WhiteBlaze Pages 2022
A Complete Appalachian Trail Guidebook.
$5 for printable PDF, AVAILABLE NOW. $9 for interactive PDF(smartphone version)
Read more here WhiteBlaze Pages Store

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 37
  1. #1

    Cool Umm...any engineers want to help with my crazy problem?

    So...I know I know...but I have a strong desire to take my fiddle with me on the trail. It could end up being a mistake...but I can undo it if it is a poor choice. I am not a novice and have already done long sections of the AT but now will be thru-hiking...have also completed a NOLS course...and actually taught at a wilderness therapeutic facility for a number of years...

    So, now that you know that...instead of discouraging me...let's work out the issue. I need protection from damage...crushing and water. I have been looking at these tapered kayak bags that are supposed to fit in the front of the kayak and also have air in them to float. I know they'd be waterproof...but...I wonder if the air inside would be enough of a cushion.

    I also saw some waterproof padded bags, but they weren't big enough. I have to account for the bow too...

    Any suggestions?

  2. #2

    Default

    Don't bring the Stradivarius...bring something cheap so you won't have to worry as much. Instruments on an eastern trail like the AT will likely have more problems with ambient humidity than with water itself; you can keep out running water but the humidity and temp extremes will take their toll.

    How about one of these (covered in plastic) and strapped to the outside of pack? http://elderly.com/accessories/items/TLC-VIOLIN.htm

  3. #3

    Default

    You might want to send a PM to Fiddlehead, a regular here on Whiteblaze.

    In addition to being, bar none, the finest Trail musician I've ever met, he VERY frequently hikes with a guitar and probably has some ideas or suggestions that might help you.

    My own personal thought, not coming from a musician's perspective but just from observation, is that a kayak bag alone would NOT provide enough padding, unless you bubble-wrapped the bejeesus out of your fiddle before bagging it. Backpacks and whatever items hang outside them take a real pounding on the Trail, and sooner or later, you will take a bad fall backwards, have your pack roll or fall 20 feet off the Trail or of a rock, or some fool will set on it, or whatever.

    Even if you have to pay a weight penalty, to protect something as vulnerable as a fiddle, my gut feeling is that you'll want something a bit sturdier than just a kayak bag.

  4. #4
    Registered User Singe03's Avatar
    Join Date
    10-14-2005
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Age
    54
    Posts
    265
    Images
    4

    Default

    I'm not an engineer but I stayed at a holiday in express once !

    I DO know a good bit about stringed instruments, particularly guitars and bass and I can bring up a few potential problems for you to consider if its a more expensive instrument.

    So, now that you know that...instead of discouraging me...let's work out the issue. I need protection from damage...crushing and water. I have been looking at these tapered kayak bags that are supposed to fit in the front of the kayak and also have air in them to float. I know they'd be waterproof...but...I wonder if the air inside would be enough of a cushion.
    If you really value the fiddle you have now, I'd recommend buying a cheap one to take along and leave your prized, valuable one at home. I know your not looking for discouragement but see below.

    I'd not trust air as a cushion, there are two factors at work here, one being impacts to the outside of the bag (which the air would help with) and the other being impact damage caused by the instrument moving and impacting inside of the bag in case of a drop (which the air wont help with at all).

    You DO need some sort of padding to immobilize the instrument inside of the bag or at least to protect it from such drops. Even just wrapping it in a towel would help, a sheet of bubble wrap is light, wont retain humidity (see below) and may be a decent solution.

    I dont think drops or damage would be the fiddle killer however, humidity and rapid temperature changes are the bane of stringed instruments. They can cause warping of the neck, cracking of the finish, reduce the life of strings, and with a fiddle you have the bow to deal with as well which I'm not at all familiar with.

    It it not just a matter of keeping it from getting soaked by rain, its a matter of reducing the damage of humidity and temperature changes that you will have to deal with if you value the instrument. Normally with high end acustic guitars, it is recommended to leave them in the closed case at a new location for a few hours before taking them out and let them acclimate slowly. This is going to be a huge challenge for you and in the context of a thru hike I have no recommendations.

    If its just a cheapie to saw on, take it along and enjoy it but if its a really nice, prized instrument, I honestly think that no matter how careful you are, it'll wind up with some degree of damage, if not ruined entirely if you hit a year like 2003.

