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Help: Should I Fly With My Martin?

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23 Nov 99 - 12:29 PM
lloyd61 23 Nov 99 - 12:36 PM
Rick Fielding 23 Nov 99 - 12:39 PM
Wesley S 23 Nov 99 - 01:13 PM
bbelle 23 Nov 99 - 01:32 PM
_gargoyle 23 Nov 99 - 01:35 PM
Eric the Viking 23 Nov 99 - 01:39 PM
Roger the skiffler 23 Nov 99 - 02:46 PM
Mudjack 23 Nov 99 - 03:52 PM
Mudjack 23 Nov 99 - 03:52 PM
kevin 23 Nov 99 - 06:09 PM
lloyd61 23 Nov 99 - 08:12 PM
ddw 23 Nov 99 - 08:48 PM
Tony Burns 23 Nov 99 - 09:02 PM
JedMarum 23 Nov 99 - 09:36 PM
McGrath of Harlow 23 Nov 99 - 09:41 PM
Michael K. 23 Nov 99 - 10:50 PM
M. Ted (inactive) 24 Nov 99 - 12:14 AM
_gargoyle 24 Nov 99 - 12:35 AM
24 Nov 99 - 02:07 AM
Terry Allan Hall 24 Nov 99 - 08:04 AM
JedMarum 24 Nov 99 - 09:01 AM
lloyd61 24 Nov 99 - 11:13 AM
Mike Robertson 24 Nov 99 - 09:32 PM
BK 24 Nov 99 - 10:34 PM
BK 24 Nov 99 - 10:42 PM
Michael K. 24 Nov 99 - 11:12 PM
catspaw49 25 Nov 99 - 03:07 AM
M. Ted (inactive) 26 Nov 99 - 01:37 AM
Grubby 26 Nov 99 - 06:09 AM
catspaw49 26 Nov 99 - 04:31 PM
Eric the Viking 27 Nov 99 - 03:27 PM
marcelloblues 27 Nov 99 - 08:09 PM
Mike Robertson 27 Nov 99 - 09:28 PM
catspaw49 27 Nov 99 - 09:39 PM
MichaelM 28 Nov 99 - 09:06 AM
kendall 28 Nov 99 - 07:13 PM
MichaelM 29 Nov 99 - 10:00 AM
Bert 30 Nov 99 - 10:15 AM
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Subject: SHOULD I FLY WITH MY MARTIN?
From:
Date: 23 Nov 99 - 12:29 PM

I'M FLYING INTO HOUSTON OVER THE HOLIDAYS AND CAN'T IMAGINE NOT BRINGING MY FLATTOP. IS IT SAFE TO FLY WITH IT IN A HARDSHELL


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Subject: RE: Help: SHOULD I FLY WITH MY MARTIN?
From: lloyd61
Date: 23 Nov 99 - 12:36 PM

I would NOT fly with my Martin. I have seen cases that are make to checked, but I would not check a Hardcase, and they may not be willng to store in on board.

I fly a great deal and hve seen some real nightmares.

When I travel I try to find a friend who is willing loan me a guitar, I always bring with new strings.

I also keep a second Guitar at our Condo in Noth Carolina.

Good Luck


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Subject: RE: Help: SHOULD I FLY WITH MY MARTIN?
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 23 Nov 99 - 12:39 PM

Two things (in hindsight). Get a flight case. Keep a cheaper guitar for travelling. Oops, a third: Trust that the airline workers actually care about your baggage! (forget that). Oh and maybe a fourth: Box it and send it UPS.


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Subject: RE: Help: SHOULD I FLY WITH MY MARTIN?
From: Wesley S
Date: 23 Nov 99 - 01:13 PM

The only guitar you should give to any airline is one that you want converted into toothpicks. Thats why I got a travel guitar. Consider one of those or a mandolin to travel with. I just read that American will be cracking down { no pun intended } on carry on luggage larger than a certain size. I'll check the article and let you know but it's smaller than a guitar to be sure. I think the airlines have forgotten that we are the customers that they are supposed to be taking care of - don't get me started.

Pat Kirtley has a website somewhere with an interesting article about traveling with the guitar. But my last piece of advise would be NO !!! DON'T DO IT !!!


