Pros and cons of a guitar? (1 Viewer)

superphoenix

Wanderer
Joined
Apr 19, 2019
Messages
151
Location
NY
I'm considering taking my guitar on my long journey this summer. On the one hand, I would have a means of making money along the way and some form of entertainment that would keep me busy for hours of waiting around. On the other hand, I would be a lot more limited with the rides (freight and hitching) I could take and would have less stealth/mobility overall, which I value highly when it comes to not dealing with people. What do y'all think, particularly you musician travelers? Should I bring the guitar, or is it too much to bring along with a heavy pack?
 
Click here to buy the Anarchist's Guide to Travel!

Dameon

Nomad
Joined
May 3, 2008
Messages
929
Location
Northern California
If it's a nice guitar, then don't bring it. It's not too much to bring; I've walked many miles with a 40+ lb pack and a guitar in a hard case, but it does take dedication. You have to really want that guitar, and if you want it to survive long you need a hard case instead of a gig bag. Travel is hard on a guitar, it gets banged around, it goes from humid to dry to hot to cold, the wood is constantly getting flexed and many guitars are prone to warped necks under traveling conditions. If you do much traveling, you will definitely have to carry that guitar many miles until your hand is calloused from the handle, but at the end of every day you'll be glad you had it.

But even though it can be a lot of trouble, having a guitar is really worth it; you always have something to do and work on, you have a skill you can use to make money nearly anywhere, you have a chance to meet and learn from all kinds of unique, amazing musicians. If you're a musician, having your instrument on the road can make a huge impact on your experience. In the few situations I've wound up without an instrument, I've worked really hard to fix it as quickly as possible.
 
Joined
Jan 28, 2008
Messages
886
Location
The woods
One thing I learned traveling is that guitars are everywhere. I lugged one around for years but eventually I just left it a friend's house and would just borrow one to go busk wherever I was. It was nice for slow hitching, gave me something to do and made me look a little less crazy. Other than that though it was always a pain to haul around. Even with a soft shell backpack case I could never really make it that comfy. My recommendation, learn the harmonica.
 

iamwhatiam

Burrito fund contributor
StP Supporter
Joined
Jan 2, 2009
Messages
1,057
Age
36
Location
Foothills of the Cascades, western WA
IMO the pros outweigh the cons.

Definitely pack a cheap beater in case in gets stolen/broken/warped on the road. Have you looked in to 3/4 sized guitars or even 1/2 sized ones? less cumbersome.

I don't think having a guitar will hurt your chances of getting a ride. In my experience, I think it's always helped me to get rides. People like musicians and I think people maybe subconsciously trust giving a ride more to someone with an instrument or a dog because you seem like less of a potential psychopath, if that makes any sense.....
 

superphoenix

Wanderer
Joined
Apr 19, 2019
Messages
151
Location
NY
IMO the pros outweigh the cons.

Definitely pack a cheap beater in case in gets stolen/broken/warped on the road. Have you looked in to 3/4 sized guitars or even 1/2 sized ones? less cumbersome.

I don't think having a guitar will hurt your chances of getting a ride.

I'm referring to trains specifically, which will be the main method of travel. I already have a hard case but I imagine it's tough to hide on a grainer porch along with myself and a big pack, especially as I set off from the busy East coast. The guitar I have is already 3/4 or so, not as many frets. But the case is full size, which is cumbersome. It's not particularly expensive but it's very high quality for what it is.
 

void gaze

Rambler
Joined
Jul 18, 2019
Messages
73
Location
Abbadon
I can support taking a beater along for fun as long as you don’t expect to make much money with it, at least not solo. IME you have to either be *really* good at it or a really attractive/charming performer. On the other hand it’s easy to join up with other hobo bands you run across... Not everyone might think you deserve an equal stake though. But I do think it’s a good fun instrument to learn with and even when busking isn’t that lucrative it can still be a good way to meet people.

To me a good beater is a 3/4 nylon string type. I agree they’re not hard to borrow but as a traveler it’s also not hard to get one kicked down.
 

superphoenix

Wanderer
Joined
Apr 19, 2019
Messages
151
Location
NY
Just learned about backpacker guitars, which are tiny and great for the type of travel I want to do. Also very affordable! Just trying to make everything ultralight this summer since I lugged around kilos of shit my last big trip and drained all my energy from it
 

Hobo richard

Rambler
Joined
Nov 30, 2019
Messages
56
Location
Camas, wa
I carry a uke, or two, at times. Both in gig bags. Small and light, with a sweet sound. The banjo uke is heavy at almost 3 punds.
 

