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Re: Dear FedEx,

Postby groth » Thu Oct 12, 2017 8:06 am

I shipped a Miraphone in a hard case well packed by my local box store/shipping company through Fed Ex across the U.S. Arrived in 3 days, no damage and had a tracking number which I was able to use to see it's whereabouts. If you're shipping a tuba, make sure it's in a hard case.

I also shipped a gig bag from west to east on Greyhound months ago, took 20 days, no tracking box was sliced up. 20 days and no one knew where it was.
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Re: Dear FedEx,

Postby bloke » Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:29 am

I keep seeing blame-shifting...and yes, I know how to package tubas (and other items) to increase the likelihood of them surviving being thrown considerably distances or being dropped from considerable heights, but (being in my early 60's) I still consider that required packing strategy to be the "new normal".
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Re: Dear FedEx,

Postby Donn » Thu Oct 12, 2017 10:22 am

groth wrote:If you're shipping a tuba, make sure it's in a hard case.


That's better than nothing - where a lot of tubas seem to get shipped in packaging that isn't better than nothing - but I believe I've read conflicting advice here from the packing experts on this point. If I remember right, the objection is roughly like this: while the case protects the tuba pretty well from something falling on it, it doesn't protect it very well at all if the case falls on something. When that happens, when the case hits the deck, the tuba inside smacks into the case just as hard as if, for example, you opened up the case and dropped the tuba into it, from the same distance. In physical terms, the tuba's inertia is suddenly transferred to the case at the points of contact, which is probably going to mean that the tuba will be deformed in the process instead.

That said, it takes an elaborate packing job to really solve that problem. With a little extra attention to packing the tuba in its case - some bubble wrap here and there, a partly inflated ball in the bell - and the case floating in the shipping box on some shock absorbing air pillows. I bet tubas shipped in case have a better track record than tubas shipped out of case, even if it isn't the ideal packaging.
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Re: Dear FedEx,

Postby bloke » Thu Oct 12, 2017 11:17 am

I don't like shouting people down, but I have tons of experience, here.

A hard case places a very hard surface (and padding only designed for incident-free human-carry) right next to the bell's rim, which is the weakest, most visible, and most likely to get damaged part of any tuba.
I beg customers to allow me to ship the hard cases (if they exist) in separate cartons. Most refuse, due to the cost.
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Re: Dear FedEx,

Postby Tom » Thu Oct 12, 2017 11:28 am

Donn wrote:
groth wrote:If you're shipping a tuba, make sure it's in a hard case.


That's better than nothing - where a lot of tubas seem to get shipped in packaging that isn't better than nothing - but I believe I've read conflicting advice here from the packing experts on this point. If I remember right, the objection is roughly like this: while the case protects the tuba pretty well from something falling on it, it doesn't protect it very well at all if the case falls on something. When that happens, when the case hits the deck, the tuba inside smacks into the case just as hard as if, for example, you opened up the case and dropped the tuba into it, from the same distance. In physical terms, the tuba's inertia is suddenly transferred to the case at the points of contact, which is probably going to mean that the tuba will be deformed in the process instead.

That said, it takes an elaborate packing job to really solve that problem. With a little extra attention to packing the tuba in its case - some bubble wrap here and there, a partly inflated ball in the bell - and the case floating in the shipping box on some shock absorbing air pillows. I bet tubas shipped in case have a better track record than tubas shipped out of case, even if it isn't the ideal packaging.


Yep...

I'm one of those that has regularly said that a hard case alone is not the shipping solution. The reason tubas in cases often get damaged either when shipped or when flown with is exactly for the reason you describe: basically, the tuba moves inside the case until it hits the rigid case wall and gets crinkled up. I think a well packed box is far superior to using a hard case as a shipping container, just as bloke consistently suggests.

The European manufacturers do NOT ship their tubas to the United States in hard cases, if that tells you anything. At least one major tuba retailer does not either.

There will always be someone that has lucked out using every conceivable shipping method. For those that have shipped FedEx/UPS/similar in a hard case without problems - I'd say you were extraordinarily lucky and nothing more.
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Re: Dear FedEx,

Postby groth » Thu Oct 12, 2017 6:23 pm

Donn wrote:
groth wrote:If you're shipping a tuba, make sure it's in a hard case.


That's better than nothing - where a lot of tubas seem to get shipped in packaging that isn't better than nothing - but I believe I've read conflicting advice here from the packing experts on this point. If I remember right, the objection is roughly like this: while the case protects the tuba pretty well from something falling on it, it doesn't protect it very well at all if the case falls on something. When that happens, when the case hits the deck, the tuba inside smacks into the case just as hard as if, for example, you opened up the case and dropped the tuba into it, from the same distance. In physical terms, the tuba's inertia is suddenly transferred to the case at the points of contact, which is probably going to mean that the tuba will be deformed in the process instead.

