John Bohlinger: Premier Guitar

Yup! That’s Venice behind me and my Voyage-Air guitar—a full-size electric guitar that folds in half for travel.November 2012 Issue
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My professional battle cry remains:
Have guitar, will travel.
No bar too far, no hall to small.
You buy, I’ll fly.

I hate schlepping gear by air.

This limited space available in overhead bins makes the airline very reluctant to let you carry on a guitar. Five years ago, I could carry a guitar on a jet 90 percent of the time. Now it’s 50 percent, at best.

Why I hate checking gear:
Given enough time, airlines will convert checked guitars into kindling.
Music is a business. A business remains solvent by keeping down expenses. If I check two guitars for a session, that $25-per-bag fee per flight translates into $100 snatched from my profits.
If my gear does not arrive before I go to work, I’m screwed.
Even if it all goes right and my bags arrive on time and unscathed, I tend to worry about it and actually lose sleep over the whole potential mess. Of course, this leaves me stressed and brain-dead when it’s time to play music.

Check it out: I’ve got this little T-style guitar made by Voyage-Air with a shorter neck that folds in over the body. I was very skeptical of the design, thinking that it would sound like a toy and play like a Stella flattop circa 1962. Surprisingly, it sounds very Fender-y and feels like a fatnecked old friend. Best of all, in its tiny case I can cram some socks, underwear, toothbrush, and clean shirt, and still fit the guitar, cables, picks, capos, slides, strings, my computer (the case has a padded slot made for laptops), and my essential pedals (tuner, compressor, overdrive, tremolo, phaser, and delay).

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See more about John Bohlinger, Nashville multi-instrumentalist best known for his work in television. He led the band for all six seasons of NBC’s hit program Nashville Star, the 2012, 2011, 2010, and 2009 CMT Music Awards, as well as many specials for GAC, PBS, CMT, USA, and HDTV.

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