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Best flight case

Discussion in 'Orchestral Auditions [DB]' started by Charlie Nilles, Mar 7, 2008.

  1. I'm wanting to buy a new flight case for auditions and other traveling engagements. So, what have you all heard? What's the best? What's the lightest? What's the ____est? Etc. I'm just trying to learn about cases other than the Gage or Stevenson (the only two I know). Thanks!
  2. Cardboard box. I'll sell you one for $300. Deal of the century.
  3. How about for a ride to the airport...
  4. neal davis

    neal davis

    Dec 29, 2006
    toronto canada
    I really like the carbon fibre one from ContraBass.co.uk really good case and anyone I know with one has marvelled at it, I was going to get one but it wouldn't be ready in time for the tour I just did so I got a Czechease bass and flight case instead, I am still thinking of picking one of these up, they are expensive but seem to be well worth it.
  5. BMason


    Oct 1, 2006
    Houston, TX
    Apparently they aren't in production anymore because of military demand for CF, but the TUFF-LITE carbon fiber cases are the balls. Forty-five pounds.
  6. mattgray


    Nov 16, 2007
    Cincinnati, OH
    The Tuff-Lite cases right now are REALLY nice. 40 something pounds, and they're pretty durable, and the service with the maker is AWESOME.
  7. G-force


    Jul 1, 2004
    oslo Norway
  8. Thank you everybody! Keep em comin! Anyone have any experience with the NEW Gage cases? He finally made the jump to carbon fiber, which is the way to go.
    Thanks again!
  9. rachelcalin


    Sep 13, 2005
    New York
    Hey Charlie-- just wanted to let you know my personal experience in this area; maybe its not the same for everyone else, but here's my deal:

    I have owned & travelled w/ a Kolstein for 13 years... yeah, yeah, I know, super heavy, etc. But also internally has great support functions: air bags, foam, plus suspension straps, plus standard straps....

    so somehow, after 13 yrs of flying with that, I was travelling with one of my regaular groups.... that had just been talked into buying a TuffLite (the super mega top shelf one: really light, but inside has only foam & backpack closure straps.... plus: wheel base is so narrow that the case wants to roll towards the bridge side-- bad news--- and also, it has a few cut outs/open parts on the bottom of the case... i can only assume to cut down on more weight or something having to do with the carbon fiber, but have they heard of rain puddles? bad stuff). Anyway, I took 6 flights with that case (not even 6 round trips..... just 6 flights) and the neck snapped on my bass.... you can ask AJ about it... he saw the blood & tears.

    So, ever since Ive gone back to the Kolstein.... Id love to cut down on the weight someday, but Id have to be seriously convinced of the internal protection mechanisms first..... I cant take that chance again. just my 2 cents... R.
    Whippet likes this.
  10. sybarite


    Mar 4, 2006
    New York, NY
    Hey Charlie,

    As you know I fly with my bass at least twice per month. I have the small Gage Case. (Circa 1997, it was the lightest thing available then) Also as you know my Bass is more like 7/8, so I ripped out all of the foam padding and don't use the airbags... BUT- I use a custom double padded soft case made by Dave Messina. (My bass is very snug inside and thats how I like.) After 11 years of flying I have only had one incident when the neck was very slightly loosened (never broken) from the block.

    Also, I've seen my bass dropped many times, once it fell out of the right out of the plane landing head first on the tarmack! I was convinced that my bass was in pieces...freaked out I went direct to the service counter and opened my Gage case in front of a a Airline rep. To my surprise the bass was fine and still perfectly in tune.

    I do wish the case was lighter. Its about 60lbs with my heavy ass bass & case over 100.

    That being said, I think the case is the smallest... I fit it into my small Audi A3 hatchback with no problem. Small is also good for the airlines.

    I also fit a Stevenson Carbon fiber in there but it was very tight. The new Stevenson Carbon fiber is very light. If I didn't live in a small NYC apt and a have a small car I'd probably get one of those. If the new Carbon fiber Gage case is as light as the Stevenson it be a good bet too.

    I like the weight on the Rabbath but it looks dimensionally HUGE! (5" of free space of either side... I think airlines will take a looks at that and say no way)

    Some people swear by the Kolstein, but I think its days are numbered due its size and weight.

    I also tried the new Accord case out at Robertsons. It looks awesome but is not very functional. The latches looked like they would break in one trip. They lined the inside with heavy velvet which adds extra weight (stoopid). Also, there's no was to put your bass in it with the soft case, and thats a deal breaker for me.

