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John Patitucci's Bass Damaged by Airport Security

A picture is worth a thousand words:

john patiucci broken bass

There's always a bit of risk when you bring your instrument to the airport. Damage is always a fear for musicians traveling with priceless instruments, but when John Patitucci recently flew from the U.S. to Norway - the fear unfortunately became a reality. John's Pollmann double bass whom he lovingly refers to as Bertha endured an altercation with TSA which left it seriously crippled.

What seems to have happened, as John later put the pieces together, is that someone at TSA dropped the bass during the inspection (which he was denied access to), and then they put the broken bass back in its case. John didn't even find out until later when putting the bass together for the gig. Here's what he writes:

"Now, with the neck-off conversation I had done to that Pollmann, you have to handle the body carefully, because there is no neck to grab onto, as it is in the other part of the case that's connected to the outside of the case that holds the body. So, they were not careful, as usual, and dropped the headless body of the bass on the ground and smashed it up. This is the only thing that makes sense to David Gage and I since there is no damage to the hard case whatsoever!"

But the show must go on, and being the improviser that he is, John used duct tape to patch it up as best he could for the next two weeks of gigs with the Wayne Shorter Quartet. Up next, he plans to bring the bass back to David Gage's shop for extensive surgery, taking the top off and putting it back together again. Also, he does have insurance on the bass and will be following up with TSA for their side of the story...   

"Thank God it can be repaired and will probably wind up being stronger than ever!!", he wrote to students of his Online Jazz Bass School. "So, for now, I pray it can just hang in there until June 15th!"

We share our prayers with John in this turbulent time and wish Bertha a seamless recovery.

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