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Thread: Euro-travel with vintage MC

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    Question Euro-travel with vintage MC

    I posted a query in another older thread but did not get a response, so trying again with some different questions. Our mandolin orchestra is playing at the 2018 Bruchsal Zupf-Fest, and I am concerned about travel with a mandocello. I have a 1918 Gibson K2 which frankly I am afraid to take internationally--TSA, Customs, CITES, not to mention baggage handling. (The older thread had an overwhelming vote/advice to NOT travel with a classic vintage instrument). Never done anything like this; I have inquired about rentals, loaners (at Bruchsal) etc. because I would hate to (a.) lose my K2, or (b.) not have a good quality instrument. Still waiting for response.
    One alternative plan is to purchase a decent instrument while staying with friends in UK, and travel by rail to Bruchsal. So my question now is, does anyone have experience traveling with a vintage instrument on Euro-rail? Probably a guitar-size case, carry-on, with a few stops and train-changes along the way. Are there customs issues at borders--say, London to Brussels, or Paris to Frankfort?
    Any experienced help would be appreciated.
    jim

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    Default Re: Euro-travel with vintage MC

    You shouldn't have any problem crossing European borders - crossing the British border with the rest of the EU, they will be more interested in whether you have the right documentation for yourself and, at borders between the other 26 EU states, you may well find it difficult to work out whethey you've actually crossed a border!

    I'm not aware that European trains have luggage restrictions. Trains in the UK don't but certain services can be packed and you might find it hard to find yourself a seat, never mind your 'cello. (I wouldn't consider flying with one unless you're prepared to check it. Ask your friends about Ryanair!)

    The problem I foresee is where you're likely to easily find a half decent mandocello. If you're starting in the UK you might like to try TAMCO - I can't remember seeing one for sale anywhere else.

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    Default Re: Euro-travel with vintage MC

    I just saw a Goldtone mandocello for sale for around $800. The goldtone isntruments aren't bad, you may be able to take something less expensive or see it they are sold there. I am sure it won't sound like your K2, but it may get the job done. Good luck
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    Default Re: Euro-travel with vintage MC

    I looked at The Acoustic Music Co. website, some great stuff but price range is too high--some were more than I paid for my Gibson.
    And there are some reasonable luthier and shop options (Paul Hatway, Oakwood, some private owners I have emailed). Your word on the rail space is very useful--I have to think about strap hanging for 7 hours with my cello on my back! I will look into Ryanair, (?) but I am flying Iceland Air to London and they say guitars can go in overhead "if there's room." London to Bruchsal, still looking at options.
    Thanks!

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    Default Re: Euro-travel with vintage MC

    That (Goldtone) is an option I am looking at, have not seen one on the other side of the ocean yet, but will keep looking. Plenty of time, planing ahead. Thanks!

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    Default Re: Euro-travel with vintage MC

    European intercity trains have bookable seats (small fee) so there should be no need to strap hang. Eurostar from London is an oasis of luggage tranquiity compared to any airport with generous luggage allowances and no luggage hold. If you catch regional or metro trains during rush hours you may have to strap hang but probably not as the Germans fund mass transit properly.
    If passing through a major city you should find a branch of Hobgoblin who stock a decent range of mando family instruments. Look at their website.
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    Default Re: Euro-travel with vintage MC

    Quote Originally Posted by Doc James View Post
    ... I am flying Iceland Air to London and they say guitars can go in overhead "if there's room." ...
    Thanks!
    I give that a very hairy eyeball. I wish I could be more constructive. You could buy a ticket for the K2 and let it have its own seat, but there is no guarantee that the airline won't bump it down to checked baggage regardless.
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    Default Re: Euro-travel with vintage MC

    Thanks--I am looking at Hobgoblin, got an email to them, waiting for information. Eurostar advice sounds great.
    Jim

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    Default Re: Euro-travel with vintage MC

    I am not planning to take the K2 at this point--that's why I'm asking around UK for Mcellos.

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    Default Re: Euro-travel with vintage MC

    There's a strong suspicion that this song relates to the likes of Ryanair; but I really couldn't say!

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=uVASZ2lCY5Y

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    Default Re: Euro-travel with vintage MC

    I have the option of traveling with a borrowed modern Eastman Mandocello; anyone have experience with (let's say) 2010 or more recent instruments?

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    Default Re: Euro-travel with vintage MC

    I have a recent MDC805, and like it quite a bit.

    However, it will feel and sound quite different from your K-2. It's very much like an eight-string guitar, and the neck is wider than the Gibson's, with a "guitar-y" feel. If you have the f-hole instrument, it will have a strong initial sound, but the sound will decay quicker, than the K-2's sound. I'd use the adjectives "sharper" for the Eastman, "mellower" for the Gibson. (I have a K-1, so I've played bother Gibson and Eastman.)

