I’ve found myself traveling more and more these days, but airport security can be a pain in the neck when carrying a guitar. I thought I’d point out a few tips for everyone, whether you’re just learning to play the guitar or are a seasoned pro:
1. Don’t take tools
I know, I know, the tools necessary to change your strings are right in your case/gig bag so you can remember where they are and they’re handy. When you go through airport security count on not having those tools any longer. They will make you throw away those nice pair of wire-cutters. So do yourself a favor and go through the pockets in your bag/case and take just what you need. Truthfully, even a spare set of strings might get flagged.
2. Play your electric acoustically
Depending on your skill level, you might be a person that practices without amplification most of the time. That’s perfectly fine. It’s a great way to really hear the resonance of your guitar. I was told a long time ago the way to really tell if an electric is going to sound good through an amp is to play it acoustically first.
3. Headphone amp
If you do want to amplify, take a headphone amp designed for guitar – like the VOX headphone amp we sell. I used it a couple of months ago on a trip to NYC and it was great. The tone is fantastic and my iPod ear buds plug right in. Battery life is long and it’s small and handy. Now I take it everywhere I go.
4. Laptop and Fretlight work great
If you’re bringing your laptop for business, you just need one cable for your Fretlight. Don’t watch TV, take this time to continue to learn to play guitar. Hotel rooms are a great place to practice – no distractions.
5. Gig bag – tight fit – overhead
I prefer a gig bag when I travel. It’s lighter than a hard shell case and it can fit in the airplane overhead compartment. The bag we sell here fits the Fretlight guitar nice and tight. It is heavily padded and has a couple of pocket s on the front. Be wary of generic gig bags, which try to fit all guitars and end up fitting none well.
Well, that’s it. I hope these tidbits help. Remember, carrying a guitar and gear should not be a hassle – you simply want to enjoy playing guitar on the road. Keep it light and simple.