  5. #5
    Unconfirmed Section Hiker!!! Touch of Grey's Avatar
    Join Date
    05-22-2006
    Location
    Warren, MI
    Age
    66
    Posts
    122

    Default

    Yeah like Jack said there are a few people who are probably on here regular who could better answer your questions. I know as does Jack and a few others who were at TDZ this year that there were more thana few hikers who were carrying some stringed instruments. I recal a Banjo hoever, I don't think he was carrying it while hiking. There was a fiddle player she was quite good also. However again I do not think that she was caryong it while hiking.

    There was however one gentlemen who had a sort of guitar which did not have the resonating body on it it basically was the neck and about an extra foot for the string anchors and strum area. Don't know the name of this however, this gentleman was carrying it with him on his hike.

    I hope you get your answers. I know I enjoyed listening to some of the Bluegrass and other music that was floating around at TDZ this year. Of course there were some recorder and drummers who can use just about anything to make a beat.

    TOG

  6. #6
    GA --ME; and then some... Okie Dokie's Avatar
    Join Date
    11-06-2006
    Location
    Oklahoma
    Posts
    84

    Default

    I'm a fiddle player myself and you've already received some excellent input in the posts above--the temperature and humidity extremes are serious considerations for a stringed instumentalist on the trail...they'll take years off the life of your instrument, if not outright necessitate it being sent into your local luthier shop for repairs (mostly cracking or glue failure)...you may also find that it will become increasingly difficult to get that perfect tension on your bow... having completed the AT I wouldn't consider taking an insturment as ''delicate'' as a fiddle on the trail for any length of time, especially one that had any sentimental value to it (I own 4, one of which I built myself)...there are just too many things that can happen to it...take a cheap one if you feel you must, regardless of how you ultimately decide to ''protect'' it...I have heard of some extremely lightweight aluminum protective ''violin'' cases (''crushproof'', etc.) but don't know where you can find one...after having said all that, let me suggest an alternative...go buy a cheap mandolin...the tuning corresponds exactly to a fiddle (tuned in fifths)...the frets correspond exactly to notes as played on a fiddle, and you'll find yourself playing elementary songs within a few minutes of picking it up, especially if you play the guitar (I play that, too) and have some ''picking'' muscle memory...wrap it in a trashbag and and carry it however you want, either in the pack or tied on the outside...a mandolin is about the same weight as a fiddle, more durable, and less tempermental...if it gets wet, or destroyed, no big loss...you'll probably find you enjoy exploring and becoming familiar with it as an instrument, and you'll add another instrument to your resume...one other word of advice: a little music, even if it's of the very highest quality, goes a long way when the shelter is full, people are tired, and it's close to bedtime......your fellow hikers won't probably won't say anything to discourage your ''playing'', they'll just "accidentally" step on your instrument while making their way out of the shelter at midnight on a nature call...jk, heh ...

  7. #7

    Default

    put it in your pack in a trash bag and walk . next,.......
    matthewski

  8. #8

    Default

    Thanks for the praise Jack. I usually carry a Martin Backpacker along on a hike. I've gone through 3 of them now. I agree with most of the above posts that you should not take your good one along. I see no reason too. The exteme weather that can be found on hiking trails is bad enough for them, but even worse is people stepping around in the dark and possible falls that you will take, plus just setting it down on rocks and having it roll over when it's not a level surface, etc, etc, etc.
    So, after saying that, i always carried my guitars in the Martin Black padded bag that they came in after cutting off all the straps, handles, bells and whistles and just leave the bag. Then i had straps sewn on my pack to fasten the guitar to the pack and then i had a specially made, sil nylon pack cover (i own a business that sells and sews these kinds of things so that was easy for me).
    Actually i've found that the AT isn't as hard on guitars (and i guess fiddles) as is the desert. I believe that dry is worse than wet. I had one "Backpacker guitar last 2 thrus on the AT, One lasted the PCT, and the third one lasted a thru on the CDT but was then pretty much trashed and i had some carpenters in Thailand glue and screw a piece of plywood to it and it is still my practice guitar in Issan (northeast Thailand) It will soon become my kids toy guitar.
    I may buy another one, (i would if i had a thru planned for sure) but am using full size, sturdier guitars now and not carrying them thru the woods anymore.
    I hope this helps. I would definitely buy a beater upper for this trip. (if you find you took such good care of it that it is still in perfect shape, you could then have your good one sent out???)

  9. #9
    Section Hiker Shot Gun from GA to NH Deerleg's Avatar
    Join Date
    03-23-2004
    Location
    NE Ohio
    Age
    64
    Posts
    377
    Images
    40

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Okie Dokie View Post
    ...I have heard of some extremely lightweight aluminum protective ''violin'' cases (''crushproof'', etc.) ..
    FYI:http://sunbao.manufacturer.globalsou...GetProduct.htm
    Kevin

  10. #10

    Default Wow!

