guitar travel

Guitar Accessories
Guitar Tips

Protect Your New Guitar: 5 Simple Steps

How to Protect Your Investment

When it comes to keeping your new guitar protected sometimes you just can’t win forever; I mean you have anything from the weather getting to it and completely ruining that beautifully sculpted wood, to Billie Joe getting hold of it and someone reminding him it’s time to go, not a pretty sight either way. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t at least try to protect it from disaster. Here are five great tips for giving your new baby the best chance for a good long life.

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Best Collapsible Travel Guitar? A Review
Acoustic Guitar Reviews

Best-Sounding Collapsible Travel Guitar Reviewed

When the new guitars arrived at my door I had trouble believing that an acoustic instrument could actually fit in such a small box. Journey Instruments had agreed to send me two guitars to test – one solid-top wood guitar and one carbon fiber guitar – and I honestly had no idea what to expect.

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Top 5 Best Travel Guitars reviewed and rated
Acoustic Guitar Reviews

Top 5 Best Travel Guitars that Don’t Suck

What was it that sparked my interest in travel guitars?  I’m traveling on beach vacation in a couple weeks and I am facing a tough decision.   Should I lug my massive full-sized guitar all the way across the ocean or just leave it at home and not have anything?

I decided I didn’t like either option. So I just went out and bought a new 3/4-size travel guitar.

That was only a week ago and there hasn’t been a moment where I’ve regretted purchasing the mini-guitar. Sure, it doesn’t have the same volume as a full-size guitar but it feels great in my hands and it’s going to travel nicely in the overhead bins.

I did quite a bit of research before buying this guitar (I know, it sounded like an impulse buy but it wasn’t). I thought it might be useful to share with you what I found when it comes to travel guitars. My goal was to find a travel guitar that didn’t suck.

What I rea

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10 pro Tips for Flying with Your Guitar
Guitar Tips

10 Most Useful Tips to Flying with your Guitar

Top 5 Best Travel Guitars reviewed and rated

When it comes to traveling with your guitar on an airplane, it’s certainly become a hassle these past few years. Restrictions for carry-on luggage and cost-cutting measures by the airlines have limited what is allowed to be brought on board.

Most people tend to cross their fingers and just hope for the best when it comes safely storing their guitar on the airplane, but more often than not it never works out like you hoped. Whether you run across an attendant who’s just having a bad day or you fly with an airline that is unusually strict with their carry-on policy, your odds aren’t good.

With a bit of planning and research, however, it is possible to make sure that you can get your guitar safely through the air.

For this reason I’m happy to share with you 10 tips to flying with your guitar – whether the guitar comes with you in the cabin or below in the frigid never-land with the rest of the luggage. The first 5 have to do with getting a guitar on the airplane…the second 5 are miscellaneous tips and ideas.

10 Tips for Flying with Your Guitar

 

#1 Prepare the Guitar

Wherever the guitar is stored on the plane, you need to take a few minutes before you enter the airport to prepare your guitar for the journey. For most people this will mean:

  • Loosening the Strings: De-tune your strings. Temperature and pressure changes in either the cabin or luggage compartment of the plane can cause serious stress to the neck of your guitar, potentially damaging it.
  • Humidify the Guitar: It’s a good idea to place a humidifier in your case when you prepare to fly, especially if you’re using a gig bag or other case that doesn’t seal tight. The more you can keep your guitar comfortable amid all the temperature and pressure changes, the better.
  • Pack the Case: The last thing you want is for your guitar to be sliding or bumping around in the case. If there’s any empty area (and there usually is around the headstock or neck), pack some towels, shirts or something else in that space.
  • Remove your Sharp Tools: More than likely it won’t hurt the guitar, but if you have a multi-purpose tool in your case (I do and it has a nice, long knife as part of it), then you can kiss goodbye your chances of carrying your guitar on the plane with you.

