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Rllink
02-03-2017, 02:53 AM
The air conditioning thread got me to thinking about this, so I'm starting a new thread. Gig bag vs hard case. I have both. My Mainland lives in the hard case. I seldom take it out on bicycle rides or to the beach. Anywhere it goes it rides in my car. I just carry it in and out. My Makala gets to go for bicycle rides and to the beach though, so I bought a nice gig bag with pack straps to carry it. But for me at least, I see no benefit in using a gig bag instead of a hard case unless I want to carry it around on my back so that I can free up my hands. I wonder why people prefer a gig bag over a hard case? Carrying a gig bag in my hand, and carrying a hard case in my hand, is pretty much the same experience. So there you go. :)

Down Up Dick
02-03-2017, 03:08 AM
I seldom carry my ukes anywhere. I have two hard cases that came with the ukes, and the rest, including all my banjos, have gig bags. I prefer the gig bags. I can carry more in them, and they seem to fit better. And, of course, the price of hard cases is much more than i wanna pay for a once-in-a-while case.

If one buys a few gig bags instead of cases, he/she could mebbe buy an extra uke. :old:

kkimura
02-03-2017, 03:21 AM
Lately I've been using a Martin gig bag to carry my OXK to uke club meetings because it's smaller, lighter and generally more convenient. Larger storage pocket too. All my other ukes live and travel in hard cases.

Down Up Dick
02-03-2017, 03:50 AM
I have a hard case for my tuba. It's so big it has wheels, and i can hardly lift it into my car's back door.

Be glad you play ukuleles--especially sopranos! :cheers: :old:

Booli
02-03-2017, 04:07 AM
Ha Rollie - you too funny!
:smileybounce:

Methinks you are bored this morning - it's all good, I'll play along :)

I think for what you would pay for a nice heavily padded gig bag like a Fusion Bags, Reunion Blues, Mono, or even a Crossrock Hybrid is much more than even the cheapest $25 (from Empire Music in Canada) canvas-covered hard foam cases, and offers LESS protection in such a gig bag as mentioned due to lack of rigidity.

Sure a gig bag can protect against minor scratches and bumps, but if the headstock gets hit, or the neck is bent back, for that uke, it's just GAME OVER.

OTOH, these canvas-covered hard foam cases, have much greater resistance to being snapped in half, and are sold under more than a dozen different brand names, including Kala's Uke Crazy, Lanikai, Musician's Gear, etc and I've bought more than a half dozen sold under different names, and my conclusion is that they all come from the same 1-2 Asian factories, and ALL have the smell of uncured glue (which is easily remedied without chemicals or kitty litter or coffee beans by placing a fan, blowing full blast onto/into a case that's propped open for at least 72 hrs, and then the smell is gone...)

For a hard wood case, I would likely never spend for the Ameritage, or Colton unless my uke itself cost over $800 of which I have none, and same goes for a fiberglass (like Crossrock) case. However, I have been lucky to find sales of the tolex-covered wood cases at a discount, and I have reserved those for solid-wood ukes that need a better airtight seal for humidification purposes. I will not debate which case or bag is best for humidity control, because I simply want to avoid that topic.

To me a padded gig bag is like a dust cover, good for keeping the uke in the closet.

The Uke-Crazy style cases are good for out-and-about to uke jams and open mic nights.

The wood, ABS and fiberglass cases are the ONLY kind I would trust to go into the overhead bins on the airplane, and better if it is ALSO 'TSA Rated' just in case I am forced to check it under threat of being bumped/banned from the flight if I refuse.

I almost think that if I were to travel with a uke, that I'd FedEx it overnight to my destination, in a hard wood case well-cocooned in bubble-wrap just to avoid any hassle at the airport, or if traveling CONUS, just go by rail. Sure, rail takes longer but is way less stressful to me.

Anyway, these are my humble thoughts...

DownUpDave
02-03-2017, 04:07 AM
I REALLY like the large front pockets on some gig bags. You can put an iPad or music binder in them. I also find the soft edges and slimmer design makes it easier to get around with. That being send 99% of the time I use a hard case for the added crush proof protection.

Rolli I am very much like you in so far as having my ukes in a case does not stop me from playing as frequently as I like. This is where I prefer hardcases, easier to flip a couple latches. I don't know why but I find it a burden unzipping a bag.........it just really bugs me. Maybe because I trying to not wake anyone early in the morning.

Pirate Jim
02-03-2017, 04:08 AM
I like gig bags because they usually come with a large front pocket that I can stick a uke stand, tuner, spare strings and a tablet into. It means I only need the one thing with me, rather than a separate bag for the extras.

