The guitar is one of the most sold musical instruments in the world. According to an industry census of the United States guitar market, 1.6 million to 2.5 million guitars were sold each year from 2005 to 2013. In 2020, there will be roughly 2.7 million guitars sold. These figures are astonishing already, even though it is only based on the U.S. market.
In 2020, the average guitar price was $609. The most expensive guitar that was ever sold at an auction cost was priced at $6,010,000. This guitar was Kurt Cobain’s 1959 Martin D-18E acoustic guitar, which he played at Nirvana’s iconic MTV Unplugged in New York concert. These figures show that guitars have market value.
Its high value in the market is why guitars are also a target for thieves. In 2020, Sweetwater, a renowned musical instrument retailer, reported that 13 custom-made Gibson guitars valued at nearly $100,000 were stolen from their delivery truck.
Even though your own guitars do not cost this much, you still want them to be stolen easily by any thieves. Every guitar you own also has its market value. Any guitar owners having their guitar stolen would probably be their worst experience, especially if it has its sentimental value.
If any thief steals your guitar or is owned by someone you know, there are still ways on how to recover stolen guitar.
The first step, and maybe it is the most important, is to file a report at your local law enforcement office about your stolen guitar. Having the theft incident on file is crucial in recovering it when the stolen guitar is found.
Another way is to contact all local pawn shops and instrument resale shops as soon as possible, as there is a very high possibility that the stolen guitar will be resold in these spots. Flyers with any information regarding the stolen guitar (manufacturer, color, serial number, pictures of the instrument) should be dropped at all the local resale establishments.
An alternative method is to monitor used retailers online. The top two websites in your list that you should frequently check would be eBay and Craigslist. If you find your stolen guitar on any of these websites, contact the site and also notify the police as it is not advised that you try to purchase your stolen guitar or otherwise recover it on your own.
You should also notify your friends and family in your online social networks. These people will be an essential factor in finding your stolen guitar as they also care almost as much about your stuff as you do, and the more people finding your stolen guitar is, the better.
Another option is to contact any local community-driven listservs or crime newsletters. Some neighborhoods have crime specific listservs that list crime details. Provide all the critical information that describes your stolen guitar (manufacturer, serial number, color, body type, photo of the guitar) and provide a way for these folks to contact you.
There are also online forums that are passionate to help guitar owners in finding their stolen guitars. Users from these online forums often will keep an eye out for you if you ask. Just provide the necessary details that describe your stolen guitar.
There are also websites where you freely list your stolen guitar (Ex. GearTrack). They have instant stolen alerts via Facebook and Twitter that will alert you when they find your stolen guitar. Its listing details are fully searchable by used buyers, sellers, evidence room managers, and anyone else researching gears.
There are still many ways on how to recover a stolen guitar, but these methods mentioned above are the most successful ones.
How To Prevent You Guitar From Getting Stolen
There are also ways to prevent your guitar from being stolen. You don’t have to experience the feeling of losing your precious guitar just because it was stolen. These things are preventable by applying these methods:
The first is to make your guitar identifiable. You can carve your initials in an inconspicuous spot like inside the tremolo cavity to use for quick recognition. You can also use UV pens to write your name and address invisibly on your guitar, as it only shows up under a UV light.
You can also change your pickguard, knobs or pickups to recognize it easily, but it is not recommendable for those vintage guitars as it will lower its value. Take pictures of your guitar, including its serial number and any identifiable number and store the data to where you can always open it when your guitar gets stolen.
The second is to lock up your guitar. Keep your guitar in a secure hard case or gig bag and hide it in your home where only a limited person knows this spot. Some people use devices that clamp around the guitar neck and cannot be removed without the key, but this method can also damage your instrument.
The third is always to ensure your home is always safe against intruders. Get a home security system with motion detectors and high-definition video cameras for your house as thieves are reluctant to break into places that have this kind of security system.
Do not let other people take photos of your guitar quickly, especially at your home, as you never know who they will show the images to. If the geotagging feature is enabled in the phone used to capture a photo of your guitar, it will also probably contain the full address where your guitar is located.
If you have extra money, you should purchase insurance for your guitar, especially if it is vintage or custom-built. Some insurance companies offer additional coverage against theft and damage. Insurance companies specialize in insuring costly guitars from theft and damage at home and during travel.
It is also essential to list your guitar with an online registry, which allows you to keep all your info in one place. It will enable you to have quick access to the information that the police and insurance company will need to do their respective jobs when your guitar gets stolen.
You can also install a microchip in your guitar, but its main drawback is that you still need to access the locating device for a particular scanning application.
There are still many ways on how to recover a stolen guitar or how to prevent it from being stolen. The methods mentioned above are those that really produce a great result. All in all, one must really be careful and mindful of where they are putting their guitars to prevent them from being stolen.