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  1. #1
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    Touring with instruments

    Hello, I am planning on touring for the entire summer and was wondering if anyone has had experiences with bringing instruments along. I want to bring my mandolin but I am a little concerned that it might get too hot in the black case being strapped to my rack. Has anyone toured in the summer with a mandolin, guitar, violin and experienced warping? Any other thoughts on the subject?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    trees GuttingJob's Avatar
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    buy a toy ukulele or harmonica. haha.

  3. #3
    imi
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    Hi!
    I always have my travelling guitar (a spanish classical) with me on tour. I strap it to the right side of the rear rack in a hard case, and in hot weather keep the neck covered by tying my towel around it (good for drying the towel out as well). When it rains I just put it in two bin liners.
    This I have done a lot in temperatures up to 40 C and never had problems with warping. Had a bridge come off once after long usage but I couldn't tell you specifically what caused the glue to dry out...

    I am cautious leaving the guitar in a closed tent in blaring sunlight. I leave the case open and cover it with a sarong.

    My travelling guitars are $200 ones, not my $2000 guitars so they're "replaceable" however much I love them

    Here's a picture of my rig... you can just make out the guitar on the far side covered with a towel in the heat of a Portugal summer.
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    Last edited by imi; 05-18-09 at 12:02 PM.

  4. #4
    Punk Rock Lives Roughstuff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GuttingJob View Post
    buy a toy ukulele or harmonica. haha.
    I tour with my organ.


    roughstuff
    Electric car sales are on fire! :)

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by GuttingJob View Post
    buy a toy ukulele or harmonica. haha.
    Seriously, a harmonica is a perfect touring companion. If you already play an instrument, picking up the harmonica isn't that hard.

    In fact, I think camping was invented as an excuse for people to play harmonica around the campfire.

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    Senior Moment Member jagraham's Avatar
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    In 2005 I traveled with a mandolin. I kept it in my cargo trailer, but I'm sure you could rig a bag out of a white pillow case to slip over the black chipboard case. Last year I took my 14/15 hammered dulcimer... but swapped it out for a fiddle after a while. No problems encountered with any of the instruments. Not even unhappy innocent bystanders within earshot.

    Judy

  7. #7
    __________ seeker333's Avatar
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    You can get guitars with carbon fiber body, which would be unaffected by humidity and weather. Check with your local Trek dealer...ha.

    Becoming a vocalist might be a more appropriate for touring - whistle when you forget the lyrics. It's a good mental exercise while you crank out the miles. Avoid singing in traffic, motorists may think you're cussing 'em.

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    An ukulele would be a good choice. A flea or fluke would be pretty durable.
    http://www.fleamarketmusic.com/store...p?idCategory=5
    http://www.fleamarketmusic.com/store...p?idCategory=6

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    Hi,
    I am a full-time professional guitarmaker and repairman. All the glues (hide glue, titebond, epoxy, cyanoacrylate) we use in guitar construction break down between 160-180 degrees. This is what allows us to disassemble them in order to make repairs. Warping of the neck would be the least of your worries. A long day of touring in 80 degree sun can easily cause your instrument to come apart. Most commonly the bridge joint fails. Anyone who routinely subjects their instruments to these conditions and hasn't suffered damage has been lucky, nothing more. I'm sure you could insulate your case somehow, but a towel around the neck really isn't enough. Hope this helps.

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    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    I would buy a dirt-cheap mandolin, and not worry if it developed some... "issues" along the way.

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  12. #12
    Every day a winding road spinnaker's Avatar
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    "The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it."

    Albert Einstein

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  14. #14
    imi
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    Quote Originally Posted by mpluthier View Post
    A long day of touring in 80 degree sun can easily cause your instrument to come apart.
    I have cycled for months in +80 degree conditions without damage to my guitar(s), so while humbly respecting your expertise I differ in opinion.
    I "assume" that the actual temperature inside an instrument case covered with a light coloured towel or sarong (white would be best) while being wind cooled is much lower than the outside temperature (?). That there is a long term degeneration of the glue which will eventually kill the guitar I do not doubt (this has happened to me, although I guess this was compounded by the cold of high altitude flying (nowadays airlines "claim" they put instruments in acclimatized/pressurised compartments with the animals, although I'm not sure this is always the case), and the adverse affects of being on the road (constant temperature and humidity changes, knocks and shakes etc).
    Leaving the guitar in direct sunlight would cause it to bake quicker, but there again I've had my guitar on beaches or walking in the sun for hours without short term failure.
    On my rack I have the guitar facing the bike and have a frisbee strapped to the outside body of the case (no idea if this helps...)

    I am more and more seeing travelling guitars as "consumables" not least due to airlines' carrying fees for musical instruments. It's got to the point where the carrying fee is more than the new price of the guitar!
    I'll be flying to the USA for for my next tour and will buy a cheap/second hand guitar ($50-$100) when I get there, that I can give away after the tour... and a gig bag instead of a hard case. Bike falls down, buy new guitar (I did have soft cases when I first started touring and was just more careful, never broke a guitar like that).

    mpluthier: Any other advice or tips as to how to care for instruments on tour would be greatly appreciated
    p.s Is it possible that the lower string tension on my spanish nylon string guitars is a factor in slower failure of the bridge?
    Last edited by imi; 05-19-09 at 01:12 AM.

  15. #15
    imi
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    How not to combine guitars with campcraft
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  16. #16
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    mpluthier: Any other advice or tips as to how to care for instruments on tour would be greatly appreciated
    p.s Is it possible that the lower string tension on my spanish nylon string guitars is a factor in slower failure of the bridge?[/QUOTE]

    Lower tension may help, but slower failure is still failure... as the glue softens, the bridge can creep, and when the glue cools, the bridge stabilizes in a slightly different position. Eventually, this cycling between hot and cold compromises the glue joint and the bridge lifts.
    Apart from temperature extremes, humidity is crucial. Wooden musical instruments are typically made in an environment of 47-50% relative humidity. Repeated exposure to conditions below 35-40% will cause them to shrink, which causes cracks and seam separations. Exposure to higher humidity, while it will cause your instrument to require adjustment, seldom will cause serious structural problems. The exception to this would be tropical jungle (think SE Asia in summer) where mold and mildew are a problem, especially for hide glue.
    Regarding travel guitars, I am a big fan of the Taylor Baby. Mine has been in more than a dozen countries and on every type of plane, ship, boat, and bus imaginable and is still going strong. Hope this helps.

  17. #17
    Macro Geek
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    Wood + changing temperatures + changing humidity + road vibration = potential problems. The more complex the instrument, the greater the chance of problems.

    Still, if your instrument is important to you, take the chance. The late Oliver Schroer carried and played his violin as he walked 1,000 km along the Camino de Santiago in France and Spain. He also carried a portable recording studio, and made recordings in 25 different churches in two months of walking.

  18. #18
    imi
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    thanks mpluthier... hihi, once in southern Thailand I got my guitar case partially wet when wading in to shore from a boat... In the humidity it didn't dry and within 24 hours ants had made a nest in the plywood walls... took me hours to chase them all out

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