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Hi Alex, I hope this note finds you well. I have noted with great interest some of the instruments you've been turning out during the last few months. Quite amazing. I am writing for two reasons, basically: firstly, a commercial CD was released over the summer, where your instrument plays a vital role - some chamber music, as well as ensemble music, in short 4 of 6 tracks of a portrait CD from a Berlin-based composer who grew up in LA.The second is a short tale involving a transatlantic flight from Berlin to NYC:

I was supposed to fly from Berlin to New York yesterday. While doing the first round of passport checks before getting to the counter, I was told I couldn't bring my Zachary guitar onboard, which was in its neat reunion blues bag. (It's the way I always travel). I told them they were referring to a hand-crafted guitar, one which is irreplaceable. I would under no circumstances check this in. one smart aleck there said he didn't care if it were a vintage Gibson that cost $15,000.00; it wasn't coming on the plane. I told him my guitar was no sacrificial lamb, I had professional commitments in the states. I walked away and went home....

At the moment a flight case is being redesigned slightly in order to accommodate your beautiful instrument. I pick it up in a few hrs. It's quite an expensive ordeal. This is quite clearly a nightmarish situation. My nerves are shot. I was supposed to begin recording a new solo CD tomorrow for New World Records. It's the reason why I didn't call a friend to come to the airport to take the instrument back home, so that I could still fly over. What's the point of recording a new disc, if I don't have my favorite instrument with me? Tomorrow will be "take 2" with Delta airlines. The re-booking cost quite a bit of dough, as well. I would like to kindly ask that you put the word out to your players that are active internationally.        All best wishes Seth

Think before you Fly. Never assume they will let you take it up in the cabin. Assume the worse. Check things out beforehand and get it in writing with a signature that they will allow you to bring your guitar with you to your seat. Remember their job is to make your life miserable with no consequence to them. The game is to harass the innocent to make it look like there is actually security. They lust for your guitar so they can destroy it. Remember there is nobody more dangerous than some looser who is a nobody but is on a powertrip, its the only way they can feel like somebody.

I also heard something about the airlines not paying for loss or damage even if its fully insured. Something to do with them not being responsible for fragile or irreplaceable items which are not adequately crated. I don't know the details but check it out for yourself to be sure before you fly.

More from Seth

I love your instument and would be devastated if anything would happen to it. Hence, the trouble and effort is worth it to me. With that I demonstrate resolve and dedication to the instrument and ultimately to my craft - it's healthier than religion....

I do have the instrument insured of course. I have never experienced a theft, or total destruction, but fear in either case.

Today I wrote Delta Customer Care a very long letter, requesting a complete refund of the expenses incurred. I hope it does the trick. I decided to include my frequent flyer card as well as the receipts. The supervisor will thus have the choice of depositing it in the trash bin, or send it back to me with news of some sort of compensation.

When Seth attempeted to fly again the next day, this is what they did:

Well, they wanted to collect more money for having to check in three pieces - the new flight case (for the Zach), my acoustic guitar (already in a flight case) and my luggage. I gave them a lecture, and the supervisor ultimately made the exception. It was hard work, I tell you....

I have been talking to several people since this incident, and I have heard varying stories, most of which point to the fact that it seems as though everything is quite random, depending mostly upon who is working, when and where. Tomorrow I fly to Buffalo, have already checked with Continental. They say if my gig-bag fits in the overhead, no problem.


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