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The Ultimate Guide to Shipping Your Musical Instrument Safely & Manny's Music Destined for a Comeback?

I can remember a time when I first got into the high-end bass business. Everything was new, and there were no standard ways to ship—at least in my early forays. You might go to a local music store and see if they were throwing out a box or ask a salesperson for help. You would grab a handful of old newspapers, styrofoam from a box an old stereo came in, etc. We did the best we could, and for the most part, in my experience, it worked out. I only had one instance where a shipment to a dealer I was working with fell victim to a malicious episode of vandalism. Once, when shipping an instrument valued at over $6K (early 2000s money), someone somewhere in the chain of custody apparently removed the instrument from the box and case, snapped the neck, and put it back into the box, sending it on its way. Had the instrument not been properly insured, there would have been no way to make me and the purchaser whole. This is an extreme situation but not completely out of the norm. With that said, please take every precaution that you can to safeguard your package, whether it’s a guitar, amp, or cabinet. Here are some refined steps and additional precautions based on experiences shared online:

Preparation Before Shipping

1.Photograph the Instrument:

Take detailed photographs of the instrument from multiple angles, focusing on any existing marks or imperfections.

Date-stamp the photos if possible for documentation purposes.

2. Proper Packing:

Use a Hard Case: Always ship instruments in a high-quality, hard case or rigid gig bag to provide maximum protection whenever possible.

Secure the Instrument: Ensure the instrument is snug inside the case. Use padding like bubble wrap, foam, or soft cloth to fill any gaps and prevent movement.

3. Boxing the Instrument:

Place the instrument (in its hard case) inside a double-walled cardboard box.

Use ample padding (bubble wrap, packing peanuts) around the case to cushion against shocks.

Seal the box securely with strong packing tape. Include Fragile labels if you have them or ask for them at the shipper.

At the Shipping Location

1. Take Photos of the Packed Box:

Photograph the box after it is packed and sealed.

If possible, take photos at the shipping location to document its condition when handed over to the carrier.

2. Use Tracking and Insurance:

Choose a shipping service with detailed tracking.

Purchase insurance that covers the full value of the instrument.

Opt for "Signature Required" service to ensure that the package is only delivered to the intended      recipient.

Carrier Guidelines (UPS and FedEx)

1. UPS Recommendations:

Packing Instruments: UPS advises using foam-in-place packaging or custom packaging solutions for fragile items.

Insurance: UPS offers declared value coverage, which can be purchased based on the instrument's value.

Claims Process:

If damage occurs, UPS requires the original packaging for inspection. Claims should be filed promptly, and UPS will typically request photos and detailed descriptions of the damage.

2. FedEx Recommendations:

Special Handling: FedEx recommends using their specialty shipping services for fragile items, including musical instruments.

Packaging Guidelines: Use adequate cushioning and a sturdy outer box. FedEx provides packaging tips and custom packing solutions.

Insurance: FedEx also offers declared value coverage and suggests insuring high-value items.

Claims Process: Similar to UPS, FedEx requires the original packaging for any claims. Immediate notification of damage is essential, and they will guide you through the claims process.

Receiving the package

1. Inspect Upon Delivery:

When the package arrives, inspect the box for any visible damage before signing for it.

If there is noticeable damage, inform the delivery driver that you need to open and inspect the contents before accepting it.

2. Document Any Damage:

If damage is found, take photos of the box and the instrument immediately.

Do not discard the packaging, as it will be needed for the claims process.

3. File a Claim Promptly:

Contact the carrier (UPS or FedEx) immediately to report the damage.

Provide all necessary documentation, including photos and descriptions of the damage, proof of    value, and any correspondence with the recipient.

Additional Precautions

1. Tamper-Proof Seals:

Use tamper-evident seals on the case and outer box. This can deter potential tampering and provide evidence if tampering occurs.

2. Shipping Labels and Instructions:

Clearly label the package with handling instructions like "Fragile" and "This Side Up."

Attach a note inside the package with detailed instructions on handling and who to contact in case of damage.

By following these comprehensive guidelines, you can mitigate the risk of damage when shipping fine musical instruments and ensure a smoother process for filing a claim if necessary. Taking every precaution possible will help safeguard your valuable instruments during transit.

Manny’s Music, Second bite of the apple?

Sam Ash Music has sold Manny's Music to Vista Musical Instruments, the operator of Dawson's Music Co. in London and Swee Lee's Music Co. in Asia. Vista Musical Instruments also owns Heritage, Harmony guitars, and Teisco pedals. With this acquisition, Vista now holds the trademarks and intellectual property of the storied Manny's Music, a legendary name in the music retail industry.

This development raises several questions about the future of Manny's Music, especially in the U.S. market. Will we witness the return of this iconic store? With Sam Ash stepping out of the picture, there is now room for an organization with fresh ideas to potentially reintroduce Manny's Music, hopefully learning from the mistakes of past ventures. However, it's not yet clear if Vista has any plans to reintroduce Manny's to the U.S. market.

There is also a concern that the revival of Manny's could result in a "Disney-fication" — a commercialization that offers a superficial imitation of its former glory, diluted by modern, profit-driven alterations.

It will be interesting to see how Vista operates its other brands, particularly in overseas markets. By understanding their strategies and successes with Dawson's Music Co. in London and Swee Lee's Music Co. in Asia, we could gain valuable insights into what might be expected for Manny's Music in the States, if that is indeed in their plans.

Ultimately, only time will reveal the true impact of this acquisition. Will Manny's Music make a triumphant return to the U.S., or will it become a nostalgic brand overshadowed by modern commercialization? The music retail industry and its enthusiasts await with bated breath.


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