As we have discussed before, one of the most vital aspects of the music business is professionalism: If you sign up for a gig, you show up for the gig.
Reliable acts get booked. Flaky ones don’t.
Very little could be worse then missing a gig because your equipment got wrecked in transit. You lose the money for the show, you’re out replacement costs, and your reputation suffers as well.
It’s a problem many artists have faced but, in the end, prevention really is the best policy here.
Protecting Your Instruments When You Travel
1 – Invest in a good hard case.
If you’re going to be traveling with your instruments, you need to drop the money for a solid, dependable hard case. It will probably cost a few hundred dollars, which is unfortunate. However, when seen as an insurance policy against baggage-handler “whoopsies” wrecking an instrument and a gig, it’s an invaluable investment in the music business.
2 – Take instruments as carry-on when possible.
Nearly all the airlines and many bus and train lines will, if anything, encourage you to take instruments as carry-on specifically because of their fragility. This isn’t always possible (sorry, drummers!) but take advantage of it whenever you can. All things being equal, they’re a lot safer in an overhead compartment.
3 – Loosen anything that needs loosening.
Guitarists and drummers especially: don’t transport your equipment with strings and such tightly-wound. Since this puts extra strain on the instruments, it increases the chances of damage during transport.
4 – Consider smaller substitutes.
Do you really need to haul along that gigantic amp or mixing board?
There are plenty of apps available for tablets and smartphones that can replace heavy equipment at smaller shows with just a couple extra wires\adapters. If you can convert your iPad into a sound board, you’ll save a ton on transportation and potential damages.
Drummers might even consider virtual drum machines, rather than real ones.
An ounce of prevention can prevent very painful cures here: To succeed in the music business, always keep your instruments safe when you travel!