That being said, I practically never need to give hardcore protection to my ukes - if I'm travelling domestically they're usually on the parcel shelf of my car and if internationally I have a cheap soprano that fits in my hand luggage. I also don't have any ukes that cost more than 350 - maybe if I had a really high end uke I'd definitely want a hard case. Actually, most high end ukes seem to be sold with one! I did have a Gold Tone soprano years ago that came with a hard case. It was cool but I didn't need it.

macfish
02-03-2017, 04:19 AM
My first uke I bought a Mono gig bag. Good enough protection as I never really traveled with it. But when I upgraded to a very nice uke I looked around and ended up buying a case from Kamaka which fit perfectly and has the arch top so that the case is not pressing down on the bridge. It was cheaper than the Crossrock's, etc. too, even with shipping to the CONUS. Yes it's a bit bulkier/heavier but on the occasions where I'm taking it somewhere my uke is much more secure.

Doug W
02-03-2017, 04:25 AM
My Mainland is in a hard case (Styrofoam covered in fabric). I don't take it to beaches. Took a cheap Mahalo on a bicycle camping trip in a gig bag. Had to glue the broken neck after returning. Took a Martin travel uke in the plane to Israel and France in a gig bag. Ended up with new cracks in the back.

My friend dropped his U-Bass the other day which was in a gig bag. Luckily the headstock broke off cleanly and I was able to glue it back on for him.

My conclusion is that gig bags will protect your instrument from babies spitting up on them and little else. I am a fan of the Styrofoam cases because of their weight.

Ukulele Eddie
02-03-2017, 04:25 AM
Like any good answer, this begins with "it depends." Which hard case and which gig bag?

I have some big, heavy cases that I cannot stand carrying, including a top-of-the-line Armitage Gold. It is like work of art. And it weights 9 lbs. Seriously. I never take it out of the house. I also have Collings cases which are in my opinion are the best made. Easily understood as they are model-specific, fit like a glove and have a slim profile. My only complaint is they don't have a shoulder strap which can be helpful when traveling. For an "off the shelf" case you can get for any instrument, I love the Oahu fiberglass case (or similar Crossrock 1000).

I also have gig bags that range from worthless dust covers to Mono M80 bags, which are wonderful. They are not useful for humidification protection, but for carrying comfort and sufficient protection in most situations, they more than meet my needs.

I never use the backpack style straps, but do use a shoulder strap when traveling.

Cornfield
02-03-2017, 04:45 AM
A hard case provides better bump and scratch protection and retains humidity and temperature better. When I go out to a sing around, a hard case is just as easy to carry as a gig bag.
It really depends on how much you like and want to protect your ukulele. When I went to Australia, I took a Fluke in a grocery bag. It was fine. I'm going to East Lansing, MI today (a 3 hour drive) and I'll have a Mo' Bettah Uke in a hard case.

Rllink
02-03-2017, 04:46 AM
Ha Rollie - you too funny!
:smileybounce:

Methinks you are bored this morning - it's all good, I'll play along :)


The wood, ABS and fiberglass cases are the ONLY kind I would trust to go into the overhead bins on the airplane, and better if it is ALSO 'TSA Rated' just in case I am forced to check it under threat of being bumped/banned from the flight if I refuse.

I almost think that if I were to travel with a uke, that I'd FedEx it overnight to my destination, in a hard wood case well-cocooned in bubble-wrap just to avoid any hassle at the airport, or if traveling CONUS, just go by rail. Sure, rail takes longer but is way less stressful to me.
...
Methinks you are right Booli.:) As far as air travel, I think that I've made my feelings on that heard enough times here that I won't repeat it today.

janeray1940
02-03-2017, 04:59 AM
Hard cases all around for my three ukes because accidents tend to happen (or perhaps I tend to attract accidents!). Having been rear-ended once with ukes in transit, I'm glad to have the extra protection. As a result, no ukes were harmed in the rear-ending of my car! A couple more examples: that time my cat jumped up on my uke shelves and knocked my Kamaka pineapple clear off the shelf and across the room (again, not even a scratch), and the fact that I live in earthquake country.

SailingUke
02-03-2017, 06:02 AM
My first uke I bought a Mono gig bag. Good enough protection as I never really traveled with it. But when I upgraded to a very nice uke I looked around and ended up buying a case from Kamaka which fit perfectly and has the arch top so that the case is not pressing down on the bridge. It was cheaper than the Crossrock's, etc. too, even with shipping to the CONUS. Yes it's a bit bulkier/heavier but on the occasions where I'm taking it somewhere my uke is much more secure.

