How to Ship a Musical Instrument to HMT

Please call or email first to find out if we do repairs on your type of instrument. (Or check our Repairs page) Please do not ship your instrument without a case -- it would be very difficult to successfully pursue a claim with the carrier for shipping damage, and the instrument would be vulnerable to additional damage in transit from the repair shop. HMT will not be responsible for the safety of an instrument that is shipped without a case.

Accordions: We regret that we can no longer accept shipped accordions for consignment or appraisal. Before shipping us an accordion for other reasons, first read the information at How to Ship a Squeezebox.

Stringed instruments: first loosen the strings. Don't take them off completely, and don't loosen them completely; but loosen them enough to take most of the tension off the neck. (If there is a serious neck problem, please call us before doing this.) Remove all capos, picks, etc. from the instrument and case before shipping. Straps with metal parts: either remove the strap entirely or wrap it in plastic to protect the wood from scratches.

If the instrument fits loosely in the case (as most do), you must pack it so it can't shift around inside. Be very careful to make sure there is no space around the heel stock (the joint where the neck meets the body). If this area is not well secured the neck may snap off during shipping. The best material to use is newspaper or bubble wrap. Don't use packing peanuts if the instrument has a soundhole or other places where peanuts can get inside.

All instruments: Having secured the instrument inside its case, then pack the case in a sturdy cardboard box which gives at least 3" clearance on all sides. Especially if it is a heavy instrument, you will want to brace the case on all sides with blocks of styrofoam or something similar. Fill the carton with packing material, such as crumpled newspaper or styrofoam packing peanuts - use enough so the case can't move around inside the outer carton. Seal the box with heavy duty packing tape (masking tape and regular cellophane tape are not strong enough). Address the shipping label as follows:

House of Musical Traditions
7010 Westmoreland Ave.
Takoma Park, MD 20912

Important: Put your return address on the outside, not just the address of the packing company you may have hired. We need your street address, not just a P.O. box. Include the following inside the case, with the instrument:

1) Your name, billing address, shipping address if different, phone numbers and email address.

2) A note describing the current condition of the instrument in case we need to make a claim for shipping damage. Tell us whether you are shipping the instrument for appraisal, sale, consignment, or repair. Tell us what the problem is and what you would like repaired. Important: list anything that is missing or not operating correctly so that either of us can make a claim with UPS if there was any shipping damage up to and including a complete loss. HMT will not be responsible for any damage found later and claimed by you, if this information is not clearly stated.

When shipping, be sure to include insurance to cover the total worth of the instrument, case, and all other contents of the package. Please note that UPS will not pay a damage claim on an improperly packed instrument, or on an instrument that has not been insured. If you prefer, you may use a packaging and shipping service such as Mail Boxes Etc. Make sure, however, that they have experience shipping musical instruments.

Please contact us if you have any other questions!