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  1. #1

    Have guitar, will travel

    I've been thinking of buying a guitar to bring on trips (plane/motorcyle)...anyone have any experience with the world of travel guitars?

    There are a bunch on this site...

    I have not even decided if I should go with accoustic or electric. Any advice would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Registered User GeorgeR1200RT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    I've carried guitar or mandolin on with me on the bike many times. The longest trip was with a dreadnougt to the BMWMOA Rally in Wyoming. Put the guitar in a very large trash bag...then into a soft travel case...and strapped it to the back of the bike for over 5,000 miles through Canada and the USA. Played for daily devotions and Sunday Christian worship at the rally. Did the same thing for the same thing for the MOA rally in Tennessee.

    The guitar was a Seagull S-6. Did not want to risk the Martin on that long a trip. Could have taken my vintage 12 string, but I was playing more barre chords that I prefer on the on that instrument. I carried a Fishman sound hole pickup in case I needed it (didn't). I was riding a K1200LT and the guitar strapped securely on the passenger seat and to the top case.

    Have also carried a guitar or mandolin on the bike for local music jams.

    I checked out a lot of the small backpack travel guitars, never cared for the tone or volume you get from them. Have stuck with the acoustic or acoustic electric because of the challenge of carrying an amp...only plugged in if the local source provided an amp. Got a soft backpack style travel case that had large enough pockets for extra strings, music, etc. Sprayed the case with silicone to reduce water in case of bad weather, but had the guitar and other stuff in plastic. Also feel my Stratocaster or arch top jumbo are too heavy to take on the bike. Have never checked out the little travel electric guitars.

    I am now riding a K1200RS and the full size guitar works only if I wear it as a backpack. On the RS, I get too much wind on the guitar neck to travel more than a couple of hours. Am planning to use the mandolin if I make music at future distant rallies.

    If I were going to get a smaller guitar, I would go with either a Baby Taylor, Big Baby Taylor or Little Martin rather than one of the backpacking guitars. There are also some inexpensive very small student guitars made by Amigo and some other brands. I bought my grandson a 3/4 Yamaha that is decent, but the tuning gears are poor. The tuning gears are marginal on most of the inexpensive guitars, but the tone is decent enough for campfire style. Be sure to check the action on the inexpensive ones...they vary a lot.

    If you are actually going to carry the instrument backpacking, that is another story.

    Hope that helps.
    R1200RT. Previous K1200RS, K1200LT, R80RT, R100R, R75/5

  3. #3
    Thanks for the input George.
    As for motorcycle travel, I do not have many concerns as I travel with a sidecar
    I can take my son's junior size accoustic and not be concerned since the replacement cost would be minimal if something bad happened. If my Les Paul leaves the house, it's in a hard case, in the car. I will not even move it around in the sidecar.
    I was thinking of one of the smaller guitars mostly in regard to airline travel. The idea of leaving my guitar (any guitar) in the hands of the baggage handlers gives me chills.
    Most of the small ones and the collapsable ones can be brought on the plane as carry on and placed in the overhead bins.
    A friend has one of the Hofner shorties, and the quality of the neck is very impressive for such an inexpensive instrument. The pickups are fairly cheap, but you get what you pay for. The guitar is un-balanced though due to the lack of weight in the body.
    Again, thanks for the input.

  4. #4
    I always thought a Steinberger or a Cort electric with with a small headphone amp would be the way to travel on a bike with a guitar.

    The resins in the composite body / neck of them wouldn't be affected by humidity as much as an wooden acoustic would be. Some are wood as well, but I think they had a composite model at one time.

    Never did it myself with my guitars as I'd be too afraid something would happen to them, but guitar bought just for travel wouldn't bother me as much.

    edit: see: It has a phenolic fretboard and maple "wings" on the thru body construction. Shouldn't warp at all.

  5. #5
    Registered User arthurdent's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Central Nebraska

    Similar question myself

    My wife has looked at the baby Martins for travel but my bass and amp make us use a car for our CMA gigs so far.

    Anyone have experience with the baby guitars?

  6. #6
    Cage Rattler wezul's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Glen Ellyn, IL
    Chiquita and a Pignose.
    Does that date me?

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by wezul View Post
    Chiquita and a Pignose.
    Does that date me?
    Yes it does, ya old fart.

    Remember that bass guitar that had big, thick rubber bands for strings? Thing was about 24" long or so. I played one once - very odd feel to it by sounded good through an amp. It'd be a great travel bass.
    It was kinda like a Chapman stick ( ) only smaller.

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