Guitar Thefts, What To Do?

Yesterday I posted a story about a guy who tried to steal a guitar by shoving it down his pants.  I have noticed that there seems to be a growing number of news articles relating stolen guitars latley.  This motivated me to do some research on ways  guitarist can protect their guitars as well as what to do if they should have a guitar stolen.

Theft Prevention

Some of the practices I adhere to are:

  • I never leave my guitar or any equipment in my car.
  • When I do transport my equipment to gigs I cover up anything that can be viewed through a window in case I need to run into a store on the way to the gig.
  • Don’t advertise what you have.  I know we like to brag about our equipment, but the fewer people that know about it and how much its worth the better.
  • I don’t hang guitars on the wall where they can be seen from the street through a window.
  • If you are throwing a party where friends of friends and casual adequateness will be coming put your stuff away.
  • Don’t let your equipment out of your site at a gig.  If you have to go and relieve yourself during a break make sure another band member can watch your gear until you get back.  I have heard of plenty of guitars and pedals being stolen at the gig.
  • Going on an extended trip?  Hide your stuff.  Hopefully you have a nice TV and any burglars will take that and run.

Security Devices

I came across a couple of security devices that can be used to protect your axe.

The Snagg  “The SNAGG Microchip is an RFID microchip that emits a unique alphanumeric code number when scanned.  SNAGG’s unique secure property registry enables owners of SNAGG-enabled property to enjoy theft deterrent protection, enhanced property recovery (should your personal property be lost or stolen), protection of origin (necessary to prove authenticity when assets are sold or traded), and discounted personal property insurance rates.”

“The Snagg system relies on the power of the World Wide Web to connect owners with their priceless possessions. When an item is reported stolen, Snagg begins scanning their partner databases for these stolen items based on serial number, model number or other information. We even provide pictures to positively identify your product to pawnshops worldwide. When your item is flagged stolen, a report goes to necessary authorities including all information. The report includes instructions for obtaining a scanner if one is not readily available. Usually police use one of 400,000 standard pet scanners already available nationwide to prove the identity of the owner and return your asset.”

The Rock Lock  “The Rock Lock is one of the first Anti-Theft devices for Guitarists.  It is meant to prevent a crime of opportunity, and also keep that drunk guy off your axe while you break at gigs.”  The Rock Lock kind of looks like a bicycle lock that locks to the guitar then locks to something substantial like an amp in between sets.

I was surprised that I couldn’t find a small GPS device that could be mounted under the pickguard or in the control cavity.


When I was renting an apartment I was able to get renter’s insurance that covered all of my gigging and recording gear for about $20 a month.  Pretty cheap peace of mind if you ask me.  Currently my home owner’s insurance covers all of it.  Be sure to read the fine print and ask questions though, some policies may not cover your gear in certain circumstances.

Document all of your gear

  • Take lots of pictures including a clear shot of any serial numbers.
  • Make a spread sheet of all your gear including it’s serial number, brand, model, color, and any other pertinent information.
  • Keep all receipts organized.

You will need this information when making an insurance claim or when proving you are the owner of a stolen guitar that was recovered by the police.  It will also be useful when shopping the local pawn shops and classifieds for your stolen gear as well as for posting flyers at the local music stores.

What To Do If Your Guitar Gets Stolen

Besides contacting the police there are several services that may be helpful in recovering your stolen guitar and/or equipment.

Mugwumps Online Stolen Instrument List

Stolen Guitar Registry

Screaming Stone Stolen Instrument Recovery

Stolen Guitars On Facebook

Stolen Guitars In The News

Here are some of the bigger stories to come out recently involving guitar theft.  I actually found many more when searching police reports and small online newspapers.  I hope I don’t come across as being paranoid, I’d just rather be safe than sorry.  I actually had my car window smashed and stuff stolen in broad daylight in a matter of minutes.

Police Recover Stolen Guitars; Brothers Charged with the Theft

Thieves steal guitar meant for Sheryl Crow

Guitars plucked in raid on home

Shelby Lynne Pleads for Return of Stolen Guitars, Ukulele

$10000 Worth of Items Stolen From Fraser Guitar Store

Two of Vintage Trouble’s Guitars Stolen in Montreal

Tom Petty’s stolen guitars recovered, security guard arrested

Black day for band as guitars stolen in raid

Musical instruments stolen in Saltdean burglary

3 Comments on “Guitar Thefts, What To Do?”

  1. AiXeLsyD13 says:

    I do worry about this. My guitars are not expensive, but they’re odd. That SNAGG seems like a great idea, but it would be great if it was a GPS thing like w/ pets.

    Perhaps there’s a business opportunity there?

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