Shipping Instruments

Damaged Box

With your RMA# in hand you go to the UPS Store and hand over a box filled with brass goodies. You hope they are returned to Elkhorn in perfect condition, but as the picture to the right suggests, that’s not always the case.

We ship a LOT of instruments. Less than 1% of them are damaged in shipping. Our customers aren’t always so lucky. Lately we’ve had many customers ship their instruments back to us in the same box we originally sent to them. If the box is in good condition then it might protect your investment for another round of UPS TLC. However, if the box has been compromised in any way, please use a new box. If you’re not sure, place the compromised box within a new larger box to ensure the instrument’s safe arrival in Elkhorn.

These are the box dimensions we use for various components:


  • Tuning slide: 10″x8″x8″
  • Valve section (bass/tenor): 21″x14″x8″
  • Slide section: 10″x10″x39″
  • Trombone bell: 15″x20″x26″
  • Complete bell section: 15″x16″x42″
  • Complete tenor trombone: 15″x16″x42″
  • Complete bass trombone: 18″x22″x43″


  • Trumpet bell: 11″x16″x28″
  • Complete trumpet: 11″x16″x28″

Using the above dimensions when choosing a box will not guarantee your horn’s safety, but it will definitely increase its chances of survival. The most important thing to remember is that, when in doubt, pack more bubble wrap around the instrument.

The other day I saw a UPS driver throw a box 20 feet into a loading area. They have no idea what they’re handling, so we must take every precaution when shipping. Back to the picture — this was a box that a customer used to ship a bell. It was a miracle that the bell arrived safely considering the condition of the box.