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Caring for your rig during/after gigs and parking lot safety.

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by FingerDub, Feb 8, 2017.

  1. FingerDub

    FingerDub SUSPENDED Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2016
    I'm inspired to start this thread because of 2 local incidents with musicians I know who had their equipment stolen in the last few weeks.

    In one incident, the person packed up their stuff and put it in the back of their Suburban and went home. Being tired, left his stuff in the back. He lives in a very nice neighborhood. He was followed home from the venue, and they broke into his car getting a 2K pedal steel, 72 Telecaster and his amp. Came out in the morning and everything was gone. The other guy fell asleep not wanting to drive drunk, and they simply opened his door and took his bass.

    Now, I personally wouldn't do these things, but I did want to start a larger conversation about caring for your gear and what you do with it after shows. The thing that bothers me the most is after gigs. I always take my stuff out to my car after and put it away. But, I feel like that is the time it's most vulnerable. If the gig is close to home, I'll just run it home and come back, but that's not always an option. And a lot of the crowd that came to see us are close family and friends and I wan't to hang out with them and I don't always want to bail, but I'm paranoid about leaving stuff in the car while I stay inside. Short of only hanging out in the parking lot after, I don't know what to do otherwise. Even places that have equipment rooms not in the public's view scares me, there are probably inside jobs going on all the time.

    I know there is no fool proof method to avoid ever having your gear stolen, but here are some things you can do to prevent theft:

    Before the gig, don't leave your car or parking lot until it's time to load in.

    Put your stuff in your car right after. Carry pepper spray or similar just in in case.

    During shows, I stay near my equipment. I'll schmooze after. It only takes a second to unhook a micro amp and run off with it, especially if the stage is near the door, as it sometimes is. I'm not so worried about a guy running off with my 70lb cab. Anybody who has gigged enough knows that creepy loner dude who kinda hangs out in your general area. I don't think you can be too careful.

    Gig with crappy gear. I personally don't like this idea, but it's a precaution. I bought my nice instruments and cabs to use them, not collect dust. I could always gig with my bastard 4x10 I got for $100 and beater bass, but I don't want to.

    I'm not a pro and don't make mass money off my gigs, insurance on my instruments is too expensive for what it is worth, IMO.

    Be able to make one trip in and one trip out - then you don't have to rely on someone else to watch your gear while you leave and come back. Be aware in the parking lot, look for anything or anyone suspicious.

    I'm not sure you can do much else, if if there are any other ideas, please post them.
  2. Seanto


    Dec 29, 2005
    For me, it's a matter of not bringing too much extra gear. The only thing that might be sitting in the car is a backup electric bass, and the backup is a MIM Fender Jazz, so nothing boutique. I don't bring a backup amp, i depend on the house PA system as the backup.

    Luckily my upright bass is not all that easy to steal, and i would never leave it in a vehicle for any extended amount of time to avoid warping.

    I think having less expensive gear is a good thing for a bar band too. Have functional gear, but you don't need a $3,000 bass for a drunken bar gig.
  3. ShadowImage

    ShadowImage Guest

    Jan 12, 2016
    Wow can't believe they followed that guy home! Crazy. Are you saying the other guy fell asleep in his car and they stole his bass while he was asleep in there??

    Personally I have been guilty of driving home and leaving the 410 in the back of the car until morning because it's late and I don't live in a bad neighborhood... should really stop doing that.

    I HATE gigs that don't have at least a little space to leave your gear offstage before/after your set. I avoid these venues like a plague. When it's unavoidable, we assign one band member to take turns watching over the "gear car/van".
    FingerDub likes this.
  4. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    • Load in/out as a band
    • Be professional - You're not there to drink, party, pick up women; you're there to play music
    • Understand you have to protect your family. Your gear is your family
    • If you stay in shape, and work hard, you can play shows and be professional about it. If you choose to takes risks because you're "in it for the fun," then understand you may pay the price from time to time
    • Don't cry on here if you do that - no one will be sympathetic*
    *actually that's not true; people will be sympathetic. Not me, but people
  5. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    Around here, most gear seems to get stolen from parked cars, being left in such by the owner overnight. I never leave gear in my car. It gets removed and locked away as soon as I arrive home.

    Otherwise, we make sure the trailer is attended during loading and unloading, and all cars stay locked with no gear in site during the gig.

    Finally, get insurance in case the unexpected happens.
  6. elgecko


    Apr 30, 2007
    Anasleim, CA
    Never put your gear in your car unless you're planning on getting in and driving it to the gig or home!

    Take care of business and say your goodbyes first. If your load requires more than one trip, always take heavy/cheap stuff during the first trip and don't dilly dally! Get that second load and go home. The only stops you should be making are for gas and at a drive through for grub. NEVER leave your instrument(s) unattended in your vehicle...ever!
    Roosevelt, Munjibunga, tmw and 5 others like this.
  7. TheBear

    TheBear Bergantino Artist, Vibe9 IEM Artist Supporting Member

    Jun 15, 2008
    Austin, TX
    When I'm driving home alone in my car after a show: I typically take the heavier and/or more replaceable stuff out before my nicer things. Load up my vehicle and leave immediately, always paying attention to who's behind me and if I feel it prudent taking an excessively long trip home (like driving for 15 miles in the wrong way on the interstate then suddenly exiting and turning back). Once home I make sure nobody is around (or wait until I'm alone) and then load in quickly, nice stuff first then the rest.

