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Thread: Mild dilemma: flying with a guitar

  1. #1
    Opaque John Beef's Avatar
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    Mild dilemma: flying with a guitar

    I am flying back to Virginia from Arizona in about a week. An old friend of mine (the drummer from a band we had in the mid 90s) is turning 40 and invited me to his party. He wanted to "get the band back together" and we all agreed to a reunion show at his party. Sounds like good times! For a while there we were really tight, and I'm really excited about seeing everyone again. We're going to play to around 75-100 people and since this is all about the drummer's birthday, it's probably not going to be an event where the band is playing and everyone is mingling and not really paying attention - instead everyone will be watching, I think.

    So, initially I was going to take my main guitar, the black CU22. But now I'm getting cold feet. In the mid 2000s I was in a band that did a lot of flying and I would take partscasters in gig bags, stick em in the over heads, no problem. They were semi-disposable instruments, intentionally, so I wouldn't have to worry so much if one got mangled. The last time I flew with a guitar was to Florida in 2011 and I took my SE Santana. That gig was just guitar and bass with a drum machine, and there were people as old as 96 in attendance, so great tones were not essential.

    Never once in a few dozen plane trips with a guitar have I had an issue. My paranoid side is tell me that this one time, I'm going to take a great guitar (CU22 or Mira) and it'll get mangled.

    What would you do? Here are your choices: (between the Santana SE, the Mira or the CU22)



    Maybe this would sway your decision, I'm probably going to be playing through a red-knob Fender M-80 solid state amp from the late 80s.
    The Bovine Fury <-- stream and download our album "Eleven by Twelve" for free.
    05 Custom 22 with DGT pickups ~ 07 Mira with old birds ~ 08 SE Baritone Fralin/Suhr pickups ~ 03 SE Santana

  2. #2
    Occasionally Onery Member CantankerousCarl's Avatar
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    I cannot comment on the guitar / amp combo, but if you are paranoid there are a TON of the first edition Santana SEs out for sale online all over right now...so if something bad did happen, that would be your cheapest / easiest replacement.
    1990, 91, 92 & 97 CE24s | 1991 CU24 | 2000 CU22 Semi-Hollow | 2003 & 04 SE EG
    2008 SE Semi-Hollow Soapbar | 2011 CU24 GC Throwback | 2012 Signature Limited | 2012 NF3
    2013 408 Brazilian | 2013 Paul's Guitar | 2013 Hollowbody II | 2013 CU24 Swamp Ash Limited
    2013 CU24 | 2013 XPRS 408 Semi-Hollow | 2014 CU24 Semi-Hollow | 2014 S2 CU22 Semi-Hollow

  3. #3
    Senior Member wardog's Avatar
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    My 2 cents. take the right one and get that mojo baby!!!. CU22 all the way. This event sounds special and it is asking for the best. I have caused more damage to a guitar practicing in my bedroom than in travel!!!!! Plus a nick on the road means more to me than one caused by my desk in the musical man cave!!!!! MOJO!!!!!

    IF not the cu22, then for sure the mira!!! Have fun!!!!
    I like surprises!!!

  4. #4
    Senior Member RedGuitars's Avatar
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    Mira with real birds - don't see many of those... I would worry a little about taking that one...

    May be time for a flight case.
    ___________
    Mike Cantrell

  5. #5
    Senior Member sergiodeblanc's Avatar
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    I always have great success getting a gig bag stashed in the 1st class coat closet. Don't let anyone talk you into checking it.

  6. #6
    A♥ hoards guitars ♥A rugerpc's Avatar
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    Maybe they only break Taylor Guitars.... if you are leaving Chicago..... headed for Nebraska.....
    Thbbbbbt...
    Check it out: Phillybri used to have a band: Resonance, but he's soooo missingpieces over them now!
    Lexicon ¡sɹǝqɯǝɯ uɐıןɐɹʇsnɐ oןןǝɥ

  7. #7
    Senior Member themike's Avatar
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    Take a great guitar - its all about enjoying what your playing!

    Quote Originally Posted by sergiodeblanc View Post
    I always have great success getting a gig bag stashed in the 1st class coat closet. Don't let anyone talk you into checking it.
    This. Also maybe email the airline directly as well as the local manager and print each approval and bring it with you along with the FAA regulations that permit guitars to be carried on.

    Or you could put it in a hardshell case, double box it and ship it? Also What part of Virginia if you dont mind me asking?
    Paul Reed Smith 7 - S t r i n g A c t i v i s t | Fueled by P T C

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    Opaque John Beef's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wardog View Post
    My 2 cents. take the right one and get that mojo baby!!!. CU22 all the way. This event sounds special and it is asking for the best. I have caused more damage to a guitar practicing in my bedroom than in travel!!!!! Plus a nick on the road means more to me than one caused by my desk in the musical man cave!!!!! MOJO!!!!! IF not the cu22, then for sure the mira!!! Have fun!!!!
    Oh, I'm totally an owner! These guitars get gigged. I'm not worried about bumps and bruises, I'm worried about headstock cracks and neck separations.

