NBC: advice on shipping a guitar
Wed Jun 24 11:23:48 EDT 1998
Last January, on a United Airlines flight from Las Vegas to Philadelphia, my
'76 Les Paul Artisan became one of those trendy wooden 3-dimensional puzzles.
Before the trip I bought a brand new Gibson case to replace the wonderfully
tacky cardboard-ish case that came with the guitar. Even with a special
handling sticker emblazoned across both faces of the case, I looked out the
plane window just in time to see my guitar "tossed" onto a loading dolly. I
freaked to no avail. When arriving home in Phila. the first thing I did was
pop open the case....the volume and tone controls were pushed right through
the top of the body (no maple cap on the Artisan...just lots of shattered
mahogany; all switches were broken; two tuning keys were sheared off.
I went to the United agent at baggage claim and presented him with my mangled
guitar. After twenty minutes of shouting and screaming, I realized I wasn't
getting anywhere. Since the case did not show any major exterior damage, then
they felt they could not have damaged it's contents. They made up a half-assed
report for review. Two weeks later I received the report which, obviously
stated uncategorically, they (the airline) was not at fault. I turned the
matter over to my attorney. It seems at this point that they may
The moral of this diatribe is: Get a flight case. They cost a few hundred
bucks, but if like me, you fly alot with your guitar, they are mandatory. A
few companies make them (Anvil, SKB). They are steel reinforced and solid as
a rock; I've heard of guys running over their flight case with a pick-up truck
with no damage to case or contents. If you want I can get some relevant price
info from a music dealer buddy and pass it along in a few days.
The strange part is I'm a professional sports photographer and wouldn't dream
of traveling without flight cases for our high-end digital cameras, backs,
computers, and dye-sub printers we routinely take on the road. I can't
believe I was so stupid with my guitar...
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