Have you heard about GearTrack? The online instrument database is a great way to catalog all your instrument and gear details and specs securely and anonymously before theft or loss occurs. The site also features a free searchable database of stolen instruments for second hand buyers and sellers, a stolen alert network via Facebook and Twitter to over 7500 Watch Dogs, and tips on instrument recovery.

GearTrack is a great way to get peace of mind. TCMU members can register at www.gear-track.com. A special promo code for Local 30-73 members will be available soon to upgrade your free account to VIP status for unlimited instrument & gear uploads. From amps to guitars to clarinets - get all your details in one place!

note from the webmaster: The link to GearTrack in the current issue of Duet is incorrect, as is the promo code. We will post the correct promo code here as soon as it is confirmed. You can sigb up for free, and upgrade your existing account when the promo code is made available.

If you’ve never been the victim of instrument theft, chances are you know someone who has. You’ve probably seen at least one Facebook post about someone’s stolen guitar/flute/violin in the past few months. Here are a few tips to keep your gear safe from GearTrack.

  1. Don’t Leave It In The Car
    No matter that extreme temperatures could play havoc on your setup. More importantly, car/van/trailer break-ins are one of the most frequent theft stories we hear. Not many folks want to lug a guitar into the grocery store, but nobody wants to have that gear stolen.
  2. Insure? Just Do It Already!
    Insurance carriers and policies vary widely. Don’t assume that your instruments are included in your homeowner’s policy – ask explicit questions to find out what yours covers. If you’re traveling or have ever earned a dollar with your ax, it may not be covered.
    The AFM offers some great tips & deals on instrument insurance, which is surprisingly affordable. Check with them and get yourself back on the road quick if theft occurs.
    Many instruments come with a paper trail (e.g. purchase receipts, appraisal documents, serial number certificates). If you have these documents, file them separately from your instruments and cases, and make copies for your safety deposit box.
    If you’re not so organized (and most of us aren’t), create your own documentation. Minimally, you’ll want:
    • Photos - Use good lighting & document all the scratches and dings (not just a photo of you in action).
    • Note Your Serial Number - Write it on the back of your photos and stash them away.
  4. Make Your Mark
    Try placing a sneaky hidden ID in your instrument (especially if it doesn’t have a serial number) in a place thieves wouldn’t think to look. Do the same with your case.
  5. Recovery Mode
    So you’ve played by the rules and someone still walked off with your gear. What now?
    Gather Your Docs & File A Police Report – receipts, photos, appraisals, serial numbers.
    Make & Distribute A Flyer - Include all those photos, details, contact & reward info. Distribute locally - think pawn shops & used retailers. Go viral and post to your social networks and email friends & family. All eyes on deck!
    Check Online Used Retailers - Monitor sites like eBay and Craigslist. Look in surrounding markets, not just your hometown. Thieves often post listings in other cities. (There are search tools online that allow you to search Craigslist nationwide.)
    Reach Out To Other Players - Participate in forums and communities specific to your instrument. These folks will feel your pain and are great eyes on the street for you.
    Use GearTrack To Be Your Online Flyer - List your stolen instrument at GearTrack for free and get Facebook, Twitter and Newsletter Alerts sent out to the world. You can share your gear listing with all your details easily with whomever will listen. (While you’re at it, upload the instruments that are safe at home and we’ll help you with your paper trail. Technology is your friend.)