Hopefully not many of you have had to deal with this, and hopefully you never will, but there comes a time when a select group of us find ourselves the
Hopefully not many of you have had to deal with this, and hopefully you never will, but there comes a time when a select group of us find ourselves the victims of gear theft. For me, it was a first, even though I have been actively playing live since I was 15 years old.
On this particular night I was called up at the last minute, due to the originally slated act canceling because of car troubles. I jumped at the opportunity, as I don’t mind earning an extra $100 for a gig just a few blocks from home – three to four hours of music and my gas tank is filled back up. I had played the place numerous times and felt very comfortable performing there. I travel pretty light, toting my acoustic amp/PA, a Martin Jumbo and a 12-string Ovation, along with mics, stands and all of my other performance gear, so it was really no problem to help out at the last second.
Following the gig, I loaded up my gear into my parked truck, only feet from the main entry. I walked back inside to pick up my payment from the bartender, but it seemed that he was momentarily busy, so I sat down with a friend of mine and struck up a conversation. A few minutes later I remembered that I had left my truck unlocked. Heading outside, I looked into the back of my truck, only to find an empty space where my brand new Ovation 12-string guitar had been. I had bought it only three weeks earlier, and had been digging the expansive acoustic tones it produced. A USA model 2751 LX-4 from Lightning Joe’s Guitar Heaven, I had scouted out about a dozen various makes before settling on serial number #593993. The silver lining was that they left my Martin Jumbo – I would have been even more heartbroken had my trusty six-shooter taken flight.
Instead of heading home for some muchneeded shuteye, I found myself waiting around for another hour to file a police report. I soon realized that I had potentially four avenues for recovering my stolen instrument: insurance coverage on the credit card used to buy the instrument, my homeowner’s insurance, my auto insurance and my business insurance. I quickly found out that my auto policy was limited to what is actually attached to the vehicle, and my homeowner’s policy had a $1000 deductible for a claim – the purchase price was only $1299, and I reasoned that it wasn’t worth kicking the beehive for a measly $299. My credit card company refused to comment on If the purchase would be covered, and said that the process would require a variety of documents to be sent back and forth if it was to be pursued. I finally received a positive response from The Hartford, my business insurance company, and they informed me that I could file a claim for off-the-premises property with a $250 deductible.
Insuring your gear its well worth the homework – you’ll find out how much coverage you currently have, as well as how much coverage you need, so that you won’t have to keep making payments on an instrument you no longer have. Companies like Clarion Associates Inc. specialize in musical instrument protection (call 1-800-VIVALDI for a quote), and you can also find insurance through retailers like Musician’s Friend. These companies will pay you directly for any shipping damage, accidental damage or theft, but if you already have a renter’s or homeowner’s policy, a simple phone call to your agent will answer any questions you may have about the need for specialized insurance.
Of course, sometimes you just have to take your guitar’s safety into your own hands – I often install small microchips into the instruments we build, known as RFIDs (Radio Frequency Identification Device). This process embeds a serial number inside the object and can only be identified with a special scanner. They basically add proof of ownership that can be helpful without your presence. See snagg.com for more information; kits are available through stewmac.com. Technology has advanced so much within the last few years – cell phones can be traced to locations and everything is becoming increasingly wireless – that it will be interesting to see what advances in personal security take place. Perhaps it will be possible one day for your stolen guitar to call you and tell you where it’s at.
So make sure you take the steps to protect your gear – keep receipts of your gear purchases on file, submit any warranty information to the manufacturer and take the extra second to lock up your vehicle, even if you’re only going to be gone for “a few minutes.” If you have nice gear that isn’t easily replaced, you may want to consider contacting a dedicated instrument insurance agency for a quote, and keep records and photographs of the instrument on file – if nothing else, these will make it easier to create a flier to plaster around town. If you do become the victim of gear theft, make sure to file a police report as soon as possible. Notify all of the music stores and pawnshops in the area, and check eBay and Craig’s List to see if it has been listed. If you’re lucky, perhaps that wayward bird will find its way home.
Any questions or comments visit
email me at email@example.com
Fine Tuned Instruments LLC, home of his “b3” instruments.
Looking for more great gear for the guitar player in your life (yourself included!)? Check out this year's Holiday Gear Finds!
D'Addario XPND Pedalboard
DR-05X Stereo Handheld Recorder
Wampler Pedals Ratsbane
This full-amp-stack-in-a-box pedal brings a new flavor to the Guitar Legend Tone Series of pedals, Missing Link Audio’s flagship product line.
Adding to the company’s line of premium-quality effects pedals, Missing Link Audio has unleashed the new AC/Overdrive pedal. This full-amp-stack-in-a-box pedal – the only Angus & Malcom all-in-one stompbox on the market – brings a new flavor to the Guitar Legend Tone Series of pedals, Missing Link Audio’s flagship product line.
The AC/OD layout has three knobs to control Volume, Gain and Tone. That user-friendly format is perfect for quickly getting your ideal tone, and it also offers a ton of versatility. MLA’s new AC/OD absolutely nails the Angus tone from the days of “High Voltage” to "Back in Black”. You can also easily dial inMalcom with the turn of a knob. The pedal covers a broad range of sonic terrain, from boost to hot overdrive to complete tube-like saturation. The pedal is designed to leave on all the time and is very touch responsive. You can get everything from fat rhythm tones to a perfect lead tone just by using your guitar’s volume knob and your right-hand attack.
- Three knobs to control Volume, Gain and Tone
- Die-cast aluminum cases for gig-worthy durability
- Limited lifetime warranty
- True bypass on/off switch
- 9-volt DC input
- Made in the USA
MLA Pedals AC/OD - Music & Demo by A. Barrero
Sporting custom artwork etched onto the covers, the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One Humcutters are designed to offer a fat midrange and a smooth top end.
Billy Corgan was looking for something for heavier Smashing Pumpkins songs, so Joe Naylor designed the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One pickup. Sporting custom artwork etched onto the covers, the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One Humcutters have a fat midrange and a smooth top end. This pickup combines the drive and sustain of a humbucker with the percussive attack and string clarity of a P90. Get beefy P90 tone plus amp-pummeling output with the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One.
Patented Railhammer Pickups take passive guitar pickups to a new level with rails under the wound strings lead to tighter lows, and poles under the plain strings offer fatter heights. With increased clarity, the passive pickup’s tone is never sterile.
Railhammer Billy Corgan Signature Z-One Pickup Demo
For more information, please visit railhammer.com.
Designed for utmost comfort and performance, the Vertigo Ultra Bass is Mono’s answer to those who seek the ultimate gigging experience.
Complete with a range of game-changing design features, such as the patent-pending attachable FREERIDE Wheel System, premium water-resistant and reflective materials, shockproof shell structure and improved ergonomic features, the Vertigo Ultra Bass takes gear protection to the next level.
The Vertigo Ultra Bass features:
- Patent-pending FREERIDE Wheel System that allows for wheels to be attached on the case in no time, giving you the option to travel with it seamlessly
- Upgraded materials, including a water-resistant 1680D Ballistic Nylon outer shell, plush inner lining and new reflective trim for maximum backstage and night visibility
- Enhanced protection with a shockproof shell structure and heavy-duty water-resistant YKK zippers for protection from the elements
- Improved ergonomics and functionality including added back support and load-lifting detachable shoulder straps with side release buckles
- Flexible storage options with added space for touring essentials