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View Full Version : hard case vs well-padded soft case



Uncle Rod Higuchi
09-26-2016, 08:08 AM
any strong opinions one way or the other?

it would seem that hard cases equal better overall protection,
but softer cases appear to be more comfortable to carry around.

Does it have to be protection vs ease of carry?

what are your thoughts and experiences?

jollyboy
09-26-2016, 08:14 AM
I like well-padded gig bags (say 20mm) for transporting ukes. But, then again, I don't own any really expensive instruments. If I did I would probably want to keep them in a hard case... inside a safe... inside a locked room... etc...

jimavery
09-26-2016, 08:14 AM
My local ukulele jam meets in a small pub. I think it'd be rude to turn up with a great big hard case taking up space. A simple canvas gig bag is plenty for that - enough to keep any rain off.

On the other hand, if I were going on a coach trip and wasn't allowed to take my ukulele as hand luggage, I'd definitely want a hard case to make sure it wasn't crushed under all the other luggage.

Mivo
09-26-2016, 08:19 AM
While I prefer well-padded bags because they are more convenient and I won't accidentally bang the ukulele against the latches when I take it out or put it back in (or have the lid fall down), but I use mostly hardshell cases for the better protection (also when shipping) and "stackability".

One concern I have about cases is that the lid may press down on the bridge, which definitely isn't a good thing, so I try to get cases with an arched top or enough room between the top and the bridge.

Ukulele Eddie
09-26-2016, 08:28 AM
I have hard wood, fiberglass (Crossrock 1000), ABS (Crosrock 800) cases and nice gig bags (Mono M80's). My nicest hard case is an Ameritage Gold. It is gorgeous. I NEVER carry it. It weighs 9 lbs.

I think the Crossrock 800 is hard to beat in value for the money. I do like the 1000 but cannot honestly say it's worth the incremental cost.

The Mono's are great for local stuff and I have used them traveling as a carry on. Again, they are more than the Crossrock 800.

Rllink
09-26-2016, 08:31 AM
Both, it depends. If I'm going to be hauling it around, like in the car, a hard case. If I'm going to be carrying it around, like to the beach or at a festival, gig bag.

Down Up Dick
09-26-2016, 08:43 AM
I have a coupla cases, but I prefer gig bags. They're just handier.

However, I don't go nowhere. :old:

1/2
09-26-2016, 09:00 AM
I travel quite a lot, and I swear by the hardcase
Have traveled with ukuleles, guitars etc on three continents, and hardcase has been a good investment

sukie
09-26-2016, 09:06 AM
I'm a hard case fan. I really don't think it is that difficult to carry it. It's got a great handle. I lust after an Ameritage case.

spookelele
09-26-2016, 09:14 AM
I've also been torn.

I have mostly hard cases because they are better protection.
But then I travel with beaters cuz I'm terrified of something bad happening to a nice uke.
If I buy another case.. it will be soft, backpack style.

I guess it depends on what you are trying to protect, and what risk you accept for it.

ukulelekarcsi
09-26-2016, 09:21 AM
Cases are classier and offer more protection. However, you can't transport 8 ukes in hardcases on a bicycle, but you can with padded bags.

Uncle Rod Higuchi
09-26-2016, 09:21 AM
Thank you all for the input.

Seems like we can all agree to (perhaps 'disagree' is too strong a word, how about...) make our
own choices depending on our general or specific needs at the moment.

I suppose when we are carrying our own ukes, padded gig bags work, but the minute we have to
entrust our babies to other handlers, well, perhaps only a few cases would really quiet our
apprehensions! :)

Perhaps I should have shared a couple of scenarios:

1) travelling by air to a Uke Festival;

2) travelling by car to a Uke Festival. :)

Thanks again,

PTOEguy
09-26-2016, 09:26 AM
I like hard cases because I often travel with the family and our instruments - including my uke and my son's cello in soft cases. If we didn't have hard cases for the other instruments, packing would be very difficult because the soft cases need to go on top.

