Selecting a guitar for long-term international traveling.

Started by mostlyjazzer, December 16, 2023, 05:05:19 PM

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Hey group.
So I'm seeking feedback on the idea of travelling with a,say, Gk-equipped Stratocaster, where I would unscrew it's bolted neck (headless neck?) and pack both parts into the checked luggage, to be re-assambled at destination, and when leaving.. rinse and repeat.

I"m not shy of building from a kit or modding existing instrument. I'd keep it a cheapo but decent axe in case it gets stolen.

That's part one. Then wondering if I could also check an FRFR say alto ts-408 in checked luggage, but wondering if instead, I should travel with a battery amp (Alto, or Bose ) etc.. Want to play anywhere..

I'd bring the GP-10 on my onboard carry-on
Would love to hear anyone's ideas or experience.



There's the Mary Halvorsen solution
The more obvious , easy and economical one is a steinberger/hohner headless.
( or a travel guitar )
Fits into overhead compartments.

I for one takes another route, I get a seat for my guitar.
And by bringing a guitar that stands out and is easily recognizable,
the risk of it being nicked is minimized imo.

Having a gp-10 + 13 pin cables( and a looper ) in carry-on
is what I normally do.
Never had a problem with any airline so far.
But also checking in a spare GP + a spare GK external + 13 pin cables.
(Depending on where you're gigging, it might not be easy to find someone that can deal with these things if they mess up.) but it's easy enough to get another guitar and stick a GK-3 on it.

I would never bring my own monitors though.
swimming with a hole in my body

I play Country music too, I'm just not sure which country it's from...

"The only thing worse than a guitar is a guitarist!"
- Lydia Lunch


I custom built a 24 3/4" scale length travel guitar for this purpose a few years ago. Doesn't have a hex pickup but works well and fits is a mandolin case. Was not impressed with any of the options commercially available - most manufacturers seem to treat travel guitars as budget models when actually almost the opposite should be the case - the requirements for size, weight, durability, reliability are more demanding than a standard instrument. The only way I could find to get a professional grade travel instrument was to go the completely custom route. Amazing that there is very little available to fill this space - for bass players Fodera offer their $11,850 Mini MG model which is a little far to the other extreme but at least they offer the option.

Anything where the neck needs to come on and off really seems to be inviting failure at just the wrong time and really isn't needed. No-one wants to arrive at a fly in gig to find that they will not be performing because some threads have been stripped.

When I did the build, headless was a must as was designing everything to fit in the available cases (a custom case could easily have cost more than the materials I was using for the guitar). I hand selected really lightweight mahogany for the body and neck and went with a single pickup to keep down the weight. If I made another one I would probably sacrifice a bit of weight reduction in favour of a more ergonomically balanced body - I went for a Steinberger inspired shape that doesn't have any place to anchor my wrist while playing and ended up neck heavy. I would also do a through neck design for tuning stability.


I did that once with a Squier Tele. Unbolted the neck, jammed both pieces into a tall hiking backpack (my main luggage for a year abroad), and checked the pack. Reassembly was fine. Didn't get to repeat it, because that Tele was stolen.

I play a cheapie headless Steinberger Spirit w/ HSH pickup arrangement (but humbuckers neck & bridge). In its bag, it's just under 31" long. Might be an option.


When I was travelling frequently for business I used to use a "Spirit by Steinberger" headless guitar.  It held up well to travel, easily fit in an overhead bin, and is relatively light in it's gig bag.  It still plays well after years - although I rarely play it now.

Here is a similar model at Sweetwater.



Lots of good thoughts and ideas. Thank you.
Got me looking and thinking.

Saw some inexpensive steinberger-like stuff,
but wondering if there are add-ons to simulate a
full size solidbody like the Hush.

Saw some kits too. Never made a guitar from kit, but tempting.
Specially that I would only  put a humbucker at neck and GK-3 at bridge.
But I need that tremolo...

Oh, btw, life is good and I give gratitude for this forum that I keep coming back to for so many years. You guys are the best.

Feel free to add your opinions and views.