about shipping your equipment. If youve got it
insured, take your own equipment with you. You
already know what the pros and cons of your own
equipment are, so this may be much better than trying
to acquaint yourself with different rental gear that
you may not be familiar with and which is always
suspect no matter what its condition.
All you need is a very reliable power amp (at least
500 watts) and a mixer or Powered Head with at least
six inputs; one good set of 12" or 15"
speaker cabs (preferably with horns); powered
monitors; and a few good mics and stands. Economize
on your effects pedals and other musical gear. A
surge protector is a must! And dont forget the
extension cables. Also, your band will need at least
three of those powered-converters that reduce voltage
from 220/240v to 110v for European electrical
applications. And dont forget all three adapter
sizes of those wall adapters since electrical outlet
sizes vary throughout Europe.
Always pack your gear well, preferably in gig
hard-shell cases and dont forget to put your
identification information all over each item. To
ship your equipment overseas to Europe youll
need to have a special document called a
"carnet". This document is required in
order for all customs officials you encounter in
various countries to know that your equipment is
necessary for your business (gigs) and is not
intended to be sold while youre in Europe.
Thus, you wont have to pay a value-added tax on
your equipment whenever youre crossing country
boarders. Also, a carnet simplifies customs
procedures and helps you get your equipment back upon
In short, this customs document greatly reduces
customs hassles. Dont leave home without it! It
takes about 5 business days to get a carnet document
from the Carnet Service Bureau. Youll have to
pay a fee depending on the value of your equipment,
so put a complete inventory of what youll be
shipping on paper and estimate its value. Youll
need to do this also for your insurance as well.
Youll need to fit all your P.A. equipment and
other gear on a pallet - that 4x4 foot wooden crate
that they use to ship things on. You can get one at
any professional shipping supply store. Fit all your
band equipment you can possibly fit on the pallet,
because each band member will only be allowed to a
take on the plane two small carry-on bags (one of
these will no doubt be your guitar). Once youve
loaded up your pallet, then get some shrink-wrap
plastic and wrap your stuff up thoroughly. Once it's
ready, youll have to get the pallet either
picked up by a shipping outfit or drive it to the
airport in your van to the place where your shipping
concern is located.
Theyll ask you for your Carnet information, and
then hit you with the cost of shipping your stuff.
They'll hold your pallet at their destination
location until you show up with your Carnet
paperwork. There may be a daily storage charge to
consider. To get your gear to Europe, youll
have to use one of the International shipping
concerns listed in your local yellow pages. This is a
very competitive business, so make sure you shop
around and get several good quotes.
You may want to go with a larger, more reputable
company that will guarantee your stuff to be shipped
to an accessible location (usually an airport). Most
of these companies have websites where you can find
out their latest quotes on shipping. Finally,
purchase the supplemental insurance they offer.