ABS Case comparison

UkingViking

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Hi Forum,

So, I have been trying out some cases from ABS, wood and hard foam for my ukuleles.

Though I would share my experiences.

Is ABS lighter than wood? Some of them.

Below:
Kinsman wooden concert case: 1570 g
TGI ABS case: 1680 g
Uke Crazy hard foam case: 1150 g
Crossrock zippered ABS case: 1330 g
Thin gigbag: 480 g

DSCF2475.JPG

So, why did I try out ABS cases?
I wanted something that was more weatherproof and comfortable to carry around with a strap than a wooden case, while offering better protection (and being more weatherproof) than a gigbag. Truth be told, I have not hauled my ukes around through the storm a whole lot. But I would like to be able to.

I will split the review up into more posts before I time out.
 
Here are some pictures of the inside of the cases:

Kinsman:
DSCF2479.JPG

TGI:
DSCF2478.JPG

Uke Crazy Case:
DSCF2477.JPG

Crossrock zippered case:
DSCF2480.JPG
 
So, what do they offer?

All the cases, except for the zippered one, have a small compartment under the ukulele neck for tuner, capo or the like.

The Kinsman does not support attaching any straps.
The other three include a single strap for carrying it over your shoulder/back.
If you have an extra strap, you can put two on backpack style. I am sticking to a single strap though.

The Kinsman and TGI cases have a small key to lock them with, the zippered crossrock has a combination lock that you can lock the zippers into.
I dont think locking the cases will be on my mind.

Edit: A bit more about them:

The Kinsman seem like a middle of the road hard case to me. You can get wooden cases that are plushier and more luxurious if you look for it. This one has a flat lid, good for tacking them - probably less strong than an arched one.
This is concert size.

The TGI case has the plushiest, most luxurious interior of the 4 cases. The aluminium rim with the clasps feel rather good. My biggest objection is that the strap brackets rattle annoyingly against the ABS part on the case. You will find similar cases online branded as Crossrock or "Kala Charcoal". When looking at the pictures of where brackets are polaced etc, I come to suspect that they are made in the same molds just using different colors. But hey, I only tried this in real life.
This is concert size.

The Uke Crazy case also seems to go by many names online. I doesnt feel overly luxurious, but it has a nice serious vibe to it due to the no nonsense shape of it.
This is concert size. It has room for the biggest body of the concert sized cases.

Finally the zippered ABS case:
I bought it because I was courious if it rattles less than the TGI. It doesnt, the brackets and zipperes find a way to rattle anyway.
It is a pretty nice case, but not quite as neat as the TGI case. The strap seems a bit less strong, the plush is a little less plushier etc. But still a nice case. It has a zipper on one edge, two hinges on the other edge, and between the hinges it seems to be closed with an elastic fabric along the other edge. Since elastic fabric deteriorates a bit faster than other fabrics and plastics, I am not sure how many decades it will keep up, so I am not sure how I feel about that. Also, this fabric seems less water resistant than your average gig bag.
This is soprano size. Fits a my Ohana SK30-M super soprano without a problem.
When looking at the lower bout of this case, it seems that a small concert ukulele could have fit into it if not for what feels like a small block of oasis under the plushing that reduces the internal size a bit. Perhaps they use the same mold for soprano and concert cases? I dony know.
 
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These are concert size?
Does the crossrock have a second zipper on the treble side? Or one that goes all the way around?
I’d like to know that too. Also, is the rim metal or hard plastic or … ? I have an ABS case that I dislike because it’s hard to put the uke in the case without touching it against the hard aluminum rim.
 
These are concert size?
Does the crossrock have a second zipper on the treble side? Or one that goes all the way around?
The crossrock is soprano sized, the rest are concert sized.
It has some elastic fabric on the treble side, between the hinges.
 
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I’d like to know that too. Also, is the rim metal or hard plastic or … ? I have an ABS case that I dislike because it’s hard to put the uke in the case without touching it against the hard aluminum rim.

The rim is plastic, with the zipper protruding a bit.
It only has the one zipper, there is some elastic fabric between the hinges on the other edge.
 
If you really want the case to be weather resistant, you might want to make or buy a simple waterproof cover. Much easier for cases with straps at the back, but still workable for those with only a carrying handle. Covers specifically for ukulele cases are uncommon, but those for different sizes of violin case are far easier to find and do the job nicely. They don't need much more than waterproof fabric, an elasticated hem and possibly a drawcord.

I have a soprano TGI ABS cases which I like except for the fit: there's way too much space inside for a traditional soprano. Unfortunately I think they're catering to some of the modern oversized models, which leaves me to pad the gaps with dusters.
 
I’d like to know that too. Also, is the rim metal or hard plastic or … ? I have an ABS case that I dislike because it’s hard to put the uke in the case without touching it against the hard aluminum rim.
Not to hijack your thread, UV, but:

Patty,
You may want to check out Crossrock's fiberglass case. The rim is pliable plastic or maybe hard rubber. The Crossrock and Kala latching (non-zip) ABS cases all have that aluminum rim and look like the TGI case.
 
