Protect Your Instruments From Singing The Blues During A Move

Whether you're a professional musician or a hobbyist, your instruments are precious and deserve to be well-protected in the event of a move.  How can you care for your instruments when packing, storing and moving them?

Loosen strings and bows.  This will prevent them from breaking when the temperature shifts, especially if they need to be stored for a while.  Once you arrive at your new destination or unpack them from storage, give your strings a full day to acclimate to the new temperature before tightening, tuning and playing the instrument again.  

Disassemble the instrument as much as possible.  For woodwinds and brass instruments, this includes separating mouthpieces and reeds for separate packing.  Instruments with tuning keys should have all the keys turned so they are parallel with the headstock.  

Drums need special care to organize. With their individual pieces and lots of hardware, instruments like drums have the most chance of getting separated or lost.  You may choose to pack them separately or nested together.  If nesting them, use protective material in any free spaces to avoid rubbing and pack the tension rods and other small items in a sealed bag included in the box.  If packing drum sets separately, be sure to clearly label the individual boxes and pieces so that you can locate anything that gets separated from the others.  

Use bubble wrap, not paper.  Newspaper may leave marks on your instrument, while unprinted paper may tear and get stuck inside it.  Packing peanuts should be avoided for the same reason.  Sheets of bubble wrap are the best way to wrap and protect your instrument and accessories. Seal the sheets securely with tape before adding any additional packing material to the box or case.

Get a hard case.  For obvious reasons, a hard case will better protect your instruments during shipping.  If there's extra room in the case, fill the empty space with leftover bubble wrap to ensure nothing moves.  

Check your insurance.  If you have antique or expensive instruments, be sure to check your insurance coverage before packing and moving them. If storing things for any amount of time, ensure your coverage extends to this temporary location.  Document the instrument and its condition prior to sealing it up in boxes.  In this case, it may be worth the effort to hire professional packers and movers for your own peace of mind.  

Your instruments and accessories can go on bringing music to your ears for years to come when you take the time to carefully protect them during transport and self storage.