Recstar24
09-26-2016, 09:26 AM
If you have any issues with low humidity, in my opinion, you NEED a hard case. Even the best gig bags/padded bags do not have tight enough of a seal to keep humidity controlled. Heck, some hard cases don't do a good job. More often than not, a hard case provides a tight enough seal around the edges to control humidity during the cold winter seasons (or inside a home when heating is on full blast)

DownUpDave
09-26-2016, 09:29 AM
Uncle Rod

Answer to #1: travel by air to a uke festival.......a hardcase

Answer to #2 : travel by car to uke festival.........a hardcase.

I really don't find a well fitted hardcase any more bothersome then a well padded gig bag. A Mono, Blues Reunion or Fusion is not much smaller and does not give the same protection.

When flying I always take a tenor on a hardcase and have no trouble carrying it on and stowing it in the overhead compartment

mds725
09-26-2016, 09:38 AM
I've been using a Crossrock CRA400TUYL. (TUYL stands for tenor ukulele yellow. The case also comes in black, gray, champagne, green, pink, purple, silver, turquoise, and red.) It's got a plastic hardshell and D-ring clips for backpack or shoulder straps. It's probably not as protective as those Oahu hard cases, but it seems to be almost as protective and with backpack straps, it's a lot easier to carry than a hard case.

https://www.amazon.com/Crossrock-
CRA400TUBK-Zippered-Hardshell-Lock-Black/dp/B00OHLOFKO/ref=sr_1_fkmr1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1474918170&sr=8-1-fkmr1&keywords=crossrock%2Bhybrid%2Btenor%2Bukulele&th=1 (https://www.amazon.com/Crossrock-CRA400TUBK-Zippered-Hardshell-Lock-Black/dp/B00OHLOFKO/ref=sr_1_fkmr1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1474918170&sr=8-1-fkmr1&keywords=crossrock%2Bhybrid%2Btenor%2Bukulele&th=1)


http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=94584&d=1474918649 http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=94585&d=1474918649

hawaii 50
09-26-2016, 10:10 AM
Hi Rod..not sure if you are talking about a gig bag as the soft case...
but the Uke Crazy Canvas case is foam and the Oahu cases are wooden...neither is a gig bag....

I think the Uke crazy is good for traveling and way lighter than the Oahu cases....both are good to travel with.....but if you drop your uke/case the foam Uke crazy case will absorb the hit better.....

that being said..when I fly Hawaii/Calif I always used a nice gig bag.....

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
09-26-2016, 10:51 AM
Hi Rod..not sure if you are talking about a gig bag as the soft case...
but the Uke Crazy Canvas case is foam and the Oahu cases are wooden...neither is a gig bag....

I think the Uke crazy is good for traveling and way lighter than the Oahu cases....both are good to travel with.....but if you drop your uke/case the foam Uke crazy case will absorb the hit better.....

that being said..when I fly Hawaii/Calif I always used a nice gig bag.....

I had to repair a very nice uke last year that was crushed in an overhead bin of an airplane. That wouldn't have happened with a hard shell case. I especially like the domed top ones like that which is found on the Oahu or Ameritage brands; it adds strength. I think it comes down to not what the uke costs but how much it's worth to you. I'd have no problem carrying an uke I didn't value much in a padded gig bag just because it's more comfortable. But a quality uke should go into a quality case IMO.

Uncle Rod Higuchi
09-26-2016, 11:05 AM
Thanks, Chuck, just the kind of real-world info we all need.

Sorry to hear of the damage, but I'm sure that, with you as the repairer,
the customer is very satisfied with the work that needed to be done.

Thanks for your words of wisdom:

"I think it comes down to not what the uke costs but how much it's worth to you."

and,

"... a quality uke should go into a quality case IMO."

Mahalo,

stevejfc
09-26-2016, 11:10 AM
Hard case for anything of value, even walking next door. I use a Mono 80 for around town for my beater. The Crossrock 800 or most ABS/Fiberglass cases are nice, sturdy and light. On the other end, I have an Ameritage which you could run over with a tank..........but it weighs a ton.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
09-26-2016, 01:31 PM
Hard case for anything of value, even walking next door. I use a Mono 80 for around town for my beater. The Crossrock 800 or most ABS/Fiberglass cases are nice, sturdy and light. On the other end, I have an Ameritage which you could run over with a tank..........but it weighs a ton.

