Being a musician requires a lot of travelling; some musicians can spend a long time away from home during lengthy tours both nationally and internationally. While it’s tempting to idealise life on the road, it can also be an unsafe place for your gear.

How can you guarantee that when you take centre stage miles away from home, you have the gear you need to create a show you can be confident of, if it hasn’t been stored or transported properly in-between performances? Here’s how, with some useful tips on how to protect your instruments and equipment while on tour.

Try to keep your kit as streamlined as possible

Simplifying your set will make things easier, whether you’re travelling by air, land or sea. In practice, this could signify a variety of things to various players. Instead of carrying six vocal mics to choose from on the spot, singers should pick one or two favourites. Keyboardists can conserve space and weight by programming a single workstation synth, or a controller-plus-laptop equipped with soft synthesisers, to generate all of their sounds. Likewise, if bassists and guitarists can achieve all of the tones they need with just effects pedals or on-instrument modifications, that’s ideal. The practicalities of far-flung gigging can be made significantly easier by not having to transport multiple instruments and amplifiers wherever possible.

Invest in a good case

From the body to the neck, every guitar, regardless of whether acoustic, electric, or bass, will have its own shape. Most guitar cases are made to fit the size and weight of the instrument. Make sure you use the correct case for each guitar, to minimise damage as much as possible.

Ensure your luggage is secure and padded, especially if you’re flying. You want it to be as safe as possible if you can’t take it on as a carry-on. Consider whether you’ll need a hard case or a “gig case” for your trip.

A high-quality soft-shell case can be useful in the following situations: It’s lightweight, so you can carry it on your back while travelling to gigs and rehearsals, and it’s simple to put away. However, if you plan on taking your instrument on the road, where anything unpredictable can happen, you should definitely consider investing in a robust hard-shell case.

Air pressure, as well as abrupt temperature fluctuations, can cause an instrument to deteriorate. If you’re flying with a stringed instrument, loosen the strings. Otherwise, the tension created by the strings can produce fissures in the wood and even a damaged headstock. You may require a humidifier for your case, depending on your instrument. Humidity, like air pressure and temperature, can cause serious damage to wood.

Mark your equipment cases

The use of black guitar cases and other instrument cases is rather widespread. Using coloured tape and stamps to make distinguishing marks on your cases makes it much easier for you to identify someone mistaking your belongings for their own.

Be aware of your surroundings

If you’re going to park the tour van somewhere, make sure it’s a well-lit area, busy, and not completely isolated, and ask the organisers for recommendations on the safest parking spot. Never leave your equipment unsupervised when loading or unloading – stay where you can at least keep an eye on it, or have a friend or band member do it if you can’t. Another sensible option is to place a label identifying the instrument as yours in a hidden location, such as inside the case or on the instrument itself.

Protect your instruments with custom foam

At MSA, our team can manufacture custom foam inserts for you to ensure that your valuable musical equipment is stored safely. All you need to do is provide us with the specifications of your instrument and we can do the rest! Please contact a member of our expert team for any queries regarding our foam cutting services.