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  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Default Travelling with guitars

    I'm just finishing going through the backlog of newsletters, emails, and posts from being away for an extended weekend. And I came across one that Joe Bonamassa is the proud owner of a newly damaged guitar at the hands of an airline. So first thought was the busted Taylor Utube thing a couple of years ago.

    Then I thought I'd ask, has anyone here ever done air travel with a guitar? I know that technically the airlines cannot refuse you to take a guitar as carry-on. But I've also seen people packing the overhead bins like a Tokyo subway. So is there a separate area that a guitar can be stored in? (dating myself here) The airlines used to have a "coat closet" where things like garment bags could be hung. Or are you relegated to "gate checking" the guitar, where it supposedly is handled by the more civilized gorillas that handle baggage.

    I'm also sending an email to a couple of TrueFire instructors, asking them to chime in.
    Honey, I'm spending money on guitars or women, ... your choice.

    If you take Satan for a ride, pretty soon he'll want to drive.


    Favorite Course - Blues Alchemy
    Working On - Fretboard Epiphanies & Jump Blues

  2. #2

    Wink The Truth

    OK, I fly with guitars a lot. Between my years of TrueFire travel and touring with Karsh Kale lately I've really been racking up the miles lately.

    Here's the raw details:

    -Airlines have every right to impose their policies on whatever they want. You can't win. Period.
    -The TSA however cannot forbid you from taking your guitar through security. There's an updated letter of agreement between the TSA and the AFoM on this matter and you'd be smart to pack it just in case. A quick Google search will dig that up in a jiffy. Be aware: In that letter both parties reiterate what I just wrote in regards to the airlines.
    -Coat closets are still in existence, but you rarely find them anymore and even more rarely get to use them.

    Tricks:

    -Positively arrive at the airport two hours before you're supposed to take-off. You need the time to deal with TSA and the airlines.
    -Make sure your sit is all the way in the back ensuring you're on the plane first. That way you have first dibs on overhead real estate. If you didn't book the flight (I never do) switch your seat when you get to the airport if you have to.
    -If you did that but came a little late, throw it in the first overhead as you walk down the aisle. Anyone asks why you're still walking and not sitting near your luggage just tell them you're going to the bathroom. Never fails. They forget you the minute you finish that sentence.
    -As stupid as this sounds you can "sneak" a guitar on. Most of the boarding pass checker people are complacent, disconnected assholes and you can take full advantage of that. Just hold that gig bag to the opposite side of the taker person who sometimes never lift their heads and you go right through. Not kidding.
    -In the event they do stop you and give you the dreaded pink tag for gate checking you still have an out. Unless they have someone right there at the gateway door you're free as a bird as you make your way down to the plane. So, rip that tag off and get your beloved on the plane with you. I've never been called out on that.

    I leave you with this: Everyone on that plane is on your side. For whatever reason your fellow frequent flyers love musicians especially guitar players. They will do what they can to help. Be cool to them back. When you see them trying to stuff the overhead where you're axe is, get up and help. Go even further and help other people that have nothing to do with your six-string stash. Further their love for you. Even switch seats with people who got screwed and disconnected from their travel partner when they booked their flights. In the end all these acts of kindness help out when the airline exec is looking for you and your axe after you've ripped that gate check tag off and snuck your guitar on. The people's support goes a long way when the debating starts.

    Buono out
    Chris Buono
    =-=-=-=-=-=
    ChrisBuono.com
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  3. #3

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisBuono View Post
    -As stupid as this sounds you can "sneak" a guitar on. Most of the boarding pass checker people are complacent, disconnected assholes and you can take full advantage of that. Just hold that gig bag to the opposite side of the taker person who sometimes never lift their heads and you go right through. Not kidding.

    -In the event they do stop you and give you the dreaded pink tag for gate checking you still have an out. Unless they have someone right there at the gateway door you're free as a bird as you make your way down to the plane. So, rip that tag off and get your beloved on the plane with you. I've never been called out on that.
    Wow, that's...kinda scary.

  4. #4

    Default

    I've flown with my guitar quite a bit with The National Guitar Workshop, Truefire, NAMM shows, etc...varying consequences, almost always involving the TSA. I'm a Dean Guitar endorser but I was with Hamer and a company from CA called RKS before Dean. RKS sent me a beautiful Ruby Red guitar that I traveled with a number of times. The guitar had ribs in the body made of aircraft aluminum so everytime the TSA scanned it they always pulled me aside to check out the guitar. One time the TSA guy took the guitar out of the gig bag and never zipped the bag back up. So when I picked it up "BAM" the guitar hit the concrete and cracked the body about 12 inches long. I was sick, but I knew there was no sense in trying to get them to pay for it so to this day I have the guitar with the big crack in it. Oh well, great road story I guess.