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Subject: RE: Help: SHOULD I FLY WITH MY MARTIN?
From: bbelle
Date: 23 Nov 99 - 01:32 PM

I started a thread on this very subject a couple of months back "Guitar Buying Advice." There was a plethora of wonderful advice given. You might want to check it out ... moonchild


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Subject: RE: Help: SHOULD I FLY WITH MY MARTIN?
From: _gargoyle
Date: 23 Nov 99 - 01:35 PM

Contact the airline. They WILL let you carry it on...the stewardess will stow it in the storage space by the first class bulkhead. Make arrangments ahead of time!


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Subject: RE: Help: SHOULD I FLY WITH MY MARTIN?
From: Eric the Viking
Date: 23 Nov 99 - 01:39 PM

NEVER TRUST an airline! I flew to malaga with one of my guitars. The UK staff x rayed it and very carefully in front of me packed the guitar into the hold of the plane at Manchester. The next time I saw my collection of matchwood was hanging through it's smashed flight case on the conveyer at Malaga! I complained, made a fuss in broken Spanish but to no avail. i claimed on the insurance but only a max of £250 for the guitar and the same limit for a new flight case. The next time I flew with my guitar we were never parted! I insisted that I kept it with me. It fitted in the overhead lockers and travelled both ways safely. Good Luck, mind you IF I had a Martin I wouldn't hardly take it anywhere except personally with me. Cheers. Eric


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Subject: RE: Help: SHOULD I FLY WITH MY MARTIN?
From: Roger the skiffler
Date: 23 Nov 99 - 02:46 PM

I never have this problem as my trusty kazoo travels with me in my camera bag and has never been damaged (to the general chagrin of music lovers everywhere). However this summer I did see brave young people carefully handing guitars (in soft gig bags)at the boarding gate for hand loading. At the other end they came out on the carousel with everything else. As far as I could see they were undamaged (much nervous checking by worried owners) but I don't think I'd risk it if I were a musician, unless I had a fibreglass or Kevlar case. I think someone said on an earlier thread, jump up and down on the case and throw it down a flight of stairs to simulate the effect of baggage handling!


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Subject: RE: Help: SHOULD I FLY WITH MY MARTIN?
From: Mudjack
Date: 23 Nov 99 - 03:52 PM

I tried what gargole suggested and was assured I could do an onboard check, and found that what goes on the plane is decided by the crew not the person selling the ticket. I check it at the plane's door, but it got stored in the cargo area, The only thing that was differenrt was for a brief time it did'nt get into the hands of the handlers. At least until we arrived at the other end.
If you need your Martin for a gig, then it really leaves you with little choice.Buy a flight case as Rick suggested, just expect the worst. They will also require you to sign a waiver of liability and that gives you another warm fuzzy feeling.If you are in a bind and must get there with your Martin using a hard shell case, place extra soft padding inside securing from any movement and mummyfy the case with good duct tape. And still, you need some good luck. Mudjack


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Subject: RE: Help: SHOULD I FLY WITH MY MARTIN?
From: Mudjack
Date: 23 Nov 99 - 03:52 PM

I tried what gargole suggested and was assured I could do an onboard check, and found that what goes on the plane is decided by the crew not the person selling the ticket. I check it at the plane's door, but it got stored in the cargo area, The only thing that was differenrt was for a brief time it did'nt get into the hands of the handlers. At least until we arrived at the other end.
If you need your Martin for a gig, then it really leaves you with little choice.Buy a flight case as Rick suggested, just expect the worst. They will also require you to sign a waiver of liability and that gives you another warm fuzzy feeling.If you are in a bind and must get there with your Martin using a hard shell case, place extra soft padding inside securing from any movement and mummyfy the case with good duct tape. And still, you need some good luck. Mudjack


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Subject: RE: Help: SHOULD I FLY WITH MY MARTIN?
From: kevin
Date: 23 Nov 99 - 06:09 PM

Get special insurance for your guitar, ship it UPS, or buy it a seat beside you. If not affordable, then borrow. I am sure your instrument is worth much more than the pathetic coverage offered by the airlines, and the case duct-taped with foam is a challenge to the angry handler. Maybe we should form a co-operative airline exclusively for those travelling with instruments or fragile sports equipment,(they've been known to mangle a nice bike or two also.) How about a musician friendly flight each day? Good luck in your travels, Kevin


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Subject: RE: Help: SHOULD I FLY WITH MY MARTIN?
From: lloyd61
Date: 23 Nov 99 - 08:12 PM

I had a Madolin shipped by UPS and was very happy with the results. Good Idea Kevin.


