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How to Travel Safe with Your Guitar

By Charles Hopkins Published 07/6/2006 | Music

Guitarthe word has something romantic in it; it takes us to the world of free spirit. No matter you are a professional guitarist or strum along just out of hobby, you feel disgusted to part with your much loved guitar, but can not take it along with you in your trips from the fear of losing it or damaging it in some ways. But there come times when you feel uncontrollable urges to express yourself through the notes of music.
We can understand how you, as a musician, might feel when you do not have your prized instrument by your side to translate your inner creativity into melodious notes that others can also share. The article below is aimed at providing you the helpful clues so that you can carry along the guitar fearlessly in your next trip.

Invest in a good quality guitar case
A dreamy eyed, long haired boy walking along with his acoustic on his shoulder makes a pretty cool picture. But if you plan to imitate the picture-boy in real life, be cautious, your precious guitar is not going to withstand the blows, some coming from environment and some origination from the acts of fellow human beings. So if you are not ready to part with your loved instrument during your trips, first you have to buy a good quality carrying case, because they are best carried in their designated cases, and not in your hands.
Depending on the nature of the travel and the means of transport you are availing, you have to choose from a gig bag or a hard shell bag. You could not have possibly imagined that mishandlings and abuses can be of so many types and natures, had you not traveled by airplanes with your baggage. Then you surely do not treat your precious guitar as a mere baggage; it means much more to you. So if you have to take it in your air trips and your guitar case is sent to the cargo compartment, your precious guitar can not possibly survive all imaginable assaults that take place under the plane.  You need to learn many more tricks to give it maximum protection I am coming to it in the following paragraphs.

Pack it properly
Most of the good quality carrying cases come with necessary stitching and padding so that they sit securely inside the case. Take some time to place the guitar properly in its designated place inside the case. Even then you have to perform a little task, after placing the instrument inside the box and securing it with Velcro, just make the case stand upright on the floor and then shake it to see if the guitar is moving significantly. In that case stuff rolled up socks or rolled up cotton rags in the empty places. Especially check the area near head stock and stuff some more in those areas over the nut. This arrangement will ensure that your guitar is not bounced inside the case while on move.
Unscrew the loose items and pack them elsewhere, so that your guitar case passes safely under the x-ray checking without raising much alarm.

Learn a few tricks
When your guitar is traveling along with you in the air, you can secure the nicest trip for your favorite instrument by carrying it in your hands. But here is a problem. Most of the airlines have reservations relating to these sorts of hand baggage. You have to employ certain ploys to baffle the airlines executives, for whom your guitar is certainly not more than a luggage.
Your first objective will be to avoid the gate check tag on your guitar to prevent it from getting pushed inside the belly of the plane. Use your social skill to convince the executive at front desk as well as the gate checker that your instrument perfectly fits in the overhead compartment.
Now that you have succeeded in avoiding the gate check for your guitar bag, now you have to locate the right cabin for placing it. All the compartments in an airplane are not of same sizes. For that you have to come early and check in early to locate the slot overhead where your guitar case fits properly.

Demarcate Your Luggage
Use identity tags both inside and outside the guitar and make sure that tag is securely attached to the case. This reduces the chance of its getting lost or stolen. Choose any uncommon color for your guitar case or put some images or any identification marks which you can recognize from a distance.

One last piece of advice: if you intend to carry the guitar in the overhead compartment, just use light weight hard-reinforced gig bags which appear more as normal luggage and do not attract unnecessary attention from the airlines guys.