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Nov 27, 2023 - 12:02:12 PM
405 posts since 7/13/2006

My daughter asked me if I'd be up for playing a duet at her wedding. She moved 1000 miles away, so an airplane ride is required, as I don't have the time to drive all that distance. My wife and I are REALLY against the idea of me taking my good banjo anywhere I can't drive to. So I'm looking at options here. This isn't going to be a performance for a large crowd, so I'm not terribly concerned about having the best instrument I can get my hands on. (which happens to be the banjo I play most often)

Buy a Price/Calton caliber case for my estimated $7000+ banjo and fly it out and back with me.
Take my $500 "beater" Alvarez banjo (with it's TDK case) out and back.
Buy a local banjo via my daughter before I get there, and see if I can sell it again after her wedding
Or, give above banjo to my daughter and her husband and hope it takes root there.
See if there's someone in the Boston Area who would be so kind as to loan me a banjo for an afternoon.

I'm kind of leaning toward buying a banjo, but there's been very few times I've gotten hold of a banjo for sale and not thought that it needed some setting up the up. This seems risky. I could throw a few luthier tools in my carry one and hope I got the right ones for whatever I encounter after buying a banjo sight unseen.

What would you fellers do? I'm highly paranoid about leaving even a $500 banjo in the hands of baggage handlers, and I can't assume there will be room on carry on for a TDK case by the time my cheap ticket will be allowed to board.

Nov 27, 2023 - 12:21:03 PM
Players Union Member

blazo

USA

465 posts since 5/16/2017

You might want to check with your airline, see if they will sell you early boarding so you can be assured of an overhead bin for your banjo.

Nov 27, 2023 - 12:27:30 PM
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2339 posts since 2/9/2007

Where and when is the wedding to be? There may be someone in the area who'd lend or rent one for the occasion.

Nov 27, 2023 - 12:34:38 PM
Players Union Member

Foote

USA

695 posts since 3/25/2009

If you have enough lead time, ship the cheap one. Using Warren Yate's packing method, I've never had a problem. Safer than airline baggage guys.
youtube.com/watch?v=tfqT2m8Rp4I&t=544s

Nov 27, 2023 - 12:41:42 PM

Omeboy

USA

3442 posts since 6/27/2013

I once rented two beautiful French Horns for a photo shoot I was doing. You might be able to rent a professional quality banjo in your daughter's city. You'll have to pay a deposit, but you'll get it back when you return the instrument. That would save a lot of hassle. Just be sure to keep all the receipts and only work with a reputable music store or dealer.

Nov 27, 2023 - 12:43:07 PM
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Players Union Member

tonygo

USA

97 posts since 12/29/2022

quote:
Originally posted by LittleGoomba

My daughter asked me if I'd be up for playing a duet at her wedding. She moved 1000 miles away, so an airplane ride is required, as I don't have the time to drive all that distance. My wife and I are REALLY against the idea of me taking my good banjo anywhere I can't drive to. So I'm looking at options here. This isn't going to be a performance for a large crowd, so I'm not terribly concerned about having the best instrument I can get my hands on. (which happens to be the banjo I play most often)

Buy a Price/Calton caliber case for my estimated $7000+ banjo and fly it out and back with me.
Take my $500 "beater" Alvarez banjo (with it's TDK case) out and back.
Buy a local banjo via my daughter before I get there, and see if I can sell it again after her wedding
Or, give above banjo to my daughter and her husband and hope it takes root there.
See if there's someone in the Boston Area who would be so kind as to loan me a banjo for an afternoon.

I'm kind of leaning toward buying a banjo, but there's been very few times I've gotten hold of a banjo for sale and not thought that it needed some setting up the up. This seems risky. I could throw a few luthier tools in my carry one and hope I got the right ones for whatever I encounter after buying a banjo sight unseen.

What would you fellers do? I'm highly paranoid about leaving even a $500 banjo in the hands of baggage handlers, and I can't assume there will be room on carry on for a TDK case by the time my cheap ticket will be allowed to board.


Say where you are going and ask if someone has a banjo to loan/rent you. Simple. 

Nov 27, 2023 - 12:52:24 PM

405 posts since 7/13/2006

Pretty close to Lowell MA, near the MA/NH state border, on Leap Day 2024.

