When shipping a brass instrument we must consider the fact that most cases don’t offer much protection with the exception of Walt Johnson Cases. Walt’s cases are superior in that they provide more protection between the instrument and the outer shell of the case. The interior of his cases are all foam and molded to the shape of each instrument as opposed to typical cases with a hard interior of wood and plastic. If the instrument is dropped or jolted very hard the instrument will be damaged from hitting against the inside of the case. His cases also have stronger latches and a long piano style hinge. The shell of his cases are made from Kevlar, which is very light and very strong.
By far the safest way for the smaller brass instruments is to ship them without a case. The following steps must be taken. All slides must be secured in order to not come off in transit. If the mouthpiece is shipped it should be wrapped in two layers of bubble wrap. Wrap the entire instrument with two layers of the thick bubble wrap and secure with tape to provide at least 2” of protection. Place in a large box with a boundary of at least 4” to be filled with foam peanuts. The instrument should fit snugly in the box without any play. The best way to ship is US Postal Service Registered Mail. Registered Mail requires signatures when the box switches hands, won’t sit outside in a truck over night, and is inexpensive to insure. I have personally seen UPS leave a $5000 instrument on a doorstep without a signature several times.
When shipping a trombone slide it is best to ship in a wood box lined with foam to prevent the slide from hitting the inside of the box. John Upchurch sells an inexpensive box that works great to protect the slide from damage after he aligns the slide.
©2003 Jeff Purtle