View Full Version : Hard cases or padded gig bags, what do you prefer?

05-14-2013, 03:11 AM
My friend and I went ukulele shopping the other day and we managed to buy a new uke and then it came down to the question of the bag. The gig bags are cheaper but they never look as pretty and as cool as carrying around a hard case.
I can see that gig bags are probably more practical as they are lighter and a bit easier to carry but I just don't think anything beats the feeling when you open the locks on a hard case and the gorgeous soft linings on them.
What do you think?

05-14-2013, 03:22 AM
I'm certainly a hard case kind of guy. I don't know why, but when I have a nice instrument that I enjoy playing, I always feel like I'm doing it a disservice by not putting it in a hard case :P

05-14-2013, 03:23 AM
Hard cases for me. Protection is most important. Plus, ukes and uke cases are so small compared to guitars (which I am acustomed to) that I don't see the need for a gig bag's light weight and convenience for a uke. I do like a shoulder strap, but that can be installed on hard cases.

05-14-2013, 03:31 AM
I like hard cases too. I don't ever really take my ukes anywhere but I AM quite likely to knock something over/off/down on them, so I like having the extra protection.

Plus hard cases look so slim and chic. ;)

05-14-2013, 03:31 AM
Hard Cases, here. Gig bags only protect against scratches and very minor dings. Also I can't imagine humidifiers being very effective in a gig bag or softshell.

05-14-2013, 03:33 AM
Hard cases. They also store better if you have multiple ukes.

05-14-2013, 03:39 AM
Also, hard cases tend to look cool when they start to get battered and worn. Whereas a worn out gig bag, is less chic :cool:

05-14-2013, 03:43 AM
Hard cases or the hard foam. I need to worry about controlling humidity during the winter months and they work a lot better that the gig bags.

That and I am a klutz

05-14-2013, 03:43 AM
Hard cases for the more expensive guys. Gig bags for the beaters.

05-14-2013, 03:50 AM
Hard cases for the more expensive guys. Gig bags for the beaters.
I have to admit I do feel like a bit of a rockstar when I walk into town with my lovely hard case!

05-14-2013, 03:55 AM
Hard cases for the more expensive guys. Gig bags for the beaters.

:agree: Yep.

05-14-2013, 04:00 AM
Hard case. Plus putting stickers on a gig bag just does not work....

05-14-2013, 04:06 AM
Plus putting stickers on a gig bag just does not work....

haha good point!

05-14-2013, 04:44 AM
I have cases for all my expensive ukes, but when I take them out I usually take two and put them in a gig bag for two ukes. It's a lot easier to carry around, I just have to be careful about not dropping it.

Also, it gives me two free hands to carry my cable and mics bag and hardware. I used to rehearse and gig with 3 ukes and 3 hard cases and it was very hard to carry them around comfortably.

05-14-2013, 06:22 AM
+1 on the hard cases too. I don't even like the foam ones. They fabric on the outsides get yucky (technical term) and tears more easily than you might think.

05-14-2013, 06:34 AM
For around the house and for flying I prefer hard cases - anytime I go out though I prefer the canvas and hard foam cases. They provide good protection without weighing five or six times what the ukulele inside does.

I used to insist on hard cases for all my guitars. Then, I started gigging regularly on bass - I bought a used five-string and it came with a padded gig bag with back straps and I discovered how convenient they are - I'm now on my second or third gig bag with that bass and it's still untouched by time. So, unless you are pretty careless even a padded gig bag provides pretty decent protection. In fact, I'll probably pick up a padded gig bag for toting my uke around the UWC grounds this year as even the canvas and hard foam cases are kind of bulky to keep slung over your shoulder all day.


05-14-2013, 07:41 AM
If I could get a top of the end case I'd get a hard case but if I were to get one for like 200 I'd probably go with a really nice gig bag

05-14-2013, 08:58 AM
Not sure what people envision when they think "gig bag" or "hard case" for that matter. I have three "gig bags" (Reunion Blues, Mono and Blue Heron) that are as protective as most hard cases. Not as protective as a Calton, for example, but neither are the vast majority of other "hard cases". Most hard cases that come standard with stringed instruments are not very protective at all. I would much rather have an expensive instrument in an RB or Mono case than most any hard case selling for under $300 when the need arises for protection.

