Travelling with a bass

Discussion in 'Ask Doug Johns' started by fivestringgecko, Dec 20, 2011.

  1. Hi Doug!

    I recently saw you at a clinic at Mojo's in Longmont, CO and brought up the subject of traveling with a bass. Seems like there are people here on Talkbass that could use advice on the best way to bring a bass with you (like in this thread for example), so I thought I'd start a thread.

    In that clinic, you had a gig bag (Reunion Blues I think?) and talked about bringing it on the plane with you. You also mentioned that if you HAD to check it, you keep a $20 in your wallet to tip the gate check person with a smile after politely explaining that the instrument is your livelihood.

    You travel all over the country and seem to have flying with a bass down to a science! Can you post any further suggestions/tips on traveling with a bass or which airlines seem to be more musician friendly?

    Thanks in advance!

    (Ross, the guy with the 3/4 tribal sleeve :bassist:)

    P.S. Great clinic and really looking forward to your upcoming DVD!
  2. Doug Johns

    Doug Johns

    Feb 4, 2011
    Cleveland, OH
    Endorsing Artist: Pedulla, Genz Benz, Pigtronix, DR Strings, Dunlop
  3. Thanks for the article Doug, some great tips!

  4. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Doug, that is an awesome article, and so right on. I'm one who finally gave up on carrying my bass on and I check it in a Bass Safe and gig bag, and so far no damage, but I can't say I'm filled with warm fuzzies about it. But whether they let you carry a bass on or not is so amazingly random that you absolutely have to resort to trickery and sleight of hand. I've pulled gate check tags off my bass the second I turn the corner down the ramp if nobody's looking. I've tried to be pleasant with flight attendants who insist I gate check, and I've tried not being pleasant with them, and they will do what they want and you can either accept it or not fly and they don't care one way or the other.

    But I will admit that I've yet to have any damage to a gate checked bass in a decent gig bag, and as I'm forced to surrender it, I make a big deal about how this is an expensive and fragile musical instrument and I'm a professional musician and if it breaks I can't work and all that, and I think the baggage handlers actually are sympathetic to my plight. So if trickery and deceit don't work, don't be afraid to resort to begging ;)
  5. sayman


    Dec 14, 2009
    I concur with the rest - that is an article full of hard-won experience and very useful advice. Thanks for sharing!
  6. Joshua Phelps

    Joshua Phelps

    Feb 22, 2011
  7. Joshua Phelps

    Joshua Phelps

    Feb 22, 2011
    I wish someone would make a super slim-line bad shaped hardcase with straps.
  8. sayman


    Dec 14, 2009
    Hey, maybe you should pursue it - you never know, could be a money-maker. Build a prototype and maybe get on Kickstarter.