I have the same Uke Crazy case in tenor size. My experiences after couple of years of quite regular use:
  • It's nice to have multiple attachment points for straps. I find that by using the top side attachment point for one end and the bottom one in the back of the case add a nice curve to the carrying angle so that the case naturally rests more nicely when carrying over shoulder, even when biking around.
  • Has protected the instrument very nicely, even after some drops and one full body slam on the case after slipping on some ice. Would even consider using the case for flight cargo etc.
  • The material feels okay. I wanted a fabric option, as I dislike hard-surface cases for some reason. Also the shape is quite generic, could basically be a case for any instrument which is a bonus, as I generally don't really like explaining about the ukulele to random interested strangers.
- The quality for some of the parts is not great, couple of the tabs of the zippers (what do you call those?) have fallen off during the years. Zippers still work though, I replaced the tabs with pieces of string tied through the mechanism.
 
Are the APS cases by Crossrock/Kamehameha/Bondi more protective of instruments than more traditional hard cases, such as those by Kala/Gator/Kinsman?
 
Are the APS cases by Crossrock/Kamehameha/Bondi more protective of instruments than more traditional hard cases, such as those by Kala/Gator/Kinsman?

They're significantly lighter than a wooden case and come with straps, so they're easier to carry around. If you're going to be walking, riding a bike, taking a subway, etc. with your uke and want more protection than the average gig bag but without the weight of a wooden case, the zippered ABS cases are a good option. They're fine for storage too.

I have a couple of the zippered ones and a full ABS case with latches. I would guess the full ABS case with the aluminum edges and latches is more protective. My only worry with that one is if the lid falls and the latches chew up the uke. The zippered ones stay open on their own better and even if the lid falls, the zipper isn't very likely to do much harm to the top of the uke.
 
They're significantly lighter than a wooden case and come with straps, so they're easier to carry around. If you're going to be walking, riding a bike, taking a subway, etc. with your uke and want more protection than the average gig bag but without the weight of a wooden case, the zippered ABS cases are a good option. They're fine for storage too.

I have a couple of the zippered ones and a full ABS case with latches. I would guess the full ABS case with the aluminum edges and latches is more protective. My only worry with that one is if the lid falls and the latches chew up the uke. The zippered ones stay open on their own better and even if the lid falls, the zipper isn't very likely to do much harm to the top of the uke.
Since my interest at present is for the soprano size, my guess is that there won't be to great of a difference in weight (essentially none if the online specs I read are correct), so my concern would be protection, for example in an overhead compartment on an airplane, bus, or train.
 
Thanks for the comparison - which one do you think will offer most protection/resistance to impact?

Also in threads about humidifiers there is often speculation which type of case is most beneficial for humidification. If you use Oasis humidifiers, do you have any observation which type of case requires least or most humidifier refill?
 
I dont use humidifyiers where I live, but I am guessing that the opening between the hinges where the zippered bag is only closed by some elastic fabric - that is probably prone to letting but humidity out in dry conditions and moisture in if caught in the rain. So for that concern, I would go with something else.

When it comes to protection from impact etc., I would assume from handling all the mentioned cases (other than the gig bag shown for weight comparison) that you would need some rather extreme conditions before any of them would fail. I have not tested them in a hydraulic press, so telling exactly which can endure the most is hard to say 😆.

I love the look of both the ABS cases, but I am not convinced that they are the most practical.
For practical purposes I would probably look to either:
A nicer wooden case for luxurious feeling and good storing, if I was not to carry it too much around by foot or bicycle outdoors. Carry it to the bus, sure. The clamped ABS is nice, but the lid that wont stay open and the rattling brackets are drawbacks.
The hard foam case with a violin rain cover (havent tried the cover, it sounds smart) for something light to carry if I didnt care too much about looks and feel
A gig bag with a plastic frame and ~ 20mm padding if medium protection is acceptable and I wanted something with better looks and feel to carry around. Might put it in an overhead, but not without worrying a bit.
 
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Are the APS cases by Crossrock/Kamehameha/Bondi more protective of instruments than more traditional hard cases, such as those by Kala/Gator/Kinsman?
Not sure what you mean by "traditional cases". Wood? Polyfoam covered in fabric? Full ABS with an aluminum lip? Fiberglass?
Thanks for the comparison - which one do you think will offer most protection/resistance to impact?

Also in threads about humidifiers there is often speculation which type of case is most beneficial for humidification. If you use Oasis humidifiers, do you have any observation which type of case requires least or most humidifier refill?
I haven't had my cases long, but so far, I don't see much difference in refill time for my Oasis humidifiers between the full ABS and the hybrid ABS cases. Once the instrument is humidified (so after a couple of days or maybe a week after you first start to humidify it), the refill time seems pretty consistent between the two types. I check them every Sunday and sometimes the ones in hard cases don't need anything and sometimes they need a little bit of water. Average RH in my place in the winter is low 20s. The ones in gig bags always need a good bit of water.

I would guess they're similar in impact resistance, with the full ABS probably being slightly sturdier. If you need more protection than either of these provides, you probably need a fiberglass case or a flight case.

As someone else said, water resistance would be another issue. The full ABS case is highly water-resistant because of the aluminum lip. The hybrid ABS has fabric around the zipper, so theoretically a bit less water resistance. Unless you're dropping it off a boat or walking around in a lengthy downpour, the functional difference is probably negligible.

Just wanted to mention that the hybrid ABS cases vary a bit by size. I have a concert and a tenor. The concert has the elastic fabric on the back edge. The tenor has another zipper back there instead. I would guess the soprano size has the elastic fabric as well.
 
Not sure what you mean by "traditional cases". Wood? Polyfoam covered in fabric? Full ABS with an aluminum lip? Gig bag? Fiberglass?
Wood. I should have been more specific. Thank you for the information about the various cases.
 
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