How Much Does It Cost to Ship a Guitar? (2023) – Cheapest Ways!

Author: Alexis Ronstadt | Updated: | This post may contain affiliate links.

Whether you’ve landed your first gig abroad or you’re ready to sell an old ax to make room for a new one, you need to know how much it costs to ship a guitar.

The answer depends on a number of factors: distance, weight, time in transit, which courier you choose, and whether or not you choose to add a form of insurance.

A lightweight acoustic guitar can go across your state in a week for as little as $21, uninsured. A solid-body electric can travel from Los Angeles to London in just a couple of days for a whopping $900. Without insurance.

Read on to learn about the cheapest way to ship a guitar, add-ons worth considering, and estimates from popular couriers.

Packaging Costs

Before you even engage a courier, it’s worth exploring costs related to packaging your guitar. Keep in mind also that a well-packed guitar could save you money and trouble on the other end.

When available, guitars should be shipped with a case. Ideally, you would use the hard-shell case it came with. If you must use a gig bag, be sure to load up on bubble wrap or other materials that will absorb impact.

If you’ve got some time to plan, start saving packing materials that arrive with your online orders. This way, you haven’t spent a dime yet. Otherwise, be prepared to spend at least $13 on bubble wrap or something similar.

The next item you need is a proper guitar shipping box. Your pal at the guitar store across town might be able to hook you up with one for free – they’re often pretty generous this way. But if the last time you went in there, you played Stairway, you’re probably looking at $40 for a pack of five boxes.

When it comes to some electric guitars, you might also save some cash by detaching the neck. This way, you can avoid the costs associated with purchasing and shipping awkwardly sized boxes.

Shipping Costs

The actual cost of shipping your guitar is based on a few important factors that most couriers’ websites use to provide estimates. As such, you’ll need some important details first.

Weight

In general, the heavier your package, the more you will spend to ship it. Guitars and their cases can vary widely in weight, but here are some useful averages.

Acoustic guitars generally weigh between two and six lbs. A hard shell acoustic case can weigh in at as little as 9 lbs. and as much as 22.

Solid-body electric guitars generally weigh between six and eight lbs., with hard shell cases weighing between eight and 15 lbs.

Naturally, hollow-body and semi-hollow-body guitars weigh somewhere in between. And if you want to know how much it costs to ship a bass guitar, factor in weight of up to 12 lbs without a case.

Distance & Time

As with most parcels, the farther your instrument has to go, the more expensive the shipping cost. If she’s just traveling across your state, Ship Guitars and FedEx will do the job for $21 to $34 for an average-sized electric guitar, no rush.

When it comes to cross-country shipping, you can expect to spend anywhere between $90 and $145, on average. For instruments traveling abroad, this figure jumps to anywhere between $450 to about $700 for standard shipping times.

Similarly, if you want it there faster, expect to pay for it. Two days across the country goes for almost $200 at Ship Guitars and around $150 via USPS. DHL will get your guitar to Europe in a few days for about $900.

Estimates from Popular Couriers

You’ll find that most couriers offer a handy shipping calculator on their websites. Now that you have an idea of the weight, dimensions and destination of your shipment, you can start to compare prices.

And we’ve done just that using the dimensions of a standard electric guitar box (45” x 6” x 18”) and a weight of 20 lbs. Here’s what we found about how much it costs to ship a guitar domestically and internationally:

FedEx

A common household name, Federal Express built its brand on timeliness and reliability. They offer numerous priority levels and will pick up your package from you when you create an account. Here are some average FedEx guitar shipping costs:

In-state shipping ranges from $93 for about a week of transit time to $170 if you want it delivered by 2 p.m. the next day.

To ship cross country, say from Los Angeles to New York City, will cost you about $90 for a week of transit time to $450 to have it delivered by 8 a.m. the next day.

A Los Angeles to London shipment of the same parcel via FedEx goes like this: approximately $600 to have it there in a week and up to $860 to have it there in a few days.

UPS

Fun fact: UPS and The UPS Store are not exactly the same thing. The UPS Store locations are independently owned and operated by franchisees of Mail Boxes Etc., a subsidiary of UPS. We’ll discuss guitar shipping costs for both UPS options here.

With UPS, you can create an account and schedule a pick-up, or you can drop your parcel off at affiliate locations (including, yes, some The UPS Store locations).

