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After helping out with the liveblogging effort covering the wildfires in Southern California, I realized it's time to bring back the Music Room series.

Natural disasters can cause havoc in anyone's life.  If there's a fire raging near your house, you have minutes to grab what you need and get the heck out.

Today's Music Room topic: have you ever lost any instruments due to a disaster?  Play through the bridge and I'll join in on the reprise.

I've been fortunate that I've only lost one instrument, and it was due to someone else's stupidity rather than a fire, a flood, an earthquake, or a hurricane.  Maybe some of you haven't been so lucky.  And even if you were able to save your instruments, perhaps one of your venues is no more.

Please share your stories here.

This is a community diary.  All topics on musicians, music, and other noise are welcome.

#13 - 7/10/07 Guitar Hero: Threat or Menace?
#12 - 6/04/07 Missed My Gig! (Music Room posts on Monday!)
#11 - 5/27/07 Dkos 5th birthday - Music you loved/hated as a 5 year old!
#10 - 5/20/07 What do you play when you travel?
#9 - 5/12/07 What are you trying to improve?
#8 - 5/05/07 Cinco de Mayo Edition!
#7 - 4/29/07 Requests You Won't Play
#6 - 4/22/07 Crossovers and Genre Jumps
#5 - 4/14/07 Inane Song Structures (Pachelbel)
#4 - 4/07/07 Ear Playing vs Sight Reading
#3 - 3/31/07 Perfect and Relative Pitch
#2 - 3/25/07 Music Lessons
#1 - 3/18/07 Jokes & Stories

Originally posted to madhaus on Sun Oct 28, 2007 at 05:56 PM PDT.


Ever lost an instrument, and if so, how?

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| 32 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tips for replacement instruments? (12+ / 0-)

    they never seem as good, do they?

    Chaos, fear, dread. My work here is done.

    The Music Room - Every weekend. Music & Musicians discussion.

    by madhaus on Sun Oct 28, 2007 at 05:56:48 PM PDT

  •  My lost instrument story (6+ / 0-)

    Might have mentioned this in a previous Music Room diary, I can't remember.  My first guitar, a present from my parents for my 12th birthday, was an Espana nylon stringed classical guitar.  Not sure that was the best choice for folk music but that's what I had.  It had a nice tone, anyway.

    I didn't play it for many years, my husband had better guitars, so it was just taking up space.  A friend said she wanted to learn to play guitar, so I loaned it to her.  

    Did I mention that she lived on a sailboat?

    Anyway, she said she put the guitar in storage when they decided to sail around the world, so I asked if I could have it back before they left.  She said no problem but didn't return it.  Whenever they would fly back to visit I'd ask for the guitar, she'd always say sure, the guitar would never appear.

    The her husband told mine that the guitar was in a storage locker that got hit with many gallons of salt water.  Completely ruined.  It's not just that she ruined the guitar.  She lied about it, too.

    That's an end-of-friendship act in my book.  I replaced it with a completely different guitar when I got back into playing -- a Taylor steel string with a built-in pickup.  But it would have been nice to have a classical guitar around.

    Chaos, fear, dread. My work here is done.

    The Music Room - Every weekend. Music & Musicians discussion.

    by madhaus on Sun Oct 28, 2007 at 06:07:22 PM PDT

  •  I lost a trumpet in elementary school (5+ / 0-)

    at least that's what I told my parents and music teacher.

    The truth is that I just didn't wanna play the trumpet... I wanted to play the drums, but so did every other guy in my class and there was only room for 2 drummers... the teacher chose the 2 people who could keep the beat on their desk the best, and I wasn't among them.

  •  Lost cables, etc. (6+ / 0-)
    picked up at gigs by other bandmembers, but not discovered missing until much later.

    G&L Invader, made by Leo Fender, left in car on hot summer day until 1pm.  By the time I retrieved it, the sun had melted the glue under the lining and it permanently stained the guitar's finish.  The black fuzz melted into the guitar's clear finish.

    Still own the guitar.  Kahler locking tremelo.

  •  you don't even (5+ / 0-)
    want to get started on New Orleans Katrina flood stories. I have musician friends there                           who are still trying to get replacement instruments..