Heavy, but if it's protection you're after then Ameritage is the choice.

Uncle Leroy
09-26-2016, 01:53 PM
Well, we are talking about a Uke, not an upright bass. For me, it is just about peace of mind. I like Oahu hard cases. I once saw a Kamaka Soprano destroyed because it was in a soft case. If it had been in a hard case it would have come out unscathed. To each their own I guess.

PeteyHoudini
09-26-2016, 02:57 PM
Hard case for travelling by plane, train, and soft padded gig bag for local uke jams.

Though, I have taken my Martin concert uke in a padded gig bag on the train to Toronto more than once. Still, it always makes me nervous, but you have to weigh the risks. Sometimes, I'm sick and tired of lugging a hard case for larger ukes (concert and tenor) but I don't compromise on a hard case for the delicate sopranos.

Petey

hollisdwyer
09-26-2016, 03:21 PM
All of my instruments are in hard cases. The ones made by GWW (Ameritage) are heavy, but I can use the exercise and enjoy the peace of mind. I have one tenor (the BR 8er) in a Kamoa fibreglass case. Lighter but no internal accessories box.

I travel around a lot and I would put any uke I valued, no matter the $ value, in a hard case to prevent impact damage and to maintain the correct humidity for the instrument.

Charley
09-26-2016, 05:29 PM
I took my Fluke, which is already basically indestructible, to Uganda last year in a UkeCrazy hard case and didn't worry about it at all. The case got a little thrashed from being tossed around, but the instrument is unscathed.

On the other hand, I teach music at a school, and we have about 20 or so ukuleles loaned out to middle schoolers, all in soft padded bags (the ukes are in padded bags, not the middle schoolers). We haven't damaged a ukulele yet in four years.

kkimura
09-27-2016, 03:29 AM
I carried my OXK in a Guardian hard case when I was traveling on business. Didn't want to see it crushed by a heavy spring loaded motel room door as I tried to maneuver myself, laptop bag, overnight bag and ukulele into the room.
Now days, the OXK travels in a gig bag. No worries!

And then, there's this guy:

94608

Michael N.
09-27-2016, 03:56 AM
Expensive Uke? buy a good quality hard case. As previously stated, you aren't having to carry around a bass or even a cello. Just think how they feel.
For less expensive Ukes the foam cases are very good. They offer better protection than a padded gig bag but are still very light. I'm a fan of them, except when it comes to expensive instruments.

Uncle Rod Higuchi
09-27-2016, 04:30 AM
it's obvious to me that if one wants peace of mind, then the majority says, get and use a good hard case.
it will most likely be heavier, possibly bulkier, but it will cater to your need for peace of mind.

otherwise, depending on your level of comfort... anything else could work for you, from nothing to a heavily-
padded gig bag, either commercial or one of your own making. I believe Ralph Shaw has a YT video of him
making a cardboard 'hard' case :)

Drawstring bags can work, esp if you're not too concerned about occasional dings or bangs :)
I'd love to see pictures of self-made or unique ones - rice bag, coffee bag, etc.

Thanks, to all who have contributed... so far. Keep the comments coming if you'd like to share an opinion!

keep uke'in',

Hamcrusher
09-27-2016, 08:57 AM
I use a UKE Crazy. I guess it's a cross between a gig and hard case. It has straps for the back, it's super light and travels well through the airports. The only problem I have with it is that it's canvas exterior and my cats think it's a a scratching post. Anyone want a free cat? kidding...

jimavery
09-27-2016, 09:18 AM
I use a UKE Crazy. I guess it's a cross between a gig and hard case. It has straps for the back, it's super light and travels well through the airports. The only problem I have with it is that it's canvas exterior and my cats think it's a a scratching post. Anyone want a free cat? kidding...

Shhh! Don't let our cat Jasper know that! He already nibbles at my ukulele strings.

Michael N.
09-27-2016, 10:57 AM
I use a UKE Crazy. I guess it's a cross between a gig and hard case. It has straps for the back, it's super light and travels well through the airports. The only problem I have with it is that it's canvas exterior and my cats think it's a a scratching post. Anyone want a free cat? kidding...

