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Author Topic: How to stop losing stuff  (Read 3158 times)

Riley Casey

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Re: How to stop losing stuff
« Reply #20 on: August 31, 2018, 07:50:59 pm »

Work flow that has worked here for 30 years.

Standard packs - Always the same gear in the same case with a list in the lid.   Show specific packs are always in certain defined cases so you know where the loose ends are and you pack that case from a printed pick list taped into the lid.

Cases have our logo and a number.  Number sequences define case footprint size ( 400s are 30 x 30 etc ) while decades define content ( 490s are mics & stands, 480s are stage cables etc )

Nothing should be black unless in front of the audience - Cases have color stripes.  Mic stands have our logo initials written underneath in red letters.  XLR cables have the male connector painted blue for 50ft and red for 25ft.  AC quad boxes and plugs get the same treatment. Sharpie brand paint pens are awesome for all sorts of stuff.

Printed pick lists for every show.  Two copies, hi lite each item as it goes into the truck in the shop and again loading out after the show.  Poor mans barcoding.



Any tips for SMALL operators to stop losing stuff?

Tim McCulloch

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Re: How to stop losing stuff
« Reply #21 on: August 31, 2018, 07:56:22 pm »

I'm putting on my "madder than hell at stupid fu89888in' people hat -

People are stupid.  All of them (except for you and me, and I've been worried about you... ;) ).

How stupid are they?  We used to use bright pink 1/4" patch cords on stage; nobody in their right mind would take them.  I think we had 6 instances of them going missing (musicians packing them up).  Not in their right mind...

Labels don't help.  I once cleaned out a muso's gig bag and found 3 cables (including an NL4 monitor jumper) that clearly had our labels visible under the transparent heat shrink.

As an IATSE stage hand it pains me to say that most stage hands are worse, not better.  If they can read, they (like musicians) don't show it.  I've had venue stage hands that handle our stuff 80 times a year try to send our *distro* out to the artists truck; another time they packed 24 of our mic cables in an lighting case and we never saw them again.

Your stuff WILL walk away unless you have 100% control over the players, hands, and work environment.  How much of it depends on how brain dead your staff is and how overloaded your own brain is trying to keep up with every stand, mic clip or cable that is "borrowed" by an act.  I've taken the position that I'll SELL them whatever it is they need because getting it back is less than 50/50.

Don't get me started on "can I borrow some gaff tape".  Sure you can, but it has to be put back on the core *exactly* like it came off.  Or I'll sell it to you for $20 for a full roll.
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"Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possible can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something."  - Kurt Vonnegut

Aaron Maurer

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Re: How to stop losing stuff
« Reply #22 on: September 01, 2018, 07:27:36 am »

Similar to Riley I have a paint stick of a certain color and dab a spot on all small items like mic clips, xlr, patch cables, etc and if I were ever to get into this is mine discussion I would show them my not so obvious paint stick marking. Never had to do that but should end all doubt who owns it if I do. If someone is going to steal that can be tough to keep control of. Fortunately I have never lost anything of significance.
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: How to stop losing stuff
« Reply #23 on: September 01, 2018, 11:20:54 am »

Similar to Riley I have a paint stick of a certain color and dab a spot on all small items like mic clips, xlr, patch cables, etc and if I were ever to get into this is mine discussion I would show them my not so obvious paint stick marking. Never had to do that but should end all doubt who owns it if I do. If someone is going to steal that can be tough to keep control of. Fortunately I have never lost anything of significance.

Hi Aaron-

I attribute this behavior more to *stupidity* and *not giving a damn* than intentional theft (that happens to, but not nearly as often and seldom by the players).  Much like you might want Einstein for your physics teacher but not your accountant (he reportedly couldn't balance his cheque book)... they've a focus that doesn't include looking a colored tape or paint or labels; they simply pack up anything & everything around them.
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"Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possible can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something."  - Kurt Vonnegut

Frank Koenig

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Re: How to stop losing stuff
« Reply #24 on: September 01, 2018, 11:57:05 am »

Similar to Riley I have a paint stick of a certain color and dab a spot on all small items like mic clips, xlr, patch cables, etc

I put a little dab of paint on the face of the XLR insert on all my mics. Not obvious and hard to defeat. I hope I never need to have that conversation. I do have a few stickers that inventory the contents of particular cases to make it easier to check if everyone's home.  -F
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Scott Harris

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Re: How to stop losing stuff
« Reply #25 on: September 01, 2018, 01:10:16 pm »

