Guarding Your Guitars: Protecting Against Theft and Ensuring Recovery

There are several reasons why thieves may target guitars for theft. Guitars, particularly vintage or rare models, can be valuable and fetch high prices on the black market. Some thieves steal guitars with the intention of selling them for a quick profit. Making our instrruments a more attractive target, guitars are relatively compact and portable, making them attractive targets for theft. They can be easily concealed even at live gigs and carried away, allowing thieves to make a swift escape.

While most musicians shy away from buying stolen gear, there is still a market for these wares. Guitars, especially those associated with famous musicians or iconic models, hold significant value among collectors and enthusiasts. Thieves may target specific guitars that are in high demand on the resale market, knowing they can find buyers willing to pay a premium.

For some thieves, the act of stealing a guitar may not solely be driven by financial gain. Guitars can hold sentimental value to their owners, and stealing such an item can cause emotional distress and disruption in someone’s life.

It is not just you and I that get targeted by these lowest-of-the-low thieves. Several famous musicians have unfortunately experienced the theft of their guitars. In 1970, Eric Clapton’s iconic “Blackie” Stratocaster was stolen from his rehearsal space. The guitar was pieced together from parts of several different Stratocasters and became synonymous with Clapton’s sound. In 1978, Tom Petty’s house was burglarized, resulting in the theft of numerous guitars, including his beloved 1965 Gibson SG and a blonde 1967 Rickenbacker 12-string. Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry had several guitars stolen in 1979, including his 1959 Gibson Les Paul. Lucky for Joe, the guitar was later recovered after being spotted in a music store.

These incidents serve as reminders that even renowned musicians can fall victim to guitar theft. It highlights the importance of implementing security measures and taking precautions to protect valuable instruments.

As a guitar owner, the thought of having your beloved instrument stolen is undoubtedly distressing. However, there are steps you can take to safeguard your guitars and increase the likelihood of recovery in case of theft. In this blog post, we will explore effective strategies to prevent guitar theft, recommend GPS tracking devices like TrackR, Tile, and SpyTec GPS, and delve into the possibilities offered by Apple’s AirTag for discreet tracking. Additionally, we will discuss the best places to search for stolen guitars, and highlight the importance of recording serial numbers and capturing detailed photographs for identification purposes.

Prevention Measures:

  1. Secure Your Home and Gigs:

a) Strengthen home security: Install a comprehensive home security system, including motion sensors, door/window alarms, and surveillance cameras. These measures act as deterrents and provide evidence in the event of a break-in.

Security systems often include surveillance cameras that capture video footage of the surrounding area. Cameras act as a deterrent as potential thieves know their actions may be recorded and used as evidence for identification and prosecution.

b) Locks and cases: Utilize high-quality locks on doors and windows, and store your guitars in secure, lockable cases when not in use. Consider using a lockable guitar display rack or cabinet for added protection.

c) Vigilance during gigs: When performing live, designate a trusted individual to monitor your gear during breaks. Store your instruments in a secure area backstage.

Tracking Devices:

  1. GPS Tracking Devices:

a) TrackR, Tile, and SpyTec GPS: These devices are designed to be discreetly attached to your guitar or case and allow real-time monitoring of their location using a smartphone or computer. By employing these trackers, you can increase the chances of recovering your stolen instrument.

  1. Apple AirTag: Hidden Protection

a) Concealing an AirTag: Apple’s AirTag can be discreetly hidden in the control cavity of your guitar. Its small size and adhesive backing make it an ideal tracking solution. Pairing the AirTag with your iPhone enables precise location tracking and monitoring via the Find My app, providing an additional layer of security.

Searching for Stolen Guitars:

Recording Serial Numbers and Photographs:

  1. Serial Numbers:

Documenting serial numbers: Record the serial numbers of all your guitars and store them in a safe place. In case of theft, having this information readily available will aid law enforcement and others in identifying and recovering your instrument.

  1. Detailed Photographs:

Capture distinctive features: Take detailed photographs of each guitar, focusing on unique aspects, hardware, and any identifiable markings. These images serve as crucial evidence of ownership and aid in identification if your guitar goes missing.

  1. Brick and Mortar Stores:

a) Local guitar shops: Inform nearby guitar stores, pawnbrokers, and musical instrument retailers about the theft. Share a detailed description, including unique features, serial numbers, and photographs, to increase the chances of identification if the stolen guitar surfaces locally.

  1. Online Marketplaces:

a) Vigilance on popular platforms: Regularly monitor online marketplaces such as eBay, Reverb, and Craigslist. These platforms often have dedicated sections for stolen musical instruments. Act promptly if you come across a guitar matching your stolen instrument’s description.

Protecting your guitars from theft requires a proactive approach and the use of innovative tools. By securing your home and gigs, utilizing GPS tracking devices like TrackR, Tile, and SpyTec GPS, and considering discreet options such as Apple AirTag, you significantly enhance the chances of recovering a stolen instrument. Remain vigilant on online marketplaces and inform local brick and mortar stores about the theft, providing detailed descriptions, photographs, and serial numbers. By following these precautions and measures, you can safeguard your cherished guitars and maintain peace of mind throughout your musical journey.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog post is for informational purposes only. The availability and effectiveness of specific security devices and tracking options may vary. Conduct thorough research, consult professionals, and adhere to legal regulations in your jurisdiction when implementing security measures.