One of the big features of an arch-top case is it stronger and will take more impact than a flat case.

hendulele
02-03-2017, 06:08 AM
I have hard cases to preserve humidity and gig bags for going to jams. This thread makes me want to invest in those foam cases Booli mentioned. The Martin gig bag that came with my 0XK is pretty sweet indeed.

actadh
02-03-2017, 07:06 AM
I have one soprano and a one tenor foam hard case. Both are Luna brand from Musician Friend. They have a regular inhabitant and then they fill most niches where I need a little more structure around a specific instrument when traveling - usually one that normally lives in a gig bag. One trip, I took the tenor foam case with a soprano uke and all my clothes.

I took a vintage Silvertone solid mahogany soprano from WV to DC and then up to NYC, and then reversed the trip. It was great. The foam case was stuffed in the trunk with luggage for four people with no worries. It took several rides under a subway seat. It was carried on my back with the backpack straps all over Central Park - including me playing the uke at Strawberry Fields.

I have an Oahu hard case for really tough soprano conditions - my Opio usually lives in it.

Interestingly, even with having a Luna brand gig bag and Luna brand foam cases, my only Luna lives in a Musicians Friend hard case as it always seems to be rather fragile to me with a thinner, softer spruce wood soundboard and an inlaid spalted maple soundhole.

Tonya
02-03-2017, 07:35 AM
I have a Reunion Blues for traveling (airline) with my tenor because I appreciate the backpack capability; I use a wooden arch-top Oahu case at home. I was feeling pretty darn good about toting my traveling uke in the RB bag until November 2015 when I was on Hawai'i Island. Visiting Chuck Moore's shop I noticed a lovely MBU unfortunately sporting a bashed-in lower bout. I nodded at it with a questioning look. "Oh, that's a repair job," Chuck said. "He had it in one of those Reunion Blues bags in an overhead and someone smashed a carry-on into it." Ouch!

While I always monitor the overhead compartment holding my ukulele carefully until the last item is stowed in it and the compartment is latched shut, seeing that lovely ukulele crushed like that really brought it home to me. I use the Oahu hard case now for airline travel; I'm waiting for HMS to restock their Oahu leather-covered cases with the backpack straps and *that* will become my case for travel and home.

The RB is great for hauling to events and when I want to tote a bit more (don't laugh--I keep an alarm in it to alert me to movement/theft of the case/ukulele when I'm at festivals) but I will no longer use it for air travel. The risk isn't worth it.

Rob Uker
02-03-2017, 07:48 AM
Of course there are good reasons to own both.
Emotionally speaking, I find a good looking hard case almost as sexy as the uke stored in side ( tweed, leather, fake gater skin...).
To be honest most of my ukulele decisions are emotionally driven,

Croaky Keith
02-03-2017, 07:57 AM
I use padded gig bags at home to store them, keep the dust off, & give a bit of protection should one get dropped or bashed accidentally. :)

Rllink
02-03-2017, 08:07 AM
Of course there are good reasons to own both.
Emotionally speaking, I find a good looking hard case almost as sexy as the uke stored in side ( tweed, leather, fake gater skin...).
To be honest most of my ukulele decisions are emotionally driven,The reason that I have a hard case is because when I got my Mainland, Mike asked me if I wanted a case for it. I hadn't even thought about a case, so I said that it would probably be a good idea. He suggested the hard case. I got the "fake gater skin." But I like it and it serves me well. I'm glad that I went with it. But I can't say that I gave it a lot of thought and did any research on it.

PereBourik
02-03-2017, 08:16 AM
I have ukes in both hard cases and padded gig bags. Here are my observations.

Of Humidity:
Hard cases retain humidity better than padded gig bags. I use Oasis humidifiers almost exclusively so it is easy to compare evaporation between the two styles of case.

Of Protection:
I have traveled with both styles of case. I take reasonable care and have no fears about the protection offered by my Access or Mono bags. I prefer the Access as they are less bulky.

Of Foam Cases:
Worthless. One of my first ukes, a tenor Pono, came with a canvas/foam case. the handle was attached with a 3/4" screw directly into the foam. This pulled out within 24 hours of receipt. Any method to securely attach the handle would have entered the ukulele's space and damaged the uke.

I carried a Flea backpacking in Spain for 2 months. Carried it in the outside mesh pocket of my pack with nothing but a tube sock over the headstock. Never a problem.

Debussychopin
02-03-2017, 08:31 AM
Not sure if this has been mentioned but most uke hard cases (even the good ones) don't have enough support for the neck.

Most good quality guitar hard cases have a support at the neck near body and support at near headstock.