I have tried a few marking methods, but the one that stuck (literally) was orange Brother p-touch labels (as flags) with my name on them on all cables.  My logo is orange & black, so bands know anything orange is mine.  I haven't counted cables in a few years as they have stopped walking.  I also tell bands the only cable they need is a guitar cable.  My mic stands have my branded bumper sticker marking them.
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Doug Johnson

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Re: How to stop losing stuff
« Reply #26 on: September 01, 2018, 01:34:26 pm »

On bigger shows is much easier for items to decide that they want to "go on the road and join the tour".  You just have to be aware of what is yours and make sure it gets accounted for and retrieved.  On smaller shows, I do my best to make sure that only my stuff, cables, stands, electric, dis, and mics are used.  If someone is using their own, I make note of it and make sure that everyone else on the crew is aware.  During change overs, mics with stands and dis get pulled off instruments, out of the way of the departing band as much as possible and staged for the next band. For the most part, we are running festival style so things don't get up plugged.  At least one crew member is on stage to "supervise" the change over.  At the end of the show, breakdown is as follows,  First, all mics and di's are pulled immediately pulled, accounted for and stowed.  This is usually accomplished before the band even starts to braekdown.  Then all mic stands get pulled off stage and set aside for later breakdown.  Then all monitors get pulled off the stage and stacked, as well as any loose speaker cables that may have been linking monitors.  We then vacate the stage and allow the band to load out.  No cables get unplugged from the snake or amp at this time.  Someone breaksdown mic stands, etc, while keeping an eye on the stage.  Only after the band has vacated or mostly vacated the stage do we start disconnecting and wrapping cables. Over the years, while I have lost somethings to outright theft (go ahead ask my why my mic case weighed so much),  I have rarely lost piecemeal items from the stage.  In fact, it is more often end up in the plus column agt the end of the day.  While I do try to figure out which band left the guitars, keyboards, and amps behind.  Cables, not so much.  Also, I don't label my cables per se, I do use mostly use neutrik xlrs and identify lengths using the colored rubber collars they offer.  This makes it fairly easy to identify my cables. The chances that someone else would have a mic cable with a red collar on it is only slightly greater then that said cable is 15 feet long. Also my stage cables are 15', 30', and 60' feet long vs the more common 10', 25', and 50'.
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Rob Spence

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Re: How to stop losing stuff
« Reply #27 on: September 01, 2018, 01:51:28 pm »

I use nail polish to mark stuff. Big gear gets a line in an obscure place. Mics get 2 dots on the body facing the XLR cable. Not visible in use but easy to check.  Cables all have marks on the connectors. I use 2 colors. Odds of same combo is small.


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Lyle Williams

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Re: How to stop losing stuff
« Reply #28 on: September 01, 2018, 07:42:56 pm »

On changeovers or at the end of a show make disconnecting/breaking the interface between "yours" and "theirs" your first priority.  Disconnect and move things slightly apart.  Have stuff marked, but keep it subtle (invisible to the audience.)

But stuff will get lost and broken.  Plan on it.  Budget on it.  Move on.  See the big picture.
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Tim Hite

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Re: How to stop losing stuff
« Reply #29 on: September 04, 2018, 01:20:03 pm »

Making sure the bands don't mix their equipment with ours has kept us from losing anything. We provide anything downstream from the mic or amplifier, including AC power. At the end of the show, the first thing we do is cut the band's gear free and sequester our mics and DIs.

Every once in a while I have an IEC mains cable go on walkabout but those are like $3 from Monoprice and I have loads of them in a road case in various lengths.

We make custom Mogami cables. I generally carry a few instrument cables and have been known to let those go to the bands as promo items. This has resulted in some nice retail business after the fact.

Most of the events we do have multiple bands performing.  To manage our own cables, gear, etc... we have everything taped/marked. 

But more importantly (which has helped immensely), we communicate directly with the scheduled bands (as well as the event producers/organizers), that all bands are to bring only their personal cables they need to connect their instruments to their own amps or into our DI boxes (which most always involves 1/4" cables).   All XLR cables, DI boxes, jumpers, etc... belong to us.  No band is to bring anything other than their own instrument, own amplifier and their personal cable(s) to connect to their own amplifier or into our DI boxes.  For stage amps, we provide the XLR connection between the snake and the instrument amps.

By doing this, we know that all cables on stage belong to us.  Some bands have commented that it was "nice to just unplug and walk away" when they were finished.
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Re: How to stop losing stuff
« Reply #29 on: September 04, 2018, 01:20:03 pm »


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