How to Pack and Prepare Musical Instruments for the Move

Musical instruments are complex and fragile. However, they can be moved safely to your new home if you pack and prepare them properly.

String Instruments

When packing violins, cellos, and similar instruments, first loosen the strings. This will prevent damage from the extra tension experienced during the move. Do not loosen them so much that the bridge falls. If you have a hard case, put the instrument inside but fill any extra space with crumpled paper or cloths to prevent the instrument from moving around in the case. Preventing movement is especially important for the headstock.

If you don’t have a hard case, wrap the instrument in a plastic garbage bag and seal it with tape. Then wrap with bubble wrap. This helps prevent potential water damage.

Place the instrument in a box with enough space for several layers of peanuts. You may be able to find an appropriate box from your mover or local music store. Be sure to note which end is the top. Once you’ve packed the instrument, gently shake the box, you’ll need to take it out and fill it with more peanuts if the instrument moves inside the box.

Brass and Woodwind Instruments

Disassemble your brass or woodwind instruments and place them in their hard case. If you no longer have the case, wrap each piece of the instrument in bubble wrap so that the parts do not collide with each other. Place them in a box large enough to contain several layers of packing materials. If you use packing peanuts, tape the film around the instruments to prevent any peanuts from getting inside the instrument.


Choose a box that is two to four inches bigger than the drum. Remove the rims and heads and put drums one inside the other.

Place any small parts inside separate bags and tape closed. Wrap spurs and legs in bubble wrap. Put packing materials around before placing the drums in the box.

Pianos and Organs

Most professional moving companies train their employees on how to move pianos and organs. Consult with your professional mover to see about your options.

 If you are packing yourself, you can prepare these instruments.

  • Separate any removable parts, such as music stands, from the instrument and pack them separately.
  • Close and lock the keyboard cover.
  • Put blankets and other soft materials and bubble wrap around the instrument. Use extra wrapping on the legs. Tape the wrapping.

Additional Considerations

Always pack your musical instruments in a separate box or case; packing them with other items may damage them. Also, pack equipment such as guitar straps separately from the instrument. Ensure your boxes are marked as “fragile” so that movers handling your instruments know to take special care.

Schedule your move carefully with the moving company to ensure your instruments will arrive in time for concerts. Woodwind instruments should sit for 24 hours after the move before you use them. You may also need to allow time for having your instrument tuned professionally when you arrive at your new home.

If you need to store your musical instrument, choose a facility with climate control to always be at room temperature.

 Move Your Instruments Right

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