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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
When ever I see something here relative to stolen horns it just makes me heart sick! It has taken decades for me to collect & refine my gear. A stolen horn would feel somewhat like a death! I've been married 45 years, but I've owned my alto for 48!

So, the following are some of my personal rules for horn safety on the 150 gigs I'll play this year:

Horns are the last thing to go into their cases on tear down: I read somewhere (probably on SOTW) that people will try to walk out carrying a non descriptor black case, but few people will attempt to walk out the door carrying a fully assembled saxophone without a case!

All gear goes in & out of venues in one trip:Difficult but doable unless I'm providing PA for the gig. I've bought these fabric, collapsable, wagons from Walmart for $50. Best money I've ever spent! I can load tenor, alto, flute, stand, stool, 2horn stands, mic stand, & small suitcase carrying iPad, mic & cables...plus my vocalist's stool, stand & bag...all in one trip!

Horns ride in the trunk: Never inside the car where they can be seen looking through the window.

Horns in vehicles always covered by something. A blanket, the cases, anything to hide them from quick see & snatch.

Horns go in the house every night, never left in car.

So there you have it...WHAT HAVE I MISSED? WHAT CAN YOU ADD?
 

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Of course, you should have a name tag on the case, and one inside the case somewhere as well.

I don't follow this rule myself, but another saxophonist in my band has colorful bumper stickers from all over the place on her Selmer case. The case looks distinctive from any distance. It's as far from "nondescript black" as you can get.
 

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Interesting - I always deal with my horns first after a gig ends. I'm generally much more worried about them getting knocked off stands as everyone scrambles around to pack up than I am about having them stolen. I find most of the folks in the bands I play in are very aware so the likelihood of a random stranger walking into the middle of everyone packing up and grabbing a sax case is pretty small. Otherwise I follow your other suggestions. Putting instrument cases in the car and then walking away is a recipe for an unhappy ending at some point.
 

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Man I have one friend who showed up at a venue and I was like great to see you.

He said he was on break from playing down the street. I asked where his horn was and he said he left it on stage.

Its a five digit mark tenor in excellent condition.

I was like what????????
 

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Interesting - I always deal with my horns first after a gig ends. I'm generally much more worried about them getting knocked off stands as everyone scrambles around to pack up than I am about having them stolen. I find most of the folks in the bands I play in are very aware so the likelihood of a random stranger walking into the middle of everyone packing up and grabbing a sax case is pretty small. Otherwise I follow your other suggestions. Putting instrument cases in the car and then walking away is a recipe for an unhappy ending at some point.
That's it, man! I am grabbing my cases and packing up horns before the last note stops echoing. I have had too many roadies/band members in a hurry yanking wires without knowing or caring what it would bring down. Then I'll leave all my gear in one place for loading out later, but I pretty much don't take my eye off those cases. When loading out, I lock the trunk/liftgate after each trip and unlock it when I return with more stuff. It stays locked until I leave the site. When I get home, no matter when it is or how tired I am, it all comes in. If I have to spend the night somewhere, the horns come in. The rest of the stuff is just stuff that the music stores are full-of and I have insurance. But should somebody get any of my horns/mouthpieces, I would be in a hell of a fix. To say I'm like a mother hen with my stuff is a bit of an understatement. More like a mother hen on steroids and carrying a large pistol.
 

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To impose an alcohol limit on yourself might also be worth the while in protecting your gear. I know when I'm having too much fun I start leaving huge holes in security.
 

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A humorous anecdote ref: stolen horns. True story.

Once a friend of mine showed up to rehearsal looking just sick and depressed.

Me: "What happened, Sully?"
Sully: "Oh maaan, somebody stole my horns. An alto, a bari, a French horn and a flute."
"Where were they?", thinking they must've been in a high-risk location or in his apartment.
"In my car."
"Jeez, man, were you on a gig?"
"No, it was on the street where I live. Somebody just stole my horns. Yeah man, it doesn't make any sense. I thought they were safe. I left the windows in the car open for at least a week and nobody messed with them."

Now, Sully lived between the train station and the second largest school of music in the country. Needy music students passed en mass each day - with open car windows - for a week. Duh. LOL!
 

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My horns don't come out of their cases until everyone else is set-up and I know they'll be safe. They will then be back in their cases before the applause from the last song has faded out.

You never, ever put any instrument in a car, where the only thing between it and a thief is a piece of glass. And don't for a second think covering it with something else will make the slightest difference to whether or not someone is prepared to stove in your window - the chances that a thief would know what a sax case looks like is pretty slim, but they do know that something in the back of a car is probably worth the effort of breaking the window to get to whether they know what it is or not.

As so many others have already said, I never let my horns out of my sight unless they're in a backstage dressing room that only the band has access to.
 

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'You never, ever put any instrument in a car'

Umm, how do you get them home?

Okay, I guess you mean 'Don't ever leave them in a car', like parked in some other place or on the street. That's obvious, but good advice nonetheless.
 

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This is why I have a "gig horn." Actually I really love my gig horn and would be heartbroken if someone stole it, but I feel much more comfortable knowing I have about $1K invested in the object perched precariously on my sax stand as opposed to $7K.