    I would personallt go with Gage or Stevenson, get whichever is the lightest. In the end I really think that no matter how good the case, if baggage handlers want to they'll find a way to drop it.

    See you in Aspen.

    sybarite5.org (beotch!)
  11. prelims222


    Sep 20, 2004
    Southeast US
    Just rent a plywood.. Make sure you have some clamps handy.
  12. I have a late-90's Kolstein - relatively big and heavy, but no airline has ever refused it. And here is a testament to it: I just arrived in Manaus, Brazil, about 12 hours ago. I had to go from Indianapolis-Atlanta-Miami-Manaus. The bass didn't get to Miami until the third flight from Miami after mine. The idiots in Miami put my bass on the luggage carousel bridge down. I got it on the flight to Manaus. The guys in Manaus dragged it up the stairs from the tarmac, hitting it on every stair, then let it fall over on the bridge. I took it out, and it is in perfect condition, still tuned almost perfectly a step down, and no open seams or any damage at all that I can see.

    I had a friend make a silk bag for my bass a month or so ago. You may notice that any violinist or violist and most cellists who has a really nice instruments keep them in a silk bag. There is a practical reason for this: silk slows down the rate of temperature and humidity change. Quick environmental changes are what cause most damange to wood; if you let the instrument get used to an environment, within some reason, it is better than, say, using dampits or a humidifier, and then taking it out of that environment and walking outdoors into the bitter cold or extreme heat. I wrap my bass in the silk case and my soft case inside the flight case.
  13. knarleybass

    knarleybass Commercial User

    Apr 6, 2005
    Tustin, CA
    Owner of Ulyate Instruments
    I had a case made for my F bass by Jan-AL, it's a tank!
  14. davidmkahn


    Feb 7, 2008
    I use a flight case made by String Bass Shop in San Francisco. I have had it for about 8 years and never had any damage to a bass, nor have I heard of people having problems with them.

    The design is probably the most simple among cases out there - just a thick fiberglass shell, foam padding, detachable air bags, and straps. Your soft case stays on the bass when you put it in, which I appreciate. It is lighter than the Gage and Kolstein cases, and it's never been too heavy to check it, though, as with all cases, I pay the oversize and/or overweight fees.

    It shuts like a coffin and locks in 5 or 6 places with an obscure size allen wrench-key. I've very much enjoyed it, and not many problems (though a handle did come off recently after my 20th or so flight. I think my case is an older design and this has been rectified. However, Allan Droyan, who makes these, will fix it when I get it to him.)

    Highly recommended, and pretty cheap at $2100!

  15. Jeremy Allen

    Jeremy Allen Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2002
    Bloomington, IN
    So...do they make cases for double basses, too? Which is what this thread is about?
  16. greengirl


    Mar 10, 2008
    I just found this website http://www.jimlaabs.com/scripts/prodView.asp?idproduct=3861
    that has hard cases for a bit less than $700.

    Sorry that I can't actually testify on what these cases are like, I have no idea... (I'm looking for my first flight case) But on that note, does anyone else?
  17. dragonetti11


    Jun 20, 2002
    since there seen to be a lot of flyers in this thread i have a question for you all.

    is there a certain airline you recommend? also, if an airline...like United...has rules about linear inches that do not fit into the realm of possiblilty of traveling with a bass would it be worth it to show up to the airport with the trunk anyway? i guess what i am asking is...is there any airline that accepts basses 100% of the time? or do airlines have rules that would technically pose problems (like height or linear inches since that is impossible to change and basses can get under 100 or even 70lbs) but accept basses anyway...maybe because they don't measure them or they just let the rules go.
  18. mattgray


    Nov 16, 2007
    Cincinnati, OH
    Southwest southwest southwest southwest...

    Did I mention Southwest?

    They're really understanding of how hard it is to fly with a bass and I've generally had very good experiences with them. Just never fly through Chicago on a connecting flight, make sure of that.
  19. sybarite


    Mar 4, 2006
    New York, NY
    Jet Blue Jet Blue Jet Blue

    After having flown many airlines with the bass, I now ONLY fly Jet Blue. If Jet Blue doesn't go there I'm not taking my bass.

    I have had horrible experiences with all of the others at one time or another.

  20. After a recent experience with U.S. Airways (United), I would recommend Southwest as well. U.S. Airways flew me 2/3's of the way on my audition trip, then refused me service back to Boston. Pretty much the worst airline I've ever come across.

    Southwest is the way to go for bass. At the most you'll have to pay $50 for an oversize fee. And that's way better than $80 for United or American.


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