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Subject: RE: Help: SHOULD I FLY WITH MY MARTIN?
From: ddw
Date: 23 Nov 99 - 08:48 PM

I just flew to England and back with a guitar — not a Martin or anything comperable, mind you, but still an axe I would hate to lose — in a gig bag. I checked ahead of time and was assured I could take in on as carry-on luggage. The only limit was a 46-inch length restriction, which was exactly right for the guitar.

On two of the legs (Detroit - Newark and Gatwick - Newark) there was no room in the overhead, so a stewardess let me put it in the closet between 1st class and coach. No harm to it, but I was the only one who touched it.

Hope your travels go as well.

david


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Subject: RE: Help: SHOULD I FLY WITH MY MARTIN?
From: Tony Burns
Date: 23 Nov 99 - 09:02 PM

I wonder how much of the damaged instrument belief is myth? There are people that will do anything to carry on all the luggage they can because they believe that the chances of their stuff being lost is so high. My experience in these matters is that luggage is almost never sent to a location other than it is supposed to go to and that rare time when it is wrongly routed it has been located and returned with apologies within 24 hours. My experience with insturments is not extensive but other luggage properly packed seems to arrive in tact. Are there exceptions? Sure but I bet more instruments are damaged due to poor handling in private vehicles, taxis and by 'friends' than in airplanes. I have seen inconvenience but not damage. (Your milage may vary.)

I suggest there is more paranoia and myth here than fact.


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Subject: RE: Help: SHOULD I FLY WITH MY MARTIN?
From: JedMarum
Date: 23 Nov 99 - 09:36 PM

If you are prepared to replace it, insure it for the real replacement cost (it's cheap enough) and let te airline handle it. They will be sure it is OK before the accept it, DON"T loosen the strings, pack the head with newspaper so it cant rattle around - and they will probably deliver it to safe and sound.

If it would break your heart to replace that guitar, even if you had the moeny in hand ... don't take the risk.

I agree with what Rick says, if you do this regularly you'd be better having a guitar for travel - one that you don't mind replacing.


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Subject: RE: Help: SHOULD I FLY WITH MY MARTIN?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 23 Nov 99 - 09:41 PM

One other thing for travelling musicians to remember - if you're travelling with a bazouki, for God's sake don't use that name when you're saying what it is - say it's a sort of guitar.

And don't go referring to a guitar as an axe.

People in Airports, with reason I suppose, tend to be a bit paranoid about things like that.


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Subject: RE: Help: SHOULD I FLY WITH MY MARTIN?
From: Michael K.
Date: 23 Nov 99 - 10:50 PM

I pulled the following online article written by Frank Ford, one of the senior luthiers of Gryphon Stringed Instruments, from the Fret's Website.

You can view it here.

Should answer most of your questions.


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Subject: RE: Help: SHOULD I FLY WITH MY MARTIN?
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 24 Nov 99 - 12:14 AM

Probably late for this, but I travel with an old Suzuki Dreadnaught that I got at a yardsale for $25 in a gigbag with an extra long shoulderstrap--always as a carry-on--I had a hardshell case (tht cost more than the guitar!!)and used to check it, until I picked it up three days after I arrived in LA (!!!) and one of the sides of the case had been meticulously pried off--

I always carry it over my shoulder, tucked behind me when I board the plane, and generally, the flight attendents do not even notice it--

However, I just picked it up, about an hour ago, from the airport van shuttle office, because I left it in a van that brought me from the Baltimore airport--I thought my wife brought it into the house, she thought I did-it took a week to locate the driver--so no plan if fool proof--

The reason that a lot of the big rock stars play those injection molded plastic guitars that seem so loathsome to those of us who treasure vintage and handmade instruments, is that they sound and play reasonably well and yet can be replaced by an almost identical instrument almost anywhere, in case one is lost, stolen, destroyed etc.

Don't take your Martin to town, boys, leave your Martin at home!


