If you are a musician, you have invested in an instrument that could be your livelihood. It may be more than your hobby, but in either case, it is vital to protect it. Moving musical instruments without the proper preparations – and of course without the professionals – will be put your most delicate possessions at risk.
Guitars and Stringed Instruments. These instruments usually have a “body” and a “neck.” The body usually has a nice finish or even a design that can easily become scratched or otherwise ruined. Refinishing can be very costly, and takes time. As for the neck, the strings are kept at varying tensions depending on the instrument, but the neck is extremely vulnerable to damage. Take the proper care to have durable cases for all stringed instruments before moving. Do not stack them upright or with heavy items on top. Cases are very expensive, but worth every penny when your prized instrument makes it to the other side unscathed.
Drums and Percussion. To non-drummers, sometimes drums are nothing but tubs with skins draped over them. But drummers protect their instruments just as fiercely as guitarists and even violinists. Drummers have multi-part musical instruments that are susceptible to damage like any other. Often, regular drum sets have a polished finish that is given a glossy look. One scratch can ruin them all. The way you acre for your drumset — or even auxiliary gear – all depends upon how serious you are, and how much money you have to invest. Even a standard five piece rock drum set can be packed into individual cases; one or the snare drum, a big one for the bass drum, and so forth. Cymbals can be tethered together and placed into large padded sleeves. Moving the drums this way is your only hope if you would like them to stay in great shape through a move.
Horns and Brass Instruments. Some are as small as trumpets, others as large as a concert tuba – all are expensive. A concert tuba can cost anywhere from hundreds of dollars to thousands, depending upon the brand and age. Either way, the smaller tubular parts can be crushed if even force is applied. It is critical to buy non-crushable cases for all horn and brass instruments before moving them. These hard plastic cases often have a metal frame, with a plastic shell. They prevent everything short of an elephant from flattening them, but of course, they are expensive.
Obviously there are a variety of other instruments not covered here. But common sense and a little research can help prevent real damage. Less mainstream or even ethnic instruments can be protected with a little know-how. Take the time to keep things in great shape so you can jam when you make it to your new place.