Flight-Approved Tools for Your Guitar on Tour with Larry Burnett
It’s no surprise that flying across the country – and beyond – is still a very scrutinized and security-driven process, perhaps overdone at times. The reality is that a few bad apples ruin life for the rest of us, just like the need to add “careful this is hot” to a coffee cup *sigh*
But nevertheless, we want to follow rules and make sure we are not a problem when going through TSA. And with that, we want to be sure we have the right tools with us in case we break a string, or we want to adjust the action of our guitar when we get off the flight. Not to worry, there are still some travel-size friendly options for this, and I’ll take what I said in my video further (get the details on this topic from our YouTube channel here -> Tours Tips & Tricks Part 2 Video)
So, in further detail, here are some items that I think you should have – and where you should store them in your luggage:
Basically nothing, haha. Unless you just have some guitar strings, cloth and cleaner that is the approved amount, the reality is that TSA is super strict with any tools that you might want to bring along. Like I said in my video, I love having a full toolbox – packed with spare cables, a soldering iron, various screw drivers and additional nuts/bolts for straps or the bridge of my guitar. The truth of it though, is that all those things are considered tools (naturally) and they don’t allow that onboard
Checked Bag Friendly:
String winder (automatic or manual)
Allen wrenches, various screw drivers
Guitar polish/cleaner (over the approved fluid amount)
If you have a heavy-duty case or toolbox of sorts, then by all means check that thing in and store it below the plane. But since we’re all trying to cut down on our rig (cause we’re not touring 10+ months a year as rockstars with a full crew that would take care of all of this for us…) I can point out a few small items that you can slide into your checked bag, since they wouldn’t be allowed.
Ernie Ball Musician’s Toolkit - Like I mentioned in the video, this little Ernie Ball string changer case is super useful: https://amzn.to/3HX3Hm8
Dunlop Guitar polish/cleaner – My fav is an all around cleaner that polishes but also works good as a fretboard conditioner. That being said, there are so many opinions out there concerning this topic, so for what it’s worth I have an Ebony fretboard on my Schecter, and this was my only tour guitar. So, I didn’t bring fretboard conditioner (like a lemon oil or something) because the wood is so hard and dense, it doesn’t need much over time. I usually just use a guitar polish/cleaner on it (but not every string change, cause that can dry it out and make it brittle). This one is my fav to use: https://amzn.to/3jnACXX
Mackie Cable Tester – I literally had to use this on stage twice, because some of my patch cables shorted out during the tour (which may or may not have had something to do with a tech-hand spilling my energy drink on my board…ugh…I love volunteers, I love volunteers…). This is so nice too because it just runs on a 9V battery. Ask your sound guy if you don’t have any of those laying around, because ironically in exchange I told him what I needed it for, and he said he could use one too. He borrowed it a few times. Help your sound guys out, and they’ll help you! Here’s the one I like to use: https://amzn.to/3wRWaPh
These are key items to bring along to just make life easier for you. I used to try and rely on others to have some of this gear, but they either didn’t have it or didn’t have what I needed (especially when it comes to fixing a Floyd Rose bridge or something else that makes the guitar a little unique to work on).
So there you have it – items that can make life easier on the road, that are also fly-ready (if you check your luggage). Keep rocking out, and if your guitar skills are lacking, well…at least you can be a reliable roadie!!!