Perhaps you are interested in buying
or selling a sax on the web. With the large selection available -- virtually
world-wide -- chances are excellent that you will discover the sax you
want out here somewhere in cyberspace.
The keys to a successful
transaction are few & simple:
1) Have a good idea of what you want &
2) Shop extensively
3) Know with whom you are dealing
4) Get clarification on any questions that
5) Bargain diligently to obtain the best
price & terms
6) Assure that your new sax will be properly
to arrive safely & in the condition in
which you purchased it
Insuring a package isn't enough.
Claims procedures vary widely from carrier to
carrier and are invariably a drawn-out hassle. UPS, for instance, insists
on returning your sax & all its packing to the shipper! Besides, this
is your new sax, so the last thing you want is a long delay in enjoying
it -- or see a rare & valuable instrument unnecessarily damaged. And
keep in mind:
Damage due to improper
packing is NOT insurable.
CyberSax ships & receives
saxes virtually every day. Saxophones packed according to our guidelines
routinely arrive without damage. The steps below require only easily obtained,
inexpensive materials and a moderate degree of care.
Package Tape, good quality, heavy-duty
Duct Tape, or a utility tape that doesn't
leave messy residue (masking tape hardens & is difficult to remove)
Soft Packing for inside sax case. Bubble
Wrap is available at discount & specialty stores. Foam from old cushions
works well, as do carpet pad scraps. Note: Be sure all material is clean
& odor free. No one wants athlete's lips!
Hard Filler for between case & carton walls.
Plastic peanuts are ideal, but well-crumpled newspaper is quite effective.
music & electronics stores often have boxes to which you are welcome,
and which are filled with the perfect packing materials for sensitive merchandise.
The No. 1 cause of damage
to saxes in shipment is failure to place the neck plug into the sax body
The neck plug both protects
the neck cavity & octave mechanism from damage, and assures the sax
fits snugly into the case. When the sax is not snug within its case the
body flows back & forth in pile-driver fashion as a result of shipment
motions. The results are quite predictable: bent octave mechanisms, warped
neck sockets. broken neck screws, bow dents, damaged cases, and in extremes,
bends in the sax body itself. Since failure to install the neck plug is
improper packing, none of this damage would be insurable.
Sax manufacturers supply neck plugs in the
same finish as the sax. In case the original plug is lost, inexpensive
replacement plugs made of plastic are sold in most music stores & instrument
neck plug, properly installed into sax body neck cavity. Should it not
fit snugly enough with the neck screw's tension, secure it with a small
piece of utility tape.
So, you're ready to ship a sax and there's
no neck plug! A suitable one can be fashioned easily & quickly by wrapping
utility tape around any stiff, small round object, an inch or so in length.
Wine bottle corks are perfect for this purpose.
Nothing Loose in Case
Bag all accessories. Sterilized mouthpiece
is also separately wrapped, then can go in a snack size, self-sealing plastic
bag along with ligature, cap, strap & reeds. Neck is wrapped alone
in a soft bag or cloth. Note: the familiar 'blue sock', is perfect for
bagging your necks.
Place bagged accessories in the case's utility
compartment. If utility compartment is not sturdy, tape or glue it until
it is sound. If a satisfactory utility compartment is not available, box
or wrap accessories separately & place in the outer box, outside the
Fill accessory compartment with packing
so everything inside is snug when the compartment door is closed. Door
should close with just a little effort so as not to over-stress your hinge.
Sax within Case to Protect & Prevent Movement
Most vintage sax cases were designed to
store & protect the sax within the immediate possession of the player.
It's fair to say modern forms of transportation -- at today's speeds --
weren't on the radar screen in the early part of the Century. Cases, therefore,
must be augmented to protect your sax during transit. Begin by lining the
case with bubble pack to caress the sax & make bottom of case more
form friendly. This step may not be needed with modern molded flight
Note: Utility Compartment
securely taped closed.
Many cases have a socket for the neck &
neck plug. Please note how the sax neck is fitted fully into this socket.
Block the bow of the sax so there is no
back & forth "jack-hammer" effect permitted. Also protect the sax from
rocking to & fro within the case with a pad between the case front
& sax bell. Place the block to avoid stress on the easily-damaged bell
lip. Note use of foam from discarded sofa cushion.
Cover sax with second layer of bubble wrap.
At this point no motion or sound should be detectible with case lid closed
& fastened. When your sax cannot move in any direction within the case,
it is reasonably safe from the Boys in Brown ... now to protect your case's
But first ... wrapping your well-packed
sax case in utility tape will assure that it does not jostle open in-transit,
allowing your best-laid plans to go awry. Trusting sax case latches older
than you are is a stretch, yes ?
Your Case With a Substantial Carton
Select a cardboard carton large enough that
the case will not touch the outside at any point, once packed. Fill the
bottom of your carton with a firm, resilient packing material. In this
instance we have used plastic peanuts, but well-crumpled newspaper works
Place your sax case on top of the bottom-fill
packing and firmly fill around it on all sides with additional material.
Judge the correct degree of packing fill by visualizing how an impact to
the outside carton might be absorbed by the packing. Your sax case cannot
be allowed to 'slosh' inside your carton.
Fill the remainder of your carton with packing
material to a slight overflow point. The idea is to pre-stress the packing
material while closing the carton, suspending the sax case firmly
within the packing material. When the packing is properly tensioned, your
carton can absorb significant blows without damaging your case or the well-packed
Final product !
Sealed with plenty of good quality packaging
tape such as Scotch brand by 3M (about $1 per roll at your favorite warehouse/wholesale
club). Finished package is clearly labeled with both origin & destination
-- conspicuously marked 'FRAGILE', of course . . .
Bon Voyage . . .
Notes: 1) Well-packed Altos weigh approximately
18 pounds, Tenors, 22 pounds. All bets are off with bari's -- finding cartons
to fit them is problematic 2) CyberSax and
the vast majority of reputable web instrument dealers with whom we are
familiar pack well for free.
We offer the information in this article to our web friends
as a guideline. Should you find a better way, by all means, employ it --
and tell us, too, please ! ! !