With the amount of big-name artists getting their gear stolen these days (Animals as Leaders, Guthrie Govan, Alexisonfire, and even Kiesel Guitars just to name a few) there’s one major lesson to be learned: no one is safe from gear theft!

But there is good news, there’s a lot you can do to make sure it doesn’t happen to you! Even if it does, there’s also lots of ways to help ensure you get it back, safe and sound. With thousands of dollars invested into our craft, we can’t be too careful. Here’s our list of 7 ways to protect your gear from theft.

1) Keep A Gear Spreadsheet

One of the best things I ever did for myself was to take an hour out of my day to take pictures of all my gear, get serial numbers from everything, and put it into a big spreadsheet. If anything ever gets stolen from you, having as much information on your gear as possible is key to getting it back.

If you have more information you can add, that’s even better. Document any notable damage, unique marks, or special modifications you’ve made to any of piece of gear you have. The easier it is to identify, the easier it is to get it back.

If you don’t have Excel or the money to spend on a similar program, you can use the free spreadsheet tools in Google Drive to keep track of everything. Don’t forget to include an estimated cost of everything, this is especially helpful for insurance purposes. Which brings us to our next point…

2) Get Insurance

I know we’re all broke musicians, but if you can afford insurance for your gear… DO IT. This should be one of the most obvious ones, but many people don’t bother with this. We can relate, it’s not cheap, but at least if your gear is stolen you’re not going to walk away completely empty-handed.

Lose your gear, but get money to buy it back… this one is a no-brainer.

3) Customize Your Gear

If you can make your gear unique, it’s going to be harder to get away with stealing it, not to mention reselling it. Change the knobs on your guitar, swap pickups, get new amp knobs, retolex your cab, whatever you want!

We know not everyone wants to mark up their precious gear, so there’s two other effective options…
You can mark up your equipment cases. Whatever you carry your gear in, whether it be your guitar case, cymbal bag, or amp cover, you can mark it with your name and contact info or just an identifying mark if you’d like. Spray paint it on, sew it on, whatever gets the job done.

Option number two would be invisible markings. A touch of glow in the dark paint inside the neck pocket or a control cavity is a great way of hiding a mark that only the real owner knows is there.

(If you are looking for some good ideas to customize your gear, check out our Replacing Tuning Machines or How to Replace Your Pickups articles.)

4) Security Tools Are A Must

There’s so many tools out there to keep your gear safe, you’d be crazy not to take advantage of them. If you’re buying a case, be sure to buy one with a lock on it for starters. That’s not all, though! There’s locks for your guitar itself to keep people from running away with it, there’s padlocked pedalboard cases, and more.

One specific tool worth mentioning is designed for your trailer when touring. DeWalt makes a trailer lock and tracking system combo called the Mobile Lock, and it is full of awesome features. From GPS tracking, to an alarm system, to notifications on your phone when the trailer is moved, it’s hard to say no to a product that good.

(PRO TIP: When not in use, parking your trailer with the doors right up against a wall can be it’s own free safety measure. Get creative with your security solutions!)

5) Keep It Hidden

Don’t be an idiot. Keep your gear hidden! If it doesn’t need to be in your immediate vicinity for some reason, then it’s probably best to tuck it away. The more people in a room, the higher the likelihood that one of them may take too strong of an interest in that custom guitar.

If it’s in your car, put it in the trunk or under a blanket so no one can see what it is. If it’s in a venue, put it in the green room or behind the stage. You can’t steal something if you don’t know where it is!

6) Get The Word Out (Not Just To Facebook!)

If your gear gets stolen, you need to make sure everyone knows. File a police report, make a public post on Facebook for people to share, and notify any other relevant establishments such as local pawn shops, music stores, etc. Heck, even set up Craiglist and eBay notifications for your gear.

If you eliminate any possible way for someone to resell your gear, then you might just find it easier to get it back. At the very least you’ll have a team of important and relevant people behind you who know what’s been stolen, and that in itself is seriously powerful.

Don’t just inform the public, inform the important establishments that could directly deal with your stolen gear. Cover all bases, from posters on the street and Facebook posts, to police reports and Google Alerts.

7) Don’t Think You’re Different

Don’t think this won’t happen to you.

We’ve all left our guitar on the stand in a packed house to go get a beer or use the washroom, thinking “What could 2 minutes hurt?” In reality, it could hurt you for thousands of dollars.

Don’t take avoidable risks, don’t rely on luck and positive thinking, be smart. Your attitude towards protecting your gear is the most important thing, because your attitude is what will make you put these tips into practice.


We hope you enjoyed this article! If you did, make sure to check out more, because we upload new reviews, technical articles, lessons, and more daily!

Also, we are a dealer for many beloved brands such as PRS, Ibanez, Mayones, Schecter, ESP, and more! Feel free to stop by our shop and we can help you find the right guitar for you at the best price possible.

This article was written by Connor Gilkinson, our editor located in Canada.

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