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  • fretwear 6:11PM
  • jonpowl 6:11PM

Anyone have advice regarding shipping from the US to France?

I was wondering if anyone had experience and advice on how best to ship an instrument from the US to France. I know that one big difference is insurance, both cost and quality. And of course fees are always an important consideration. Any help or guidance would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!


  • make sure you remember to detune the guitar to takemuch of the tension off
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • nicksansonenicksansone Amsterdam, The Netherlands✭✭✭✭
    Depending on where you live, just fly it over yourself. If you get a round trip ticket for 600 euros, you'll still save the buyer on shipping, import tax 20% +, insurance etc..
  • Lango-DjangoLango-Django Niagara-On-The-Lake, ONModerator
    Or ask if somebody on this site will take it over there for you... I took a guitar over and met a Spanish guy at Samois back in 2015, no problem.
    I live in a little tourist town called Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario, Canada, which is about twenty miles north of Niagara Falls.

    If you are ever planning on visiting the beautiful Niagara area, feel free to PM me and perhaps we can get together and do some jamming.
  • bohemewarblerbohemewarbler St. Louis, MO✭✭✭✭ Jordan Wencek No.16, Altamira M01
    I have shipped guitars twice from the U.S (St. Louis, MO) to France. I ship USPS for a total of about $100.00 USD (priority). I don't bother adding extra insurance because that insurance isn't covered in France anyway. I ship the guitar in a well-fitting gig bag (Road Runner OM Boulevard Series), take off the bridge, and make sure the neck is well secured inside the bag. I then put it into a standard shipping box used for shipping guitars. It's important that you complete international customs information completely and correctly on the shipping label, including phone numbers, e-mails, etc. Once it gets there, the USPS tracking number is no longer valid. However, there is a way, which I cannot recall at the moment, to get the French version of the tracking number. However, be prepared for the guitar to sit in customs for a while. When you know that your guitar has arrived in French customs, contact the party that is receiving the guitar so that they can get things moving from their end if the guitar ends up stalled in customs. If there is a snag, you will be contacted by e-mail, and so will the receiver, so keep an eye of your junk mail during that transportation period and have the receiver check theirs. Shipping a guitar to France is not as big of a deal as some people make it, but it can get a little scary when it's sitting in French customs for a while. Airlines, customs, overhead capacity ,etc., while toting the guitar yourself can even be more tricky than just shipping.
  • nicksansonenicksansone Amsterdam, The Netherlands✭✭✭✭
    edited June 2017
    Every experience is different, but I've walked through airport customs with my guitar with out a single problem. I usually bring a guitar with me every flight. Fly into Amsterdam, its a breeze through customs, and even if you get asked at the border, it's your personal guitar, so no problems unless it's Brazillian Rosewood and you don't have the certification. Flying has been far easier than even the smoothest shipping experience I've had. Plus you get a vacation.
  • bohemewarblerbohemewarbler St. Louis, MO✭✭✭✭ Jordan Wencek No.16, Altamira M01
    edited June 2017
    I've traveled internationally with my guitar, and me and my guitar have always made it through.

    However, I also at times have had to vehemently convince airline employees that I had to keep my guitar with me. There is a good thread here on how to prepare and be ready to keep your guitar safe while traveling with it (A Survey - survival rate of guitars in gig bags placed in an airplane's cargo hold).

    That being said, see the link below for a very recent Washington Post article describing how an airline (United) tried to get a musician to check her 17th-century violin in which a ‘wrestling match’ ensued.

  • psychebillypsychebilly Kentucky, USA
    A re-post, but it is worth re-posting:

    Me: "The shipping cost is the least of your worries...if your guitar has a rosewood bridge, you need to understand the new CITES regulations.

    I'm a guitar tech, and the company I work for ships the guitars we build internationally. On 2 January, 2017, new regulations from CITES went into effect, heavily regulating the import/export of rosewood (and other woods like ebony already regulated). We just spent 4 MONTHS of hurdle-jumping getting our CITES certificates lined out, and we were one of the first to get one. Now there is a bottleneck of hundreds (thousands?) of other companies trying to scramble to get theirs. Just make sure the company you are buying from has their ducks in a row as far as CITES reg's are concerned.

    If not, customs agents can and will seize your guitar and have the option of not returning it should the guitar have no paperwork/CITES certificates. These regulations are new, and not 'grandfathered' in to the previous regulations concerning ebony, brazilian rosewood, etc. Now it's ALL rosewood and it's variants.."

    Sauce: djangobooks.com/forum/discussion/comment/89518/#Comment_89518

    Creativity is knowing how to hide your sources.
  • cbwimcbwim ✭✭✭
    edited June 2017
    The new CITES regulations only apply to commercial shipments, including things like eBay sales etc. However, one is allowed to bring a guitar with rosewood across an international boundary without permits, as long as Brazilian Rosewood isn't involved. Thus if you were traveling with your guitar, there shouldn't be any problems.

    I know this as I ship the flutes I make internationally. I have the CITES and APHIS permits required for these, for exporting out of the US. Every shipment also has to get inspected and the permits stamped. In some cases my clients on the receiving end are required to get an import permit from their local CITES authorities. These are required in the EU, but not Australia, New Zealand, Canada or Japan.

  • BonesBones Moderator
    Geez, that story about the violinist is ridiculous. They wouldn't let her carry on a tiny violin. Someone needs to get fired over that one. Welcome to the good old USA 'security state'. Thanks to 'the' Donald!
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