    Illegitimus non carborundum

    by azureblue on Sun Oct 28, 2007 at 06:22:08 PM PDT

  •  Losing a good venue to fire (5+ / 0-)
    This summer I witnessed the loss of a hidden gem locally when State Bridge Lodge burned to the ground due to arson. It is devastating because of the historical significance of one of the best hidden gems in the music scene. It is located near Bond Colorado not far from where I live right on the Colorado river surrounded by the Rockies.  The venue only holds maybe 500 to 1000 people during a given show and has campgrounds, cabins and yurts adjacent to it.  Many great artists have played there each summer including Karl Denson, Tea Leaf Green, North Mississippi Allstars, Leftover Salmon to name just a few.  The Lodge itself dates back to the 1800's as a brothel and Teddy Roosevelt once stayed there on a hunting trip.  The present owners are trying to find buyers to rebuild but it certainly has been tragic to the music scene in this area since the other local club 8150 was torn down for a new development.
    •  a lot of music clubs are disappearing (3+ / 0-)

      and not always due to arson.  Here places go away because developers buy them up figuring they can always build more housing, housing, housing.  There isn't much more land available in Silicon Valley so it's all infill.  Smaller club are more likely to go first, too.

      What a shame, given the history of the Lodge.

      Chaos, fear, dread. My work here is done.

      The Music Room - Every weekend. Music & Musicians discussion.

      by madhaus on Sun Oct 28, 2007 at 06:55:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Damaged Guitar Story (6+ / 0-)

    I had brought my Stratocaster and amp to my girlfriend's house on Halloween in 1978. The record store in town was having a midnight sale so we split to go get the new Rory Gallagher album. Came back to find the front door blocked, looking in I saw the couch in front of it! Shoved hard and got in to find the place ransacked - LPs scattered all over, all her clothes dumped on her bed with all the contents of the refrigerator poured on the clothes. I look around, where's my Strat??? I hear the shower running. Go to see why the shower is running and there's my Strat, taking a shower. pulled it out and went to the amp, both speakers were punched out. Called the cops, filed a report and spent the rest of the morning until dawn taking the guitar apart and trying to dry it out with the hair dryer while she tried to deal with the clothing casserole. The bridge screws were bent and the finish was cracked in a few places, but after a few days I had it back together, and after re-coning the speakers had the amp back together and working.

    Turns out the husband of a co-worker had done it because he thought we were hiding his wife, who had left him (in fact she had left the state). How I extracted my revenge is another story for another time. Statute of limitations ran out a long time ago.

    I still have the Strat and the amp.

    To have any of my instruments destryed in a fire would be heartbreaking. My disaster plan includes grabbing the cat and bird, my instruments, food and water. In that order.

    "There comes a time in the affairs of man when he must take the bull by the tail and face the situation." -W.C. Fields

    by CatfishBlues on Sun Oct 28, 2007 at 06:38:28 PM PDT

  •  three guitars stolen (5+ / 0-)

    an old Les Paul
    a beautiful blue ESP strat and
    a white Fender strat that anyone who ever played aked if they could buy because it felt like butter to play it and had a kick-ass sound as well.

    •  what did you replace them with? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      WI Deadhead, Loonesta, CatfishBlues

      oooh I know about guitars that feel right -- a teacher's aide at my kids' school had a 12-string Takamine that was so soft I could play just about any bar chord perfectly on it, 12 strings being particularly hard to bar with, the action was just soooooo soft but the tone was sooooo rich.

      very sorry for your losses.

      Chaos, fear, dread. My work here is done.

      The Music Room - Every weekend. Music & Musicians discussion.

      by madhaus on Sun Oct 28, 2007 at 06:59:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  they were replaced with (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        WI Deadhead, madhaus, CatfishBlues

        a 72 Fender strat and a 75 SG and a guitar I call the Franken-Tele. It's made with an old Fender Telecaster body, an ESP neck and has two stacked humbuckers that can be split for either the classic tele sound, or a really fat and juicy sound. They are all great guitars and I feel lucky to have them, but man, I still miss the other three.

  •  No But Once a Whole Briefcase of Sheet Music (6+ / 0-)

    ethnic folk tunes I'd written out by hand, stolen in a car breakin.

    I'd carried them for years in a crummy notebook. My band gave me a nice briefcase so I'd look more respectful.

