Bubble Wrap is Bad for Lacquer Guitars

This is a quick and dirty article on why you should never use bubble wrap inside the case when shipping a guitar. More specifically, you should not use bubble wrap in any way that allows the bubble wrap to touch the finish on a nitro-based lacquer-coated guitar. The following photos were collected by me from various places on the Internet over the years. If you’d like to claim ownership just comment or email me and I’ll include a link to the source along with your name.

Consider this a sort of “scared straight” treatment. I’m not going to go into all the gory details of how the chemicals in most bubble-wrap can affect the lacquer on your prized instrument. Instead, I’m just going to show you some horrifying photos from real people who learned the hard way that bubble wrap and lacquer-finished guitars should never touch.

Also – what you see is permanent damage! You can’t just buff this kind of thing out because this is a chemical reaction and is the same kind of thing that you may have seen caused by guitar stands. The lacquer has been melted.


There you have it. Sadly, most if not all of these problem guitars were discovered by the buyer, and it’s the seller’s responsibility to know how to properly pack an instrument, especially an instrument of the valuable vintage variety!

Bubble wrap between the case and the box? That’s great! Just make sure the case cannot move within the box.

Bubble wrap inside the case? Only if you’ve otherwise wrapped the guitar in something like t-shirts that will insulate the guitar from the bubble wrap. Honestly, though, I don’t risk it.

Shipping your guitar without a case? Yeah, don’t do that.

I demand to ship my vintage guitar without a case using bubble wrap! Sigh… Wrap it in something like t-shirts and *then* wrap it in bubble wrap. And then make sure the guitar can’t move in the box, and isn’t touching any of the sides.

Let’s be careful out there, and remember: no bubble wrap against your lacquer guitars!



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