That said, it takes an elaborate packing job to really solve that problem. With a little extra attention to packing the tuba in its case - some bubble wrap here and there, a partly inflated ball in the bell - and the case floating in the shipping box on some shock absorbing air pillows. I bet tubas shipped in case have a better track record than tubas shipped out of case, even if it isn't the ideal packaging.

That's why I always wrap the horn inside it's case with a decent layer of bubble wrap and shipping tape like an air tight mummy of sorts as well to prevent such falls or jarring hits. Never been unsuccessful with it. :mrgreen:
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Postby bloke » Thu Oct 12, 2017 7:14 pm

There are more dynamics that most people realize when it comes to damage prevention.

The goal is NOT to hold the instrument absolutely rigidly inside a sarcophagus.

Rather, the ~best~ goal to which to aspire is - if the instrument's covering travels at a high rate of speed - to have the instrument's speed slow down LESS SUDDENLY (thus: reducing the likelihood of damage) than the covering (i.e. "case"/"shipping carton") slows down.

When a whole bunch of packing materials are stuffed tightly around an instrument inside a case, that can actually help fast-moving exterior forces to transfer their energy more efficiently to the instrument (again: causing damage).

As tuba players, we have discovered that one trick (preventing a tuba bell's RIM from slamming against the bell-end of the case or carton, thus transferring potential energy away from the fragile rim, and down to the much stronger bell throat) is helpful, as far as "restricting movement" is concerned, but many other movement restricting strategies actually increase the risk of damage.

bloke "again...not trying to be a smart-ass or contrarian, but have packed/shipped MANY tubas, and received MANY shipped tubas, and seen the consequences of quite a few different packing strategies...some of the most 'ignorant' strategies - where tubas floated around loosely in some materials - were actually some of the best. Finally, 'lining a carton with 1-inch-thick sheet styrofoam' is not helpful, as that stuff - at a high rate of speed - might as well be plywood, and - again - transfers more - rather than less - energy to the musical instrument."
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Re: Dear FedEx,

Postby groth » Thu Oct 12, 2017 7:31 pm

Tom wrote:
Donn wrote:
groth wrote:If you're shipping a tuba, make sure it's in a hard case.


That's better than nothing - where a lot of tubas seem to get shipped in packaging that isn't better than nothing - but I believe I've read conflicting advice here from the packing experts on this point. If I remember right, the objection is roughly like this: while the case protects the tuba pretty well from something falling on it, it doesn't protect it very well at all if the case falls on something. When that happens, when the case hits the deck, the tuba inside smacks into the case just as hard as if, for example, you opened up the case and dropped the tuba into it, from the same distance. In physical terms, the tuba's inertia is suddenly transferred to the case at the points of contact, which is probably going to mean that the tuba will be deformed in the process instead.

That said, it takes an elaborate packing job to really solve that problem. With a little extra attention to packing the tuba in its case - some bubble wrap here and there, a partly inflated ball in the bell - and the case floating in the shipping box on some shock absorbing air pillows. I bet tubas shipped in case have a better track record than tubas shipped out of case, even if it isn't the ideal packaging.


Yep...

I'm one of those that has regularly said that a hard case alone is not the shipping solution. The reason tubas in cases often get damaged either when shipped or when flown with is exactly for the reason you describe: basically, the tuba moves inside the case until it hits the rigid case wall and gets crinkled up. I think a well packed box is far superior to using a hard case as a shipping container, just as bloke consistently suggests.

The European manufacturers do NOT ship their tubas to the United States in hard cases, if that tells you anything. At least one major tuba retailer does not either.

There will always be someone that has lucked out using every conceivable shipping method. For those that have shipped FedEx/UPS/similar in a hard case without problems - I'd say you were extraordinarily lucky and nothing more.

Thanks for all the info, nice exchange of different options one has to ship an instrument. I guess by your closing statement, I am 5 out of 5 lucky then! :lol:
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Re: Dear FedEx,

Postby kmorgancraw » Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:04 pm

bloke wrote:being thrown considerably distances


Sometimes I feel like this is something that can happen while practicing, not just in shipping.
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Dog indeed

Postby WakinAZ » Thu Oct 12, 2017 10:00 pm

I recently shipped via Greyhound a Conn 20 J body and bell in their cases bubble and shrink-wrapped to death, clearly labeled in many places with the address and to handle carefully.

