flying with the bass

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by natemusic, Sep 12, 2003.

  1. Here's the dilemna. My band (the decemberists) is planning a spring tour in Europe (I am in San Francisco), and my upright is only worth $2000, so do I:
    -buy a case for $2500 to fly with it
    -rent a case
    -buy a bass in Europe (and then what to do at end of tour)
    -rent a bass in Europe

    We are probably going to be mostly in Spain, France, maybe England.

    Ideas, advice?

  2. John Sprague

    John Sprague Sam Shen's US Distributor

    Mar 10, 2003
    Rochester, NY
    Sales Manager, CSC Products Inc.
    Depending on length of tour and how much bass you need, there have got to be some shops in the first town you land in that can rent one to you for the money you would have spent on shipping, or less. If you contact the International Society of Bassists at (972) 233-9107 they may be able to help you locate a dealer over there.

  3. Good answer, John. I can't remember whether it was ISB or Double Bassist Magazine that carried a listing of bass societies in different countries,
    but that's another source of info.
  4. I haven't flown with a bass for about twenty years, so my experience is out of date, and the nature of air travel has changed, but...

    You might want to inquire about a half- fare seat. You used to be able to buy one for a bass. You need to pre-board, you need a bulkhead seat (more room) and a seatbelt extension to secure it in place, you end up packed up against one side of your seat because the bass takes up a seat and a half. Depending on the aircraft, you probably won't be able to get your meal tray in place. Still, I'd rather fly it in the cabin than the hold. My only experience flying a bass as baggage involved a borrowed plywood bass and a rented trunk, Toronto- Vancouver round trip, the bass sustained some minor damage.
  5. my most recent experience has been that basses and cellos can no longer be flown in the cabin. I don't know though, if you threw a big enough fit they might let you do it. Or they might haul you off to some detainment camp in central america with no legal representation or formal charges. ;-)
  6. Mr. RC

    Mr. RC

    Oct 31, 2002
    New York, NY
    I just wanted to share my recent flying experience with you guys. This summer I was accepted into the Brubeck Institute Summer Jazz Colony and had to fly from Washington D.C. to Sacramento. I called the airline (United) beforehand to make sure there would be no complications checking my bass. When I got to the airport one of the clerks asked about weighing my bass to see if it were under 100 pounds or my bass would have to go through air freight which wasn't open on the day I left (something they never mentioned over the phone). My bass along with the trunk ended up being 106 pounds. I took out everything extra out of the case and it ended up being 103 pounds. After about 30 minutes of pleading with the United Airlines staff I ended up having to board the plane without my bass. In the end it all worked out because the Institute rented a bass for me when I got out there. I think next time I travel I will probably just rent a bass.
  7. John Sprague

    John Sprague Sam Shen's US Distributor

    Mar 10, 2003
    Rochester, NY
    Sales Manager, CSC Products Inc.
    I don't know as much about basses yet as I would like, but I do know the net.:) Here are a couple of links for you Nate the Great, at Strings Magazine the search yielded 6 shops in Spain, and doing a search at Double Bassist showed 2 in Spain that rent. I'm sure you can take more time than I did getting their search functions to spill out the good info.
    G/L! Give us a tour report when you get back.
  8. Thanks John for the tips, I will check that out. These horror stories are making me think again about the case option. Especially considering I am not exactly playing a high end instrument, though I'm gonna upgrade as soon as I can afford it.

    Thanks everyone for the stories and tips, I'll share my rental experience if I end up doing that.