed 108 inches, and my box was about 104.

So I think the moral of the story is that if you (or your recipient) don't want to spend $300+ on shipping a guitar, check multiple USPS post office locations. But if the recipient happens to have more money to throw around, it might just be safer to go with FedEx, UPS, or DHL (DHL said they could have it there in 2-3 days for $320).

I'm actually still pretty upset at having to lug that box over to my local post office and having them turn me down like that. You would think two USPS locations within a few miles of each other would have the same regulations... =(

Edit: And I should say thank you very, very much for your responses. If it wasn't for you I wouldn't have though to check another USPS location, and I would be in a very difficult position right now!

J. R. Baker
12-30-2006, 12:51 AM
I'm actually still pretty upset at having to lug that box over to my local post office and having them turn me down like that. You would think two USPS locations within a few miles of each other would have the same regulations... =(



HA! Somehow, the USPS, and the word ''consistency'' just do not seem to go together.