Shipping in-state with UPS, your guitar can be delivered within the week for about $57. UPS Next Day Air Early tops the range at about $145.

A Los Angeles to New York City transit costs $87 to get it there within the week and $402 for Next Day Early.

For a Los Angeles to London shipment, $660 will get it there in about a week, while $818 will get it there in a couple of days.

The UPS Store

It’s worth noting that The UPS Store offers a Pack and Ship guarantee. If you’re uncomfortable attempting to securely pack your guitar, this might be a useful option. Just keep in mind that it will cost you more, and the cost will vary by location as each store is independently owned and operated.

Under this Pack and Ship Guarantee, The UPS Store will reimburse you for shipping materials and the lesser of actual value, the cost to repair, or the cost to replace if something happens to it in their care. (Consult them directly for those terms and conditions.)

That said, here’s how The UPS Store compared if you bring in the aforementioned average guitar already packaged:

In-state costs range from $34 by ground (the slowest method) to $155 for Next Day Early delivery.

A Los Angeles to New York City delivery by Ground costs about $86 to $408 for Next Day Early service.

To get your guitar from L.A. to London, expect to pay about $650 for delivery in about a week to $808 for two-day shipping.

DHL

To get the most accurate guitar shipping costs from DHL, it might be helpful to just call them. The cost calculator on their website doesn’t offer nearly as many options as the carriers above, and their costs are generally much higher. You’re going to need to call them anyway if you intend on shipping a bass guitar, as their calculator doesn’t accept values above 47 inches in length.

That said, for in-state shipping, expect to pay about $105 to have your guitar delivered by the next day. Next-day delivery from Los Angeles to New York City will cost around $370, and L.A. to London runs about $500.

USPS

So what about just heading to your good ol’ local post office? The United States Postal Service offers competitive rates, priority options, and drop-off locations. How much does it cost to ship a guitar via USPS?

To ship a guitar in your own state can cost as little as $16 for a week’s transit time to $184 for two-day.

For a Los Angeles to New York City shipment, expect to pay about $125 for ground up to $260 for one-day delivery.

According to their website, USPS will get your guitar from Los Angeles to London in three days for just under $300. It’s worth noting that the contents cannot have a value greater than $2,499.

Ship Guitars

Ship Guitars is a niche company that specializes in shipping high-end guitars. They have a contract with UPS, so you can easily drop off your package at a UPS location, and they offer competitive rates and affordable protection.

For example, Ship Guitars will ship your guitar in-state for as little as $21. Cross-country shipping costs from $65 ground to $280 overnight. Contact them directly for international quotes.

Protecting Your Shipment

No one likes to imagine the worst-case scenario, but when it comes to your instrument and a potential monetary transaction, it’s advisable to dive right into the horror of what could possibly go wrong.

All of the couriers listed above offer coverage of some kind to reimburse you in the event of a mishap during their service.

For example, FedEx covers the first $100 of the value of a shipment at no cost. After that, you can purchase an additional declared value for $1.25 per $100. They are very clear that this is not shipping insurance, so you might want to review their terms and conditions.

Similarly, DHL offers shipping value protection at the rate of about $3 per $100 of value. USPS covers $600 of value for $11, then $1.65 for each additional $100 when shipping domestically. Internationally, you can expect to pay $2.10 per $100.

As mentioned above, The UPS Store locations offer their Pack and Ship Guarantee if you elect to have them pack your guitar onsite. If you prefer to pack it yourself, you can purchase coverage, and fees vary by location.

For the cheapest way to ship a guitar, your best bet is to acquire a free guitar box and packing materials, select the most affordable courier in your area and ship it without additional coverage.

If you’re shipping overnight to Timbuktu, you might have to shell out some serious cash. But generally, you can safely get your guitar to its destination for $25 locally to $600 internationally.

Avatar photo

About Alexis Ronstadt

Originally from Phoenix (AZ), Alexis has been performing since childhood. She picked up the violin at age 8 and has been attempting to make interesting sounds with it, sometimes even successfully, since then. Projects include instrumental rock band Larkspurs and an improvisational collaboration called The Bone Stitchers. Aside from adding effects to her pedalboard and discovering exciting new artists, few things delight her more than writing about all things music in support of the music community at large.

Leave a Comment