or, “Why I don’t like leaving my music gear unattended anywhere”
I’ve heard some horror stories from musician friends of guitars / amps / effects pedals / double basses! and even an effects unit power supply going ‘missing’ but I learnt a different way early on that it just makes no sense to leave stuff somewhere – no matter how safe you think it’s going to be.
We’d arrived at a gig in a church hall early, we were to be the first of several bands playing that evening and the itinerary for the day had us there mid-afternoon for set-up and soundcheck and we’d then have a couple of hours to kill until the gig itself.
We set-up and ran through our check and then, because we were on first, left everything on-stage ready to go – we were assured everything would be ‘safe’ because there would be people around all afternoon.
On the way back to the venue, a couple of hours later, I knew something was wrong – in fact I knew, somehow, *exactly* what was wrong… I knew that when I got to the venue someone was going to tell me that my bass, which I’d left on it’s stand ‘ready-to-go’ was broken. I’ve often pondered that since and came to the conclusion that maybe I was being ‘prepared’ for the shock of it… but anyway, sure enough, when we arrived at the venue, someone came rushing over to me and said, “there’s a problem with your guitar…”
It seems that after we left the lead singer of one of the other bands went back-stage and, to make a grand entrance to his friends in the hall, burst through the stage curtains with a flourish… knocking my bass flying from it’s stand. It landed head first on the stage snapping the headstock clean off. Somewhere I have a photo (on actual real ‘film’) of the result – if I can find it I will post it for you* – but suffice it to say that my first ‘real’ bass was unplayable. I was able to borrow someone else’s bass for the gig, which presented a few challenges of it’s own (being set up for them) but at least the show went on.
I wish I’d hung onto my broken bass because I know now that it could probably have been repaired professionally… but I gave it to a friend who thought he could repair it (never saw it again, repaired or otherwise) and was able to buy my third bass, the white Aria that I played recently at the Easter Youth Pilgrimage at Canterbury Cathedral.
I think most folk don’t consider how musicians afford to accumulate the equipment they do and, of course, I can’t speak for everyone else, but my guitars and other musical equipment mostly represent *my* overseas holidays… in other words I go without other things that to buy the things I need. I mention this only because I thought I should explain why this little ‘accident’ was so significant to me; I had saved to buy that bass and it cost me to lose it.
So I don’t leave guitars on stands any longer than absolutely necessary and I always try to position them out of the way of even the most unlikely ‘traffic’ and I try not to leave equipment unattended anywhere. A costly but, in the long term, valuable lesson.
*Updated 28th April. Here’s that photo of my first ‘headless’ bass…