Uke hard cases, I guess manufacturers think the relative light weight of a uke doesn't qualify for it, have only a support at body.
Most or half of the uke weight comes from the neck. A sudden g force laterally will shock the neck as the body will be held sort of immobile in its insert.
So best to keep some sort of cloth or bubble around the headstock neck to support it.
Thus, sometimes it is safer to travel (not airline) w a gig bag as we are mentally mindful of the limited protection a gig bag offers but merits usage bc it prevents minor bumps and scratches. Which I believe is 95% of the reasons we need to have a bag.

Booli
02-03-2017, 08:40 AM
I have hard cases to preserve humidity and gig bags for going to jams. This thread makes me want to invest in those foam cases Booli mentioned. The Martin gig bag that came with my 0XK is pretty sweet indeed.

Here is the link to the EMPIRE MUSIC page for the canvas-covered hard foam cases (like the Uke-Crazy):

http://empiremusic.net/index.php?route=product/category&path=26_342

NOTE: this page is for USA sales, if you are elsewhere, i.e., Canada or International, click on the 'American Flag' icon at the top of the page to switch locale.

Right now are the following prices as per the time this message is posted:

Soprano--$25.90 USD
Concert---$28.98 USD
Tenor-------$29.98 USD
Baritone - not listed now

If I add 3 tenor cases to my cart, the shipping is $7.50 USD, adding a 4th case raises the shipping to $10 USD

If you ask me, the shipping is cheap for the size of the box, and in my experience it takes about 2-3 days processing time before the order will actually ship and then about 6-7 days to travel across the USA from Bellingham, WA to NJ...

Hope this helps. :)

hendulele
02-03-2017, 11:29 AM
Here is the link to the EMPIRE MUSIC page for the canvas-covered hard foam cases (like the Uke-Crazy):

http://empiremusic.net/index.php?route=product/category&path=26_342

NOTE: this page is for USA sales, if you are elsewhere, i.e., Canada or International, click on the 'American Flag' icon at the top of the page to switch locale.

Right now are the following prices as per the time this message is posted:

Soprano--$25.90 USD
Concert---$28.98 USD
Tenor-------$29.98 USD
Baritone - not listed now

If I add 3 tenor cases to my cart, the shipping is $7.50 USD, adding a 4th case raises the shipping to $10 USD

If you ask me, the shipping is cheap for the size of the box, and in my experience it takes about 2-3 days processing time before the order will actually ship and then about 6-7 days to travel across the USA from Bellingham, WA to NJ...

Hope this helps. :)

Thank you!!

Booli
02-03-2017, 05:18 PM
Thank you!!

any time brother - just sharing what I know :)

but if I win the Mega Lottery, I might buy a Crossrock 1000 case in each size, just to have for hostile travel environments :rolleyes:

jollyboy
02-03-2017, 08:46 PM
Okay, since this doesn't seem to be an entirely 'serious' thread...

My preferences are entirely subjective and based on self-image. I prefer gig bags because they have a more rucksack-y over-the-shoulder vibe - they better suit the rugged outdoorsman look that I like to cultivate. Hard cases seem more like attache cases for instruments and I always feel a bit like I should be in formal evening wear when carrying one (and on my way to orchestra practice).

I don't like pod cases (the polyfoam things) at all. They are a weird hybrid - neither one thing or the other - and they're just way too fluffy on the inside.

willisoften
02-03-2017, 10:09 PM
Prefer a close fitting hard case. Even in the house they provide better protection from, sitting upon, bashing while vacuuming, dogs, children, guests.
Short journeys walking or bussing a heavy gig-bag. Longer journeys hardcsase with extra closed-cell bits of foam cut to shape for extra support. (Camping mat)
Flying I never take an instrument, not a professional, I can live without for a few weeks a year. On business never had much time for it anyway, on holiday never missed it too occupied.

Personally on long-haul flights I find it hard to deal with people with special hand luggage. I don't care how you struggle to fit your concertina, accordion (or ukulele) into an overhead locker just don't move my stuff to another locker do it.( Across the aisle or down or up one maybe.) I don't care how valuable, if its worth a significant amount of money buy another seat. If you can't afford another seat check it in. If you aren't prepared to check it in well what about learning harmonica. Or fly in first class and avoid me in pig and chicken.

Ukerz
02-03-2017, 11:17 PM
I'd say the value of the Uke should determine what kind of case you use. <$200 Uke? Gig bag. >$300, use a case. But gig bags are nice in that they are light, cheap, not cumbersome, and can be easily thrown over the shoulder and carried like a backpack like it's not even there. I mean my Uke came in a package deal with a gig bag, good tuner (with battery) extra set of premium strings, a felt pick, and even a beginners book.....all for $20 extra than the base price of the Uke by itself. The bag alone would cost that much or more.

