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  Topic Review (Newest First)
03-16-2014 08:23 PM
Re: Any guitar players aboard?

Hello all,

I just joined this site because my wife and I and looking soon to retire from a state job, sell out stuff, and buy a sailboat for cash so we can engage in the live-aboard cruising lifestyle.

Since I have been playing professionally as a musician for 35 years and my day job includes providing music in a healthcare setting (Music Therapy), I am contemplating doing a solo acoustic/singing act while cruising to help bring in extra spending cash. I just played a steak house few days ago for $50 + $35 tips for a 2 1/2 hour gig.

I have been looking into the humidity problem in a marine environment and figured a good watertight case like those made by SKB and a dehumidifiers like those used in food prepping might help. Also, I use the Elixer strings which are coated and slow down oxidation. I tend to play enough hours anyway that I would probably need to change them before any affects of humidity set in.

Also, I will have to do more research but it seems to me string instruments do better in higher humidities that the dryer climates. The most famous Stradivarius were built in Northern Italy with very humid summers.

Any of you folks know of anyone picking up gigs around the marina areas around the US and down into the Caribbean. I figured even playing for tips would lots of fun and a great way meet people. Do they just play sea/sailing songs and Jimmy Buffet songs? I am more into performing the Jerry Jeff Walker, Bob Dylan, Townes Van Zandt, Leonard Cohen, and Tom Waits singing/sonwriter tunes.

Anyway, thanks. I figured just posting this first post is one of my first steps in making the dream happen.
03-09-2009 11:36 AM
BENEVOLENTJOURNIES I bought a Fender Catalina in a pawn shop while in Oregon last winter and brought it back to our boat in Louisiana. I don't know how to play yet but want to learn. I think it would be so cool to play guitar on the boat. I opened the hard case the other day and plucked on it and it seemed great! It does take up a ton of room though. I have steel strings and a fellow musician cruiser told me to oil them up with butter- My husband said to use vaseline so as not to attract bugs. Does anyone have problems with their steel strings rusting? I am surprised this really hasn't been brought up so it must not be as big a problem as I thought.

I am so glad to have found others with guitars and similar questions. Now if I could just get one of ya to teach me how to use the thing! I would LOVE to learn sea shanties.
01-01-2009 12:13 AM
doubleeboy My thoughts about good guitars in humid environments are that short term hi humidity is not the problem, its long periods of very high humidity (above 60%) and then a change to low ( <35% ). I keep my Collings guitar in a Calton hardcase with a dehumidifier in the string compartment of case. You can buy these dehumidifiers at gun shops or Brownells online. They are the size of cigarette pack, you recharge them so to speak by putting them in an oven at 300 degrees F. for 3 hours. They keep my guitar at 45-55 % humidity in the case for 3 or 4 weeks even when humidity outside is much higher. The key is an airtight case like the Calton, or if using a lesser case, get a case cover.

I think exposure to direct sunlight ( hi temperature ) is much more concern than short term exposure to hi humidity. I do agree that a cheap used guitar is the safe way to go. I like 80s-90s Washburns, all solid wood, find em on ebone or Craiglist for couple hundred or so for a D-35.

12-31-2008 02:29 PM
SJ34 I haven't read through all the posts so I may be repeating what somebody else has already said, sorry.
I had a terrible time keeping an old Yamaha in tune but I was hauling to and from the boat (don't like to keep too much stuff on board, it tends to grow). Got tired of ever tuning so I started leaving it and once it acclimated to the humidity it was fine. Of course, the boat is on the west coast and humidity isn't as high as say, the SE. You should be fine leaving an instrument aboard in CO.

As for feeling sluggish on board. Moving around on moving boats will make you hurt in places you didn't even know you had at first but you too will acclimatize to being on board. I used to sail with a guy who was in his middle ages, was way bigger around than he was tall but could move around on an Olson 30 like a monkey. He spent every weekend sailing and put us younger guys to shame.

I wish you luck with your fitness program.
12-20-2008 10:58 PM
How about a harp?

Let me assure you, if you think a guitar is hard to keep in tune aboard...

Whenever I take off on an extended solo cruise, I bring a little folk harp I built from a kit. The kit was relatively cheap, yet once completed it had a better feel and sound than many higher-end production units (I like woody rather than tinny harps.) Even the little folk harp is too big aboard my little boat unless I'm soloing, though.

This particular design uses ply for sounding, and heavy solid cherry for the box, neck, and column. While the humidity is unlikely to directly harm the instrument, for the first week or so aboard it is plainly cantankerous to keep in any sense of tune. Tuning sessions take up a half hour, at least, almost as bad as when I'm stretching in a new suit of strings.

Fortunately for everyone in the anchorages I drop into I'm both a poor player and (I hope) a considerate one; I practice below, and not at all if anyone is hooked close by.
12-09-2008 07:57 PM
sailor's instrument

apologies for wandering a bit off topic. I used to be a guitar player until an industrial accident took the tip of a finger that is essential to playing. But music was in my blood, we had a small sailboat, space was a premium. The wife says why not a concertina? I said what's that? She said the instrument tall ship sailors played. So off we go to the music store and darn, if they didn't have a cheapie.

So been playin' that little squeeze box that only movie/cartoon sailors play for 30 years now. Not the cheapie, it didn't last 6 months.

I used to play lots of Shanties, one time we were sailing on SF Bay when a whale boat & crew raced along past us. I switched to a rowing tune for them.

(OK, five posts down, 5 to go )

San Rafael, CA
12-07-2008 11:21 PM
josrulz I'm a big fan of sitting around the cockpit and playing music with friends. Some of my favorite cruises have revolved around music.

As for the effects of a water environment on guitars (and I think this echoes what some others have said), a friend of mine used to bring his Martin D-35 with him all the time on board for weekends and extended cruises on his boat. That guitar now has a split on the side. I have a Martin HD-28, and because of his experience, I refrain from bringing it sailing (or anywhere like that even). I either bring my Backpacker, or if I want a full-size, a old Alvarez or Washburn, neither of which I worry about (both are veneer, not solid).

Anyway, have fun playing on the water!
12-06-2008 05:35 PM
Hillster I play classical guitar and I live aboard. It is less humid than i thought it would be in my boat. But to be sure that I do not jeopordize an expensive instrument, I use my Yamaha CG-101 all wood laminate (ply) guitar. I've had no issues with it or my other solid top spruce that I had on board for 4 months during the hot and humid summer months.

Humid environments have far less damaging side-effects than the dry environments do.

My suggestion to you would be to go out and buy a nice quality low end guitar like the Yamaha for camping/boating. Both outings could involve things getting wet and thus make bringing expensive instruments not the best idea.
12-05-2008 01:27 AM
AdamLein Guitars on board is awesome. A friend of ours brought one along in a hard case during the commissioning trip and in other circumstances my wife brings her "Resonata" beater guitar (which I think was made in the GDR). It wasn't left on board for long periods of time, but we noticed another problem: it takes up about as much space as another passenger, though it does eat less.

The OP didn't say what the size of her boat was, but she did refer to it as "small"; ours is a 27'. With a guitar and all the sail bags and back packs, it was an interesting challenge to sleep four people on our boat (especially if you insist on having access to the head at night).

Challenging but worth the effort.
12-05-2008 01:10 AM
Originally Posted by Giulietta View Post
Ohhh I sit everynight on my deck, watching the sun go down, and I play my guitar to the world..

I love to play the guitar while I sail...yes I do




I am all love and music when I sail.....and the bees....and the and my cruising Valiant ...'re more into accordion music?
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