    Quote Originally Posted by CantankerousCarl View Post
    I cannot comment on the guitar / amp combo, but if you are paranoid there are a TON of the first edition Santana SEs out for sale online all over right now...so if something bad did happen, that would be your cheapest / easiest replacement.
    This is the angel on one shoulder, for sure. The Red Knob Fender amp is this angel's other siren song. "It's going to sound terrible anyway, take the cheap guitar!"

    Quote Originally Posted by RedGuitars View Post
    Mira with real birds - don't see many of those... I would worry a little about taking that one... May be time for a flight case.
    It is rare, which is why I bought it. Turned out to be a fantastic player and tone monster to boot. A flight case would be a little out of my price range, especially considering how much I'm flying these days, compared to 2005/06 at least.

    Quote Originally Posted by sergiodeblanc View Post
    I always have great success getting a gig bag stashed in the 1st class coat closet. Don't let anyone talk you into checking it.
    Southwest Airlines - no 1st class, no coat closet. It goes in the overheads. There was only one trip I had to gate check it and that was because we were on a prop plane to some small town and the overheads weren't big enough. But my guitar at the time was semi-disposable, I just said, "all righty then" and gave it to them.

    Quote Originally Posted by rugerpc View Post
    Maybe they only break Taylor Guitars.... if you are leaving Chicago..... headed for Nebraska.....
    I am flying through Chicago... I think.

    Quote Originally Posted by themike View Post
    Take a great guitar - its all about enjoying what your playing!
    This is the devil on the other shoulder!

    Quote Originally Posted by themike View Post
    Or you could put it in a hardshell case, double box it and ship it? Also What part of Virginia if you dont mind me asking?
    I don't think I want to ship it really. It would cost $100 round trip, but there are variables like delivery delays, etc. Warrenton, just outside DC is where we're playing. I'd love to invite folks but I think it's a closed party.
    The Bovine Fury <-- stream and download our album "Eleven by Twelve" for free.
    05 Custom 22 with DGT pickups ~ 07 Mira with old birds ~ 08 SE Baritone Fralin/Suhr pickups ~ 03 SE Santana

  9. #9
    Senior Member Chris528's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Beef View Post
    Warrenton, just outside DC is where we're playing. I'd love to invite folks but I think it's a closed party.
    That's only 15 minutes from me! Wanna borrow my CE22?
    "BADASS MODDED" SE SEMI-HOLLOW W/BIGSBY, SE ZACH MYERS, SE TREMONTI, RANDALL DIAVLO RD20, RANDALL DIAVLO RD1, BLACKSTAR HTR1

  10. #10
    Happy Egads's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris528 View Post
    That's only 15 minutes from me! Wanna borrow my CE22?
    I was just going to suggest checking to see if any Forum Folk would be willing to loan up!

    I love this place.

  11. #11
    Name Manglin' Putz alantig's Avatar
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    I knew I saved this for a reason - hope it helps you, John!

    Dear AFM Members,

    Following the passage of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (H.R. 658), we have been receiving many questions about the new policy and complaints that musicians are still experiencing problems at the airport. While the inclusion of a national musical instrument policy in the FAA bill is a major victory for AFM, musicians must be aware that changes will not happen immediately, and we ask for your patience.


    The FAA reauthorization was signed into law by the President on February 14, 2012. However, the national instrument policy goes into effect upon issuance of FAA regulations to carry out the law, which must occur no later than February 2014. AFM is working with Congress, the FAA, and the airlines to get these regulations in place as soon as possible, and to encourage airlines that have not already done so to voluntarily adopt H.R. 658 as their policy in the meantime. This means that you may continue to face difficulties at the airport until the new procedures are fully rolled out.


    In particular, please remember that flight attendants, gate attendants, and baggage handlers may not yet be aware of the new law. Often, they don’t know the airline’s own policy on musical instruments. In order for the carry-on policy to be effective, it is imperative that it be included in the FAA training manuals distributed to airline employees. As many of you have no doubt experienced, even airlines like United and Delta, which already have favorable musical instrument policies, frequently cause problems for musicians because the airline employees are unaware of the policy and refuse to allow the instrument on board. To address this issue, AFM is working to ensure that training manuals are updated as soon as possible.


    Musicians who travel with their instruments are advised to visit the AFM website, where they can find the text of the law, links to major airlines’ current musical instrument policies, and updated travel tips at http://www.afm.org/member/page/id/1705. I recommend that you carry both the airline’s current policy on musical instruments and a copy of the law when you fly.


    Best,


    Hal


    Hal Ponder
    Director of Government Relations

    American Federation of Musicians
    Alan

    "I watched approximately 45 seconds of 'Rock Of Ages'. It was like getting punched in the soul." - Abby Krizner

  12. #12
    Just a member JustRob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris528 View Post
    That's only 15 minutes from me! Wanna borrow my CE22?
    Egads is right, there truly are some wonderful people here.