    I keep my current guitar in a Body Glove gig bag 'cause it easily fits in the overhead and the bag is pretty sturdy. No way I'm gonna check my guitar, it always goes on board either in the stewardesses closet or the overhead. Occasionally someone at the gate will give me grief but I always manage to get it on board. I've had to prove to some people at the gate that the guitar would fit in the overhead...literally having them follow me on to the plane so I could show them. Most of the time people don't say anything. Occassionally I'll ask to pre-board if the flight is full but other than that so far so good.

    Jeff

  5. #5

    Default

    I never flew with my guitars, did a gig in the UK oncw but the gear went via road.

    Toying with the idea of bringing my acoustic from Ireland here to Oz next year.

    Here is a road story from Rory Gallagher

    http://www.rorygallagher.com/#/archi...ars/tele_white

  6. #6

    Arrow

    Never leave home with out my
    Travelers Guitar "Escape EG-1.."For the Un-Pro it's a great guitar (plays and feels Great !) Not much bigger than a Tennis Racket, that's what most folks think it is..
    Sorry Dude Its a Guitar...



    Best Ever !


    Praise Be The Lord, My Rock, Who Trains My Hands For War, and My Fingers For Battle;


    My name is Michael Westen. I used to be a spy.
    Check out the "Triads & Hendrixian Double Stops" Study Group" Put in your 2 Cents

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  7. #7

    Smile

    I once had to fly from Harstad, Norway to Rome, Italy and back. Then I bought one of these flightcases made by a norwegian firm. Specially made for a 335.
    http://www.rufo.no/gibson_es_335/P_942 Sorry, but their site is only in norwegian. Click on the cases and they will enlarge.
    Checked it in as special luggage. My Gibson ES-335 didnt get as much as a scratch.

    Last edited by larro; 07-21-2011 at 07:49 PM.
    Larro

    -- If you can dream it, you can do it ! ;)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
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    Default

    Ok so I googled the super secret handshake, and knowing the name of the third girl you ever kissed (Really! Glenda! [JK ]) I sneaked into Chris' sherpa class, and found him talking about his touring rig

    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisBuono
    As stupid as this sounds you can "sneak" a guitar on. Most of the boarding pass checker people are complacent, disconnected assholes and you can take full advantage of that. Just hold that gig bag to the opposite side of the taker person who sometimes never lift their heads and you go right through. Not kidding.
    They really don't notice you! How about that hippopotamus in tow?
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Honey, I'm spending money on guitars or women, ... your choice.

    If you take Satan for a ride, pretty soon he'll want to drive.


    Favorite Course - Blues Alchemy
    Working On - Fretboard Epiphanies & Jump Blues

  9. #9

    Default

    I have one of the original Traveler's from the early 90's that I take with me. It isn't my favorite guitar, but it is nice to have on a trip.

    Quote Originally Posted by torr71 View Post
    Never leave home with out my
    Travelers Guitar "Escape EG-1.."For the Un-Pro it's a great guitar (plays and feels Great !) Not much bigger than a Tennis Racket, that's what most folks think it is..
    Sorry Dude Its a Guitar...


  10. #10

    Default

    The problem I have with those is the price. They're smaller and not particularly great but cost as much as many "real" guitars. I'd like to get one to play around with at work, but I just can't justify spending that much on them.

  11. #11

    Default

    Frank Vignola has a huge case that looks like it's almost as big as an upright bass...maybe I exaggerate a bit, but his Thorell is pretty petite and the case is monstrous...probably costs more than my car (case, guitar, either one). Vinny's is similarly well padded. One or both have a second zip bag that goes over the case, so it obviously is made for the megacase. Vinny's has his name on it, suggesting at least the embroidery is custom. I don't remember exactly but it made an impression. Frank's case said something oddly generic like "mp3music.com"...those were on a road trip...I don't know about flying, but they'd need sherpas if the cases were any bigger...

    ...oh, wait, they have the sherpa part covered...
    Just visiting TrueFire.com? Why not join us?


    http://truefire.com/ignite/?code=murrayatuptowngaller

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