I didn't think of renting one. I'll take a look at what stores are up there.

Nov 27, 2023 - 1:43:09 PM
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1363 posts since 1/26/2011

quote:
Originally posted by LittleGoomba

Pretty close to Lowell MA, near the MA/NH state border, on Leap Day 2024.

I didn't think of renting one. I'll take a look at what stores are up there.  


If you could find someone in the area that would lend one , you could invite them to the wedding and they could look after their banjo.  smiley

Nov 27, 2023 - 3:46:45 PM
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Alex Z

USA

5726 posts since 12/7/2006

As mentioned above, ship the cheap one. Around $80 UPS Ground. 
 

For $160 round trip, problem solved. No set up problems.  No driving to and from retail store rental. No dealing with unknown lenders.  No rental fees. 
 

If the banjo goes in the checked baggage fo the flight, that's $35 one way, or $70 total. How much hassle is worth saving $90?
 

Golfers ship their clubs all the time -- for the same advantages. 

Nov 28, 2023 - 4:56:49 AM

324 posts since 6/5/2006

The most serious banjo store in the Boston Area is the Music Emporium in Lexington, MA (781) 860-0049) but I've only seen one resonator banjo for sale there in decades and it's a new $7,000 Ome.
themusicemporium.com
Glen Nelson at Mockingbird Music in Berlin, MA (978) 838-2344) might have something. mockingbirdmusic.com
Please send me a message.

Nov 28, 2023 - 7:01:13 AM

1525 posts since 11/10/2022

Buy a 150 rw jameson off Amazon, have it shipped to the bride, then use it as a cricket bat

Nov 28, 2023 - 9:20:53 AM

5515 posts since 5/29/2011

Personally, I would take the Alvarez "beater" banjo since it's already set up to your liking. A rented or loaned instrument probably will not be.

Nov 28, 2023 - 11:52:31 AM
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715 posts since 11/9/2021

Buy a decent one at Guitar center and return it the next day "Sorry, I guess banjo is just not for me".

Nov 28, 2023 - 12:45:13 PM

Alex Z

USA

5726 posts since 12/7/2006

Your daughter's wedding.  A duet to remember.  $160 round-trip shipping solves the situation completely.  smiley

How much is your time worth during the visit, away from the family, messing around with music stores for a rental?

Nov 28, 2023 - 3:15:52 PM

15584 posts since 10/30/2008

I agree with calling Glen Nelson (I know him) at Mockingbird Music in Berlin Mass. Ask him how he can help you with a rental. He is located south of Lowell, down near Worcester, more or less. Try to rent a "good" banjo. As long as you return it undamaged you'll be fine, and you'll be more comfortable with it.

Find Mockingbird Music phone # with Google.

Otherwise your best shot is some BHO member who lives near Boston/Lowell might chime in with an offer for you.

Nov 28, 2023 - 4:06:58 PM

3618 posts since 4/5/2006

My wife (dobro) & I (banjo) used to fly from LAX to JAX, with a stopover @ Dallas/Ft Worth. We dressed Western style & carried our instruments on the plane. The TSA people always gave me a hard time, insisting I remove the resonator to make sure I was not smuggling something inside the banjo. Just make sure you have removed any taboo objects from the case. After they load the 1st class people, they will allow people with boarding issues next. That would be you. We assured them our instruments would fit in an empty overhead, which they did, & that passengers were free to load their stuff on top of ours. The banjo traveled as a guitar in a trapezoid banjo case. As an extra precaution, I stuffed that case, all around the peg head, with socks & T-shirts.

Not sure if that still work, as the over head bins may not be large enough on today's planes. Oh well, shipping the beater one way ain't a bad idea. At least you'd always have a banjo to play, on future visits.

Nov 28, 2023 - 6:21:09 PM

15584 posts since 10/30/2008

When I flew Southwest, as long as I wasn't the last one aboard, my banjo case always fit neatly in the overhead of their Boeing 737s. (Guitars were not so dependable.) Just don't be a hog and have 2 more carry ons and expect not to upset people.

I'll tell you though, a Gibson Mastertone in a hard case is TIRING to carry through an airport!

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