Attachments

  • 20200103_144613.jpg
    20200103_144613.jpg
    743.9 KB · Views: 60

void gaze

Rambler
Joined
Jul 18, 2019
Messages
73
Location
Abbadon
Just learned about backpacker guitars, which are tiny and great for the type of travel I want to do. Also very affordable! Just trying to make everything ultralight this summer since I lugged around kilos of shit my last big trip and drained all my energy from it
I played around with one of those and I think it was super quiet? I might rather go with a uke or ideally a mando
 

MetalBryan

Vagabond
Joined
May 30, 2018
Messages
194
Location
Miami, FL
A friend purchased a large hard case and modified it a bit on the exterior to carry more stuff. They added a shoulder strap and removed the handle. I don’t have pictures and I know it didn’t work for them, but if you are handy and a light traveler I bet you could make something like this work.
 

Coywolf

Make America Freight Again
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Dec 12, 2014
Messages
2,366
Age
32
Location
PNW
Website
www.youtube.com
I was finally able, last 2 years, to buy a Baby Taylor and take that traveling in a soft case. I had a Martin Backpacker before that.

At the end of last year, I opened up my case to play after more than 2 weeks not touching the guitar. I opened to find a horribly smashed expensive guitar that I had been carrying through the last 3 trains I was on.

It was heartbreaking, but I would definitely carry an instrument again. Being able to busk has saved me in so many situations, as well as getting through hard times and depression.

I just have to learn to stop throwing my god damned instruments off of moving trains...or get a hard case.

A 3/4 size guitar is the best IMO, not sacrificing too much sound, for much less weight and space.

Sometimes I carry my bouzouki, but that is so much more expensive of an instrument, I am very hesitant bringing it with me traveling.
 

schmutz

cooler than you
Joined
Dec 11, 2012
Messages
125
Location
Omaha
I bring a cigar box guitar with me everywhere, they are small, light weight, durable and hella fun to play...mine is acoustic electric and has really great sound.
 

void gaze

Rambler
Joined
Jul 18, 2019
Messages
73
Location
Abbadon
@Coywolf omg I have wanted a bouzouki for years, I love rebetiko. Where did you get it? I’ve never been able to find an affordable used one.( I might just have to go to Greece!)
 

Coywolf

Make America Freight Again
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Dec 12, 2014
Messages
2,366
Age
32
Location
PNW
Website
www.youtube.com
@void gaze I have a Trinity College Irish Bouzouki. GDAD. I bought it new years ago when I had enough money to do so.
 

superphoenix

Wanderer
Joined
Apr 19, 2019
Messages
151
Location
NY
Thanks for the input y'all. I figure I'll be light enough to carry my 3/4 nylon string guitar in a soft case along my back behind my pack. Summer is gonna be sweet
 

Tony G

Pilgrim
Top Poster of the Month
Joined
Aug 14, 2019
Messages
70
Location
The Big Rock Candy Mountains
I'm considering taking my guitar on my long journey this summer. On the one hand, I would have a means of making money along the way and some form of entertainment that would keep me busy for hours of waiting around. On the other hand, I would be a lot more limited with the rides (freight and hitching) I could take and would have less stealth/mobility overall, which I value highly when it comes to not dealing with people. What do y'all think, particularly you musician travelers? Should I bring the guitar, or is it too much to bring along with a heavy pack?
Cons of a guitar lol i make cigar box guitars cheap as dirt i can make one for lesa tthan 5 bucks i carry 2 guitars moat of the time my main 77 strat and a cigar box or two to play or sell depends on the trip
 

Users who are viewing this thread

About us

  • Squat the Planet is the world's largest social network for misfit travelers. Join our community of do-it-yourself nomads and learn how to explore the world by any means necessary.

    More Info

Support StP!

Donations go towards paying our monthly server fees, adding new features to the website, and occasionally putting a burrito in Matt's mouth.

Total amount
$60.00
Goal
$100.00

Monthly Goals

  1. Paying the Bills
    $50.00 of $50.00 - reached!
    The first $50 in donations go towards paying our monthly server fees and adding new features to the website. Once this goal is reached, we'll see about feeding Matt that burrito.
  2. Buy Matt a Beer
    $60.00 of $75.00
    Now that we have the bills paid for this month, let's give Matt a hearty thank you by buying him a drink for all the hard work he's done for StP. Hopefully his will help keep him from going insane after a long day of squishing website bugs.
  3. Feed Matt a Burrito
    $60.00 of $100.00
    Now that the bills are paid and Matt has a beer in his hand, how about showing him your love by rewarding all his hard work with a big fat burrito to put in his mouth. This will keep him alive while programming new features for the website.
  4. Finance the Shopping Cart
    $60.00 of $200.00
    Now that the bills are paid and Matt is fed, perhaps it's time to start planning for those twilight years under the bridge... if only he had that golden shopping cart all the oogles are bragging about these days.