Thoughts and things.

Musical instrument insurance 

Musical Instrument Insurance

 

Insurance is one of those things most of us don't want to think about. Homeowners, car, health, life. For musicians, instrument insurance is another one. Why do I need that? Nothing's going to happen to me. I take good care of my stuff.  Well, that's probably true. But there's always that one time.

My nephew plays drums with an up and coming band in Colorado. They've recently released their first EP and are very excited to be on the road promoting it and building their fan base. A couple of weeks ago they started out on a one week tour in California. Part way into the tour they came back to their hotel one night after a gig in San Francisco. Tired, they brought their guitars into the hotel room and crashed for the night. Around 7 o'clock the next morning they were awakened by a phone call from the front desk. Their SUV had been broken into about an hour earlier. They scrambled downstairs to find that someone had broken out a window and helped themselves to my nephew's drums, cymbals and stick bag full of sticks, mallets, and brushes. The thieves also took two BOSE sound systems, a lap top, the lead singer's suitcase, mics, cables, etc. You get the picture. The whole thing was caught on video but the police said this kind of thing happens all the time and the likelihood of them getting their gear back was slim to none. And you guessed it, no one had instrument insurance. A hard lesson to learn.

Most musicians spend years acquiring instruments and equipment. Over time it adds up to a huge investment that would be hard to replace if it was all lost at once. Or even if someone knocks over your prized guitar at a gig and it can't be repaired. That's why the cost of instrument insurance is well worth it. It's actually pretty inexpensive compared to having to come up with the money to repair or replace most if not all of your equipment. A quick Google search will reveal a number of companies that offer insurance for musical instruments. For the past number of years I've gotten my instrument insurance through a company called Music Pro Insurance (musicproinsurance.com). I found out about them through ASCAP, the performing rights organization I belong to. They cover my guitars, amp and PA, my laptop and Ipad (which I use for my music). I'm still very careful and protective of my equipment but it's reassuring to know that if something happened I'm covered by my insurance policy.

As for my nephew's band, The Heartstring Hunters, they were able to finish the tour with the help of equipment borrowed from folks along the way. The lead singer's sister started a Go Fund Me page to raise money for the band to replace their lost equipment. The band is getting back on their feet and grateful for the support from the community, family and friends. While their story has a happy ending, I wouldn't recommend counting on others to help pick up the pieces if and when you suddenly you find yourself in a situation like the one they went through. Invest in musical instrument insurance for the peace of mind you'll have knowing you're protected. I know the Heartstring Hunters are going to!

Capos 

Capos

 

According to the New Oxford American Dictionary, a capo is "a clamp fastened across all the strings of a fretted musical instrument to raise their tuning by a chosen amount." Some people swear by them and look at them as a tool while others consider them to be a crutch for weak guitar players. I myself have them in each of my guitar cases and don't have a problem using one when the song calls for it. Playing a song in different positions up the neck can create some interesting sounds and inspire me to play a little differently. In live concerts with another guitarist or recording multiple acoustic guitar parts I like the combined sound of one guitar being played with a capo and one without. 

I've acquired a collection of quite a few different capos through the years. Seems like someone's always coming up with a new and improved version and I've tried a bunch of them. I've noticed, though, that I tend to reach for the Kyser Quick Change capo pretty regularly. Those are the two large black and gold ones in the photo. Sometimes I'll feel the need for a change and grab the Shubb. (The silver and black one in the photo).

There's a capo out there for every style and taste and I've certainly got more than I can use. Then I recently saw an ad in Acoustic Guitar magazine for Thalia Capos (thaliacapos.com). They're beautiful capos that feature exotic wood and abalone shell inlays. Like a piece of jewelry for your guitar. I started to think, Hmm, that would look pretty cool on my D-28. Maybe I'll order one... And then I stopped myself. Maybe someday but for now I'll stick with the tried and true little arsenal of capos I've acquired through the years. They're working just fine.


Here are the links to the capos in the picture:
kysermusical.com
shubb.com
jimdunlop.com/products/accessories/capos
planetwaves.com
paigecapo.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 








 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My first amp 

My first amp

 

Many years ago (more years than I care to reveal here) I won an electric guitar and amp combo in a high school bazaar raffle. 25 cents a chance. I was about 10 years old and that's what got me started playing guitar. It was an inexpensive guitar, some nondescript brand, but to me it was as exciting as if I'd been handed a vintage Fender Telecaster. I practiced and practiced until I developed callouses on my little hands and then practiced some more. That guitar and amp were with me for a number of years until somehow the guitar slipped away. I don't remember if I sold it, traded it, or gave it away but it's long gone. I eventually wound up with other electrics along the way but I always came back to playing my acoustic guitar and haven't had an electric guitar for years. The little amp, however, has stayed with me to this day. Through the years it's made the moves with me from Albany, NY to Nashville, TN to Flat Rock, NC. I haven't used it in years but still, those tubes start glowing when I plug it in and turn it on. I don't know why I've held onto it for so long. Probably a combination of sentimental reasons and not knowing what to do with it.
It's a 25w tube amp made by Wabash Sound Projects Company. I've looked on-line for information but haven't been able to find any. I'd love to know more about it.
In the meantime, it's a little reminder of my early days of learning to play an instrument that led me into a life of music.




25 watt Wabash Amp