Can I bring my Guitar to Saudi Arabia?

Music is an ancient art form, which is performed using various musical instruments such as the drum, banjo, piano and, most popularly, the guitar. People who have been practicing and playing the guitar know of how soothing it can be. The guitarist usually does not want to stop playing once he starts as it offers him a great chance to unwind from the stress and worries of life. However, not all countries look at music this way and some countries oppose music.[irp]

Such is the case in Saudi Arabia I suppose, as one of our regular readers, Dwayne had asked us recently on our site as to whether he would be allowed to take his 2 guitars with him to the Kingdom. He says that he has been planning to ask this for a long time, and is worried that he might have to leave behind one of the guitars, as he does not have the option to leave one behind. He states that the guitars are acoustic (normal wood guitars, nonelectric) and it is one of his favorite hobbies, one which he would be sad to give up.

Another reader of ours has responded to his query by saying that bringing the guitars in would not be a problem unless it is his profession. It should be noted that loud music is banned in the Kingdom and you can be reported by your neighbors or anyone getting disturbed if you listen to or play music loudly. Another reader has shared his experience with Dwayne, of seeing many expats bringing in guitars with them when they come over to Saudi. He has stated that it is not an issue during a clearance at the airport. He also claims that he has brought along his own guitar/s when he came to work in KSA. According to reports by this responder, there are a few reputable musical instruments shops as well, however, none of them offer repair services.

When can Guitar get you into trouble in Saudi Arabia? The only way that the guitar can get you into trouble according to various sources is that either the loud music disturbs your house/roommate/s, or your neighbor.  However, Dwayne has responded to this by saying that the guitars do not connect to any amplifiers and neither is he bring them along. The sound of just the acoustic guitar is not enough to disturb someone in the next room (speaking from personal experience). Dwayne claims it is only for recreational purposes and not his line of work.[irp]

Although music is still legal in Saudi Arabia and there is a growing trend for local musicians to emerge from the area, it should be noted that playing music in public places such as malls and restaurants are banned. This ban is due to the religious belief of some Muslims that Music is haram, and so that these religious people are not offended or disturbed, loud music has been banned. Dwayne can enjoy his music in the confines of his own home, and I guess something is always better than nothing.

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