It’s one of a guitarist’s bloodcurdling fears that his or her instrument may someday go “poof” like the errant wife in Gone Girl—only, in this real-world scenario, it’s unlikely your guitar will mysteriously return like the film’s protagonist. Yikes. And it doesn’t seem to matter how hard you try to keep your prized guitar in sight. Some thieves are like speedy and invisible Ninjas—which is why thefts are reported by everyone from big stars with security teams to club musicians sleeping next to their guitar cases. Give an unscrupulous type but an instant, and, if you’re unlucky, you can call your guitar “departed.”
Tempo’s AnyCase Tracking Device ($295 direct) can’t transform a world of thieves into an oasis of angels, but it can keep an eye on your guitar’s travels if it leaves your side in the company of a very bad person. Utilizing a small, non-descript GPS tracking device—as well as the Tempo Tracking Portal for computers and smartphones—you can monitor your guitar’s location anywhere in the world.
The tracking “bug” can fit into a guitar case or guitar bag, and, as you can see, nothing about its construction telegraphs the fact that it’s an anti-theft device. Even better, you can currently set two alerts that will notify your cellphone the moment something is amiss. One is a Motion Alert that sends you a text message or email the instant your guitar case is moved. You can therefore confront a potential thief before the instrument leaves your location, or at least know if a soundperson, band member, or someone on the stage crew innocently moves your guitar from where you last saw it. The other nifty trick is a Geofence Alert that you can set up with boundaries around your street, neighborhood, concert venue, or other area that lets you know when your guitar crosses the virtual barrier. It’s a great feature if your guitar is kept in a storage space, or somewhere else that you’re not. Tempo says that more features will be added as time goes on.
I downloaded the mobile app for Android, and all the features are clear, simple, and easy to use. I didn’t send my Collings 290 to Paris from San Francisco to test the global reach of the GPS tracker, but it did an excellent, and mostly glitch-free job (I had just a couple of crashes while first using the app) while puttering around the Bay Area.
The only downsides to the AnyCase have to do with the shrewdness of the criminal mind. For example, the tracker won’t help you at all if a thief:  removes your guitar from its case or gig bag before taking off with it,  your guitar is onstage on a stand and out of the case, or  the kidnapper reads Guitar Player and is now aware that the AnyCase device exists, and looks for it before snatching your instrument.
Those quibbles aside, spending $295 to possibly keep your valuable guitar safe from most theft calamities seems extremely reasonable. Using an AnyCase may also make your insurance carrier happy—assuming you do insure your instruments, that is—which might help with your rates (I haven’t checked this out, but other devices—such as those on automobiles—sometimes reduce insurance fees, depending on the company.) If you’re as paranoid about losing your creative partner as I am—and I just couldn’t handle my Monkee-red Collings 290 ever going MIA—then I’d consider the AnyCase as a trusted sentinel.
Kudos Super easy to use. Constant monitoring via smartphone. Global reach.
Concerns Savvy thieves might toss the device.