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 Post subject: De-tension for air travel?
 Post Posted: Sat Dec 09, 2006 4:08 am 
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Joined: Fri Dec 08, 2006 3:48 am
Posts: 23
Must you take the tension off the strings (bass) if you are going to take it with you on the plane?

Someone told me the air pressure can warp the fret-board, is this true?

Thank you,


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 Post subject: Re: De-tension for air travel?
 Post Posted: Sat Dec 09, 2006 4:30 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 14, 2006 2:00 pm
Posts: 382
Location: Hurricane Alley, FL
Detension before air flight? usually about 3 beers and I'm not tense about flying, seriously I have'nt done it and never had a problem, and most manufacturers ship their guitars at normal tension


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 Post subject: Re: De-tension for air travel?
 Post Posted: Sat Dec 09, 2006 5:20 am 
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Joined: Sun Aug 07, 2005 1:00 pm
Posts: 1416
Location: SF CA
Air pressure has nothing to do with any sort of dimensional changes. It's temperature, and the expansion and contraction, along with jarring, that could theoretically hurt your bass.

But it won't, so don't bother to de-tune. The truss rod system is designed to counteract the string tension on the neck itself, with the wooden neck being the member in compression and both the strings and the truss rods being the members in tension, theoretically balancing each other out.

So, in plain English, NO SWEAT.

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 Post subject: Re: De-tension for air travel?
 Post Posted: Sat Dec 09, 2006 10:55 am 
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Joined: Wed Oct 04, 2006 7:54 pm
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Location: Melbourne Australia
I would have to agree. I recently flew my 320 interstate and I didn't detune it. There was no problem at all. Mmmmm. got a think about the packing of it though!!!


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 Post subject: Re: De-tension for air travel?
 Post Posted: Sat Dec 09, 2006 9:50 pm 
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Joined: Sat Feb 11, 2006 2:00 pm
Posts: 272
Location: Glasgow, Scotland
theres a few posts on here about this, but the main idea that that is always put across is to keep the guitar at normal tension.


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 Post subject: Re: De-tension for air travel?
 Post Posted: Sat Dec 09, 2006 10:53 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 1:00 pm
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Location: Colorado
the best way to ship pretty much any stringed instrument is to leave it tuned up ... shipping detuned is more dangerous that shipping tuned ... pretty much every manufacturer will ship their instruments in tune ... the neck is designed to have strings on it tuned up ... it is not designed to be destrung or detuned for long periods of time ... when I ship an instrument I tune it up ... if someone insists on it being detuned then I tune to E flat ... then there is still tension om the neck ...

temperature and altitude do not stress an instrument very much at all ... it is humidity changes that stress an instrument, and a good finish will protect the instrument from gaining and losing moisture too quickly ...

So keep your instrument strung up and in tune ...

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 Post subject: Re: De-tension for air travel?
 Post Posted: Sat Dec 09, 2006 11:33 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 09, 2005 1:00 pm
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Location: The Rickenroom
Detuning an instument is something the airlines make up. Instruments get shipped from the factory in tune and get to their desitination just fine. That's proof of how you should ship your instrument right there.

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 Post subject: Re: De-tension for air travel?
 Post Posted: Sat Dec 09, 2006 11:46 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jun 09, 2006 5:05 pm
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Location: East Lothian, Scotland
I used to do it, years ago, and I am sure the idea came from the insurance industry (who else?), before flightcases become the norm for transport.


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 Post subject: Re: De-tension for air travel?
 Post Posted: Sun Dec 10, 2006 1:02 am 
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Joined: Wed Nov 16, 2005 2:00 pm
Posts: 2962
Location: Scotland
I'd agree about leaving them tuned up... except for Gibsons.

Their headstock design is so fragile due to the very steep angle behind the nut, and being made from one piece of wood (mahogany, which is much more brittle than maple), that just an impact to the case can snap the head. This can happen if the case is dropped (like if it falls off a baggage conveyor) and even if there's no damage to the case itself... so good luck with an insurance claim. It doesn't matter how good the case is either - it's the inertia of the head itself combined with the string tension which is the problem.

As a professional repairer I've seen quite a few Gibsons broken in this way, and I wouldn't advise anyone to check one for airline baggage handling or via a courier with the strings under full tension - regardless of the fact that Gibson send them from the factory that way... and it's not unheard of for them to arrive at the dealers broken too. Ask any other repairer about the rate of breaks in Gibsons if you want a second opinion.

With a Rick I wouldn't worry about it - the head angle is much lower and the necks are made from laminated maple and walnut... MUCH stronger.


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 Post subject: Re: De-tension for air travel?
 Post Posted: Tue Dec 12, 2006 7:33 am 
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Location: The Rickenroom
The Gibson headstock can break in shipment because the headstock can make contact with the back of the case. I used to have a Les Paul. The guitar could also move forward and back in the case when moved around, so if the the case was dropped on the head or back, the head could break. That would happen whether there was string tension or not.

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