Working at a music venue, we always joke that we should open up a second-hand store next door and sell the abundance of guitar stands left behind every single week. Being a musician isn't usually a lucrative business so we can't imagine most artists have money to throw away on new guitar stands after every show. This blog post will give you a few pointers on how to keep track of your gear.
Colored duct tape is a cheap and effective way to differentiate your gear from that of other bands and save you the headache of missing items. Pick a color for your band and stick a piece on every guitar case, instrument cable, amp, mic stand, guitar stand, and foot pedal that you own. When you're packing up your gear it's a lot easier to know what mic cable is yours and which belong to the other bands or venue. Additionally, on bigger and more expensive items write your band name and phone contact. That way when you mistakenly leave that $2,000 guitar in the green room, the venue knows exactly who to call.
When you start to accumulate a large amount of equipment for your band, it might be time to come up with a simple inventory system. Put together a simple spreadsheet of all your gear and attach it to your van or trailer door. When loading out for the night, check off each item on your inventory list to ensure you have everything accounted for before moving on to the next town.
Beyond your inventory list you use for your shows, we recommend keeping a detailed list of every major piece of equipment you own for the band. Write down the model, serial number, and price of each item in the unfortunate circumstance that it gets stolen or you need to file an insurance claim. Email it to yourself to archive it whenever you update it. It won't do much good if it's in the guitar case that just got stolen.