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How to Build your Own Moving Box to Transport an Upright

How to Build your Own Moving Box to Transport an Upright

Moving an Upright Bass… or how our Contrabasses went from being walking basses to riding (in a truck) basses!

When we moved all our belongings from California to Tennessee in 2021, one of our biggest worries was our instruments. Most have sturdy cases, but not our upright basses. We don’t have travel safe hard cases for them. In a moving truck, you can put in dividers and baffles but they are not 100 percent reliable. And a large acoustic instrument is too delicate even with great dividers. We had nightmares of our two upright basses being crushed by dozens of boxes should the truck make too sharp a turn or take a speed bump too fast forcing the contents to shift.

Getting Creative

Bass #1 was laid to sleep comfortably inside a flotation tank we own. We just padded the tank with clothes and bedding and plopped the bass right in the middle and closed the lid on top. It floated comfortably for the 2000 mile ride safely and arrived veerrry relaxed. But not everyone has a flotation tank…

But that still left us without a solution for bass #2 – and what we came up with may be of interest to you if faced with the same dilemma:

Wolf did a bit of research, applied some basic math and came up with a beautiful (in the DIY sense) and surprisingly cheap solution – he built an upright bass case from scratch using moving boxes, reinforcement edges and a whole bunch of glue!

Step 1:

Put the bass into its soft case. (If you have a proper flight case you can skip to the end. I fly with my Eminence bass that breaks down into a golf cart that’s safe to be checked with luggage, but that is a post for another day!)

Step 2:

Buy four extra-large-sized Heavy-Duty (simply means they’re made from a double layer of cardboard) moving boxes from Home Depot or similar local home improvement store.

Pick up strong glue while you are there (we used a Loctite adhesive that stated compatibility with cardboard), a bunch of bubble wrap and some Cardboard Edge Protectors, like these:

 (Tubeequeen Cardboard Edge Protectors, White – Reinforced V-Board Edge Guards for Pallets) 

These add to the stability of the box (objects in photo not to size):

Step 3:

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Cut out one of the long sides of the 4 boxes. Keep the pieces to use as the bottom and to reinforce the box where you want to. Measure the thickest part of your bass (at the bridge), then glue the boxes together as shown in the picture, making sure to leave some room for padding around the bass. (So the resulting box will be ~2-4” deeper than the depth of your bass.)

Notice that the flaps for the box lids are straightened out – this lengthens the box and holds up fine once glue and tape are applied.

To keep the pieces in place while glueing and to aid a good bond, I glued one side – put it on the floor on put some weights on top. This turned the whole endeavor into a multi-day project (but only taking about 30 minutes each day) but well worth the effort to ensure a solid bond and sturdy container.

Step 4: 

I reinforced all seams with ample packaging tape. Then glued the cardboard edge protectors into the inside corners. I had to get creative with various weights to hold the pieces in place while the glue was drying. Dumbbells and other workout tools came in handy.

Step 5:

The bottom can be pieced together from the cut out side pieces. I used a piece from a different, extra large cardboard box