05-14-2013, 09:34 AM
Generally speaking, I like hard shell cases.

I've had the polyfoam tenor cases (3 at one time) mostly because a) 2 of my ukes were shipped to me in them) and b) when I bought my first uke locally, none of the local shops had a tenor-sized HSC, so polyfoam was the only choice.

I've since given two of the polyfoam cases away - both to newbie players; one was carrying his brand new Kala in the cardboard box it came in, and one to the wife of a former co-worker who was getting him a ukulele as a birthday surprise (Thanks, Mim! He LOVES it!).

My two banjo ukes are in gig bags - the Firefly in a Bean Sprout Banjo Uke gig bag (and the closest I'll ever be to being able to own of of those gems!), and the Stella in my Cordoba's bag. oh, and the Outdoor Ukuele is in the Firefly's gig bag. Everything else is in a hard shell case.

Now the big However:

However, I recently got a used Reunion Blues Tenor gig bag from Gerald Ross, and I'm impresses with it. It is thicker by 2-3", and heaver than many of my tenor HSCs. But the convenience of the backpack straps is amazing, it is so well balanced I forgot I was wearing it one day, and the protection is undeniable. (And the price was way cool, too! Thanks, Gerald!)

Of course, Rick Tuner has stated for years that he keeps his personal ukes in Reunion Blues leather mandolin bags, and they are all that he needs. After seeing the bags, and the ukes in question, that makes perfect sense - especially with the relative humidity in San Jose, CA.

Here in upstate NY, humidity is much different, so I'll stick with the hard shell cases around the house, and consider the Reunion Blues bag as my #1 tenor bag for travel that doesn't involve an airline.


Uncle Rod Higuchi
05-14-2013, 10:17 AM
Seems to me we all are talking about static protection and dynamic protection, ie when our ukes are at rest and when they are on the go :)

Many of us who 'travel' with our ukes, esp to gigs (morning, noon, or night) need to balance the concept of protection with the reality of how much everything weighs and how easy they are to tote around.

That said, some of us favor protection, and others of us favor ease of transport. Both are OK if we can live with the consequences. :)

It's funny to see newbies at song circles. First they come with their ukes - naked (the ukes, the ukes!!), no covering - not even the cardboard box; then perhaps a uke in a bag with a songbook; then they add a music stand and their songbook is now in a 2" binder; then it's 2 binders, their uke(s) and the music stand (Oh, I forgot about the ukulele stand as well); and on and on it goes. then there are assorted 'carriers' - wheeled carts, roller backpacks, etc.

And what goes into creating this 'transport'? - protection and ease of transport. It's a give and take, and as the song goes..."something's gotta give."

Currently, I have my form-fitting Kala Soprano Travel case/gigbag on said instrument, with a songbook (binder), music stand all in a medium roller backpack for my assorted gigs. I like my hands somewhat free so rolling the unit appeals to me. It rolls quietly (esp on carpet :) ) and stands on its own; and with its handle up is useful for a coat hanger, etc :) just sayin'...

keep uke'in',

05-14-2013, 11:13 AM
I definitely prefer hard cases, particularly fiberglass ones since they are light. This is actually timely for me since I am moving, and have only three hard cases and one gig bag for my five tenors. So I need to buy one or the other to move the last uke safely. I am tempted to get a gig bag but find myself gravitating towards the hard case.

05-14-2013, 12:02 PM
I usually stuff my soprano in an Alpenlite backpack or in a mandolin gigbag. Maybe if I had a nicer uke, I'd use a nicer case...

05-14-2013, 01:52 PM
I carry my uke in a hard case, which is pretty, to jam sessions, etc. I carry it to work in my pretty gig bag, from Mim, cause a hard case is way too heavy for work....I feel like a pack mule as it is...nursing quipmemt bag on wheels, dinner bag, songbook, and uke....plus my cushion for sitting on lousy chairs and my coffee...I get complimnets on both, and they each serve a function. The gig bag, dinner bag, and songbook are slung over my wheeled bag, which give me one almoist free hand for coffee and cushion....my handbag? Stays lokced in my car, hidden from sight....
I'd like to have a different colored gig bag for the different outfits I wear, LOL....I'm not a shoe hound...