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Thread: When flying with a uke, should I loosen the tension on the strings?

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Default When flying with a uke, should I loosen the tension on the strings?

    Hi everyone, I hear differing opinions on this issue. Is there a definitive right answer?
    In order of purchase:

    Blackbird Tenor
    Blackbird Clara
    Boat Paddle A-style tenor (spruce/walnut)
    Pono TE Mango Deluxe
    Koaloha KTM-00-R
    Kinnard Series 2 tenor (cedar/Honduran rosewood)
    Barron River custom tenor (Huon pine/Aussie Blackwood)
    Outdoor tenor in Bottle Brown
    Outdoor tenor in Camouflage

  2. #2
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    In 60+ years of living I have found that for very few questions is there a definitive right answer.

  3. #3
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    I think it depends on whether you hold it in your hands while you're flapping?

    Seriously though, I have never done it despite taking a uke on flights a couple of times, with no problems.
    Matt - Ukulele Man at World of Ukes
    Editor of UKE Magazine

  4. #4
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    I think our govt. has fully gone insane.

  5. #5
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    If the pressure changes in the cabin enough for the uke to explode, you have a more serious issue.
    Keep Strummin'

  6. #6
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    Never did and nothing bad has ever happened. Why worry? are you going to check in your uke? I don't check my uke. Never ever check your uke in.
    一期一会

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
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    If you are flying with it in the cabin with you, I would not worry. If you check it as baggage, definitely do so! A touring musician I know once referred to "airline baggage handlers, an other lower forms of life...."

    Anything you can do to take stress off of the instrument in transit is a good thing, especially if the case is dropped or tossed. When the strings are in full tension, the entire instrument is under stress to keep from collapsing. A really fine instrument may be even closer to its tolerances than a cheaper one because lighter construction is what makes it responsive when played. If the instrument is stressed in transit in a way that adds to that pre-existing tension, the instrument could suffer.

    I recommend dropping the tension by at least a third, a fourth is better. It won't hurt to try it, even if you don't think it is necessary. The worst thing that could happen is the strings settle a tiny bit when retensioned. That should not be a problem unless you are playing a quick concert in the airport lobby.

    Good luck.

  8. #8
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    Flying with and shipping should follow the same process.
    I know this has been posted before, but few folks ever use the search function.

    From Larrivee Guitars
    Keep Strummin'

  9. #9
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    Like others here, I recently flew (SW) without incident carrying on a concert size fluke in its bag. Several on at least a leg or 2 had full size guitars in gig bags.
    It did not occur to me to loosen strings then, nor had I ever done it with a guitar checked in as luggage in a hard molded case & taken to Africa, the Middle East, & Europe. It was fine. Lucky? I dunno. That's a lot of flights to be lucky on.

    Mainland Red Cedar Concert, Mango Tenor
    Boulder Creek RipTides: UB-2N spruce-top baritone, UT-5NS tenor, UT-11NS acacia-top tenor, UC-5NS concert

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by OmegaMatt View Post
    I think it depends on whether you hold it in your hands while you're flapping?
    I really hate to say it but I was thinking along the same lines.

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