That was about a month ago. The Bell arrived , the body is now lost. Greyhound says it has a tracking system but it is usually not scanned anywhere between the sending point and the final destination. So no matter how many times you visit their website or call their employees at the 800 number, they really have no clue where it is.
This is probably about the 15th or 20th time I've used GPX, but it will probably be the last. The savings I've enjoyed over the years have all been lost on this one transaction as I will eat most of the loss.
I will do a full write-up once the final results are known. In the meantime if anyone has a contact at GPX who has a pulse, let me know please.

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P.S. I have received tubas from all the major carriers, never any damage. I guess my number was up.

Dillon's uses FedEx Ground, I'll probably give them a shot on my next venture as a long distance seller
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Re: Dog indeed

Postby Michael Bush » Thu Oct 12, 2017 10:33 pm

WakinAZ wrote:I recently shipped via Greyhound a Conn 20 J body and bell in their cases bubble and shrink-wrapped to death, clearly labeled in many places with the address and to handle carefully.

That was about a month ago. The Bell arrived , the body is now lost.

I've had that happen twice. One of them was an extremely expensive ($xx,xxx) tuba, so I was freaked out to say the least. (Yes, in retrospect I should have driven to get it myself.) But each time the tuba ended up in Houston where lost packages go. There are human beings there. Both tubas came to me once I got a human being in Houston on the telephone.
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Re: Dear FedEx,

Postby WakinAZ » Thu Oct 12, 2017 10:43 pm

Thanks Michael. Is there an official Dead Letter Office there, or is it just whoever picks up the phone?

Thankfully, the maximum loss here is about a grand, but still that's real money to a guy like me.
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Re: Dear FedEx,

Postby WakinAZ » Thu Oct 12, 2017 10:44 pm

PS, I will probably invest in a cell signal luggage tracking tag for my next GPX venture, if there is one.

"Yeah, I know you don't know where it is, but the cell towers tell me it's at the Bumblefudge station..."
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Re: Dear FedEx,

Postby Michael Bush » Thu Oct 12, 2017 10:49 pm

WakinAZ wrote:Thanks Michael. Is there an official Dead Letter Office there, or is it just whoever picks up the phone?

Thankfully, the maximum loss here is about a grand, but still that's real money to a guy like me.

Sending you a PM.
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Re: Dear FedEx,

Postby olaness1 » Fri Oct 13, 2017 11:26 am

I'm looking into shipping a tuba, and FedEx was no less than 8 times the price of the cheapest competitor. With the track record that people seem to ascribe to them here, how do they still get business shipping tubas??
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Re: Dear FedEx,

Postby kmorgancraw » Fri Oct 13, 2017 11:43 am

olaness1 wrote:I'm looking into shipping a tuba, and FedEx was no less than 8 times the price of the cheapest competitor. With the track record that people seem to ascribe to them here, how do they still get business shipping tubas??


Shipping tubas is a gamble. FedEx and UPS might destroy your tuba. Greyhound might lose your tuba. Pick your risk.
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Re: Dear FedEx,

Postby bloke » Fri Oct 13, 2017 12:55 pm

Shipping companies ship "packages" and "parcels".
When they arrive at their destinations, most can still be classified as "packages" and "parcels".
Well over 99% of the same molecules, usually are still there upon arrival.
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Re: Dear FedEx,

Postby kmorgancraw » Fri Oct 13, 2017 4:58 pm

Got the tuba today. Only minor bell damage and a snapped off thumb ring. Not bad considering it was shipped just in the hard case...
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Re:

Postby MaryAnn » Mon Oct 16, 2017 2:16 pm

bloke wrote:There are more dynamics that most people realize when it comes to damage prevention.

The goal is NOT to hold the instrument absolutely rigidly inside a sarcophagus.

Rather, the ~best~ goal to which to aspire is - if the instrument's covering travels at a high rate of speed - to have the instrument's speed slow down LESS SUDDENLY (thus: reducing the likelihood of damage) than the covering (i.e. "case"/"shipping carton") slows down.
"


Yup. MIT has this contest in the engineering department, or used to, where the students have to make a package to put a raw egg into and drop it from the top of a two story building without breaking it. The ONLY way to do that is to have the egg's speed diminish at such a rate that the shell does not crack. They come up with all kinds of ways to do that....treat your tuba like an egg. I bet the Mars landers etc operate on the same principle....they don't crash into the planet stuffed tight into a hard shell. They decelerate at a rate that has been calculated to not break anything.
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Re: Dear FedEx,

Postby bloke » Mon Oct 16, 2017 4:28 pm

kmorgancraw wrote:Got the tuba today. Only minor bell damage and a snapped off thumb ring. Not bad considering it was shipped just in the hard case...


:roll: :lol: ...so...You're good with that...?? :shock:

bloke "Mary Ann agrees with me :shock: (and my 'engineering' is just typical bloke/common sense/practical experience engineering). ...The world must be coming to an end. :roll: :lol: "
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