Asking for a friend…

Asking for a friend…

Yes, genuinely! A friend of mine, who plays banjo, is off to Australia for 5 weeks from March 13th. She’s not sure about taking her instrument along, but she’ll go mad if she hasn’t got one for practice. She
doesn’t know if she’ll get to any
sessions either. She’ll be with family in Kingsford, Sydney. She took her banjo with her in 2009 but had some difficulty - not sure of the details. Her banjo is a tenor, 4 string short scale, but she says that long scale would also do. Does anyone know where she might rent, beg or borrow one? Any suggestions?
I’m only the messenger here, so excuse possible delays in responding as I relay whatever useful information I receive. Many thanks.

Re: Asking for a friend…

Tell her to bring it. Soft case. Carry on. I’ve done it loads.

Re: Asking for a friend…

I wouoldn’t travel internationally with an instrument unless you have to, it can cause all sorts of problems, not only with customs, but also because when you turn up with an instrument the immigration people assume you are going to use it to make money, and therefore need a work permit.

Re: Asking for a friend…

Thank you, CMO, I’ll give him a shout in due course.

Re: Asking for a friend…

I have no experience, so take this with caution. I’ve thought if I needed to travel with my instruments I would package them carefully and ship via UPS, FedEx or similar to my destination to arrive at the same time. Every shipping method has it’s risks, but having shipped and received instruments purchased or repaired overseas several times w/o problems I’d do that before I’d try to deal with the airlines.

Re: Asking for a friend…

I’m not a pro muso but I’ve traveled a fair bit with my pipes and never once had any problem with customs asking for work permits or any such, even when in reality I was using them to make money. My pipes are blackwood but don’t come with dead elephant ( like some class A morons like even on new ones) so no real problems with that side of things. Normally the airlines would let me take them on as an extra (unpaid for bag ) in hand luggage, they can pack up quite small, but the whole baggage thing has tightened up in and out of the UK in recent years and it is harder to get away with this now. If I’m travelling now I pack the pipes as hand luggage ( they just about fit in standard cabin size bags ) and check my gear in the hold. Not an option in this case though. A hard case in the hold is probably the cheapest arrangement. Some airlines have special arrangements for instruments but the times I’ve looked into this it was an expensive option.

I have had to travel with my pipes in the hold. In truth and despite the horror stories they suffered absolutely no detrimental effects.

Re: Asking for a friend…

unionpiper’s idea of shipping the instrument to yourself is certainly the safest if you are travelling within a customs area, shipping companies are much more careful with your property than airport baggage handlers. But there are a couple of problems if you are travelling internationally: The new 2017 regulations mean that if the instrument contains any species of rosewood (which includes blackwood) or burbinga then it must have a CITES certificate (even if the instrument was made before 2017 it needs a certificate to say so), that certificate can take a couple of months to get, however there is an exemption for instruments hand carried into the country by musicians. The other problem is customs duty. If you carry an instrument the assumption is that it is part of your personal effects and you’ll be taking it home with you. (but it is wise to declare it to customs, to ensure you can get it back into your home country without paying duty). But if you ship it the assumption is that you are exporting it and duty is payable. If it’s only a temporary export no duty is due, but you have to fill in forms and jump through hoops to avoid paying it.

https://internationalmusician.org/getting-musical-instruments-across-borders/

Re: Asking for a friend…

This a very interesting thread. It never occurred to me there would be any problems with small musical instruments. I always travel with my clarinet and a tin whistle. Sometimes I have to unpack it from hand luggage, as it is scanned at security, to show it is non-lethal.
I hope your friend enjoys her Australian trip.

Re: Asking for a friend…

Thanks, everyone. All the advice is greatly appreciated. I know that the friend in question (herself!) is keeping a close eye on this thread. And we don’t want a rusty Cork woman in Miltown Malbay in July, so let’s hope that herself, her banjo and her bandana get to Australia and back safe and sound. Go raibh míle maith agaibh uilig arís. Thanks again, everyone.

Re: Asking for a friend…

I realise this is after the date, but I hope she bought the banjo with her. There are a few sneaky tunes on the go so definitely better to be with it than without. Also the national folk festival on Canberra is coming up over Easter! I have it on good authority there will be a load of awesome players there So worth while checking it out if she can.

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