  13. #13
    Opaque John Beef's Avatar
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    Wow! I love you guys!

    Chris, I am truly flattered that you would offer! I am going to decline though. Seriously, it's a great offer. I shouldn't be refusing it. However, I know me. If I'm playing someone else's guitar, even if they say it's okay, I'm going to be hyper paranoid about every little thing. I just wouldn't be comfortable! But seriously, it's why I come here, you guys are great.

    Also, thanks to Alan, I looked it up:

    https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/112/hr658/text

    Section 403. I will have a copy handy, but in all my previous travels with a guitar, there has never been an issue with a guitar as a carry on. I also paid extra to board with the A group so there will be room in the overheads.
    The Bovine Fury <-- stream and download our album "Eleven by Twelve" for free.
    05 Custom 22 with DGT pickups ~ 07 Mira with old birds ~ 08 SE Baritone Fralin/Suhr pickups ~ 03 SE Santana

  14. #14
    Senior Member Chris528's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Beef View Post
    Chris, I am truly flattered that you would offer! I am going to decline though. Seriously, it's a great offer. I shouldn't be refusing it. However, I know me. If I'm playing someone else's guitar, even if they say it's okay, I'm going to be hyper paranoid about every little thing. I just wouldn't be comfortable! But seriously, it's why I come here, you guys are great.
    I understand completely, but feel free to shoot me a pm if you change your mind.
    "BADASS MODDED" SE SEMI-HOLLOW W/BIGSBY, SE ZACH MYERS, SE TREMONTI, RANDALL DIAVLO RD20, RANDALL DIAVLO RD1, BLACKSTAR HTR1

  15. #15
    Just a member JustRob's Avatar
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    In that case, I'm just a little further away, but I have an Epiphone you can light on fire when you're done. But I do have to be able to watch/record that.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Jet Whitey's Avatar
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    Stick it in a gigbag....carry it on....Flight attendants are suckers for guitar players! They'll stow it in the 1st class closet!
    PRS Guitars Endorsee....White and Relic'd Ones !

  17. #17
    Opaque John Beef's Avatar
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    Yeah, gig bag/carry on is the way I normally do it. The first few times I did it back in the day, I put it in a hard plastic molded case and checked it. It's amazing how badly damaged that case got after just a few flights (the guitars were always fine).

    I decided to go with the Mira for three reasons: 1) the black Custom is THE sound for our current band in AZ and there's no replacing it. 2) I love the Mira, but because of #1 it doesn't get the stage time it truly deserves, and 3) the wrap around is much easier for quick string changes if I break a string, since there will be no backup guitar.
    So, thanks again, everyone!
    The Bovine Fury <-- stream and download our album "Eleven by Twelve" for free.
    05 Custom 22 with DGT pickups ~ 07 Mira with old birds ~ 08 SE Baritone Fralin/Suhr pickups ~ 03 SE Santana

  18. #18
    Opaque John Beef's Avatar
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    The trip was a blast, the show a success. I don't have any pics back yet of us playing, but the Mira performed well. I took the Mira, a TU-2 tuner and a Blues Driver, played through a Mustang 3 1x12 with the FX send running into some sort of Peavey digital 1x12, both amps set to clean. It sounded pretty decent. Most importantly, I wore a vintage Nirvana shirt I've had since high school and a borrowed flannel, both of which helped me to get those 90s tones.

    Southwest lets you pay $25 per trip to get early check in, which I paid given the limits of section 403 - "only if there's enough room". I figured it was an insurance policy to be one of the first to get on the plane before the overheads get full. It worked out well. Not only did the guitar go in the overheads without incident on all 4 flights, I got exit rows, which being 6'6" tall is VERY important to me. Scored.

    The other guitarist brought the same guitar he was playing 20 years ago when the band formed - an early 90s EG. This one has a 3 piece figured maple top in blueburst, pearloid pickguard, outfitted with two Fralin dominoes and a humbucker, probably a HFS. I played it a bit and couldn't believe the range of tones I got out of it. It was a truly versatile guitar, more versatile than my Custom. Everything sounded great. Makes me want to find one. I don't recall ever seeing one with a maple top before.
    The Bovine Fury <-- stream and download our album "Eleven by Twelve" for free.
    05 Custom 22 with DGT pickups ~ 07 Mira with old birds ~ 08 SE Baritone Fralin/Suhr pickups ~ 03 SE Santana

  19. #19
    Senior Member sergiodeblanc's Avatar
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    Glad the trip went well! Been lookin' for "the right" EG myself for the past 20 years too.

  20. #20
    Opaque John Beef's Avatar
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    Correction: No other with a maple top except his.

    Hey, Sergio, I flew through Chicago. It was bitterly cold! I couldn't believe the ice on lake Michigan. Here's a pic flying out.

    The Bovine Fury <-- stream and download our album "Eleven by Twelve" for free.
    05 Custom 22 with DGT pickups ~ 07 Mira with old birds ~ 08 SE Baritone Fralin/Suhr pickups ~ 03 SE Santana

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