    I think the thieves figured it might have a calculator or something similar in it.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Oct 28, 2007 at 07:29:47 PM PDT

  •  I've been fortunate... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    WI Deadhead, madhaus, CatfishBlues

    ...most of the things that have happened to my instruments have been repairable.  Perhaps the saddest was when an old girlfriend dropped a bag of laundry on a Turkish saz, breaking the neck.  What broke my heart was not the instrument, which was easily fixed -- it was that she had been so traumatized by a previous abusive relationship that she cringed in fear when she showed me the damage (I guess expecting explosive rage...Jeebus).  Instead I laughed, said, "hey, no problem," got out some tools and glue, and repaired it effectively within an hour and a half.

    There was one close call, however, which is so bizarre, amazing and funny that it deserves to be told.  However, it's too long for this thread, so I have included herein a link to an old USENET posting in alt.callahans, titled "Warren's Tortoise Tale."  Enjoy it if you've got time.

    Freedom isn't "on the march." Freedom dances.

    by WarrenS on Sun Oct 28, 2007 at 07:49:13 PM PDT

  •  Nice to have Music Room back! (4+ / 0-)

    I had a nice black Gibson L6S electric stolen in 1983 and I am still pissed about it. It was the most reliable, best playing guitar I had owned up to that time, and boy, had I taken it for granted!

    Oddly enough, about 4 years ago I stumbled across a cherry sunburst one in spectacular condition and made a deal for it immediately.  

    This one rarely leaves the house.  :)

    Human history is a race between education and catastrophe--H.G.Wells

    by SherwoodB on Sun Oct 28, 2007 at 07:54:18 PM PDT

    •  thanks, glad to have it back (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SherwoodB, Loonesta, CatfishBlues

      Where was your Gibson stolen from?  Glad you got another keeper.

      the long and short of why Music Room was gone:

       - in July my computer was completely, and I mean completely FUBARred.  Viruses everywhere.  couldn't roll back, whatever had messed it up had seeped in everywhere.

      my dear husband bought another disk for it and I reinstalled windows on the new disk, which meant I had to reinstall every software package and add-on and utility... well, I only did that as I needed stuff.  I still haven't installed everything, and I can't find Nero 6.x.  that's why I haven't been able to burn DVDs lately.

      anyway, this took 6 weeks!  meanwhile, I got a virus, too.  down with the flu for 6 weeks.  horrible pain in my right arm, too.  The doctor told me to stop playing guitar, or at least not so much, said it was not from using the computer.   Needless to say I wasn't going to stop playing the guitar.  but the rest of the summer had me getting up to drive the kids to whatever camp they were in (or not), going back to sleep, and then waking up 6 hours later to pick them up.  On Wednesday I'd go in to my lesson.   I'd feel better at night so I'd practice then.

      In September, I felt better.  Arm pain gone, flu gone.  No idea what caused the arm pain, but no problems playing guitar anymore.  Started practicing a lot more.

      btw I still think I suck, but I suck less.  And I have not touched a keyboard for 9 months.

      Chaos, fear, dread. My work here is done.

      The Music Room - Every weekend. Music & Musicians discussion.

      by madhaus on Sun Oct 28, 2007 at 08:27:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Glad you are feeling better and are playing again (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        madhaus, Loonesta, CatfishBlues

        As I get older I find I am developing some guitar playing related aches and pains but it hasn't stopped me yet.

        My guitar got ripped off in a burglary. The rehearsal studio my band used was broken into. I had no car at the time and was leaving my guitar there. I knew the owners very well--enough to trust them to lock it away when I wasn't there. They had good security, but it was a very professional hit. The owners (and some other customers) lost far more than I did. At least I had a couple of other guitars so I could keep playing.

        And by the way, after playing for 35+ years, I still think I suck! Fortunately for me, very few people seem to agree with me!  :)

        Human history is a race between education and catastrophe--H.G.Wells

        by SherwoodB on Sun Oct 28, 2007 at 08:38:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Not a happy story (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    madhaus, SherwoodB, Loonesta, CatfishBlues
    Jr High, I was in Summer school.  I think, in retrospect, it was 100% a child care decision and not to give me an opportunity to grow intellectually.  I took journalism, biking and band.