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Subject: RE: Help: SHOULD I FLY WITH MY MARTIN?
From: _gargoyle
Date: 24 Nov 99 - 12:35 AM

Have delivered several folk to airports with insturments....and traveled with my own "special gear." (split bamboo Fly-Fishing-Poles)

Airlines have permited carry-ons...in all instances. However, it is important that the "stews" understand the delicate nature and importance of the baggage....there IS plenty of storage inside the cabins ... that are not part of the overhead racks.

Strangest, situation was when we were running late and the airport security insisted on plugging in an "electronic voicer" to assure that it was not a bomb. Arrive, Early.

Eager to hear the story of your trip.


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Subject: RE: Help: SHOULD I FLY WITH MY MARTIN?
From:
Date: 24 Nov 99 - 02:07 AM

The only time I flew with my Martin I put it into a garment bag and put it in a closet on board. No one questioned what it was, it got there and back just fine and I didn't have to worry about it so I enjoyed the flight!


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Subject: RE: Help: SHOULD I FLY WITH MY MARTIN?
From: Terry Allan Hall
Date: 24 Nov 99 - 08:04 AM

Some advice, but 1st a horror story: When I was 19, I flew to Paris with my beloved "Banner" J-45 (Gibson...a gift from my grandfather)...thinking that a Mark Leaf case would be safe as a bank vault, I had it shipped in the baggage hold. Upon arriving, the guitar was in fine shape. However, when arriving back at DFW Airport a few months later, I had the excruciating experience of seeing her unloaded with a fork-lift blade RIGHT THROUGH the case! The Airline was somewhat less than helpful, and after much hasslin', agreed to pay $65, because the "instrument case was inadequate, by THEIR standards"!

Nowdays, when I fly, my guitar is strapped into a seat beside me (1/2 price ticket), or I drive...Period!

Yeah, it's expensive, but so is a fine guitar.


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Subject: RE: Help: SHOULD I FLY WITH MY MARTIN?
From: JedMarum
Date: 24 Nov 99 - 09:01 AM

Michael K - great article link. Thanks! There seems to be disagreement among luthiers about loosening strings. Matthew Larrivee told me not to loosen the strings, and I see your luthier in his article says he likes to loosen them a bit. It would appear this is a matter of personal choice!


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Subject: RE: Help: SHOULD I FLY WITH MY MARTIN?
From: lloyd61
Date: 24 Nov 99 - 11:13 AM

Michael K - I agree great link.

A friend who travels a great deal, by air, packs his underware in his instrument cases. He says his guitar case serves as luggage. I hope the underware is clean.


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Subject: RE: Help: SHOULD I FLY WITH MY MARTIN?
From: Mike Robertson
Date: 24 Nov 99 - 09:32 PM

One thing we can all agree on is that you should have your insurance in place before you travel. You have absolutely no guarantee about what sort of maltreatment your luggage is going to have to deal with. That having been said, I have never ever experienced a real problem when flying with a guitar -- the worst that ever happened waa that it came a couple of days late (OK, that *might* have been serious) because it went to the wrong airport.

The 'loosen your strings' thing is something I have heard (and had heard 30 years ago) so there might be something in it. But the only time I had a guitar actually *do* what's advertised was when it had been sitting at home and had not been touched for several weeks (opened the case and the bridge had self-detonated...)

YMMV

-mike-


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Subject: RE: Help: SHOULD I FLY WITH MY MARTIN?
From: BK
Date: 24 Nov 99 - 10:34 PM

We will be flying to Houston soon w/my new Martin in one of their older blue "airline-proof" stoutly built molded cases, which they apparently don't make any more; Used to fly w/the old Ovation, whose case is thicker but a little shorter & narrower across the bout; it always - for years - fit in the overhead laying flat -easily. The Martin is slightly longer & wider & needs to be tilted up slightly to fit, but it DOES FIT in the overhead.. We are going for a gig so I don't want to take the Baby Taylor or borrow a guitar.. & I've seen luggage handlers do bad stuff...

Some years ago flew to Heathrow w/a small OO sized guitar & they also let me take it on board. The only crap I've had in recent years (so far!) was w/the Baby Taylor last year (go figure!)... We'll see what happens this year... But, my experience for some years is: go w/the guitar but take it on board; it WILL fit in the overhead of any modern passenger jet; Their shtick is usually that it should "fit under the seat or in the overhead." Well it DOES. At least up through a typical dreadnaught if the case is trim; haven't tried a Jumbo.