It also depends on where/how you're going to be storing it. I could hang a gig bag in a closet off a hook on the wall. Clean and not much chance of being crushed by anything else. I could probably use a gig bag in a car no problem. Now if I was travelling and have to say, store something in a compartment with other luggage, I'd 100% use a hard case.

In some ways a gig bag could be more protective than a hard case. Hard cases aren't necessarily padded. They're just a hard outer shell. It might protect your Uke from a kick or from having things stacked against/on the case, but it might not protect it from a high fall since the Uke is still impacting the inside of the case.

If you're in a home, or transporting it in a car, or anything like that, you're pretty much in a controlled environment to where a gig bag is adequate.

Another thing to consider for more expensive Uke's is environmental factors. A Uke stored in a tightly shut hard case could be in a more stable environment, but that could also be a bad thing if it's moist/too dry, you'd essentially be trapping those conditions inside a closed hard case. So you might end up with a cold/dry environment, or a hot and moist environment, both of which would be bad. Gig bags will obviously breathe better.

Rllink
02-04-2017, 03:34 AM
Prefer a close fitting hard case. Even in the house they provide better protection from, sitting upon, bashing while vacuuming, dogs, children, guests.
Short journeys walking or bussing a heavy gig-bag. Longer journeys hardcsase with extra closed-cell bits of foam cut to shape for extra support. (Camping mat)
Flying I never take an instrument, not a professional, I can live without for a few weeks a year. On business never had much time for it anyway, on holiday never missed it too occupied.

Personally on long-haul flights I find it hard to deal with people with special hand luggage. I don't care how you struggle to fit your concertina, accordion (or ukulele) into an overhead locker just don't move my stuff to another locker do it.( Across the aisle or down or up one maybe.) I don't care how valuable, if its worth a significant amount of money buy another seat. If you can't afford another seat check it in. If you aren't prepared to check it in well what about learning harmonica. Or fly in first class and avoid me in pig and chicken.I agree with you. I would think that there is a better chance of damage by it being kicked around, stepped on, or jammed into with other people throwing crap up in the overheads, than if it is if it is packed in a suitcase with clothes around it to protect it, and checked in. Anyway, the latter is the way I do it, and I've never had any damage from it.

ksiegel
02-04-2017, 07:11 AM
I have a tenor-sized Reunion Blues gig bag I bought used from Gerald Ross. I use it for the occasional festival. My 1920s Stella Banjo Uke lives in a Cordoba gig bag, but rarely leaves the house.

I have a Uke Crazy tenor padded bag that I got with my Kala from MGM. It sits on a shelf. Everything else is in a hard shell case. (I found out that the Firefly Soprano Banjo Uke fits beautifully in the Ohana Vita Uke Case, so I got another one of those!)

I have the older Hard Shell Gator case for the Fluke Tenor - fits great in the overhead bins, and when Brad Donaldson was building my custom concert case, I bought a used Ameritage Silver case from WickedWahini11, and had her ship it to him. It fits like it was made for it!

The only ill-fitting case I have is the Phitz soprano case I got for my Timms - it is too large, so I have felted wool roving all around the body and across the top until I get another case for it.

(And I tested all of my sopranos - the Phitz is too large for any of them, yet too small for a concert.)


-Kurt

besley
02-04-2017, 07:43 AM
My $1500 Farallon came with a pretty nice gig bag, but I just couldn't imagine not getting a hard case for something that expensive. So I found a a Crossrock 1000 on sale and have been using that for jams around town. It works great, BUT the hardware on the strap rattles something awful, giving off a sound as if the clasps have come loose. Need to find a better strap.

http://i894.photobucket.com/albums/ac147/stevebesley/Crossrock%203_zpsxxg1asdd.jpg
http://i894.photobucket.com/albums/ac147/stevebesley/Crossrock%202_zpsfyinr07o.jpg

As much as I like the protection, if I were going to a gathering where I had to walk around a lot I would probably use the gig bag, just because it is lighter, has dual backpack straps, and doesn't hurt when it bangs against you (the Crossrock 1000 is HARD).

Charley
02-04-2017, 05:45 PM
All my ukuleles are in hard cases, which are relatively easy to find and not much more expensive than gig bags. One exception however - my Fluke lives in a Fremont Gig Bag - the coolest gig bag I've ever owned.

This thing is built like a tank (not that the Fluke needs all that much protection). It has a little padded neck block that is velcro-attached, so you can make the instrument fit snugly in there. It's well-padded, with a large outer pocket and heavy-duty zippers. Ever since I've had my Fluke, I've had a hard time finding the right case for it, until I got this thing. I can't say enough good things about it.

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