The following instructions will show you how to ship a stringed instrument or bow. Please note that Tarisio is pleased to provide recommendations to guide you in shipping safely and efficiently, but under no circumstances will Tarisio be responsible for any damage or loss resulting from your packing or shipment, whether or not in accordance with these instructions. We recommend you consult with a professional luthier to be sure that your instrument or bow can be safely shipped, and you should obtain your own insurance covering shipment (which may be available through our insurer upon request to Tarisio if you acquired the instrument from Tarisio within the past 30 days).
Also please note that any cases or other items shipped with your instrument are considered by Tarisio to have no commercial value unless we specifically agree with you otherwise.
Shipping a Violin, Viola, or Cello in a Case
An instrument shipped with its strings in tension and with its bridge and post upright is at greater risk of damage during transport; we recommend that all instruments be shipped with their bridge and post down; another option, while less secure, is to significantly lower the tension in the strings. By default, all instruments purchased from Tarisio will be shipped with the bridge and post down, unless you request otherwise.
First loosen the string tension and remove the bridge. In many cases the soundpost will now fall; if not, you can push it over with a small object through the f-holes. Wrap the bridge generously in tissue paper or cloth and place it under the tailpiece. Tighten the strings slightly to hold the bridge in place. The bridge and tissue will keep the fine tuners of the tailpiece away from the surface of the varnish.
Place the instrument in its case and securely fasten the straps or clasps. Wrap the head in tissue paper or cloth. You should fill all empty spaces with tissue – around the ribs, in the C-bouts, etc. A small pad of folded tissue should go between the fingerboard and the top to protect the varnish. Empty the contents of internal accessory compartments, or, tape the compartments shut to avoid miscellaneous items moving during transit and coming loose within the case.
Before closing the case, place several folded sheets of tissue paper over the top of the instrument. Your name, address and phone number should be included inside the case.
You will need a long rectangular sturdy box, preferably one that opens from the broadest side. There should be several inches between the walls of the box and the case for protection.
Place the case in the middle of the box and surround it on all sides with Styrofoam, Polyfil, tightly crumpled newspaper or any other light, dense packing material.
Packing a Bow Without a Case
A PVC plastic tube is safe and inexpensive and can be found at most hardware stores. Wrap the bow in bubblewrap and suspend it inside the tube. It is important the length of tube is longer than the bow and the bow does not touch the tube ends at frog or tip.
Another solution is to tape the bow (wrapped in bubblewrap or tissue paper) to a strong ‘splint’ of wood or metal. Again, make sure the splint is longer than the bow.
The tube or splint should be suspended inside a bigger box. The poster tubes of triangular cross-section available from FedEx and UPS work well for this. Again, remember to include your name and phone number on the inside of the box.
Shipping and Insurance Tips
FedEx, UPS, DHL, Airborne, and USPS all work fine. Some are more convenient and some are more economical. Insurance is available through UPS and some other carriers in limited amounts although some have strict exclusions for musical instruments. Rates are approximately 0.5% of the value declared.
We highly recommend insuring all packages for at least $1,000 (£500). In our experience this is an effective way to ensure the awareness and caution of the driver and handlers.
Watch this video for complete shipping instructions
Incoming shipments should be sent to one of the following addresses:
New York office (US sales only)
244 West 54th, 11th Floor
New York, NY, 10019, USA
+1 212 307 7224
London office (UK sales only)
87 Wimpole Street
London W1G 9RL, UK
+44 (0)20 7354 5763
Berlin office (DE sales only)
10719 Berlin, DE
+49 800 588 8416