One caveat, though: the new regular "hard shell" case that came w/the guitar is definitely notably bulkier than my Martin AP case, as are other kinds of newer dreadnaught cases - and, I suspect, not as strong as mine. I think to get a stronger case, you'll have to get a custom made very bulky thing.. & IT won't fit in the overhead, for sure.. a sort of catch-22.

Cases, like motorcycle helmets, can approach protection through strength & resistance to deformation of the shell, w/moderate padding or a hi-volme padding approach, w/a somewhat less rigid shell, which seems to describe all of the newer factory cases I've seen. (Or both, which describes the after-market supercases; they're HEAVY!) In either case you want to distribute any forces which impact the shell over a wide area & possibly prevent penetration & minimize injury. Both in helmets & cases I like the first, trimmer approach.

I think there's a role for a well made, not too bulky injection-molded case w/a very tough & more ridid (but not brittle) shell, that could be stronger than any of the newer typical factory cases I see nowadays & less bulky than the after-market monster supercases. That would describe my old Martin AP case, (& some of my favorite MC helmets), but not the newer ones I've seen.

Cheers, BK


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Subject: RE: Help: SHOULD I FLY WITH MY MARTIN?
From: BK
Date: 24 Nov 99 - 10:42 PM

Oops - forgot; I always detune; don't know for sure it will always stay w/me (in the small commuter hops it's always hand loaded by the flight crew, but might not go in a pressurized, warm place..) & don't know what pressure & temperature gradients the poor thing will have to tolerate.. even on the ground...

Cheers, BK


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Subject: RE: Help: SHOULD I FLY WITH MY MARTIN?
From: Michael K.
Date: 24 Nov 99 - 11:12 PM

To liam_devlin and lloyd61:

Thanks guys!

Yes the Frets Website is one of my favourite guitar sites to visit on the Internet. Such an amazing amount of information relating to acoutic guitars and other acoustic instruments, luthiery, and more.

I'm inclined to trust Frank Ford's recommendations on just about anything guitar-related. As an older, respected luthier he's pretty well seen it all and done it all, as evidenced by so many of the links, FAQS, anecdotes, photos and his shared personal experiences nestled within that site.


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Subject: RE: Help: SHOULD I FLY WITH MY MARTIN?
From: catspaw49
Date: 25 Nov 99 - 03:07 AM

Should you fly with your Martin? I dunno..........

How well does your Martin fly?
How well do you fly?

This is a music kinda' site, and we talk about a lot of different stuff, but, uh.......Look, if your Martin has wings, its probably either an airplane made by Martin-Marietta or a feminine hygiene product. Are you sure you're at the right website?

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Help: SHOULD I FLY WITH MY MARTIN?
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 26 Nov 99 - 01:37 AM

Spaw-I'm sorry, I didn't want to, really, because this is a serious discussion--but I laughed--not a lot, at least at first, but I couldn't stop for a while--the thing is that then everything else that people wrote seemed very funny, as well--


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Subject: RE: Help: SHOULD I FLY WITH MY MARTIN?
From: Grubby
Date: 26 Nov 99 - 06:09 AM

It's always a worry isn't when you have to travel and you want your guitar with you. I purchased a guitar in England last year on my travels and for ease of handling and carrying I only purchased a gig bag, although it was well padded and at the better end of the range. That guitar travelled with me in general baggage from the UK to Canada, Canada to LA, LA to Australia and not a scratch. The only concession was that I wrapped the actual guitar in bubblewrap before I placed it into the gig bag. So miracles do happen I suppose.

Regards Grubby


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Subject: RE: Help: SHOULD I FLY WITH MY MARTIN?
From: catspaw49
Date: 26 Nov 99 - 04:31 PM

I'm sorry Ted....I realized this was a serious one, but once in awhile, I can't help myself. I think most of the comments were interesting, but no one pulled the old thread which was also informative and humorous. I should go do that now.....

I remember that Bert's comments on it were great as he had worked in tha business so to speak and he said that if you weren't comfortable with throwing your ax out an upstairs window, it wasn't packed well enough!!!!

Glad you liked the quip even if it did screw up the rest of the thread for you. Anytime you need a laugh......