    I'd suggest giving yourself some time to acclimate to the Eastman, and practice with your ensemble to accommodate the differences in playing "feel" and sound. Overall, an excellently-made instrument (I'm assuming it has the newer tailpiece; the first MDC805's had a problem with tailpieces snapping at the hinge -- mine did. The replacement tailpiece I got under warranty works fine.)
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    Default Re: Euro-travel with vintage MC

    Thanks Allen for word on the Eastman. Unfortunately my concern is still the travel issues. A customs agent can decide "it looks like" ivory, rosewood, or any of the long list of CITES-banned materials. It might be a more recent instrument with papers would pass without hassle, but I am leaning toward buying/renting overseas (and dealing with the return later) to avoid the risk.
    jim

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    Default Re: Euro-travel with vintage MC

    Contact US Fish and Wildlife Services. They can provide you with a travel permit for a personal instrument. Google CITES rosewood q & a and you will find a pdf with more info. If you are a member of the music union, contact the AFM home office-- they can help you also.

    But me personally, I'd prefer to travel with a non-restricted instrument and one that's not worth too much, in case the airport people decide to disregard legal paperwork or force you to check the instrument and end up breaking it.

    Doesn't matter much to me any more, since it would take something really important to get me on a commercial airliner again. Why pay all that money to be poorly treated? The down side of it is that unless I change my mind, I'll never see Europe.

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    Default Re: Euro-travel with vintage MC

    But me personally, I'd prefer to travel with a non-restricted instrument and one that's not worth too much, in case the airport people decide to disregard legal paperwork or force you to check the instrument and end up breaking it.

    Doesn't matter much to me any more, since it would take something really important to get me on a commercial airliner again. Why pay all that money to be poorly treated? The down side of it is that unless I change my mind, I'll never see Europe.[/QUOTE]

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    Default Re: Euro-travel with vintage MC

    This is "something really important," that's why I am struggling with the idea. The 2018 Bruchsal Zupforkestra Fest is the largest plucked instrument gathering in the world, and I want to sound as good as I can for our little Oregon group. Otherwise I would be taking a $500 guitar conversion and leaving it with anybody who had the authority to take it away. My wife and I took a vacation week in Mexico, I took a $175 Ibanez, not my great Stiver F5. Don't have a similar option with the mandocello, but looking for a high quality instrument "over there."

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    Default Re: Euro-travel with vintage MC

    Maybe Mr. Oliver Waitze can help you!
    He is running the „New Acoustic Gallery“ in Wuppertal, not too far from Bruchsal.
    I think, there are at least two different Mandocelli in his shop and he is a nice person.

    http://n-a-g.info

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    Default Re: Euro-travel with vintage MC

    Grusse Gott, und Vielen Dank! This is very helpful, and I immediately sent a query to Herr Waitze at NAG.
    Jim

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    Default Re: Euro-travel with vintage MC

    Ryanair did this to a friend's valued HD-28.....

    They are notorious. Consistently in the running for 'world's worst airline'...

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    Default Re: Euro-travel with vintage MC

    Quote Originally Posted by Hubs View Post
    Maybe Mr. Oliver Waitze can help you!
    He is running the „New Acoustic Gallery“ in Wuppertal, not too far from Bruchsal.
    I think, there are at least two different Mandocelli in his shop and he is a nice person.

    http://n-a-g.info
    Definitely contact Oliver. He may be able to sort something out. He has loads of contacts of his own...
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    Default Re: Euro-travel with vintage MC

    Quote Originally Posted by almeriastrings View Post
    Ryanair did this to a friend's valued HD-28.....

    They are notorious. Consistently in the running for 'world's worst airline'...

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Whilst I wouldn't dispute their being to world's worst airline, I suspect that destroying a guitar might be down to the baggage handling company.

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    Default Re: Euro-travel with vintage MC

    I’m throwing up a little in my mouth right now...man, good luck, and don’t take the K2!!

    I’ve recently been traveling with a Kala Waterman soprano uke...inexpensive, not terrible to play, hides in a backpack, and if broken, no worries, but that won’t help you out at all...
    Chuck

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    Default Re: Euro-travel with vintage MC

    Quote Originally Posted by CES View Post
    I’m throwing up a little in my mouth right now...man, good luck, and don’t take the K2!!

    I’ve recently been traveling with a Kala Waterman soprano uke...inexpensive, not terrible to play, hides in a backpack, and if broken, no worries, but that won’t help you out at all...
    Please rinse and gargle, and the point of my initial post was that I am not taking the K2, but looking for alternatives.

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    Default Re: Euro-travel with vintage MC

    Quote Originally Posted by pops1 View Post
    I just saw a Goldtone mandocello for sale for around $800. The goldtone isntruments aren't bad, you may be able to take something less expensive or see it they are sold there. I am sure it won't sound like your K2, but it may get the job done. Good luck
    The GoldTones took a year to get through CITES processing, so I'm not sure that buying one is the answer.
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    Default Re: Euro-travel with vintage MC

    My plan is to to avoid customs/CITES by getting one over there, possibly rent, or buy and ship home if it's worth it.

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