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transporting bass guitar intercontinentally


cloclo

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I loosened my strings when I went over seas to play because I was worried about the pressure changes and banging around by hack baggage handlers etc. I also bought a really sturdy flight case. Another guy that was traveling with us in a different band left his bass in tune and had it in his regular hard-shell. both of our instruments came out fine on the other side. I left mine in tune on the way home (I think) and it was ok when we got back to the US.

 

If nothing else. Have a good case and don't lock it because they opened everything on us. I still have the little paper they put in to say they searched it for security reasons. Thank goodness they didn't find all my guns, drugs, and enslaved children!

Carvin Bunny Brunel Signature 5 String, ESP LTD 5 String, Ampeg SVT3, Ampeg 4x10 and 1x18

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The strings keep everything in tension as the bass was designed and so loosening the strings is not necessarily helping, which feels counterintuitive.

 

How do you do a small tour of South Africa? Certainly a photoblog will be a requirement.

 

Davo

"We will make you bob your head whether you want to or not". - David Sisk
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I used to loosen strings and have switched to not loosening them.

I had a few bad experiences of getting off the plane, going straight to sound check and not being able to get my bass in tune.

 

If all the strings are loosened, the neck will do a back bow and it could take two days for it to settle back down into its normal position after it is retuned.

 

I have received basses from builders that were shipped tuned up.

 

Make sure you have an ATA flight case and if you are going to lock it you have to have the approved locks that security will be able to open without destroying.

 

I don't lock the case, I put packing tape over the latches and all away around the case. When I have done this, the airport guys remove the tape so they can inspect the contents of the case, and then they replace the tape.

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If you don't have an actual flight case, you might want to put some soft packing materials inside the case. My one hard case is a universal one and the bass I keep in it can move around pretty easily if it gets jerked around. I'd say a soft rag or two in stretegic places should do it.
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If you don't have an actual flight case, you might want to put some soft packing materials inside the case. My one hard case is a universal one and the bass I keep in it can move around pretty easily if it gets jerked around. I'd say a soft rag or two in stretegic places should do it.

To solve this problem with one of my cases, my wife made bumpers that fit around the bass in the case -- we used eggcrate mattress material and stuffed it into these sleeves she made out of soft cloth.

 

It's a comfy fit and the bass doesn't jiggle around in the case anymore.

"Tours widely in the southwestern tip of Kentucky"
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To solve this problem with one of my casses, my wife made bumpers that fit around the bass in the case -- we used eggcrate mattress material and stuffed it into these sleeves she made out of soft cloth.

 

It's a comfy fit and the bass doesn't jiggle around in the case anymore.

Good call! I hadn't thought about doing something like that.

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The guy I knew flew to Seattle for a set of gigs and his '72 J-bass was broken. He had a hardshell case that was locked. When he got it back, the lock was broken, the case was cracked and the custom pick ups were destroyed. He ended up playing someone elses bass and he said the intonation was so bad, that at one point the guitarist/singer looked over at him and just started laughing.

 

Hope nothing like that happens.

 

What happened to that funny video about the guy writing a song and making a video about his guitar being broken on a flight?

 

Here it is:

How do you sign a computer screen?

 

 

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I used to do that with my electric guitars... then realized it really wasn't necessary... but I had a huge brainfart and forgot to do it with a cheapo acoustic 12 string once on a flight to Alaska in late spring... it came out of the case with the top completely separated from the rest for 10 inches on either side of the endpin. I took it to a luthier who said it wasn't worth fixing. Thank goodness for duct tape...

 

 

DX

 

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I used to loosen strings and have switched to not loosening them.

I had a few bad experiences of getting off the plane, going straight to sound check and not being able to get my bass in tune.

 

I don't lock the case, I put packing tape over the latches and all away around the case. When I have done this, the airport guys remove the tape so they can inspect the contents of the case, and then they replace the tape.

 

aha, that seems logical indeed. thank you all for your help in this :)

 

and now the tough question:

do I take my good bass that I know through and through or my backup bass?

 

I cannot keep an eye on my bass the whole tour. Aaargh, the agony of choice :(

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When I go on tour I usually take my bass in a soft case and take it on the plane with me. That way I know it's safe! If you do this, it's advisable to try to get on the plane before too many people so you can get a good space in an overhead locker.

 

I do not slaken the strings off - I was advised not to.

 

On bigger tours it's definately a good idea to get a really good flight case and put it in the hold - oh, and take a back-up bass!

 

Stu

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Backup bass, definitely :) No chance of anyone providing you a bass in S.A. ?

 

it's kinda short notice and we have to drive long distances there also so i trust what i bring along (which will probably be my backup Squier Jazz bass (carry on plane) and my tuning pedal :)

 

oh, and maybe my sansamp pbddi so i know i have a good working DI. and mosquito repellent :P

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oh, and maybe my sansamp pbddi so i know i have a good working DI. and mosquito repellent :P

 

Here here. The next two items on my list of what-to-get-if-I-manage-to-save-up-a-bit are a DI and a new amp.

 

Take loads of pics and let us know how the tour went ? I wouldn't mind a day-to-day tour report if at all possible. Mind if we ask whom you're going to be playing with ?

