Posted on

Bass Crate

Bass Crate

by Frederick C. Lyman, Jr.

Originally published in Guild of American Luthiers Data Sheet #273, 1984 and Big Red Book of American Lutherie Volume One, 2000

Shipping a bass is always a problem because of the size and fragility of the instrument. I’ve had to do this several times and have built crates which did the job in every instance. It’s not my favorite task; I would rather build basses. Sometimes it would probably be best to buy or rent one of the bass trunks that several firms advertise. If you transport your bass a lot, this would be a good (if substantial) investment. But noooo... you’re going to build one yourself. My methods are not the only possible ones and I can’t guarantee that they are the best for you; only that, for me, they worked and the bass came through unharmed.

Use plywood framed with strips of solid wood. If the framing is on the outside, the crate will be easier to grab. The plywood should be free of skips or voids in the inner plies which you can spot by looking at the edge. Imported lauan plywood (the stuff that looks like mahogany) is pretty good in this respect. You could use 1/4 " or thicker. For greatest economy, you could find some wall paneling that is scuffed or chipped, for a couple of dollars a sheet. You don’t want this box to be too heavy to handle, but if it is going by air freight (I have found United to be helpful and considerate) you will be paying more for the cubic volume than for the weight. In this instance you would not necessarily save by using thinner materials. For framing, I suggest what is known as 5/4 "×3 ", which actually measures about 1 "×2  1/2 ". Pick out straight pieces with few knots. (Yes, it’s OK if there aren’t any knots at all.)

Become A Member to Continue Reading This Article

This article is part of our premium web content offered to Guild members. To view this and other web articles, join the Guild of American Luthiers. Members also receive 4 annual issues of American Lutherie and get discounts on products. For details, visit the membership page.

If you are already a member, login for access or contact us to setup your account.