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Help: SHOULD I FLY WITH MY MARTIN?
From: Eric the Viking
Date: 27 Nov 99 - 03:27 PM

One thing about detuning the guitar. If it's in the cabin with you then it should be OK, but if it goes into the hold, the temperature differance is significant and the metal strings will contract, possibly damaging the neck or the bridge mounting. Cheers. Eric.


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Subject: RE: Help: SHOULD I FLY WITH MY MARTIN?
From: marcelloblues
Date: 27 Nov 99 - 08:09 PM

First, my guitar goes where I am. If you play day by day, hour by hour, you must change the strings, from Martin or Dobro or D'addario or anyother kind of strings you use, at least each two weeks, one month, but not more. If you have mechanical troubles go to an expert, but remember, guitar looks like a nice woman, you must give some more. Guitars always fly, and let people fly blues, blues and some more... I salute you


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Subject: RE: Help: SHOULD I FLY WITH MY MARTIN?
From: Mike Robertson
Date: 27 Nov 99 - 09:28 PM

> the temperature differance is significant and the metal strings will contract

This is the piece of folklore that I've always heard but never seen real info about. If this is going to chellenage my guitar significantly then I should think very seriously before getting a pickup mounted (they'll have to take the strings off which is about as challenging as things get, and the 'lore' that says change one string at a time is still at the back of my head from the sixties). Also I have the problem that it can get down to quite a few degrees below zero outside (we're talking Norway here): how cold must it get before I should forget going to the Tuesday session because my guitar might not get there in one piece?

-mike-


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Subject: RE: Help: SHOULD I FLY WITH MY MARTIN?
From: catspaw49
Date: 27 Nov 99 - 09:39 PM

The changing one at a time is totally folklore, an old wives tale. And the best reason for drtuning prior to shipping or hard travelling as hore to do with the peghead than anything else. Its where the most concentrated pressure on the weakest point is and can be cracked with a hard blow.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Help: SHOULD I FLY WITH MY MARTIN?
From: MichaelM
Date: 28 Nov 99 - 09:06 AM

Mike Robertson If you are travelling with your guitar in the car, keep it in the heated part with you. When you get to your destination (heated, I presume) do not immediately fling your case open if the guitar case is cold to the touch. This is especially true if the guitar has travelled in the trunk or been left in an unheated car. Leave the case closed but pop open the latches. This will allow the warm air to slowly enter the guitar case and warm your instrument. If the guitar case is quite cold give it upwards of fifteen minutes. Although I have never seen it (but strangely would like to but not on my guitar)opening a cold guitar case in a warm room can cause immediate and unstoppable finish checking as the wood expands faster than the finish.

Michael


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Subject: RE: Help: SHOULD I FLY WITH MY MARTIN?
From: kendall
Date: 28 Nov 99 - 07:13 PM

It's bad enough to have to trust the pilot with my life..I'll be damned if I will trust some mouth breathing knuckle dragger with my Taylor.


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Subject: RE: Help: SHOULD I FLY WITH MY MARTIN?
From: MichaelM
Date: 29 Nov 99 - 10:00 AM

A question and a suggestion.

1) Has anyone tried sending their instrument ahead by courier? Having sent business shipments via Fedex UPS and Purolator I was generally impressed by their reliability, care with the package (which I was allowed to insure to whatever value I wanted; not some arbritary airline $50 maximum) and professionalism. I would also note that instruments are sent by mail every day from manufacturers to the stores we buy them from.

2) If the courier system is more reliable than the baggage handling system why don't airports sell off their baggage handling systems to courier companies.


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Subject: RE: Help: SHOULD I FLY WITH MY MARTIN?
From: Bert
Date: 30 Nov 99 - 10:15 AM

UPS and Purolator are generally kinder on baggage (I don't know about Fedex) because they're too cheap to buy all that wicked machinery and use static chutes when moving bags from one conveyor to another. However these chutes are poorly designed and the bag comes off the end of the conveyor fairly fast and hits the wall of the chute before dropping down. I had a design for a 'kinder - gentler' chute at one time but no one was interested because it would have required actually making a trial one and adjusting it for best performance. It would have also been a lot cheaper to make but as the company I worked for had priced their bid on the more expensive 'standard' chute, they weren't interested.


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