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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.
+1. This is how I always do it; horn stays in the case until set up is complete and is back in the case first thing after the gig, prior to breaking down other equipment. It never occurred to me to do otherwise.

As to theft protection on the gig, once my horn is out on the stand (sometimes safely stowed behind the drum kit), it's never out of my sight or another band member's sight. When in its case, it's never out of sight and usually close at hand. I don't leave it in the car as a rule, but if I do have to leave it for a short period, it's in the trunk, assuming the car is parked in a relatively 'safe' location. I never leave the horn in the car (trunk or otherwise) overnight. It comes in the house immediately when I get home.
 

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Wow! Things must be tough in the US.
I've never had a problem with anyone stealing my sax. Maybe I'm lucky, but I still use common sense prevention, as described in the posts here. On a gig I'm more worried about someone damaging the horn by knocking it down or picking it up and dropping it, etc. Most audience members have no idea of the value of saxes. To the average person, I bet my shiny silver plated Buescher would be a more tempting horn to steal than my ratty-looking MKVI with much of its lacquer gone. Obviously a knowledgeable horn player would know the difference, but how many of them are walking around who are also thieves? I won't say "none," but I think the odds are with you when in the venue. Anything you leave in your car, especially in plain view is a different matter!
 

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I play my MK VI tenor. I have a back-up tenor that I really like and sometimes I use it, but most of the time I use my MK VI.

I'm going to enjoy that MK VI as often as I want.
+1. This is exactly where I'm at. No point it having the MKVI (or any top quality horn) if you leave it at home when you go out to play gigs.

And I agree with jgreiner; there's no point in being overly paranoid about all this. Most venues I play are not crawling with criminals and thieves. I used to play in a lot more 'dive bars,' and some of them were places where you did have to maintain a certain level of awareness. But the dive bar gigs seem to be drying up and the ones that still exist don't pay enough to be worth it.
 

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..one thief would be sufficient.
Yes. I agree. If you read my previous posts on this thread you'll see I take all common sense precautions. You're right, caution is not equivalent to being overly paranoid, which was my point. For example, I definitely don't walk around armed to the teeth, ready to shoot anyone who even looks at my horn! I guess that's where my agreement with jgreiner ends; seems his 45 caliber insurance policy somewhat contradicts his point about not being paranoid. :)
 

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But what I really want to say here is that out of all of these posts, no one mentioned being prepared to give a detailed description on the police report! Do any of you have the serial numbers of your instruments written down and more importantly, handy where ever you may be?
This is a good, and relevant, point. Definitely a good idea to know the serial number. Another thing I did a while back was have my tech give me a valuation of the horn. That's important if you have it insured, but also a good written record of the make, model, condition, value, and serial number.

I'll leave the gun discussion to experts like Dave, but in terms of not being a victim, having spent much of my life, especially early on, in clubs, bars, and dodgy parts of town, I learned long ago that your mental state, awareness level, and how you act can go a long ways to avoiding confrontation and becoming victimized. I saw a lot of 'victims' bring it on themselves either by total lack of awareness, or more often, how they acted. That certainly doesn't excuse the perpetrator, but it's a factor. And Dave, I'm sure you know a lot more about that stuff than I.
 

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Well stated, Dave. I sure agree with all of that. If I gave it enough thought, I could write a dissertation on all the times I have used 'situational awareness' to save my #@* (maybe a bit of luck too, but you sure can't rely on luck). Mostly in my younger days when I was 'out and about', hitchhiking around, going places and doing things I no longer have the inclination to do these days. But, man, you have to pay attention and keep your wits about you, as well as take precautions like 'hardening the target' (good phrase). I guess this is straying a bit off topic, but it does apply to protecting your equipment on gigs, etc.
 

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Assume that no horn is safe unless you're blowing thru it.
Even that's no guarantee, if you aren't watching; see that drunk lurching around on the dance floor, getting ready to stumble and take a dive right toward you? That could result in a visit both to your sax tech and the dentist!
 

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JL: Been there. DAVE
Yeah, I've had some close calls. Had to jump out of the way a few times. And I did watch a fellow sax player right next to me get his horn pushed into his teeth. Luckily he only suffered a cut lip and the horn was ok, but it could have turned out much worse.
 

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Oh, man! Is he still here? Somebody should call a cab & send him home to sleep it off.
He'll only replaced by another drunk out in the audience blowing a harmonica in the wrong key...
 

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Incessant vigilance was the price of living in an exciting, beautiful, forward-looking, creatively & culturally stimulating city.
I was also (extremely) lucky to grow up in Berkeley/Oakland (lived in both cities & of course they are basically merged into one). But the need for vigilance or awareness is not limited to any one city or location. Over the years, like a lot us, I did a fair amount of traveling and I can tell you there are much more dangerous places than the Bay Area! But, as someone pointed out about thieves earlier in this thread, all it takes is one. And it's really not a matter of being paranoid. Awareness (the term I prefer) is a good thing overall, which can enrich your life as well as help prevent you being victimized.
 

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There is a lot to be said about not acting or looking like a victim. Of course, when one is not paying attention or is distracted, it becomes easier for a thief to make off with your stuff.
+1. Yeah, that was my point also, Dave. FWIW, I've never carried or felt any need for a gun*, but I wasn't in your line of work!

*But, hey wait a minute, with one exception; I did have to carry a rifle when I worked as a geologist in Alaska, due to the potential threat of Grizzly Bears. I still hated carrying the damn thing, not because it was a gun, but it was heavy and awkward when climbing around in the mountains. My first couple of weeks I would leave it at the start of my traverse and pick it up later when the helicopter picked me up at the end of the day.... then one day a saw a bear nearby. I had the rifle with me at all times after that. (sorry for the diversion, but I did have to admit to carrying a gun at one time)
 

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So... you asserted your right to arm for bears.
Yeah, 'loaded for bear.' That was back in the '80s-early '90s and I haven't had the need to arm myself with a gun since, thankfully. I carried a 30-06 bolt action rifle because in the bear-shooting class they had us take, I found I could get off several shots using the bolt, and 'kill' the cardboard bear attacking me while it was being pulled forward on a clothesline! Whether or not it would have worked in a real situation, I don't know and luckily never had to find out. (Of course the survivalist guy teaching the course told us what we really needed was a fully automatic assault weapon, but the USGS was wise enough not to issue those to us.)

No Grizzly bears on the gigs I play. A drunken stumble bum can probably do as much damage to your horn, though, so stay alert...
 

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Civilians know too much with the inter web thing they have now.
I've had a mint SBA stolen. I know what it feels like to have a prized tool taken.
I think this is probably a good point. Pre-internet days I never worried too much about anyone being tempted to make off with my ratty-looking MKVI with half its lacquer missing, assuming, and rightly so back then anyway, that they had no idea it was worth enough to be worth stealing. But then again, it only takes one knowledgeable thief...
 
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