"I'm a work in progress." Micky Barnes

 

The Ross Brown Shirt World Tour

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Pack the case inside a cardboard box with losts of packing material. Even a hard case could get destroyed or torn when they transfer luggage. A bass case isn't luggage, and shouldn't be assumed to be able to be transported safely in a luggage compartment of an airplane. They will break it every time if given the oportunity. Some kind of headless bass for easy carry on would be best.

Do not bite at the bait of pleasure till you know there is no hook beneath it.

Thomas Jefferson

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When I did a European tour in 1987 with Bo Diddley I went to the music store I dealt with locally and got the box that the company used to ship to the stores. I had no damage problems but on the way home my bass didn't make it home for two days after I was home.

 

Even though I didn't have any breakage related problems I would probably not do it that way again. Carry on is getting tougher all the time. If I would have had a bass with me on my trip home yesterday I wouldn't have gotten it on. Now that there is a baggage fee more travelers are taking their small suitcase and carrying them on and if you don't get early boarding it may get put underneath anyway.

 

In another situation in the early 70's I went to Toronto to play with Diddley on the Kenny Rogers "Rollin' on the River" show. They left both my bass and my wife's guitar in the rain in Chicago and when I got to customs the case was full of water and the glue from the case was all over my bass. I had a Gibson EB-3, the neck warped and they wouldn't replace it and I had to go to their repair place in San Francisco when I got home. The bass was never the same after that and I ended up selling it.

 

Wally

I have basses to play, places to be and good music to make!
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Take loads of pics and let us know how the tour went ? I wouldn't mind a day-to-day tour report if at all possible. Mind if we ask whom you're going to be playing with ?

 

i'll take pics and i'll let you know if you'd like that. we're leaving the 4th of octobre and returning the 14th so give me a while to get it all online and everything when i return :)

 

i'm playing with Sioen (http://www.sioen.net/) in South Africa because their regular bassist also plays with Arno and Arsenal and cannot always combine those 3 groups.

 

They left both my bass and my wife's guitar in the rain in Chicago and when I got to customs the case was full of water and the glue from the case was all over my bass.

 

oh boy!

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Carry on. Headless makes that easier.

 

+1000 on that one. Even better, aluminum or graphite neck headless, -no truss rod, even less chances of neck warping- :) (Mine is aluminum, Kramer Duke), on the smallest, fittest bag available, getting inside the plane early, is an unbeatable choice.

 

Last time I got late on a plane, on a flight back from a far-away-state gig carrying a Precision bass on a gig bag, it was a hellish nightmare to convince the stewards they could actually rearrange the stuff in the overhead storages and fit my bass inside (they were arguing with me it wouldn't even enter the storage space, while I insisted that was exactly the way I brought it in the day before, same model plane, same airline). So after that last one, headless is my plane way to go. Currently looking for a headless fiver and a headless fretless (a la Paul K. :) )

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Todd Johnson packs his Son in a soft/sturdy case, which he then places inside a heavy duty golf-club bag/case(?).

He says that he's never had any problems with damage??

The problem I see with that is when it passes through Xray, and they don't see golf clubs, it will get yanked for sure.

If you think my playing is bad, you should hear me sing!
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When I go on tour I usually take my bass in a soft case and take it on the plane with me. That way I know it's safe! If you do this, it's advisable to try to get on the plane before too many people so you can get a good space in an overhead locker.

 

I do not slaken the strings off - I was advised not to.

 

On bigger tours it's definately a good idea to get a really good flight case and put it in the hold - oh, and take a back-up bass!

 

Stu

 

The last couple flights I was on ended up being a smaller jet. I put my bass in a ATA flight case and checked it, the guitarist decided to carry his guitar on plane. The guitar would not fit in the overheads and the flight crew refused to put it in a closet for him, it ended up getting put underneath. Fortunately it was at least in a hard case and it survived both flights, but if it were in a gig bag... well that's a scary thought!

 

I wouldn't chance trying to take any of my basses on a plane with only a gig bag.

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A friend of mine toured the Netherlands last year, and took his ' 70 Strat on a quite sturdy SKB case. On the flight back, the case got severely damaged (big holes, cracks and all) and if it were not for a couple inches the guitar could have been damaged. Nobody knew what happened that could cause such damage to the case, but it was almost useless after the trip. After that, and an event in which a friend of mine took his Jackson bass (this was on 1990) on the cargo section of a plane and when he got to his destination the neck was twisted and the fretboard separated from the back of the neck.. I think I've mentioned this before... So I'm now an overhead plane storage slut. :)

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Nobody knew what happened that could cause such damage to the case, but it was almost useless after the trip.

 

I think we know.

 

Cargo handler 1: What do I do with this one marked "Fragile"?

 

Cargo handler 2: Throw it on the "Fragile" pile!

"Tours widely in the southwestern tip of Kentucky"
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I've had several cases broken in transit, both the old fashioned Fender kind with the leather on the ends and the new-fangled fiber glass ones.

 

Nothing has ever happened to a bass, fortunately.

 

I've heard about the golf case idea. SKB makes golf club cases and they also now make a case which looks like a golf club case which is designed so you can put one or two gig bags in it.

 

They are always going to open the case. You don't have to worry about the TSA guys. You do have to worry about the baggage handlers mishandling the cases and also about theft from that direction.

 

I keep hearing about people taking gig bags on the plane. I haven't dared it. You'd have to be one of the first people on the plane to get away with it. My brother seems to be able to do that with his Martin D-28 in a hard shell case. It's never been taken away from him.

 

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