Do you remember the “good old days”, when stencils were hand cut out of a cereal box using an exact-o-knife? Tediously hand making a stencil for you gear is certainly economical. Unfortunately, this method lends itself to sizing and artwork inaccuracy, font inconsistency, and rough edges. There are many benefits to using stencils on your cases, from simple branding to helping with load in and load out situations. When I started working for Idaho based company Woodland Manufacturing a few years ago (in addition to playing with my band, Interstate), the first thing I brought home was a set of re-usable stencils to use on all of my gear. Woodland uses two different thicknesses of a durable Mylar material for these stencils, and can also make them fully custom. You can choose from a set of stencil fonts, or send in your band’s custom logo for an easy made road case stencil. Here are a few ideas for branding your gear professionally and affordably!
Already have a logo your band mates have poured over? For bands that are on the road, logos are a distinct way to brand cases. Put one consistent logo on everything, so it all stays together. Especially for cases that are popular or commonplace, like Pelican, SKB, etc. Experimental Post Rock band Black Friar’s logo is crisp and distinct in a dark venue. Front-of-house engineer Brian Atkinson’s Pelican cases lug his microphones and outboard gear safely. He uses his “Bopvox” logo to spot his gear at baggage claim.
PRO TIP: When gear will be going to the same side of the stage each night, additional marking helps give an idea of where to put it. Try “SR” for stage right, or “SL” for stage left. When venues can provide a helping hand with load in, this directs the traffic of rolling cases in the door and to the stage.
For many players, picking one band name or group to brand your gear with is tricky. Like picking a favorite kid. Either way, when gigging with multiple groups best practice is to make sure your stuff is identified. Nicknames are a unique way to stencil your road cases. Bassist Jay “J. Mul” Multanen and drummer Ryan “Chops” Bradshaw play with me in multiple Boise bands. After spraying their Music Man Stingray and SKB drum cases respectively, these stencils are still good for many more applications on future cases. No matter the level of your “Gear Acquisition Syndrome” the stencil will look the same.
When needing to keep your road case stencil small and simple, initials work for those with long first or last names. My last name, Van Paepeghem, is rather long. I often have gig nights where I am not the only player with a Pedaltrain soft case. My Pedaltrain Jr. is stenciled to keep the other shoe-gazers from claiming it.
PRO TIP: Make sure to use a fabric rated spray paint for these soft cases.
Keeping your gear marked shows ownership and professionalism. It prevents confusion in dark venues after a show is done, as well as deterring pesky thieves. To design your own road case stencil, or to have you custom logo made in to one, try Woodland’s Reusable stencils. A 2′ long “EFFECTSBAY.COM” comes to only $25.62 after shipping. Pretty dang affordable for one stencil that can mark all of your stuff. So get your road case stencil ordered, grab a can of spray paint, and start marking your gear![huge_it_gallery id=”9″]
About The Author:
Jake Van Paepeghem, a northwest native, is a guitarist, composer and producer. Jake has toured with American Idol winner Kris Allen, Fueled By Ramen band This Providence, as well as many sessions and live performances with jazz artists like Emily Braden and John Proulx. Along with producing commercial music from home, Jake writes with his band Interstate in Boise, Idaho, where he resides with his fiancee Amy, and collie/lab mix Sara. interstate.bandcamp.com