How to pack an accordion for shipping

Accordions are prone to shipping damage, especially older ones.

Here are two common problems - and how to pack an accordion to reduce the risk of damage from them.

 
 

"Wha' happened to the bass buttons?!"

 THe larger the accordion, the greater the risk.

 THe larger the accordion, the greater the risk.

The springs in the bass/chord system are designed to handle only a few button-presses at a time.  If an accordion is dropped flat on its back (keys and buttons facing up), it's as if ALL buttons had been swatted down at the same time!  The springs can't handle it.

Help the buttons stay on top with "keepers" and tape

Press soda straws or strips of cardboard between every 2nd or 3rd set of buttons. The top of the "keepers" should be level with the tops of the buttons.

Then - stretch tape across the accordion, over the buttons.  Lightly run your finger across the tape to make sure it's sticking to most of the buttons and "keepers".

USe Soda straws, wood coffee stirs, strips of boxboard... etc.

USe Soda straws, wood coffee stirs, strips of boxboard... etc.

USE Clear packing tape or masking tape  

USE Clear packing tape or masking tape

 

"What's loose and rattling around inside?"

If you're sending or receiving an older accordion, don't be surprised if it arrives with something loose inside.

"...i guess we could just use it as a big shaker..."

"...i guess we could just use it as a big shaker..."

The reeds in an accordion, usually several hundred... are attached with beeswax which forms a secure, airtight seal which lasts 20 to 30 years.  However as the wax ages - it shrinks, turns brittle, and cracks very easily.   

That's why, for older accordions, even normal parcel delivery is bumpy enough to knock some of the reeds loose!

To reduce risk of damage - pack it with TWO layers of cushioning.

 

LAYER 1: Cushion the ACCORDION inside the CASE

Place padding between the accordion and case on all four sides, top, and bottom.  Be sure each corner is cushioned.

Use bubble wrap, padded envelopes, layers of corrugated cardboard, crumpled craft paper.  

Your goal is to make it snug with cushioning in all directions!  As you lower the lid, you should feel a little resistance from packing material; you should have to press it down a little bit before the lid will latch.

Shipping an accordion with no case?  Double-box it.  Use a sturdy box as "case", inside another box at least 2" larger L/W/D.

If you're shipping without a case, double-box it.

If you're shipping without a case, double-box it.

LAYER 2:  Cushion the CASE inside the THE SHIPPING BOX

Use chunks of styrofoam (great for corners)... or bubble wrap, layers of boxboard, etc.

Use 1.5" - 2" of packing between case and shipping box: all 4 sides, top & bottom.

Use 1.5" - 2" of packing between case and shipping box: all 4 sides, top & bottom.

Final touches:

  • Decide the value you want to declare for coverage in case of damage.  

  • Put a copy of the shipping label inside the box.

  • As you pack, take a few pictures:

    • the accordion in case, with cushioning
    • the case in shipping box, with cushioning
    • the shipping box, ready to go

If you need to file a damage claim, the pictures show that you packed it properly, and that the box was in good condition before sending.