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Thread: Flying with a mando

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    Default Flying with a mando

    I'm taking my mando on an airplane with me for the first time tomorrow. I've heard that I should lower the tension on the strings. True? or Urban legend?

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    Registered User John Soper's Avatar
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    Default Re: Flying with a mando

    If flying with a good hardshell case - carry on & put it overhead - no need to loosen strings. Done it a million times... well at least several dozen times.

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    Default Re: Flying with a mando

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandowino View Post
    I'm taking my mando on an airplane with me for the first time tomorrow. I've heard that I should lower the tension on the strings. True? or Urban legend?
    I've never heard of that. What would be the benefit of loosening the strings?
    David Hopkins

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    two t's and one hyphen fatt-dad's Avatar
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    Default Re: Flying with a mando

    Never retuned/detuned any mandolin for air travel. Always fly with my mandolin; however.

    f-d
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    The Amateur Mandolinist Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Flying with a mando

    Don't check the mandolin as baggage so gorillas play football with it ... carry on, and store in overhead. Never heard of de-tuning one except when it's being shipped (as freight). Don't treat it as freight with an airline.
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    Default Re: Flying with a mando

    No need to de-tune for air travel, only for shipping. One thing I always do is make sure to book a window seat. Space in the overhead compartments isn't always guaranteed. If you don't have space overhead, and you're in a window seat, you can put it under the seat in front of you and run it along the side of the airplane. This isn't exactly allowed, because it does not fit fully under the seat in front of you, but if you place your leg just right the fight attendants won't notice. I've only had to do this once.

    You wouldn't get away with that if you were in a middle or isle seat - and you shouldn't because it would then be a safety hazard.

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    Registered User Ranald's Avatar
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    Default Re: Flying with a mando

    Many moons ago, my wife was flying across the Atlantic with her fiddle in the luggage compartment. The fiddle was more or less in tune. The strings tightened further during the flight and snapped the neck on her violin, so that it had to be thrown away. I'm no scientist, but if I remember my high school science properly, things generally shrink when cold, water being a notable exception. What this says about mandolins inside the cabin I don't know, but I loosen my strings a bit -- perhaps down about a note -- just to err on the side of caution.
    Robert Johnson's mother, describing blues musicians:
    "I never did have no trouble with him until he got big enough to be round with bigger boys and off from home. Then he used to follow all these harp blowers, mandoleen (sic) and guitar players."
    Lomax, Alan, The Land where The Blues Began, NY: Pantheon, 1993, p.14.

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    Registered User DougC's Avatar
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    Default Re: Flying with a mando

    A lot of new airplanes have smaller overhead compartments. Also the boarding 'guards' will make a second decision to put the 'carry on mandolin case' into baggage, after it was O.K.'d at the gate. Often they 'understand' that a musical instrument should not be handled roughly and either 1. put the case in the closet or 2. say that they will be gentle in baggage 'handling'. (nope...)

    If the flight is not "full", you might have a chance.
    Decipit exemplar vitiis imitabile

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Flying with a mando

    Some informative threads can be found here.

    My advice is and will always be hope for the best but plan for the worst.
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    Default Re: Flying with a mando

    I've flown with many mandolins many different times. I am usually that person that waits in line before they've called my boarding number to ensure that I get on before the overhead compartments are taken. I've never had a problem, but my cases have usually been large rectangular cases rather than mandolin-shaped. This has left opportunity for other people flying to put their luggage on top of my mandolin, at which point I am more concerned about the end of the flight that the beginning. My fear was always that someone would grab their bag and slide my mandolin out of the overhead compartment with it. I did not detuned my strings and I was perfectly fine, even on flights as long as six hours overseas.

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