West Coast

Dear Mike,

I have a studio on the West Coast with a grand piano, five keyboards, and a Mac Pro with dual flat screens. I’m moving to New York and want to bring everything with me. I have a good piano mover lined up, and I have flight cases for my keyboards, but how do I get the rest across the country? Should I fly or rent a U-Haul? Is a moving company trustworthy with expensive gear?


Hi Miguel,

I’ve had bad experiences flying stuff com≠mercial, even in road cases, so I can’t rec≠ommend that route. They won’t fly anything over 75 pounds anymore any≠way, so that route would likely be difficult and expensive.

You could go with an air freight company like Rock-it Cargo (www.rock-itcargo.com).

Most major tours use companies like them. They can arrange things with planes or trucks (depending on how quickly you need it) and have lots of experience shipping musical gear, so you can rest assured your equipment will arrive in one piece.

Some people try to save some cash with FedEx, UPS, or DHL. The only way I would even consider that is if you still have the original packing for your equipment; they got your computer and screens from China to you in the first place, so they should be just fine for shipping cross-country. I would pull the hard drives out of the Mac Pro and put them in your carry-on luggage, though.

If you do elect to ship with DHL or someone like that, insure it for full replace≠ment value, pack it insanely well, and make getting a signature part of the requirement for delivery. I should mention that I just had a very beautiful SCI Pro One get crushed while being shipped by DHL, so be warned that damages can happen.

U-Haul is a horrible idea for a 3,000- mile trip with expensive gear. Don’t even think about it! If the truck doesn’t break down, or bounce your gear to pieces because of the horrible ride, someone will break into it on the way. I know this from first-hand experience.

Your best bet is to have the piano movers take your keyboards in road cases and your computer setup in the original packing along with your piano. I wouldn’t trust a normal moving company, but in my opinion, a rep≠utable piano mover would be fine, since they’re already transporting your most expen≠sive piece of gear. If they won’t take your gear along with the piano, then ship your other gear with Rock-It Cargo insured for full replacement value with the hard drives removed from your computer, packed as well as you possibly can.

-Mike McKnight

Mike McKnight Sounds Inc.

34145 Pacific Coast Hwy, Suite #302
Dana Point, CA 92629