Have guitar, will travel

I

ildar

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Anyone have any advice about traveling with a guitar? I'm taking a 24-hour Amtrak (I know, I know) trip, and will need to check the guitar if I take it at all. Will a standard hardshell case do the trick? It's been a long time since I took an axe with me on mass transportation, need some insight.
 

jackthehack

Senior member
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5,630
Having traveled globally guitar in hand it can be very problematic. Never rode on Amtrak; but have traveled extensively by train in Europe. DO NOT check guitar on train; too obvious from case and theft can be problem. In Europe there are usually luggage racks over the seats or there might be room under the seats for your axe.
 
I

ildar

Guest
I had thought about carrying it on, but I'm sure I'll be asleep for a good bit of the trip, not to mention needing to get up to use the facilities or dining car (not necessarily in that order). I guess I could put it in a gig bag and just keep it strapped to me for the duration.
 

dbw

Senior member
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I've traveled on Amtrak with guitars before.  I'd say carry it on in a hardshell.  You can sleep with it between your legs.  This is probably overkill anyway... if you stick in an overhead bin most likely nobody will so much as glance at it, but I'm just as paranoid as you so I keep it with me if I sleep.

Don't worry about going to the bathroom or getting food... nobody will steal it between stops because there's nowhere to run---you're on a freaking train, for crying out loud!

While you're awake just leave it in the overhead bin.  (No way it'll fit under the seat.)  It's gonna be pretty obvious if someone tries walking off with it.  Better still, go to the dining car and play it!
 
I

ildar

Guest
LOL, I didn't realize how obvious and deep my paranoia appears.
I guess I'm not thinking clearly about it being stolen between stops, I doubt that someone will jump off a speeding train, even for a Warmoth!
On the other hand, if I play it in the dining car I might get thrown off!
 

nathan a

Senior member
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First of all, 3 hour amtrak tickets cost a hundred bucks. How freakin expensive is a full day of Amtrak????

Also, here's a question. I'll be taking my acoustic to scotland (2 air flights from the US). Suggestions / good lines for convincing TSA people to let me carry on?
 

spauldingrules

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721
Convert to Islam and speak Arabic, and they will kiss your ass and let you do whatever you want to as not to "offend" you.
 

jackthehack

Senior member
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5,630
You cannot carry an acoustic on unless you buy it a seat and let the airline know that the seat is for a musical instrument. Pre-TSA I had gotten away with putting a guitar in gig-bag inside a normal suit hanger bag and hanging it in the compartment for such in the cabin, don't know if you can get away with that any more. Buy an "anvil" type flight case AND declare the bag "excess" value; otherwise you'll get shorted if it's damaged/lost. I've had 2 guitars damaged, one seriously, checking Fender hardshell case to baggage.
 
I

ildar

Guest
nathan a said:
First of all, 3 hour amtrak tickets cost a hundred bucks. How freakin expensive is a full day of Amtrak????

$113  one way West Palm Beach to Philadelphia. Not too bad.
 

dbw

Senior member
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nathan a said:
First of all, 3 hour amtrak tickets cost a hundred bucks. How freakin expensive is a full day of Amtrak????
Dude, I used to take Amtrak trips from Chicago to my parents' house... about 10 hours.  It cost like $120 round trip.

Also, here's a question. I'll be taking my acoustic to scotland (2 air flights from the US). Suggestions / good lines for convincing TSA people to let me carry on?
Give them this face:  :sad1:  And if that doesn't work, hit them with one of these:  :party07:
 

Stage Fright

Active member
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jackthehack said:
You cannot carry an acoustic on unless you buy it a seat and let the airline know that the seat is for a musical instrument. Pre-TSA I had gotten away with putting a guitar in gig-bag inside a normal suit hanger bag and hanging it in the compartment for such in the cabin, don't know if you can get away with that any more. Buy an "anvil" type flight case AND declare the bag "excess" value; otherwise you'll get shorted if it's damaged/lost. I've had 2 guitars damaged, one seriously, checking Fender hardshell case to baggage.

