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Accident Prevention: A Case History

Accident Prevention: A Case History

by Jeffrey R. Elliott

Originally published in American Lutherie #14, 1988

Aa a luthier who has repaired several thousand guitars over the past 20 years, I have developed a growing obsession over guitar care and safety. Much of this is due to my realization that nearly half those repairs may not have been necessary had they been properly handled. Significantly, they were often not in their owner’s possession at the time of “the accident”.

In such a case a few years ago, the culprits appeared to have been the baggage handlers of several airlines during a rigorous two month international tour. The owner took all the proper precautions before and after each flight, and the guitar was in an expensive custom case made especially to accommodate its shape and dimensions. So I was upset, but not surprised, when I learned of the first incident, as airline handling of instruments remains notoriously poor. However, upon learning of three more identical mishaps, I became increasingly concerned for the instrument.

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