    When I'm leaving with the band after a show: I take turns with everyone breaking down the gear inside and moving it all out at once to the trailer. Once it's packed up we may hang out for a while outside the bar with patrons but never leave the gear, trailer and vehicle alone.
  8. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Looking for a gig around East Islip, NY!

    Jan 13, 2008
    It's funny. I remember leaving my SVT in the back of my opened SUV numerous times unattended and would say, "if someone can run off with it then they've earned it." It never got stolen.

    My smaller things like my micro head, bass, and board are always with me or in clear sight.

    In general, my thoughts on protecting gear is the same as protecting myself. Observe your surroundings when you arrive. Scan for exits and blind corners. Pay attention to those around you. Don't stay in one spot longer than necessary (like a garage or alley). Keep valuables and easy to carry items close. Have someone watch gear whenever possible.
  9. Two words - concealed carry.
  10. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    1) Make nice with the bouncers. Chat them up before you do anything else. Thank them for looking out for you. Send them a song. I once saw a bouncer clothesline a guy knocking him out cold because he picked up a guitar case and headed for the door. Plus, they'll look out for you at the end of the night. I have even tipped a few to watch my car from the door while I finished up inside.

    2) I'm not suggesting you do this, but I have something tucked in the back of my belt during load out. It has gotten me out of trouble twice.

    3) If you don't have a garage, you have ever to take your gear inside at the end of the gig.

    4) Here's the most important one. LIGHT!!! My neighborhood is a nice neighborhood. But it is sandwiched in between a 24 hour store 500 yards in one direction and a not so nice neighborhood 500 yards in the other. We get lots of questionable foot traffic. We also deal with a lot of theft. Mine is one of only two houses that has never been hit. Why? It's lit up like a football field on game night. There are lots of flood lights around my house and porch lights as well. When we first moved there I would buy a few LED bulbs a month (too cheap to get them all at once) until I was all LED on the outside. Now I'm burning less than 100W and you simply can not sneak up on my house. What's the other house that hasn't been hit? The one next to mine. These were taken just now.
    20170208_210030. 20170208_205924. 20170208_205854.
    SwitchGear, bpmben, Oddly and 9 others like this.
  11. kesslari

    kesslari Groovin' with the Big Dogs Staff Member

    Dec 21, 2007
    Santa Cruz Mtns, California
    Lark in the Morning Instructional Videos; Audix Microphones
    Don't think that would have mattered in either of the cases the OP cited.
  12. FingerDub

    FingerDub SUSPENDED Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2016
    This matters, because this first dude does conceal carry. They picked the right time to rob him.
    DiabolusInMusic likes this.
  13. mc900ftj


    Jan 21, 2014
    In a lot of ways, you really do make your own luck. Use common sense. Don't leave stuff unattended, be a little paranoid, don't get stupid-drunk. Beyond that, poopie happens, but at least you tried.

    Oh, and (legally) carry a sidearm. :rolleyes:
  14. ShadowImage

    ShadowImage Guest

    Jan 12, 2016
    We CANNOT be in a band together!!!11! :bawl: wait... how about you play the music so can I get drunk, party and pick up the women? :bassist:
  15. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    You're never safe enough/
    My buddy lost his Strat while loading out.
  16. JGbassman

    JGbassman Supporting Member

    May 31, 2011
    For club gigs, I leave my gear in the club until I am ready to leave, and it's rarely not in sight of at least one band member. My gear gets put in my car, covered with a blanket so it can't be seen, and the last thing that goes are my basses. Everything else is in road cases and not easy to lift.

    The gear goes in, I leave. It doesn't sit unattended, uncovered in a parking lot. Once home, my gear goes in. I will leave the cab in the car covered until the next morning so I don't wake up everyone bringing it in, and I've never had an issue.
  17. QweziRider

    QweziRider Supporting Member

    Sep 15, 2008
    Northern Nevada, U.S.
    A .45 for me. ;)

    I'm fortunate that the vast majority of my gigs are in casino/hotels or theatres. So if it's a multi-night affair, up to the room my stuff goes. The "hang" afterward is much more enjoyable that way. On the last night of a run, there is no "hang", so straight to the vehicle and the 7 hour drive home. If it's a one night gig, still no hang for me. 7 hour drive home.

    Insurance!!! A must for me. And much more affordable than many know.

    And finally, I make sure I can get everything to and from the vehicle in one trip. All on one cart. That way, nothing is left alone at either end.

    Oh...and always keep one in the chamber of the .45...just in case.
  18. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    1. Don't get drunk.
    2. Load out as a group.
    3. Unpack when you get home.
  19. I do leave gear in my car overnight after a gig, but never my instruments or my smaller gig board. Sometimes I do leave the Death Star in (a PT Pro) and having that stolen would suck because it's over $1K worth of pedals. But I usually either garage my car or back it up my driveway so the hatch is right up against the garage door. There is a motion sensor LED light by my garage. I've been lucky so far.
  20. If you're carrying, you can't afford to get drunk. Carrying is more useful than drunkeness.

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