OK folks, we are starting a new “Around the Campfire” series and it’s going to be fun. We will be inviting guest musicians, travelers, bloggers and the like to take a seat around the campfire with us and share a little about themselves. In this weeks “Around the Campfire” we talk with Jamie Anderson.
1.) Do you check your guitar in at the airport?
Back when I had an anvil-style case I usually checked it in. That baby was made of 1/4 inch plywood and cushioned inside with a lot of foam. The only damage ever done was when the pick-up dislodged – easily fixed with some duct tape until I could get it to a luthier. You could tell that the case had been dropped and abused many times because it was covered in scrapes. The metal corners that were held on with grommets were knocked off one by one but still it protected the guitar.
As airline regulations changed it became harder to check it in without paying a lot of money. (The case was oversized.) Also, it was quite heavy.
Now I have a plastic molded SKB case with wheels. It’s not a flight case per se but it’s a lot lighter. I try to avoid checking it in but some airlines don’t let me do anything but that. If I manage to slide past, I try to gate check it. It’s rare that I can carry it on the plane with me because it’s too big for most overhead compartments.
2.) Insurance, do you use it?
Yes. I have great insurance through my union, Local 1000, which is affiliated with the AFM. It doesn’t cost very much and is well worth the investment.
3.) What’s the worse Horror Story you’ve heard involving planes and guitars?
There are so many. It seems that when ever touring musicians get together, we all have at least one story. My favorite one was a musician who retrieved his instrument and found tire tracks over the case.
4.) What’s the worse thing that has happened to your guitar while traveling?
See above. I consider myself very lucky.
One time it didn’t show up until after the gig. I was told there wasn’t room on the plane. I did the gig with a borrowed guitar.
5.) Has anyone, perhaps another passenger ever given you evil glares over your traveling companion guitar?
Sure. They look at me like I’m some broad who just over packed.
6.) What single piece of advice would you give a friend thinking about traveling with a expensive guitar?
Don’t do it. If you’re going to travel, get an inexpensive travel guitar. If you’re performing, it’s really all about the pick-up anyway. Jill Sobule does all her touring with a little travel guitar that sounds great.
If you really must travel with that vintage Martin, you might consider shipping it via UPS or FedEx. Put it in a hard shell case with padding under the head stock. Wrap bubble wrap around that, then put it in a box. Get insurance. It’ll cost you a lot but given what the guitar cost you, it’ll be worth it.
7.) Do you have a favorite story from the road?
Back when I was using the anvil-style case I flew from North Carolina to San Francisco. I checked the guitar with a sky cap and didn’t have to pay any extra fees, probably because I gave the guy a good tip. I was to change planes in SF and head to Hawaii. The ticket agent there wanted to charge me $80 because my case was oversize.
My expenses were already so high I could barely afford a cup of lousy airport coffee so I knew the fee wasn’t in my budget. I calmly reasoned with the employee and told her I hadn’t paid anything for the flight there so I shouldn’t be charged for the next one. Nothing could convince her.
I asked for the manager and got a pimply faced kid. I was old enough to be his mama. In his best big boy voice he admonished me about my big case. I crumpled my face into one of concern with tears just behind my Bambi eyes, amped up my Southern accent and told him I had no idea my little guitar would cost so much. Couldn’t he waive the fee just this time? After a few minutes of pleading he sighed and said, “Okay but don’t do it again.” Sure, honey.
8.) What’s your favorite campfire guitar song?
“Bamboo,” an old Peter, Paul and Mary song. Great harmonies on that one. I’m also fond of “Brown Eyed Girl.”
9.) Would you ever consider buying a travel guitar? If so which one?
I don’t have the dough to buy another guitar. Even if I did, I would probably buy other things first since I’m really happy with my current (full sized) guitars. I do like the little Taylors, though. Don’t know the model number but I played a friend’s and liked it.
10.) Who is your favorite folk musician?
I have several – Cheryl Wheeler, Patty Larkin, Dave Nachmanoff, Chris Rosser, Catie Curtis and Cosy Sheridan.
Thanks Jamie :)