Lots of people think Banjo and Guitar are quite similar in terms of construction and play style.
Although from a non-musical person’s point of view it may seem like that for musicians, there are huge differences between them. The banjo is an important piece of instrument for playing any type of music, especially country and jazz. Playing banjo is a different and wholesome experience as you can play it with almost all kinds of music.
In the last decade or so Banjo is being used by musicians and bands from all over the world.
It’s no surprise that, in an age when we’re surrounded by technology, an organic instrument would provide the needed balance.
Musicians need to travel with their musical instruments to perform in programs, concerts, etc.
And traveling with Banjo is no simple task to say.
From choosing the Banjo that is easy to travel with to reach the destination safely, we have prepared a guide that will answer your question about how do you travel with a banjo?
- Picking the Right Banjo
- Banjo Cases to Use
- Traveling Tricks
Picking the Right Banjo
If you travel often with your Banjo, it is important to pick one that is travel friendly and easy to carry around. Although there is a certain nostalgic feeling imagining carrying a banjo on your back and traveling the world, in reality, to travel with a banjo from one far place to another can be quite difficult.
Banjo Manufacturers have produced some quality travel banjos to help you with that. Based on your preference there are certain types of travel banjos.
For example, GOLD TONE AC-1 TRAVELER BANJO. This is a travel-friendly banjo. This type of banjos is known as A-Scale Travel Banjos. These travel banjos are lightweight and inexpensive. A-scale travel banjos offer a middle ground between small and regular-sized banjos.
They are not supposed to be your main banjo but good enough to play in small gigs. The material quality is quite good, set up very well, and easy to play.
Although AC-Traveler is extremely handy as a traveling banjo, it is not as compact as GOLD TONE PLUCKY TRAVEL BANJO. It is incredibly compact and also looks cute. The Gold Tone Plucky, like other tiny banjos, is built for “C tuning.” The top of the spectrum becomes slightly loud, but that’s to be anticipated when you go as high as 4th up, unlike a standard banjo. Overall, as a travel banjo, it is one of the best ones out there.
You should always try to pick a banjo that is not lightweight, small, and inexpensive. So you don’t have to worry too much about putting this on an overhead compartment or trunk if necessary.
Mini travel banjos are slightly quieter because of their high tuning. You might feel uncomfortable playing that at first. Other than the one mentioned above, other banjos might help you get used to easily and also help you travel without much hassle.
Some are mentioned below –
Mulucky 5 String Banjo Mini
The best thing about the Mulucky 5-string resonator banjo is that it can be easily transformable. You can easily turn it into an open back just by removing the resonator. It won’t even affect the tuning. It is lightweight, and can also be a good buy for beginners.
Gold-Tone CC-50 Cripple Creek Banjo
CC-50 Cripple Creek is another beginner-friendly and affordable Banjo.
Comes in a beautiful brown color, making it look very attractive. As a beginner, you don’t have to worry about tunning too as it comes with a perfect setup.
Banjo Ukulele 4 String Banjos
Imagine you are getting the sound of banjo and ukulele from one instrument at a very cheap price.
Interesting isn’t it!
The build materials of Banjo Ukulele 4 String Banjos are quite sturdy too. You might have a little problem with tunning at first but you will get used to it.
More details can be found in Best Lightweight Travel Banjo.
Banjo Cases to Use
The answer is quite simple – the best case you can afford. Because a banjo case is one of the most important parts of a musician’s gear, it’s only natural that you want to invest in a decent one.
Numerous cases on the market may justifiably be classified as ‘flight’ cases. But not all of them will be perfect for you.
The quality of the case should depend on how much of a regular traveler you are.
If you don’t travel with your Banjo very often, a standard case with adequate cushioning would suffice.
A basic case in a reasonable price range will suffice. However, if you are a frequent flier and travel regularly by airline with your Banjo, you will want a Banjo case to safeguard your precious instrument from any kind of damage.
Other than just your travel frequency you will also have to know about certain things like your Banjo’s structure, interior structure, portability, and which brand your banjo is from.
Some Banjo cases are suggested below –
Superior C-267 Trailpak II Openback Banjo Gig Bag
Superior C-267 is made of high-quality nylon. For frequent flyers, this is a great option to have as it can withstand years of rough usage. The 12mm padding keeps the Banjo safe from damage. Even if you hit lots of bumps driving your car, it won’t take any damage. You may feel kind of bulky carrying this but because of its portability, C-267 is one of the best banjo cases available on the market.
