Tips about how to ship a violin: safely packaging an instrument inside and out
Shipping inside our cardboard boxes
If you send an instrument back to us – because you wish to take advantage of our trade guarantee or return policy – the best approach is to re-use the cardboard box we sent, which will safely protect your violin, viola or bow. Please make sure that the instrument is not under any pressure or tension and not firmly anchored. Do not secure it tightly with shells made of styrofoam or plastic as you would if you were packaging electronic equipment. A better alternative is styrofoam packing peanuts or wadded-up paper, since they can absorb impact and even dents to the box. The best thing is to wrap up the instrument completely in bubble wrap and place it in the box on a sufficiently deep layer of packing peanuts; fill the rest of the space with more loose-fill material. There should be about the same amount of padding above and below the violin, and the sides should be balanced as well so that the instrument is equally well protected from all angles.
Shipping inside a violin case
A violin case can also be suitable for shipping your instrument. As long as it is held in place with adequate padding, its hard exterior provides good protection against mechanical harm. Please make sure that the scroll is not directly resting on the inside of the case; ideally, the instrument should be resting only on the edges of the back, with no direct weight on the back itself. If the interior of the case is too hard or the violin is too loose within the case, the instrument should be wrapped in a soft cloth before being set inside the case. Here too, it is critical for it to be packed so that it is shockproof without being pinned down. You can achieve the best possible shock protection by putting the violin in its case and then placing the case into a large enough box with proper padding (see above).
Small parts of the violin
Another potential hazard during shipping is loose small parts in the case which can cause major scratches when the instrument is transported. The issue here is not so much everyday musical tools such as tuning forks or pencils, but rather the movable parts of the violin itself that come loose due to shifts in temperature and vibrations en route. The risk can be somewhat diminished by adjusting the violin to "transport tuning": please loosen each string by around 3 whole tones. This does not completely eliminate the risk of the pegs moving further, however, which is why we recommend securing the strings, tailpiece and bridge as well. You can use another loose cloth in the case to help protect against slipping and prevent scratches.