Traveling with the Banjo

Casey Henry

Casey Henry

Today I’m answering a question from yesterday’s comments, because it is a question worthy of its own entry:

Dear Casey,
Did you bring your banjo (I’m sure you did). If you did, do you do anything special when you carry it on a plane or do you take the “United Breaks guitars” approach. Are you going to give a banjo show like you did last year (if so, post pictures). Keep having fun.

First of all, just to clarify, Marty is asking about me bringing my banjo down here to Miami while I work on the Super Bowl halftime show (details here). I did not. It is so freeing not to have to carry a heavy banjo case through the airport that if I don’t have to take my banjo, I don’t. Plus, if I get desperate, Cap Spence (my boss on this gig) has one that I can play.

In answer to the second sentence, I always carry it with me on the plane if at all possible. I have a Calton case, and the few times I’ve had to check it, it has survived just fine. I don’t do anything special to the banjo itself, but when I do have to check it, I always make sure to lock or tape the latches after security has inspected it. Those latches are surprisingly easy to knock open. (I’ve never done it myself, but baggage handlers apparently find it a very easy thing to do.) Now that I travel with my Kel Kroydon I don’t worry about it nearly as much, since everything on that banjo is replaceable. When I flew with my TB-11 and had to check it, I worried to death the whole trip. Even my travel case will fit in the overhead bins on all domestic flights, except little commuter planes where they will let you gate check it. But don’t ASK anyone if it’s OK to carry it on. They’ll say no. Just do it. And act like you know what you’re doing.

For more info about travel banjo options, consult this post from 2008.

And in answer to Marty’s third sentence, I doubt that this year there will be time for me to do a banjo show. The stage is SO big, and there are SO many volunteers that there is little time for the extras we had last year. If you don’t know what Marty is referring to, here and here are some posts that explain.

One thought on “Traveling with the Banjo

  1. Susan

    I use a GOLDTONE Tranjo for airplane travel. It has a standard size neck and great action, plus it comes apart and packs easily into my 21″ carry-on. When not traveling, it is perfect for carrying in my car; I can pick while my husband is driving, and it won’t hit him in the head with the peghead (it doesn’t have one!). If I am waiting for say a doctor’s appt, I just sit in the car and pick until about 5 minutes til the appt. Surprising how much practice time I can get in with having a “dedicated” car and/or flight banjo! It is small and light and definitely transportable! Tone is not that bad either!

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