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What’s the best way to protect your instrument when travelling? Hard case? Soft case? What do I need to consider?
Hopefully Music Junction can pass across some case experience and help your decision!
Soft cases – the daily commute with your faithful companion will certainly be easier with a soft contoured case or bag. Most decent quality soft style protection bags provide shock absorbent padding or foam. It keeps the bags lightweight and super portable. Most include easy-to-carry backstraps, sling-style shoulder straps or handles. Often the extra compartment storage that is provided is a huge plus as well! We tend to favour ourselves as players; brands like MONO Case for guitars and basses and Protec Cases for brass and woodwind needs. They are perfect for the everyday commute to lessons, school, local gigs and cramped travel areas like trains and trams. Often you’ll see the instrument bags over the shoulder of a keen cyclist or busker too.
However, these style bags require more careful handling in storage, and are not ideal to be stacked. Perfect really for personal handling! Some musos like just the plain old gig bag with a couple of millimetres of padding for the little door jam or car door knocks. These are okay but don’t offer any true support and protection when transporting. ‘Handle with care’ as the saying goes.
Hard cases usually have a rigid outer shell, with a contoured inside with a plush lining. These are favoured for long travel as they withstand being stacked and stored alongside other baggage and instruments. They are a great option if your hands are not always on your instrument and it’s to be handled by other bands members, road crew, less careful siblings and dare we say it, airport staff.
The downside to consider with these rigid hard cases is that, as well as quite cumbersome to handle and carry, the hard exterior can sometimes transfer impact and shock through to the instrument. You’ve probably heard those horror stories in airports where you unpack your pride and joy and there is a dent in that Trombone bell, or a headstock break on a your guitar. There are some case manufacturers though that consider this with design and offer some extra protection to combat this. Hiscox Cases provide options for most instruments.
The choice of course is yours based on the functionality that suits you best. At least we hope these tips will have you a little more informed when making your decision.
Look after that baby of yours!