Jack, which airline has that  BS seat reg?  Over Christmas I counted at least a dozen accoustics in gig-bags that were obvious carry-ons.  I asked one woman and she said she was putting it in the over-head bin and traveled frequently that way with no issues.

I had thought about taking the neck off a strat for the trip but was worried that constant  re-assembly would stress the neck screw holes.  I bought one of those little travel guitars.  Cheap but decent neck and quite playable once you get used to the zero-gravity affect.
 

jackthehack

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5,630
Not a single airline, but was operating under assumption that acoustic guitar would be in hard shell case; you CAN buy seat on most airlines for oddball delicate items you do not wish to check, have seen cellos/basses traveling this way. Don't know about using a gig bag, if for some reason you were NOT allowed to carry it on board, there is great potential for damage. The overhead bins in many aircraft are NOT long enough for a full size acoustic or electric guitar to fit into; due to location I typically fly 737s/MD-80s and there's no way on those....
 

Soloshchenko

Senior member
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430
As a former backpacker a hard case is an absolute must. Luggage handlers must be gorillas the scratches that come back on them!

I think the best piece of advice I can give is don't take the guitar that is the light of your life travelling! Buy a budget instrument, there are lots of quality low price guitars around thse days. Who cares about tone when on the road?
 

nathan a

Senior member
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Soloshchenko said:
Who cares about tone when on the road?

Me!

No really, I'm gonna be overseas for 4 months; I'm considering shopping for an acoustic I can live with for a while, but I know the guitar I fall in love with at the store will cost more than I want to pay.
 

Wyliee

Senior member
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1,931
jackthehack said:
Not a single airline, but was operating under assumption that acoustic guitar would be in hard shell case; you CAN buy seat on most airlines for oddball delicate items you do not wish to check, have seen cellos/basses traveling this way. Don't know about using a gig bag, if for some reason you were NOT allowed to carry it on board, there is great potential for damage. The overhead bins in many aircraft are NOT long enough for a full size acoustic or electric guitar to fit into; due to location I typically fly 737s/MD-80s and there's no way on those....

While the TSA will let you through the security gates with an instrument, it is ultimately up to the airline and the specific flight crew to determine if your guitar will be allowed onboard.  As more and more people bring larger carryon bags, I would be reluctant to try putting a guitar overhead.  If they make you gate check your instrument and you only have a small gigbag, be prepared for damage.  I used to hang my bass in the coat compartment, but more airlines are taking those out and replacing them with an extra row of seats.  Don't count on the specific plane having a closet these days.

I bought a hardshell golf club case for my basses.  A double gigbag, extra padding and spare gear fits in it just fine.  I always check my bass these days and have yet to have a problem.  In many cases, the airlines will run the case through their oversize luggage area and not down the general luggage ramps.  I have yet to be charged extra for the golf club case either.  I know several guys that use SKB keyboard cases and put their guitars inside a gigbag inside the hard case.  Much easier to carry than those heavy ANVIL cases.

Here's what the TSA has to say on instruments:
http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/assistant/editorial_1235.shtm
 

dbw

Senior member
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A golf club case is a fantastic idea.  A lot less likely to get stolen and probably tougher too!  You'll get some funny looks at Dicks trying to fit your guitar in golf club cases though.  :)
 
N

neilium

Guest
nathan a said:
No really, I'm gonna be overseas for 4 months; I'm considering shopping for an acoustic I can live with for a while, but I know the guitar I fall in love with at the store will cost more than I want to pay.

I'd ship a cheap one to wherever you're staying and then sell it before you leave.
 

Wyliee

Senior member
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1,931
dbw said:
A golf club case is a fantastic idea.  A lot less likely to get stolen and probably tougher too!  You'll get some funny looks at Dicks trying to fit your guitar in golf club cases though.   :)

Yeah, certainly got an odd stare when I went to the local golf pro shop. :tard:

Here's the case I use with my Levys double gigbag in it.  And it only cost @ $140.

Open2.JPG
 
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