Going on a tour with a band or solo can be a lot of fun, but there’s a lot to think about. You’ve got to eat right, you’ve got to sleep somewhere (unless you’ve got an awesome van like I do) and you’ve got to keep your gear well-protected.
Many guitarists learn this the hard way. You can easily end up with a ruined guitar after only a short tour if you don’t know what you’re doing. Before you hit the road, take the time to keep your guitar well protected with these simple tips.
Keep guitars warm. Guitars can’t go from warm to cold to cold or from cold to warm very quickly or you’ll get ugly cracks in the finish and sound problems. You should keep your guitar at room temperature at all times on tour.
This can be tough when your gear’s in the trunk, so try to keep your guitar in the main part of your vehicle. Always bring all of your guitars and basses into your hotel room at night (or whetherever you’re staying), no matter how tired you are.
If your guitar does get cold, leave it in its case until it warms up. This can take a while sometimes. If you see a bluish hue appear on the finish of an acoustic or light-colored guitar, get it in its case right away or you’ll get cracks.
Think about humidity. Humidity or lack thereof can screw up a guitar on tour very quickly. If you own an expensive acoustic guitar and you don’t want to own an expensive paperweight, get yourself a guitar humidifier. These cost less than twenty bucks, they stay in your guitar, and they keep it well humidified to avoid serious issues.
Ideally, you should keep your guitars in 60% humidity or so, but it’s not always possible to do this on tour. Just try to keep an eye on humidity wherever possible and have tools like humidifiers and dehumidifiers ready to keep your guitar protected.
Theft is always a possibility. Never think that you’ve stumbled into the one club on Earth without greedy people in it. You should always keep an eye on your guitar, or it’ll get stolen. Get a locking case and watch your instrument. If you have to leave the room, get someone who’s running the show to watch your stuff. Many bands have been ruined by theft on the road, so you should think about theft while you’re touring, especially if you have expensive guitars.
You can buy musical instrument insurance while you’re on the road. If you own an expensive guitar or amp, this is a cheap way to protect yourself, and I highly recommend getting some music insurance quotes for your whole band. Gear is expensive–many musicians tour in vehicles that cost less than their guitars and amps, so why would you only insure your vehicle?
Pay a few bucks and stay protected. It’s worth the peace of mind.
Have any other tips for keeping your guitar protected during a tour? Post in our comments section below.