Essential Gear for the Traveling Musician
Soft and Hard Cases
Gator Cases has a line of flight cases for guitar and bass made of durable plywood and zinc plated hardware. They also feature twin flight cases for electric guitar, one which holds two strat style guitars, the other one strat and one LP.
Prices range from upwards of $250 to $350 for single cases (including acoustic guitar and keyboard), to over $450 for the doubles. Not cheap, but certainly a worthwhile investment if you’re going to be doing a lot of serious traveling.
Don’t forget to loosen the strings when you pack so the neck won’t crack or bend.
Guitar and bass players should probably consider bringing along soft gig bags as well. Flight cases tend to be pretty heavy, and you don’t want to lug one around the subway station!
For drummers, hard cases are a must for flying, although for hardware I don’t think it’s as vital. But definitely protect the shells with a few flight cases (check out this combination case featuring a divider so your 10″ tom can rest on top of your 12″, cutting down on how many cases you bring.)
If you’re moving to a fairly big city, chances are the clubs will provide a basic kit, so soft gig bags aren’t as necessary.
For the more serious musician, check out Hiscox Cases.
These custom made cases might run a little higher in price, but are also lighter, more durable, and feature thermal insulation. Considering cargo typically isn’t climate controlled, this is important.
And if you really do play the digeridoo, try New World Cases, Inc. They specialize in custom shipping cases for pretty much anything.
Clubs usually provide guitar/bass amps as well, but if you need a small one for personal use, take a look at this amplifier, which features a removable head.
Got an iPhone? Check out this metronome/tuner webapp, created by musicalscientist.com.
The tempo range is 40-240 BPM, and the tuning pitches include A440, B flat, A417, 6 string Guitar EADGBE, 4 string Bass EADG, and 5 string Bass BEADG.
For the best prices for instruments and gear, I usually have the most luck with music123.com and musiciansfriend.com.
Be sure to check out 5 Things You Should Know When Traveling With Musical Instruments before you hit the road with your instruments.