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  #1  
Old 05-07-2012, 02:35 PM
coldbrew coldbrew is offline
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Default UPS shipping - is Ground or 2nd Day safer?

The combined experience of shipping guitars you guys have here must be astronomical.
Is a guitar (or any other fragile item) likely to be handled less, and therefore better, if it is shipped by UPS air rather than Ground? Enough to justify the extra cost?
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Old 05-07-2012, 02:37 PM
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Be handled more for an air shipment, just in transit less time.
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Old 05-07-2012, 02:42 PM
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In theory, yes, air is safer.

But in practicality, if your guitar is properly packed, the odds are actually pretty low that it will get damaged during transit. You hear a lot of horror stories on here about guitars that are smashed to bits because this is an acoustic guitar message board (exactly where people would go to share horror stories). But for every one of those kinds of stories, there are 999 other people who safely shipped their guitars and don't bother to tell us about it.

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Old 05-07-2012, 03:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coldbrew View Post
The combined experience of shipping guitars you guys have here must be astronomical.
Is a guitar (or any other fragile item) likely to be handled less, and therefore better, if it is shipped by UPS air rather than Ground? Enough to justify the extra cost?
Just thinking out loud here - but considering that a guitar will be riding in the cargo hold, what's the relative humidity at 30,000 feet? I'm guessing it's dangerously low, and any ordinary guitar case won't be close to air tight at that pressure differential.
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Old 05-07-2012, 03:13 PM
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I'd recommend Fedex ... I've found them to be more reliable, safer, and also cheaper than UPS.
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Old 05-07-2012, 03:16 PM
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No. The guitar will be handled even more times doing second day air. It will be loaded on a truck (and possibly unloaded at the depot and reloaded on a different truck), unloaded from the truck, loaded on a plane, unloaded from the plane, loaded on a truck (and possibly unloaded at the depot and reloaded on a different truck).
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Old 05-07-2012, 04:14 PM
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As a UPS driver up in Canada I can tell you it all depends on your location and the shippers location for how many times it will be handled during transit. the closer you are the less it is handled air or ground.

That being said, Martin Guitar co. uses UPS as their courier as does Taylor guitars (you should have seen my face when I saw the 40 Taylor boxes going through my building a few months ago going to one store, I was the first one there to pick up the new 714ce ) And all those guitars are shipped ground with no problems, and they were shipped from California to Ontario Canada in February on a trailer, not a plane. But UPS has worked with those companies to show them what works and what doesn't for shipment methods.

So, as long as your shipper knows how to pack a guitar, any company, any shipment method, and any time of year is safe.
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Old 05-07-2012, 04:54 PM
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I've looked into this in several different ways and think the answers so far show exactly what I learned. There is no consensus and there are too many variables to get a meaningful answer.

I ship most of mine USPS priority because it always looks like the best value.

My philosophy is pack it well, insure it (privately, not through the shipper), and do a good luck dance when you let it go.
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Old 05-07-2012, 05:30 PM
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What packaging is appropriate for a cased guitar via UPS?






Jerry
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Old 05-07-2012, 05:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kent Chasson View Post
....I ship most of mine USPS priority because it always looks like the best value.......
I always ship USPS also.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kent Chasson View Post
..... and do a good luck dance when you let it go.
Can we get a YouTube link to your dance? I'd like to repeat it before shipping my guitars.
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Old 05-07-2012, 05:47 PM
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Bear in mind an important point.....with UPS, if there is damage, you will be dealing with a 3rd party insurer that is being paid to deny your claim. I had a 200.00 claim on a 600.00 guitar a while back that was damaged in shipping and it took me 3 months and probably 50 phone calls/emails playing a shell game with some company in Houston, Virginia and another location. They kept passing me back and forth waiting for me to give up. That's not in my DNA.

I've not had a claim experience with USPS, but another board member recently did while shipping an Baranik. It sounded just about the same as my UPS experience, only there was hardly any communication at all....basically a waiting game for the shipper, waiting to see what the USPS was going to do...which of course ended up being nothing.

I've shipped over 200 guitars and had ONE claim on one that I shipped....Fedex cracked the neck on a Larrivee I'd shipped to Virginia. I had my claim within 10 days and spoke with Fedex employees the entire time.

I know which way I'll go. I'm glad the guys at Elderly's told me of their experiences years ago, and how they'd switched to Fedex.
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  #12  
Old 05-07-2012, 06:09 PM
edman edman is offline
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I never use USPS to ship guitars.

The mail carriers have small vehicles in my area. They are forced to ride around with the guitar box in the front seat.

I feel more comfortable using UPS and FedEx - they are better equipped to deliver guitars.
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  #13  
Old 05-07-2012, 11:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveS View Post

Can we get a YouTube link to your dance? ...
No way. It's very bad luck to put something like that on video. Very bad....
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Old 05-07-2012, 11:29 PM
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Boxes that come to my doorstep from USPS are always in better shape than boxes that come from UPS or FedEx. So I ship with USPS priority mail. It doesn't hurt that it's less expensive.
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  #15  
Old 05-08-2012, 12:39 AM
Dominus Dominus is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coldbrew View Post
The combined experience of shipping guitars you guys have here must be astronomical.
Is a guitar (or any other fragile item) likely to be handled less, and therefore better, if it is shipped by UPS air rather than Ground? Enough to justify the extra cost?
Hard to say for certain but in my experience, items going ground always seem to come in with more scuffs and dents than items sent 2nd day or overnight.
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