Getting through TSA with a guitar can be pretty nerve-wracking. You’re not the only one who gets frazzled by that experience and all of the things you need to remember, but there is a way to keep your mind at ease.
I have made this mistake in the past and it is a pain, so I thought I would share my quick trick to get through TSA without your guitar:
First, you need to remove your guitar strap, then you take off your pickguard and place it inside your guitar case. After that, put some tape around your strings so that they do not get damaged. Finally, put some bubble wrap around the headstock–this is the most important part of the guitar because it has very fragile tuning pegs.
After doing all of this, make sure that you put your guitar case in a place where it will not get damaged when going through security. Remember: the TSA agents will probably open up the case and check what’s inside of it. Do not worry though; they are used to seeing guitars in cases!
Have any questions or comments about this? Leave them below!
I’ve been traveling with guitars for many years. Every time I get on a plane, I start to stress out about how my guitar is getting through the travel process.
Here’s the secret: TSA will not open your guitar case without your permission, if you don’t have it locked. So just leave it unlocked.
The fear that someone might play your guitar is a terrible reason to lock up something so valuable in baggage. If you actually cared about your guitar and its security, you would be carrying it on the plane in an approved TSA case, like all the other musicians who know what they’re doing!
In my opinion, this blog is a bit on the nose for what the author seems to be trying to say. It contains many run-on sentences and could use some restructuring and paragraphing to make the information more digestible.
UPDATE: I have been notified that there is an official way to get your guitar through TSA. It’s called the “Fragile” option when you’re checking in online, and it allows you to carry on your guitar without any problems. This is worth a try, but I haven’t tried it myself yet, so I can’t vouch for how well it works.
The other day I was flying back from my uncle’s funeral in Texas, and as usual I had my travel guitar with me. Since I was taking a connecting flight, I decided to check my guitar luggage instead of carrying it on.
I had never done that before, but it seemed like a good idea; in theory the airline would be more careful with it if they knew there was an expensive musical instrument inside. Plus, traveling by plane is always stressful for me, so having one less thing to worry about could only help.
Unfortunately, things didn’t go as smoothly as planned. When I got off the plane at my connection, my guitar wasn’t waiting for me on the carousel. In fact, all of the bags were already out except mine; everyone else had already left the airport except me and one other guy who was also missing his bag.
Let’s face it, traveling with a guitar sucks. Not only are you carrying around a fragile instrument wherever you go, but that same instrument is always at risk of getting damaged due to poor handling. Don’t get me wrong–I love flying with my guitar. It guarantees that I can always practice, write songs and jam with other musicians. However, the most stressful part is always getting the guitar through TSA security without any additional hoops to jump through.
The reason for this is simple: unlike luggage, which we just shove onto a conveyor belt and hope for the best, we must take our guitars through an x-ray machine designed for carry-on luggage. The problem is that TSA agents have become accustomed to scanning bags containing laptops, cell phones and other electronics–not a solid hunk of wood with metal strings that may or may not set off their sensitive equipment.
To make matters worse, many airports don’t have separate bins for musical instruments. Instead, they expect you to put your instrument in one of the small bins on the conveyor belt. ~~I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen an agent place a guitar in one of these bins only for it to get completely smashed by bags coming down the conveyor belt.~~ (
Well, this is a trick I just learned today and figured I’d share.
Let’s say you’re flying somewhere, and you want to bring your guitar with you. You might be saying to yourself, “How can I fly with my guitar and avoid the hassles at TSA security?”
Well, here’s a really quick tip that will make things easier for you when it comes to air travel with your guitar: get yourself a lightweight gig bag.
These types of guitar bags (also known as ‘gig bags’) are designed to protect your instrument from getting scratched or banged up during transportation. They’re much lighter than hard cases, and they don’t look like a musical instrument case. As a result, your guitar will blend in much better with other luggage when traveling on the airplane.
I have an Ibanez Artcore AS73 semi-hollow body electric guitar that I use for gigs (I also have a Martin D-15 acoustic/electric). My regular hard shell case is bulky and very heavy, so I recently got myself a gig bag for this guitar instead.
This gig bag is supposed to make it easier to transport your guitar through the airport security line at TSA — they
“How do you get through the airport with a guitar?” is one of the most common questions we see in our Facebook group, The Guitar Travel Project. There are two lies that people tell you about traveling with guitars:
1. You can’t take your guitar with you on the plane.
2. Your guitar will be damaged beyond repair if you take it with you on the plane.
And it’s no wonder everyone believes these lies. Airlines have a bad reputation for destroying musicians’ gear. And even though the TSA allows guitars as carry-on luggage, their website does not help dispell the myth that guitars are banned from air travel. It simply says, “You may bring your instrument on board if there is room available when boarding.” That’s not very reassuring!
But here’s the truth: The airlines are not out to get us! We promise!
I’ve personally been carrying my beloved Taylor GS Mini around the world for four years now and have never had to check it once! Not even when flying United or American Airlines, which have a horrible reputation for breaking things (not just musical instruments).
I’ve been flying with my electric guitar for the past eight years and have never had an issue with it. I always carry it on and have had no problems with TSA or any other airline employees. With all the new rules, sizes, and measurements for carry-on luggage, some people are unsure about bringing their guitar to their destination. So I thought I would share my advice with you.
I receive a lot of questions from people who want to know if they can bring their guitars with them on the plane. That’s why I felt compelled to write this article so that I could help alleviate some of your concerns.
One thing you should know is that most airlines do not allow large instruments as carry-on items. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t bring your guitar at all! If you’re traveling very light and don’t need a lot of stuff in your bag, then definitely get a seat on the plane where there is room for your guitar above the seat next to you.
You’ll want to make sure that everyone on the flight who is sitting near you knows what’s going on too. Ask them if they have any suggestions for where you should put your guitar. If there isn’t space above their seats, ask if they mind if you place