I know many others prefer to play more expensive horns when they perform, but this is what works for me and allows me to relax and enjoy myself.
 

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This is why I have a "gig horn." Actually I really love my gig horn and would be heartbroken if someone stole it, but I feel much more comfortable knowing I have about $1K invested in the object perched precariously on my sax stand as opposed to $7K.

I know many others prefer to play more expensive horns when they perform, but this is what works for me and allows me to relax and enjoy myself.
I do the same. The Mark VI I've had forever started staying home a lot more after I had a guy walk up to me at a resataurant gig and ask me the serial number. Civilians know too much now.
Bar gigs, that's why they make Japanese saxes.
 

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That's it, man! I am grabbing my cases and packing up horns before the last note stops echoing. I have had too many roadies/band members in a hurry yanking wires without knowing or caring what it would bring down. Then I'll leave all my gear in one place for loading out later, but I pretty much don't take my eye off those cases. When loading out, I lock the trunk/liftgate after each trip and unlock it when I return with more stuff. It stays locked until I leave the site. When I get home, no matter when it is or how tired I am, it all comes in. If I have to spend the night somewhere, the horns come in. The rest of the stuff is just stuff that the music stores are full-of and I have insurance. But should somebody get any of my horns/mouthpieces, I would be in a hell of a fix. To say I'm like a mother hen with my stuff is a bit of an understatement. More like a mother hen on steroids and carrying a large pistol.
I agree with that. Right after that last note, my horn goes straight into the case and the case stays at my feet as I pack the rest. I've got one of these collapsible carts from amazon where all the small stuff goes into. It's usually a couple horns on the shoulders and the rolling cart heading back with me to my car.
 

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A lot of good ideas so far about protecting the horns. I use a heavy duty bicycle chain to hook the case handles (alto & tenor) to any solid item in the area of the stage. Maybe under the stage and chain them to a leg or crossbar while the band is loading in. If I am going on break (away from the room) I put the chain around the bottom curve of the bells then attach them to something solid.
 

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I use a heavy duty bicycle chain to hook the case handles (alto & tenor) to any solid item in the area of the stage. Maybe under the stage and chain them to a leg or crossbar while the band is loading in. If I am going on break (away from the room) I put the chain around the bottom curve of the bells then attach them to something solid.
Someone should invent a stand with a locking mechanism--like that Hercules grip stand, but more heavy duty, and with a long cable on the leg that can be looped around something heavy and locked down. That, or a horn with an easily detachable bell that can be carried away, making theft pointless, the way some bikes are designed.

I have this keychain gizmo that tethers to my phone via bluetooth. I can leave it in my horn, and if anyone moves it even an inch, it'll set off an audible alarm and notify my phone. Only works from a limited distance, though, and if it's a loud club the alarm might not be heard. There are probably even better solutions out there for the truly paranoid.
 

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If I have to use the toilet I get a band member I trust to watch my horns until I'm back.
I stay next to my horns blocking access to them on the stage or playing area.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
[I have this keychain gizmo that tethers to my phone via bluetooth. I can leave it in my horn, and if anyone moves it even an inch, it'll set off an audible alarm and notify my phone. Only works from a limited distance, though, and if it's a loud club the alarm might not be heard. There are probably even better solutions out there for the truly paranoid.[/QUOTE]

I WANT THIS!!!... Details?

I rarely play bar gigs anymore, however we have 2 or 3 regular venues that locate the band essentially in the front window of the restaurant or wine bar. It's designed to draw in people passing by on the sidewalk.... a good move on the venue's part.... I actually enjoy being by the front door & often act as the greeter! "Welcome! Someone will be right with you", guests don't expect that from the sax guy!... I've done it in the middle of a solo! I guess it's part of being an entertainer as well as an artist.

The down side of this is, I'm often only a foot inside the front door!!! Any "Snatch & grab" guy could be gone with my MkVI in a nanosecond!!

More info on the "KEY CHAIN GIZMO" please...pretty please.... pretty please with a cherry on top?
 

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More info on the "KEY CHAIN GIZMO" please...pretty please.... pretty please with a cherry on top?
Well, because you've asked so nicely, because:

http://www.hippih.com/hipkey

It's well-made and well-designed, and has several modes of operation. The alarm mode has a lot of latency, so is really only good if you're prone to leaving your phone behind on bar tables. But the child mode is better for keeping an eye on valuables, and the motion mode is pretty sensitive too.

The down side with the hipkey is that you need to be within bluetooth distance, so if you step into the restroom, you might disconnect and trigger a false alarm at the moment you're least able to do anything about it. It's pretty loud, and could disturb others sitting near your sax, especially if another band is playing. And it sometimes disconnects and triggers the alarm if you take a photo, which is also annoying. But I've had mine for years, and there might be alternative anti-theft devices out there by now. Even luggage now comes with built-in GPS trackers.

I had a hipkey in my case at last night's gig, though my horn never once left my sight, and went back into the car trunk the moment we were done.
 
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