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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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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2017
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I too case my instruments immediately after a gig. I carry them off stage and into a "safe zone" where I give them a quick wipe and get packed up.

When a sound company or our own road crew go to strike a stage, it becomes the most dangerous hour (or two) of any gig. Everyone's tired and some of them are probably buzzed. Everyone want's to go home or back to the room or anywhere but the venue.

Festival and concert gigs always have security so I don't mind leaving instruments on stage after sound check. Depending on the gig, I'll leave them onstage during breaks at bar gigs too. The requirement is that there has to be a stage high enough that people cant fall onto it. Our sound and lights guys watch the stage on breaks. We are all over 50 and no longer have the motivation to try and do all the work ourselves...

Even with a road crew however, I handle my own instruments whenever possible... Sometimes they just have to go on the truck though. When that happens, you just have to trust it will all be OK. Our guys care about the gear and seem to care about us, so they treat it pretty well and I think they feel important (which they are) when they are watching our backs...
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2007-
alto: 82Zii/Medusa/Supreme, tenor: Medusa, bari: b-901, sop, sc-990
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My friend that does hundreds of gigs a year always leaves his Mark six on stage during the breaks. But… He moves it to the back of the stage where most people wouldn’t see it. Most importantly, he always takes his mouthpiece off and puts it in his pocket for the duration of the break. Most players would rather lose their horn than their mouthpiece.
 

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Many areas that I play are so tight that I have to move my gear to get into playing position.
Horns move easier than keys.
Either way there is no safe spot.
 

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Wow! Things must be tough in the US. I'm not saying it doesn't happen here in Australia, but it's rare (except for guitarists I think). In fact in 50+ years of playing in a city of 3-4 million, I can't recall a saxophone or clarinet ever being stolen other than when a car has been stolen with the instruments inside. Others may have a different experience.

Damage on gigs is a different thing and a regular occurrence.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2007-
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Things must be tough in the US. I'm not saying it doesn't happen here in Australia, but it's rare (except for guitarists I think).…
I think you are right. Even here in the US, it's pretty rare to have a sax stolen on the job. I did have one stolen a few years ago when a storage unit was broken into. But that thief was just grabbing stuff, not targeting musical instruments.
 

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When I play out, a sax is either in my hands or in its case strapped to my back. I never leave it on the bandstand; never, never, never. It never leaves my sight. I take it with me into rest room stalls. Am I compulsive? Paranoid? Naah, just cautious. Still own the two saxes I started out with in the 1970s. They may not be irreplaceable, but I've customized them & we've shared some history.
 

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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.
Maybe you could use a bike lock, through the bell brace, and you could attach it to the stand somehow. Someone could still pick the whole thing up, but it would be impossible to put it in a case, and anyone walking around with a horn and the stand still attached by a lock is going to look very suspect.
 

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True, though if the sax were cabled to a mic stand, should a roadie innocently move the stand between sets, it could well pull the horn down and drag it along the stage.
 

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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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The problem area is between the back door and the equipment van. Before the event or after. That three seconds the van is unattended between band members or roadies moving the gear in or out. Always leave somebody at the van. The food stop on the way home as the next place of exposure. We never eat without being able to see the vehicles.
 

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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.
+1

If you don't put it in the case right away, someone will knock into it,,,most likely a band mate.
 

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me too!
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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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.
yes! the yamaha get most of my gigs while the selmers stay home
 

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I used to have both silver-plated Yamaha Custom Z alto & tenor, they used to stick out on stage...after awhile I got annoyed with the Yamahahaha's sound, and couldn't take it no mo!...so I got rid of them and now play both a King super 20 alto and tenor. I don't worry about them at all on stage. Only thing is while on break I take both mpc's with me, while I go get a drink.

If something were to happen to my horn's, no biggie, just replace them is all, although I'd hate to lose my King Super 20 alto, as it's a beast!...But No, I don't worry about my horn's at all when I gig!
 

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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. None of my other horns are very remarkable; Selmer USA tenor, Selmer USA alto and Chinese bari and sop, but as somebody said, I have very good mouthpieces on all that cannot be replaced, so losing a mouthpiece with a horn you've had a long time would be bad. Its like this - I'm 73, and I have no idea how long I will be able to gig - I'm doing great and am extremely fortunate to be able to do what I do, but sooner or later I'll have to either think about retiring or the decision will be made for me by not being able to get a gig. I play in 'nostalgia' bands but its still pretty energetic music - '50s/'60s mainly. So, I'm going to enjoy that MK VI as often as I want. It just so happens that this year I plan to get a really good overhaul on it or as they say today 'mechanical restoration', which probably will be its last major service, at least with me. In fact, I will also be doing two more horns - the USA tenor and alto. The bari is new and I'm replacing the soprano now after 20 years - wait till you see the new one! Believe me, you're never safe from GAS, I don't care how old you are or how long you've been playing - just when you think you will never buy anything else, a certain mouthpiece pops up for sale or you spot a certain horn.
 

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Good Lord. What kind of seedy joints do you guys gig at where you need to take your freaking horn into the bathroom with you?! I truly believe this all boils down to common sense. TRY to avoid leaving your horn out of sight during a gig (break, meal, whatever), but yeah, I guess if the paranoia is that high, pack it up during breaks and either chain it down or attach a dummy hand grenade to it. Honestly, I'm more worried about other band members knocking my stuff over and/or damaging something than someone trying to literally walk out with my horn(s). I do however carry a nice insurance policy with me. A .45 caliber one.
 

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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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Why call it paranoia? It's caution, which costs me nothing. A place wouldn't need to be "crawling with criminals and thieves"; one thief would be sufficient.

Can I ever know for certain that my horns would have been stolen, had I not consistently taken extreme precautions? Of course not. I never had to find out. That's the point, isn't it?

I've still got my horns. If somebody had ripped 'em off, were you gonna replace them?
 
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