#2 Never Check the Guitar at the Luggage Counter

No matter what you do – even if you know the airline’s policy on guitars – never allow them to take your guitar at the luggage counter.

Why? There’s a couple reasons. First of all, you have a better chance of getting your guitar on the plane with you if you get it to the gate. Second, the guitar has a much higher probability of actually making it on the plane if it is gate checked as opposed to luggage checked.

If they give you a hard time, just politely tell the person at the luggage counter – “You know, I don’t mind checking my guitar onto the plane, but could I please gate check it? It’s an expensive piece of equipment that I don’t want going down the conveyer belt.” If done nicely, this should work wonders.

     

#3 Play Ignorant at the Gate

Getting my guitar past security is only half the battle. Now I have to find a way to get my axe with me on the airplane and it’s not always that easy, especially if it’s a full flight.

Often times the gate attendant will make a judgement on whether or not the guitar can come with me on the plane. If they decide to tag it for gate check, don’t sweat…it’s not over yet.

When this happens I usually continue onto the plane anyway with my guitar, hiding the tag with my hand and playing ignorant with the flight attendants. Believe it or not, this works as long as there’s room for the guitar on the plane.

#4 Try to Board the Plane First

Of course the nicest flight attendants in the world can’t help me if there truly isn’t any room on the plane for my guitar. There’s one fool-proof way to fix this: board first.

That’s easy to do if I have the money to fly first class, but I don’t. That leaves me with two other options, both of which I’ve used successfully. You could:

  1. Book your seat towards the back of the plane, which gets seated first.
  2. Sign up for the airline’s credit card, which often comes with a “priority boarding” perk. It helps!

#5 Butter Up the Flight Attendants

At the front and rear of most every commercial jet there are closets that are normally more than large enough to hold a guitar.

The key is all about how well you can butter up the flight attendants.

Remember that they deal with disgruntled passengers all the time, so approaching them with a calm, very polite manner goes a long way. Don’t fight it, just make your case that the guitar is an expensive, very valuable item and you would be ever-so grateful if they could store it away in the closet for you.

#6 Consider Your Guitar Case

Obviously you’re going to want a good guitar case to travel with, but what exactly does that mean? There are a couple questions you should consider as you travel with your guitar, including:

  • Should I use a Gig Bag or a Hard Case? As scary as it may be to travel with your guitar in a gig bag, it’s so much easier to convince airline staff to allow it with you on the plane since it’s more compact and vulnerable than in a hard case.
  • What Material? If you travel often with your guitar you may be fully aware of how heavy that darn thing can be. There’s something called “poly-foam” that protects your guitar just as good as a hard case but at half the weight.

I used to use the hard case that came with my guitar (Taylors come with their own case), but I found that it got far too banged up and was a bit too bulky. So I bought one specifically for travel.

There are quite a few options out there, but here are a few that I think are worth checking out:

  • Acoustic Guitar: that is lighter but strong.
  • Acoustic Guitar: that’s heavier but incredibly secure.
  • Electric Guitar: that is again, lighter but still strong.
  • Electric Guitar: that also has TSA-approved latches for security.
  • Any Guitar: This works over most any acoustic guitar case for added protection. Downside: can’t be carried on.

#7 Consider a Travel-Size Guitar

Unless you’re going to be on the road for a gig, have you considered a travel-sized guitar? It may sound like a terrible idea, but newer manufacturing techniques have vastly improved the sound quality and projection of travel guitars.

Guitars like the Taylor Big Baby (see my review of the Taylor Big Baby guitar here) or the Martin LX1 Little Martin (see my review of the Little Martin series here) are excellent options that won’t break the bank. Your chances of getting these guitars on a plane with you are exponentially greater than a full-sized guitar.

You can also check some of the unique travel guitars that either fold or come apart for smaller storage. One of the most interesting that I’ve come across was the Journey Instruments Overhead guitar.  This guitar is specifically for storage in an overhead bin. Take a moment to

listen to it and see how the guitar folds up

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