    My instrument was the French Horn, it is not an easy thing to carry.  I believe I left it at the school most of the time, especially on days when I rode my dad's bike to class for the field trips.  If I got a ride in the car, I could take it home to practice.

    Summer in Marin County, California, hot as hell every day with a blazing sun.  The school was on the other side of a hill from my house, maybe 5 miles away.  I had a friend who also went to school, sometimes we walked home together.  In order to get over the Big (relatively speaking) hill, we sometimes took a shortcut.  Through the train tunnel.

    I had lived in town for maybe 10 years and could not recall ever seeing a train on those tracks,  We assumed it only came by at night.

    The last day of school, I of course had to bring home the horn.  I also had the bike.  Problem.  Kevin walked with me, I pushed the bike and carried the horn,stopping often to rest.  Of course we took the shortcut that day.  The tunnel was nice and cool.  I think it was maybe 150 yards through, you could just see the light at both ends when you stood in the middle.

    We sometimes speculated what we would do if a train did come, it looked like there would be enough room to stand on the side and let it pass.  We also assumed it would come slowly and stop in time.

    That day we made it through the tunnel as always with no problem.  We now had plenty of room to walk on the side, but it was fun and easy to walk on the tracks.  It was about 3/4 of a mile to the road where we would not have to climb a fence to get off the RR right of way, we always went to the road and then left the track area.  We were in full sight of the freeway and often thought that if a train person drove by we would get in trouble.  We never did.  

    A few hundred yards down the tracks was a small trestle.  We went down and sat by the small stream, cooling off in the shade.  Suddenly, a noise like the end of the world shook us to pieces.  Gravel rained on our heads, we ran in circles screaming.

    Running up the bank we saw a train, stopped right over us.  The man on the back said something rather calmly as the train started up again.  I have no idea what he said, but he didn't seem upset.

    Then I saw the result.  My dad's bike was cut in two.  (He used it to commute to work as a teacher, I still feel terrible about that.)  And the French Horn was mangled beyond belief.  About 4' feet long now, several parts severed, parts flattened together.  Devasted.

    Aftermath:  Insurance paid to replace the horn, it belonged to the school.  (If anybody cares, I can relate that part as well, there was some humor in it.)  Bike was gone, we could not afford a replacement.  I have no doubt it caused me PTSD.  It was years before I could drive over tracks without getting the shakes.  Shock.  Numbness.  Guilt.  Horror.  Very traumatic.  And my mother hung the tuning slide on my bedroom wall with bible verses about obedience.

    Thanks for reliving the horror with me, this was somewhat therapeutic. is America's Blog of Record

    by WI Deadhead on Sun Oct 28, 2007 at 08:05:47 PM PDT

    •  100% child care decision (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      WI Deadhead, Loonesta, CatfishBlues

      hanging the tuning slide on your wall with bible verses about obedience

      I'm amazed you still are okay about playing anything after that.

      usually my parents would berate me for bad decisions so much that I'd turn my disgust toward myself over toward them for not dropping it.  the one time my dad didn't say anything about a bad decision of mine was the one time I learned something from it (I bought a stolen IBM typewriter).  Never did that again.

      glad we could help you get over the horror.

      Chaos, fear, dread. My work here is done.

      The Music Room - Every weekend. Music & Musicians discussion.

      by madhaus on Sun Oct 28, 2007 at 08:21:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It was too close (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    madhaus, CatfishBlues

    I went to work this Monday without knowing the wildfire had started about 2.5 miles from my house in the San Bernardino Mountains. When I realized there was a problem, it was too late to get back up the mountain, since they had closed it down.

    Back at my house was my prize possession, my 107 year old contrabass that I have had since 1978. I use it to play concerts all over Southern California. All I could think of was my bass being in the way of the fire that ripped thru mansions in Lake Arrowhead. Fortunately, I had neighbors that were able to bring it down with them that night, with flames in view. Fortunately the house was fine, too.

    So I didn't lose my bass, but it was scary. If you are in the Whittier area, you can see it at the concert on 11-4 with the Rio Hondo Symphony playing the 1812 overture.

    "Vice President Cheney is expanding the administration's policy on torture to include tortured logic" Sen. Dick Durbin D-IL

    by Tuba Les on Sun Oct 28, 2007 at 09:44:22 PM PDT

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