That's one of the foam cases that I mentioned.
Here's Fret.com take on the various case types:

http://www.frets.com/FretsPages/Musician/Acessories/Cases/WCases/wcases.html

spongeuke
09-27-2016, 12:06 PM
After many trials from plywood hard cases to gigbags, I have come to use none of the above. Metal clip ends dinged one in a very sturdy padded case, one rolled out of a zippered case that wasn't zipped, a gigbag was lost, none are idiot proof, and now I just have a firm grip or careful placement to protect mine. I also keep the jewels at home, above the water line and in a case, in case of earthquakes. Out and about I have several Martins I play that are players and I can fix any ding or such should it happen.
I transport it (when necessary) in a designated rolling back pack that has spots for all the essentials. Usually its my reader in a fold up stand in one hand and the Martin in the other.

Uncle Rod Higuchi
09-27-2016, 12:25 PM
Thank you Michael N, great info from frets.com!

thanks for sharing the link.

keep uke'in',

flailingfingers
09-28-2016, 04:18 AM
Well, we are talking about a Uke, not an upright bass. For me, it is just about peace of mind. I like Oahu hard cases. I once saw a Kamaka Soprano destroyed because it was in a soft case. If it had been in a hard case it would have come out unscathed. To each their own I guess.
Why mess with anything but a hard case for ANY occasion? I just flew with my beater uke in a soft case and it survived but I realized that with the overhead bins being so crammed these days it was just a matter of time until it was damaged. I was especially concerned when I put the uke in the bin first and then watched as passengers wanted to stuff their roll-ons in on top...I took the uke out when they did that and then tried to fit it back in. Sure it's a beater but I like it and I'm taking it along because I want to play it. Same goes for cars or even carrying it to gigs. With a hard case I can always put the uke in the case when not playing it. Don't have to worry about it tipping over or someone kicking it. I have an Oahu case for my good uke that was made for it. It is not that heavy at all. I don't understand this "heavy hard case" lament. I'm now getting a hard case for the beater.

wickedwahine11
09-28-2016, 08:39 AM
I have fiberglass (Crossrock and Kamoa) cases and Calton hard cases. The Calton cases are indestructible but also weigh a ton. I used to have an Ameritage and that was terrific, though heavy, as well. I use the fiberglass case around town, and on trips on Hawaiian Airlines - where I know I never have a problem bringing my uke onboard. It is funny I saw this today. I'm going to the East Coast tomorrow and flying on Virgin America. I've never flown them and wrote asking their musical instrument policy, they wrote back that it would be no problem. So I am inclined to try to take a fiberglass case for ease getting around town for the next few weeks. But if they give me a problem, the Calton is far more superior protection. But I'm leaning fiberglass - it takes up less space in an overhead and is still quite protective. And hell, if it comes to it, I'll buy a damn ticket for the ukulele if they try to make my check my Moore Bettah...or beg the Captain to put it in the cockpit or flight crew closet. Still, I would never use a gig bag for a uke I cared about. The fiberglass cases are just as easy and lightweight, but give some more peace of mind.

stevepetergal
09-29-2016, 03:53 AM
I think if you travel with your instrument or if you have concern about falling on it as you move around, you need a hard case. Otherwise, a padded case is all you need. The hard exterior is for protection against rather extraordinary impact. I have a couple of hard cases and I use them but have never really needed their protection.

Pueo
09-29-2016, 06:56 AM
I have 10 ukuleles. 5 have gig bags, the rest hard cases. Once I was grabbing one out of the trunk of a car, and as I turned away and slammed the trunk lid down, the neck of the case had not quite cleared the opening. The trunk lid bounced off the hard case, no damage. I think we can all guess the outcome had it been in a gig bag.
So pretty much when an ukulele leaves the house, I place it in a hard case. You just never know.

kendalle
10-01-2016, 11:01 AM
Funny...the last couple times I flew, people assumed that the nice soft padded case slung over my shoulder was a violin....and treated it with so much respect it was laughable. I just went with it. "Ah...the violin...a lovely instrument..." I agreed, lol. When it came time to put it in the overhead bin, the flight attendants made sure it was put on top and protected. One my most recent flight home, the pilot asked me if I had been fiddling for the other passengers. "Not this time..."