Gator Cases Journeyman Series Deluxe Wood Case for Banjos
Fiberglass Banjo cases are top yet expensive choice, especially if you are not frequent flyer fiberglass will probably not be your first choice. Gator Journeyman is a great alternative to a fiberglass case. The beautifully designed wood craftsmanship makes it appealing to buyers. Not only from the outside but the inside, this wood case looks incredibly gorgeous too and has enough space to carry various accessories too. This case weighs almost 10 pounds. For us, this is the only downside this banjo case has. Kind of heavy to carry around.
Superior CD-1536 Deluxe Hardshell 12 Inch Openback Banjo Case
Another high-quality travel gig bag from Superior CD-1536. Price is slightly on the higher side as the interior and exterior are made of premium design and superior quality. The exterior looks amazing covered with quality black Tolex and also golden latches on top.
The interior too looks exotic covered with green crushed velvet. Carrying any size of the banjo is quite easy thanks to its large size but this does not make the case less portable at all. Made of 5-ply wood which provides security for your banjo from the outside and thick layered padding from the inside. Although the case is kinda costly but will guarantee you years of rough service.
Golden Gate C-1536 Premier Hardshell Banjo Case
Golden Gate C-1536 has almost similar features as Superior CD-1536 except for the protective layer inside. The foam padding inside not only protects the banjo from the slightest scratches but also makes it look unique and stylish.
Like Superior CD-1536, this case can fit banjos of different sizes, also it is less bulky than the Superior one. If you have a good enough budget, Golden Gate C-1536 is a highly recommended option to travel with your Banjo.
You can choose standard lower quality cases too if you are not a frequent traveler. It would not make much difference in that case. But you should invest wisely in the casing to protect your favorite instrument.
Learn more from Best Banjo Case for Flight.
Let’s face it. We have all been stayed up all night worried about how our journey will go the next day. Plus when it comes to traveling with your favorite instrument, it grows even larger.
Here are some important tips that should reduce your travel stress
Traveling by Airplane
Traveling by airline may vary from country to country or even between two companies of the same country. Usually, you might not have to face many complications during domestic flight travels but you will need to know certain things to ship your banjo safely to your destination-
>Always keep your banjo in a hard case. You can choose one of those travel-friendly banjo cases we have mentioned above. They are the safest option to carry your banjo in so they do not get damaged.
> Some airline policy allows you to carry your banjo with you, and some does not allow you to carry one.
You will need to be clear about the airline policy you choose and also make sure the staff knows the policy too by getting there early and talking to them.
We recommend you book your tickets early and try to book your seat near the back of the plane. So that you are gonna have more space to put your banjo in the overhead space.
> If you are not allowed to carry on, you should demand to see where they are putting the banjo case. Make sure they put it in a safe place where no heavy luggage is being carried.
> Loosen the strings (keep some on to ensure that the neck still carries some tension), and remove the bridge before packing the banjo in.
> Finally, be polite and respectful towards the airline staff. Do not overreact if things do not go according to plan.
Traveling by Car
Traveling with your banjo by car is much simpler than traveling by plane. It is highly recommended too if you have the opportunity. Still, you need to be aware of the temperature of the area you are driving through. Both hot and cold temperatures can be bad for your Banjo.
> The effects of heat on banjos can be negative. The banjo head will soften as the adhesive softens, the neck wood dries out, and the glue softens. If you have enough space inside your car, do not put the case in the trunk. Make sure the case can withstand the heat if you have to put it in the trunk.
> Cold weather can be bad too. If you are forced to put the banjo in the trunk without any case, make sure it slowly gets used to the weather so no cracks appear in the finishing.
Shipping through the Third party
If you end up shipping your banjo through shipping services like FedEx, DHL, etc.
You will need to know a few basics.
> First you need to go to a local store (music store if possible), and you may get a free or almost free shipping box. Instruments such as guitars and banjos are supplied to them in boxes. Frequently, they just discard them. If they don’t have one, call and see if they can get you one.
> Put the banjo in a case. Cushion the shipping box with care and put the case inside it.
> Make sure to put the receiving address correctly so your product doesn’t get lost. This is the most important part.
> Use reliable shipping services like FedEx, DHL, UPS, etc. If it gets damaged in transit, make sure you insure it for the full replacement value. They have a relatively low number of damage claims, even though they send thousands of banjos each year.
Traveling itself is not an easy task. You have to be aware of many things during a long even a short trip. When it comes to traveling with a valuable instrument, it becomes tricky. You have to take special care and precaution for that thing.
That is why we have tried to help our best with different challenges you may face while traveling with your Banjo. Follow these steps and you will not have to worry about damaging your favorite instrument.