How To Ship Your Violin Or Bow
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Shipping a violin or bow can be relatively safe if it is properly packed. Otherwise, disaster is the likely result of entrusting your instrument or bow to someone who handles hundreds of packages daily. A fragile sticker is no substitute for a bit of care on your part. Vita Dolce Violins accepts no responsibility for any damage or loss when you ship your violin or bow.
First things first: Items do occaisionally get lost or destroyed in shipping. If your violin or bow is rare, valuable, or has great sentimental value to you, DON'T SHIP IT. Only ship items that money can replace.
Always insure the violin or bow with the carrier when shipping, and ALWAYS call to make sure someone is expecting your package.
To ship a violin or viola you will need:
     a roll of paper towels or smooth cloth rags
     a case which fits the instrument
     a box at least four inches longer than the case
     packing material such as peanuts or bubble wrap

First, think about who is receiving your violin. If it is going to a shop, where the soundpost and bridge can be replaced properly, it is best to remove most of the fittings. If you are shipping it to another musician, tune the strings down a full step, but do not remove the bridge and tailpiece.

A) To remove the bridge, place a soft cloth or folded paper towel under the tailpiece, then loosen the strings until the bridge is loose on the top. Take it off and wrap it in a paper towel to protect it, clearly labeling it to avoid throwing it away with the  packing material. Remove the tailpiece. Remove the pegs, labeling the end of each with a pencil. Put all these fittings, along with the strings, in a bag, envelope, or case pocket to keep them together. Leave the chinrest on the violin.  Pack paper towels loosely under the fingerboard.

Or, B) If you are leaving the fittings on, after tuning the strings down a whole step, place paper towels under the tailpiece and fingerboard, then under the strings on both sides of the bridge to help keep it firmly in place.

Place the violin in the case, and pack paper towels around it until it does not move in the case. Then make sure the chinrest reaches the suspension block of the case, or put paper towels atop the chinrest  until you are sure the violin will not fly forward to contact the top of the case. Cover the bow holders to prevent dings.

Close the case securely. Put a layer of packing material in the bottom of the box, then put the case in the box, and pad firmly all around and over the case. Before sealing the box, put your name, address, and phone number in the box, along with those of the recipient. It never hurts to add a note about why you are shipping the violin. Make sure the box is securely sealed on all sides. Insure the box with the carrier to protect your financial interests, and ship for next day delivery to avoid damage from heat, cold, and extra handling.
To pack a bow for shipping you will need:
     a bow case or PVC pipe that is longer than the bow
     a sqare or triangular box that is longer than the bow case
     packing material

First, loosen the hair all the way. Heat and dryness may otherwise cause the hair to tighten until the head snaps off the stick. If the hair is very tight, unscrew the adjuster and remove the frog from the stick, then fasten it to the side of the stick with a rubber band, so the hair does not get tangled.
Next, pack the bow in a sturdy hard case, or a length of PVC pipe, available at many hardware stores. The box must be long enought to allow padding at both ends. Pad the bow so that it does not move at all in the box. Allowing the bow to contact either end of the box, especially due to a sudden jolt in shipping, is another opportunity for the head to break off.
Then, pack this box or pipe inside another box. A round tube is NOT a good idea for the outer box, because it may roll and be damaged or lost by the carrier. Before sealing the box, put in a note with your name, address, and phone number,  as well as that of the person receiving the bow. This is a good place to include the reason you are shipping the bow.
Finally, insure the bow with the carrier. Ship your bow to arrive the next day, to minimize the opportunity for damage due to heat, cold, and extra handling.