the jazz authority; random dubiously zappy rants about 'the musicians music'.: Best & Worst Instrument Cases

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Best & Worst Instrument Cases

I'm just going to spew forth a bunch of random thoughts on instrument cases here. I'm not in the mood to compose a smooth flowing essay on this subject. Bear with me as I let loose the waters of my 'dam' brain (I love puns, but it hurts to write so cheesily).

I'm a sax player, so I talk about saxes a lot, but most of this stuff applies to all instruments. Hard shell is better than gig case. Trust me – overall they are usually way more protective, and there are many other perks to them. If you want a gig case, get one that's got a shell, not the soft ones, unless you are so careful that your friends call you 'Mr. Fancy-Pants Coordination King'. Gig cases are very confining, so any little bumps will jostle your horn. That said, you don't want your sax bouncing around in your case – that'll really mess things up. With most cases I recommend placing dense foam padding in strategic places inside to secure the main body of your horn (I'm not referring to key clamps, which I don't recommend and is too far off topic to get into right now).

Forget about locking cases. If you buy one that locks, stash those keys where you'll forget them and never lock your case. I guarantee you that you'll lock that thing and lose the keys one day, and you'll regret it.

So, what are some good case companies? I'll start the list with SKB. Good prices, and good selection. PROTEC is another decent case company, but for sax I say SKB all the way. You may find a Reunion Blues case. They're great too. On and on it goes, with dozens of other case companies out there. Often the best fit will be a case from the manufacturer of your instrument.

Some companies seem to like to put furry lining in their cases, as opposed to the more logical felt or velvet type of lining. Vacuum your case occasionally if it has a hairy lining. In the long run you'll be glad you did.

Looking for extra storage? Why? Want to put all your eggs in one basket? This should really be a distantly low ranking priority in all but the strangest of circumstances. This is where I contradict myself by admitting that I bought a hard shell gig case with no extra pockets or space, but then bought a case cover with a huge pocket on the side. This is a great way to go. I have extra padding, it's securely snug, and can carry my music and stuff in the side pocket. The only downside is that it weighs a lot. I used to busk on the streets, and this case was great for that. It stores nicely in the corner of a small stage or tucked under a table too.

Well, I've lost steam, so that's all for now. If you have any questions or anything to add go get that taken care of. I hate nothing more than lazy freeloaders that surf like they're watching TV. C'mon, put a little effort into your life and give something back to those who are doing the majority of the work on this planet. Woah, O.K., that was a bit too harsh. I'll let you go now so you can call your therapist. Anyway I'm sure you get my drift.


Michael J. West said...

Um...whoa...not sure what to do with that last paragraph. Laugh? Cry? Go call my therapist?

Every time I come here I realize the number of little details to being a musician that I, as a nonmusician, would never have thought were so relevant. This bit about instrument cases is a perfect example.

Cameron W said...

Yeah, you called my weak literary devices and I crumbled like a bad simile made of crubly recipe redundancy cookies speckled with weak atrophied aliteration...

seriously, I was just really tired and threw the therapist thing in as a 'stock ending' for an otherwise practical post (there's that damn alliteration again - I hate that crap).


Anonymous said...

Thank for the tips. I have a stock rectangular hard case and want a gig bag. I think i'll go with the hard shelled gig case now.