If you are a guitar player you probably had a situation where you had to carry your guitar. One of the things that all of us have to worry about eventually. But it is extremely important to protect your instrument while traveling.
So, how to carry a guitar in common situations? Regardless of your choice of transport either it is on foot or some kind of transportation, you will need some hard case or a gig bag.
Here we’ll go through most common situations and ways to safely transport your guitar. There is more than one way to carry a guitar while traveling, and no matter what the situation might be, we’ll give you the best possible options.
How To Carry A Guitar On Your Back
If you are traveling on foot, it might be a problem to carry a hard guitar case. While these types of cases are great protection, they will weight even more than the guitar itself. Naturally, combining the weight of the guitar with the weight of the case will make it pretty difficult for longer distances.
This is where the gig bag shines. Gig bags are usually padded bags with soft sides which will ensure some protection for the instrument. There are also hard shell versions which are a bit heavier. They come with the straps that are adjustable that will make it easier for you to carry over one shoulder.
Furthermore, they have straps that will allow you to carry it on your back similar to the way you would carry a backpack. All you need to do is put the bag on your shoulders and you’ll be able to carry your guitar like a backpack.
Of course, most of the gig bags have a handle that would allow you to carry it like a regular case if that’s easier for you.
If you still don’t have a gig bag, then check out my post recommendation Top 27 Must Have Guitar Accessories For Every Guitarist
How To Carry A Guitar On A Bike
If you ever thought about traveling with a guitar while riding a bike, you might have encountered a few problems. While many people would think that the main problem is the weight of the guitar, the main issue is actually its size.
The main goal would be to somehow carry a guitar without it being damaged or interfering with the cycling. The logical choice would be to carry it on your back. But the main issue with this is that it will interfere with aerodynamics while cycling. Especially if you travel longer distances, you might realize that going downhill is not as smooth as you’re used to.
So, the other options you have to either place it horizontally or vertically. As you might suspect, placing it horizontally would stick too much, so you are left with one option.
If this is something you plan on doing often, it might be the best idea to build some kind of rack for the guitar. Either that or to carry a smaller guitar. But if that is not an option, you are left with the rack.
This way, you’d be able to place a guitar on the rack, strap it for the extra protection, and ride a bike without it interfering with either cycling or aerodynamics. Your body will “hide” the entire guitar, so there you won’t feel any problems while cycling. The only thing that you’ll feel is extra weight.
How To Carry A Guitar On A Plane
Carrying a guitar on a plane might be a problem. We all know what happened a few years ago and that song “United breaks guitars.” So what can you do to make sure that your guitar will be safe and undamaged?
It might be a good idea to find a bigger plane. With bigger planes, there will be more space. Naturally, there is a chance that you’ll be able to report your guitar as a “carry-on” item. If this is the case, then you’re good to go. You will carry your guitar inside and it will be safe and close to you. Of course, you’d have to have a gig bag or a guitar case.
Planes are one of those situations where having a hard case would be your best option. There is a high possibility that your guitar will end up in a cargo hold. If this happens, you will need all the protection you can get.
Some people claim that a gig bag is a better option because you’ll be able to make flight attendants feel more sympathy because of how vulnerable the guitar is. Furthermore, the guitar will appear smaller so you might be able to convince them to put it somewhere inside the plane. Whatever option you choose, it will surely be terrifying.
How To Carry A Guitar On A Motorbike
While the basics are similar to the carrying on a bike part, there are some major differences. Firstly, you don’t want to carry it on your back. The Motorbike can go much faster than a bike, so you would risk the guitar pulling you back. You don’t want to hurt yourself and you want to do it as best as possible.
Secondly, you will have no need for cycling, so you can use that to your advantage. Depending on the bike you have, and how often you plan on doing this, there are certain modifications that you can do.
If your Motorbike has some kind of a back end for luggage, you could strap the guitar on one side and fix it as best as you can. You won’t have to worry about the extra weight or the inability to fully move your legs (since you’re not cycling).
The other option would be to find a way to properly fixate the case to the bike. Using a rack similar to the bike one, only on the side, might help you with the issue. Naturally, you will have to make a modification to both the Motorbike and the guitar case to enable traveling like this.
The first thing that should be on your mind is safety. There is no reason to put yourself in harm’s way and to endanger yourself while driving. We all know how dangerous driving can be and you don’t need to complicate it further. So consider all options, and find a way to fix the guitar to the Motorbike without it falling. It would be nearly impossible for you to carry a guitar without doing any of these modifications, especially if you plan a longer trip.
How To Carry A Guitar Without A Case
First of all, this might not be the best idea. But if you have to carry a guitar without a case, there are some things that might help you.
The first thing that comes to my mind is those few lines from “Johnny B. Goode.” You could always carry your guitar in a gunny sack. It won’t help protect it all that much, but hey, it’s something.
The second way is a bit better and it includes the guitar strap. If your guitar has a strap, you can place it over your shoulder, and put the guitar on your back. If your guitar is electric, you might want to be extra careful because the strap can easily fall without strap-locks. The last thing you want is your guitar falling on its neck on concrete.
Of course, if you have some sort of transportation, you could always use bubble wrap or towels to protect the guitar. But if you’re walking, and walking a short distance, you could carry a guitar in your hand. Whether you hold it beside you or place it on your shoulder (like in those movies), it still might be a good idea to wrap it in something to protect it from dirt at least.
Carrying a guitar without a case is never a good idea and you might damage the instrument. But it is something that probably happened to everyone at one point. So take as many precautions as you can to protect your guitar.
Carrying it on your back will certainly make you look cool, but be sure to get strap locks and try not to trip.
Carrying A Guitar In A Car
While this might sound easy, there are few things you need to know before you take your guitar on a trip with you. You should know that the wood is fragile and you should consider the temperature and humidity that your guitar will be exposed to. Try to avoid leaving your guitar in a hot car. Many guitar players like to think of their guitars as their pets so don’t leave your guitar like you wouldn’t leave your dog. If a guitar is exposed to high temperature, the glue might soften and might cause some serious damage. For acoustic guitar, the bridge can even fall off!
Besides, the finish of the guitar is something you should also consider. Using towels and bubble wraps is always a good idea. Furthermore, there are humidity detectors so you could always know the entire situation.
Traveling with the guitar can sometimes be really stressful. It doesn’t matter if you have a gig bag, hard case, or nothing. You would still worry about your instrument. But taking the right precautions might be a lifesaver for your guitar.
The last thing you need is for the part of your guitar to suffer damage or worse. Plan everything properly, and consider all the options. Sometimes the best course of action is to not carry a guitar at all. Of course, it all depends on the situation.
In the end, whether you take a plane, car, or go on foot, you will always want your guitar with you. So be sure that you did everything you could to ensure that your guitar is safe and that you are safe. If you took care of everything, you will have a wonderful time on your journey with your beautiful guitar next to you. Don’t forget to use the oils and conditioners, they might be crucial in the extreme conditions of your travel. And of course, don’t forget to have fun while traveling.
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