    Thanks for all the input. For those wondering...I have been thinking of my beginner's violing...a real cheap beater upper...

    Other comments were also useful. I had been thinking about how it would be nice to provide music while on the trail...but hadn't considered whether it would be appreciated by all....which is the most important reason for reconsidering my desire to bring the fiddle...Hello! LNT...

    I'll look at the cases y'all suggested...thanks so much!

    Additionally, about the mandolin...good suggestion. I have in fact been tinkering with my friend's as I know it is a very similar instrument...but hadn't considered that it would be easier...I was only thinking of how light my violin seems...but it would definitely become warped...

    alas...but thanks...

  11. #11
    Geezer
    Join Date
    11-22-2003
    Location
    Portsmouth, NH
    Age
    75
    Posts
    2,964

    Default

    Many of the comments dealt with humidity. One thing about backpacking is that after a coupel days of rain everything you own is damp.

    It may seem obvious, but you could combat this to a small degree by holding off your zero days until you find yourself in an extended period of rain. After two-three days of it, take a day or two in a motel to dry things out, and even if you do go back out in the rain, at least you will have "zeroed" the dampness in your pack/violin.

    I enjoyed what little music I heard on the trail. I imagine that your playing will be very welcome. Even if you don't get much feedback, rest assured people will enjoy it unless you play late at night or something.
    Frosty

  12. #12
    Registered User
    Join Date
    03-29-2003
    Location
    Sterling, VA
    Age
    50
    Posts
    6,961

    Default

    One guy made a little guitar case out of duct tape and couch padding. It worked great, and weighed almost nothing.

  13. #13
    Hiker Trash! WhoAh's Avatar
    Join Date
    10-24-2002
    Location
    Lakeland, Florida
    Posts
    97

    Default

    Muddy Shoes brought his Indian flute with him on his thru this year. It was a real treat to listen to that in the evening just as you were drifting off.
    WhoAh

  14. #14
    Registered User drdewrag's Avatar
    Join Date
    10-19-2006
    Location
    Rome, Georgia
    Age
    61
    Posts
    103
    Images
    2

    Default

    On a lighter note, your fiddle would go well with some of the banjo music in the southern appalachians...

  15. #15
    Registered User
    Join Date
    08-20-2003
    Location
    Lovely Mayretta
    Posts
    4,229
    Images
    10

    Thumbs up Martin Backpacker

    Bearing in mind that I'm about as musical as a poorly tuned bucket . . .

    While I was sectioning the north half of the GSMNP over MLK weekend a few years ago another hiker had a Martin Backpacker with him. This guy part-timed with a band, and I have to say it was just sublime to lay back in the ol' sleeping bag and listen to a rendition of a little John Prine or Johnny Cash while watching the snow blow around outside the shelter. I've seen comments to the effect that the Backpacker has a lousy sound or something, but in skilled hands it sure sounded good to me.

    Of course the fact that this ol' boy had "sweetened" the audience with a generous helping of Jim Beam probably didn't hurt a thing, either.

    Back to our regularly scheduled programming . . .
    Me no care, me here free beer. Tap keg, please?

  16. #16

    Default Travel violin...

    All this talk about the martin backpacker has made me curious about a travel violin...and there is one...but it is kind of pricey...but since we're exploring here...I'd thought I'd post it for those interested...it fits in a tube!

    http://www.elderly.com/new_instruments/items/STIX2.htm

    anyone got 265 bucks they want to loan me...you know...as a tip for playing wonderful music along the trail?? lol...

  17. #17
    Registered User
    Join Date
    03-29-2003
    Location
    Sterling, VA
    Age
    50
    Posts
    6,961

    Default

    I know of at least two other fiddlin hikers who carry their fiddles in cases and strapped on their backpacks. No big deal, if a guitar player can do it, and the guy with the tuba(!) can do it, you can definitely do it.

  18. #18

    Default Thanks

    Thanks for the vote of confidence, y'all....I'm feeling better about it. But, you know what it would mean...I'd probably get some trail name that involved fiddling somehow...might be something cumbersome...and Fiddlehead is already taken...
    "Men occasionally stumble over the
    truth, but most of them pick
    themselves up and hurry off as if
    nothing ever happened."
    ~ Winston Churchill

  19. #19

    Default

    Nero? especially if you fiddle near the campfire

  20. #20

    Default

    How about "Billy in the Low Ground"?

    And you can start your hike on "The Eighth of January"

    one, two, three, four.. (kickoff)

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
++ New Posts ++

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •