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travelling with a bass....

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by jnightmare, Nov 5, 2005.

  1. jnightmare


    May 12, 2004
    Carson, CA
    well i guess this would belong in this category, but any who i plan on studying abroad next fall in japan and i want to bring my bass along. the question i have is do any of you use a hardshell case and just check in your bass? or have you had luck just bringing it on board with a softcase and having a flight attendent store it in a closet with the suits and jackets and what not?

    the reason i ask is because im going to have to bring a quite a few bags since ill be there for a year. i know usually they allow 2 possible 3 bags checked in and 1 bag carry on and 1 personal bag. i prefer to use a softcase and carry it on being that its easier to carry since it can be slung on your back rather then a hardshell case.

    just curious with how the airline people accept you carrying your bass on board.

    also my sister use to work for the airlines and told me that strings tend to pop/break on the plane due to the pressure so they should be a little loose, any truth to that?

    P.S. i deleted and reposted this because i mis-spelled the title.
  2. Time to do the "Search". I just read stuff on this about a week ago. Someone having problems getting a bass on board and had to "Gate-check" it. Personally, I'd "hard-case- it and check it. It will end up below with the bags, anyway, and be better protected with the hard case!
  3. Vox Populi

    Vox Populi Reggae Loving Honkey

    Jan 27, 2004
    Poulsbo, WA
    If you're even thinking about putting your bass down in the cargo hold, you need a heavy duty flight case.

    But I always heard you could ask to have it put "in the captain's coat closet" on the plane.
  4. Dbassmon


    Oct 2, 2004
    Rutherford, NJ
    I have an ATA approved flight case. Perhaps you want to but it.
  5. psi


    Mar 11, 2005
    New Jersey
    The answer is (like always): Steinberger

    Edit: I'm biased.
  6. well, mine flew from Cali to Arizona to New Mexico and all the way back in a coffin case. No harm done. just checked it in, waved goodbye and put about 20 fragile notices on it. just in case ;)

    edit: but when you do some commuting and the whatnot through japan, you're going to want to gig bag it. carrying around an extra 20+ pounds is NOT FUN.
  7. Akami

    Akami Four on the floor

    Mar 6, 2005
    Just another urban legend that a lot of Japanese believe. They even loosen the strings on all the guitars and basses in many stores over here because they think it's bad for them to have tension on them. :rollno:
  8. Well, you can always ask.............but it's "if there's room"/"crew's discretion" only. Don't count on it.
  9. 1) That would be a tuning nightmare
    2) That'd be a neck adjustment nightmare
    3) I guess my friend Hiroki isn't crazy (he's genetically predisposed to be so)
  10. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Well, we've sort of addressed the question. There was a time when the airlines would let you take gig bags with guitars and basses in them no problem and put them in overhead bins or closets, and they'd only force you to gate-check them if there was no room in the bins or closets. As of this year, those days are over. It's 50/50 whether you will get forced to check your bass nowadays. My advice is to get a good heavy-duty but light case and check it. I don't think it has to be a flight case to be safe, but it should provide good protection and be tough to break. I've checked a Fender hardshell case before with no problems.
  11. jnightmare


    May 12, 2004
    Carson, CA
    so basically no need to loosen the strings at all when you bring your bass on a plane? i know you guys are eluding :ninja: the answer but just say it straight out.

    and jimmy my whole concern with that is if i study abroad in japan im going to have a lot to pack a lot and when i get over there im going to have to be able to carrying my bass and all my belongings by myself. from reading past experiances about the program they said don't except people to just help you with all your things when you get there, take only what you can carry. and with a gig bag i can sling it over my shoulder and still have a free hand, but i suppose on the same note i can get one of those airport carts and throw everything on there.
  12. Aj*


    Jun 14, 2005
    West Yorkshire, UK
    I was under the impression it's a good idea to loosen the strings as having the wood under tension at such extreme temperature changes as it will go through in the course of a flight (as low as -50 degrees on most flights as the hold is generally unheated unless there are animals in transit) dramatically increases the chances that it will snap.
  13. Re: loosening strings. I don't think that anyone has a definitive answer, that's why it's still a little vague. If it's a concern, then I strongly suggest that you reduce the tension, but not all the way, so that if there is a drastic temp or pressure change, (Aj, may have a good point there...), it'll have some "give". I don't see what the big deal is; you can tune it when you get there. A little "give", or a chance of "snap"! Your choice.

    Re: Arrival. Are you totally on your own when you get there? No one is meeting you? Where are you studying? Is there no contact there that can meet you at the terminal?
    I would highly recommend the hard case and a cart when you get there. I wouldn't take the chance of leaving with a one-piece bass and getting there with a TWO-piece bass! ...but that's just me...

    Good luck. :)
  14. jnightmare


    May 12, 2004
    Carson, CA
    well ill be study in tokyo, i forget which airport you'll be arriving at. upon arrival you will meet up with other people such as the coordinator of the program there in japan. sure maybe if you make friends they'll give you a hand but reading on the site they just said to except to carry all your luggage yourself. but on the same note as making frineds that can maybe help. i was reading to that in some intances you actually book your own flight so i might not even meet any other people until i arrive there.

    i probably will go with the hardshell or flight case because even if i were lucky enough to get to store it in the pilots closet with a gig bag doesnt mean ill have the same luck on the way back from japan.

    by the way how much "give" would you say i would have to provide for strings? should i just tune every string down maybe a whole step?
  15. Sounds like it's going to be quite a trip! I wish you luck and hope everything goes smooth!

    I'm not an expert by ANY means, but I would personally tune down anywhere between a third and a fifth. I'd want them loosened, but not floppy. Can't imagine that a neck would vary any more than that. Hopefully some other more knowlegable TB'rs can give some better specs. IMHO, I would think you'd be safe with that.

    Thoughts, gentlemen?, (...and ladies?) ;)
  16. jnightmare


    May 12, 2004
    Carson, CA
    anyone know how much give i should allow the strings to have when traveling with a bass on the plane?
  17. 5bassman


    May 4, 2005
    I used a SKB Bass Safe last year and checked it in the cargo hold. These things are tough! Has wheels so you can roll it! BTW, Theres one for sell in the Buy and Sell section right now! No, it's not mine, but it is a good deal!
  18. 5bassman


    May 4, 2005
    Just detune a couple of steps will be fine.
  19. BuffaloBob4343

    BuffaloBob4343 Supporting Member

    Jul 3, 2005
    Buffalo, NY
    There is a very long thread cited above that goes into this.

    The reality is that there is no foolproof way to take an axe with you on a plane trip. I have found American Air is the most accommodating for carrying a bass on. But that is if the flight is only moderately booked. If it is nearly full or full, you are probably not going to get it on the plane.

    The safest way is to put in in an ATA flight case of sometime. lock it and tape it so that baggage handlers with too much time on their hands would have a hard time getting into it. Then keep your fingers crossed they don't lose it.

    I just bought one of these babies for my trip to Buffalo next week. [​IMG]

    I got my from Musician's Friend:SKB Electric Bass Roller Case

    This case is analagous to golf shells that you can buy that allow you to take your own golf bag. You put the whole golf bag inside for the flight. Then you can leave the shell behind in the trunk or your hotel room when you go to the links. Same here. You put your axe and your best gig bag and all into the case, and then when you get to your destination, you can take your bass to gigs and rehearsals just in its gig bag without lugging it around in some huge case.

    I know the flights will be FULL because of the holidays, so I am not risking the forced gate check-in this trip.

    Of course I still have to worry about them losing it or stealing it, but what can you do?? :rollno: