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Thread: Midrange Cases; worth the expense?

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    Default Midrange Cases; worth the expense?

    So I've recently acquired a new instrument and I consider both of the instruments I have to be of good quality. I currently use a standard Guardian A style for one of my Mandos (retails at roughly $65 on Amazon) and want to get a second hard case. Are the midrange cases worth the extra $$?... For example, I really like the look of the Vintage arch top Superior case, but it retails for $112 ... is it worth the extra expense? Or is it just fanciness with the arched top and green crushed velvet?

    Thanks in advance for your input
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    Default Re: Midrange Cases; worth the expense?

    Arched case is stronger. As in most cases, pun intended, it's a trade off between what you are willing to spend vs. the risk you are willing to take. Some folks are fine with their Collings guitar in a nice gig bag, some need a Calton.

    My Silverangel came with a Travelite, good for most scenarios, but would I throw it in the back of a van with road cases of PA gear? no. Airplanes? In an overhead, no problem, checked, never.

    Bought a nice oblong TKL for my F style, around $250 new. Very nice case that I'd trust in the back of a van, but not in an airplane hold.

    A Calton makes sense if you are protecting an $8000 instrument and/or travel.

    It comes down to your capacity for risk. I'd have to see the $65 case next to the $112 one to judge for myself, but have generally found you get what you pay for.
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    Default Re: Midrange Cases; worth the expense?

    Thanks Br1ck... my SA came in the Guardian case. I know most of Ken's Mandos have more "belly" but mine seems to fit fine in the $65 case, but I wouldn't mind a case upgrade for it as it will be "traveling" more.... I currently have the Jacobson in an older gig bag, but I've just never been a fan of Gig bags... you can't keep stickers on them
    aka: Spencer
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    Default Re: Midrange Cases; worth the expense?

    OK maybe off subject but where in this here world can I get a MANDOLA case! I can't find one anywhere! No one will sell one separate from a dola? I've looked everywhere, I need one for my 1924 Gibson Tenor Lute to Mandola conversion? I just have it sitting on a stand and well I don't like it with a 2 year old running wild! Any help would be swell!

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    Default Re: Midrange Cases; worth the expense?

    I've owned a lot of cases over the years. I think the Gator ABS case is a great deal, more protection than the Guardian and you can find them for under $100. Very light to carry too.
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    Default Re: Midrange Cases; worth the expense?

    I was looking at the Folkmusician site and they sell the Superior case I was referring to as well as something very else that looks the same for about $30 less (made by Golden Gate)... looking into it, it appears as though the Superior case is is made by Golden gate and the main difference is the interior lining. The model numbers are almost identical.

    Does anyone have experience with either the Superior or Golden Gate A style cases?
    aka: Spencer
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    Default Re: Midrange Cases; worth the expense?

    My Kelley A5 came in a Golden Gate arched top case thats a little nicer than the arched top TKL that my Silverangel arrived in. Its a nice case for the money. For day to day use, though, I carry the Kelley in a Travelite, which Id rate similarly to Br!cks review. Ive also had a Gator Oblong hard shell flat F style case for about 15 years thats offered great protection for several mandolins and is still in outstanding shape, despite taking some abuse...nice value for the $, but its a little bulky. The GG case is a tighter fit than the TKL and the Gator, but nothing like the fit Collings cases come with, for comparison. The Travelite is a little better than the hard cases, though not perfect...

    The Travelite is actually a bit larger than my shaped hard shell cases (about the size of the Gator) which for some reason surprised me. Id like to see a Northfield Heirloom case in person to compare the size. If the NF is a lot smaller than Travelite, it may be worth the extra $$$, but it would have to be much sleeker...
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    Default Re: Midrange Cases; worth the expense?

    Thanks Chuck, thats enough for me, considering its only $10 more than the Guardian, I ordered up the GG Arched top A.
    aka: Spencer
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    Default Re: Midrange Cases; worth the expense?

    Quote Originally Posted by William Smith View Post
    OK maybe off subject but where in this here world can I get a MANDOLA case! I can't find one anywhere! No one will sell one separate from a dola? I've looked everywhere, I need one for my 1924 Gibson Tenor Lute to Mandola conversion? I just have it sitting on a stand and well I don't like it with a 2 year old running wild! Any help would be swell!
    you might find one at Themandolinstore, elderly or Gryphon strings.

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    Default Re: Midrange Cases; worth the expense?

    OP already ordered, so this is moot, but I'd say it all depends on how much protection really needs. For storage at home and taking to an occasional jam,the cheap case or even a well padded gig bag is plenty protective. If someone needs to take one on the road for a series of gigs,or in a plane where it could get manhandled, more protection would be great.
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    Default Re: Midrange Cases; worth the expense?

    I bought a used Weber hard case with arched top for $75 because I wanted one case with latches. It's a pain to keep unzipping my Travelite cases, but those are much lighter (although bulkier) and I use them for when I take them out of the house to jams/gigs. I have a custom case cover for my Travelites. Personally, I would not check an expensive instrument for airline flight without one of the better Calton cases (with a cover because they will scratch it up) but I rarely fly and not with an instrument.

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    Default Re: Midrange Cases; worth the expense?

    Quote Originally Posted by William Smith View Post
    OK maybe off subject but where in this here world can I get a MANDOLA case! I can't find one anywhere! No one will sell one separate from a dola? I've looked everywhere, I need one for my 1924 Gibson Tenor Lute to Mandola conversion? I just have it sitting on a stand and well I don't like it with a 2 year old running wild! Any help would be swell!
    I wonder if you could get a double violin or double mandolin/violin case and rework the interior with new foam and material. I found a mandolin/violin double case that I reworked for 2 mandolins. You would probably need to lay the mandola at an angle to fit in the case. Lay out your mandola on a rectangle piece of paper/cardboard to see what dimension may work.
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    Default Re: Midrange Cases; worth the expense?

    Quote Originally Posted by Br1ck View Post
    Arched case is stronger. As in most cases, pun intended, it's a trade off between what you are willing to spend vs. the risk you are willing to take. Some folks are fine with their Collings guitar in a nice gig bag, some need a Calton.

    My Silverangel came with a Travelite, good for most scenarios, but would I throw it in the back of a van with road cases of PA gear? no. Airplanes? In an overhead, no problem, checked, never.

    Bought a nice oblong TKL for my F style, around $250 new. Very nice case that I'd trust in the back of a van, but not in an airplane hold.

    A Calton makes sense if you are protecting an $8000 instrument and/or travel.

    It comes down to your capacity for risk. I'd have to see the $65 case next to the $112 one to judge for myself, but have generally found you get what you pay for.
    I'm in a little bit of a predicament in that regard myself. The case for my F5L is sturdy enough but the fit around the body is terrible. There's probably a good inch between the mandolin body and the case padding, and the neck doesn't rest in any sort of groove so the mandolin is free to shift around if it's not handled extremely carefully. It's rather frustrating how little the case aligns with the quality of the instrument. That being said I'm obviously going to be purchasing a new case, something that holds the mandolin in place well and is sturdy enough for frequent local gigging but nothing major like air travel

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    Default Re: Midrange Cases; worth the expense?

    I actually have reconsidered, I got another opinion via email from someone (a trusted retailer) saying that the Tolex material of the more expensive case was much stronger and that GG was something of a "sloppy fit" and just not nearly as good quality as the Superior case... I cancelled my original order and will be ordering the Superior case.
    aka: Spencer
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    Default Re: Midrange Cases; worth the expense?

    Quote Originally Posted by William Smith View Post
    OK maybe off subject but where in this here world can I get a MANDOLA case! I can't find one anywhere! No one will sell one separate from a dola? I've looked everywhere, I need one for my 1924 Gibson Tenor Lute to Mandola conversion? I just have it sitting on a stand and well I don't like it with a 2 year old running wild! Any help would be swell!
    Recently, Eddie Blevins made an octave mandolin for me. Very early in the process, I started looking for a case. I wanted a quality case because the custom instrument was a sizable investment. Well, no one makes decent quality cases for mandolas or octaves. Eddie and I decided the best option was a Cedar Creek case. Eddie supplied the dimensions of the octave to them and I gave them my options (color, lining, handle, closures, etc. They shipped it to Eddie, he filled it up and shipped it all to me. It's a great case...a little heavy, but very sturdy and protective. If nothing else works, try Cedar Creek.
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    Default Re: Midrange Cases; worth the expense?

    Quote Originally Posted by William Smith View Post
    OK maybe off subject but where in this here world can I get a MANDOLA case! I can't find one anywhere! No one will sell one separate from a dola? I've looked everywhere, I need one for my 1924 Gibson Tenor Lute to Mandola conversion? I just have it sitting on a stand and well I don't like it with a 2 year old running wild! Any help would be swell!
    I saw one place on line. It was called Hobgoblin. http://www.hobgoblin-usa.com/local/s...mandola-cases/
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    Default Re: Midrange Cases; worth the expense?

    Quote Originally Posted by willkamm View Post
    I saw one place on line. It was called Hobgoblin. http://www.hobgoblin-usa.com/local/s...mandola-cases/
    I could be wrong but I think all of those are for octave mandolins which are called mandolas in Europe and they don't look like high quality to me.
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    Default Re: Midrange Cases; worth the expense?

    Back to the drawing board.
    Skip Kelley #063 Offset Two Point (2017)
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    Heron Creek "F" style #13 (2020)
    Lafferty LA5B #58 (2013)
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    Default Re: Midrange Cases; worth the expense?

    Quote Originally Posted by William Smith View Post
    OK maybe off subject but where in this here world can I get a MANDOLA case! I can't find one anywhere! No one will sell one separate from a dola? I've looked everywhere, I need one for my 1924 Gibson Tenor Lute to Mandola conversion? I just have it sitting on a stand and well I don't like it with a 2 year old running wild! Any help would be swell!
    It looks as if Trinity College mandolas still come with hardshell cases. Have you asked Saga if they will sell a case separately?

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    Default Re: Midrange Cases; worth the expense?

    On Cases ….. protection is their job …. portability comes into play when you have to carry one around all day at a festival or workshop … and cost …. a mid range case IMO will yield the best combination of factors. An arch topped Cedar Creek plywood case with decent storage is best until you have to carry that sucker around all day. A Travelite with backpack straps for "in hand" use is best in those circumstances. IMO a gig bag is good only for when the instrument is not out of your control … period ... and then accidents may still happen. So having a heavy plywood case with backpack straps is good in the mid price range. Actual best is a fiberglass or carbon fiber case but they are no where near mid range in expense. I expect you know that. You might consider owning a good mid range wood case and a Travelite hard foam case for those days when you have to carry it around. After all it's your mandolin … and it's only money. R/
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    Default Re: Midrange Cases; worth the expense?

    Quote Originally Posted by UsuallyPickin View Post
    On Cases ….. protection is their job …. portability comes into play when you have to carry one around all day at a festival or workshop … and cost …. a mid range case IMO will yield the best combination of factors. An arch topped Cedar Creek plywood case with decent storage is best until you have to carry that sucker around all day. A Travelite with backpack straps for "in hand" use is best in those circumstances. IMO a gig bag is good only for when the instrument is not out of your control … period ... and then accidents may still happen. So having a heavy plywood case with backpack straps is good in the mid price range. Actual best is a fiberglass or carbon fiber case but they are no where near mid range in expense. I expect you know that. You might consider owning a good mid range wood case and a Travelite hard foam case for those days when you have to carry it around. After all it's your mandolin … and it's only money. R/
    That all makes sense.

    I have to agree about the "heftiness" of the Cedar Creek cases. I have one for my Blevins octave. It provides excellent protection but it should come with a weight-lifter's belt for hernia protection as well. They have many options for their cases but a set of wheels is not among them. Perhaps that's something they should consider.
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    Default Re: Midrange Cases; worth the expense?

    Spend a few more $$ and get a fiberglass case.
    This Crossrock is $156 with coupon on page.
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    Default Re: Midrange Cases; worth the expense?

    Quote Originally Posted by soliver View Post
    So I've recently acquired a new instrument and I consider both of the instruments I have to be of good quality. I currently use a standard Guardian A style for one of my Mandos (retails at roughly $65 on Amazon) and want to get a second hard case. Are the midrange cases worth the extra $$?... For example, I really like the look of the Vintage arch top Superior case, but it retails for $112 ... is it worth the extra expense? Or is it just fanciness with the arched top and green crushed velvet?

    Thanks in advance for your input




    ..??
    I'd add how much do you travel with your mandolin. Stay in town , or hit the festivals all summer, and play weekly gigs..?
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    Default Re: Midrange Cases; worth the expense?

    Just to update the situation: I ordered the Superior Deluxe A case (over the Golden Gate similar model) from Amazon on recommendation of a well trusted source. I would have hoped to have had it by this point as it was many days ago since I have ordered it. ... Unfortunately it was out of stock with no indication of when it would be in stock. After multiple online chats with customer service reps who were very likely overseas, I learned that they weren't expecting a new shipment of that style case until after the first of March. So, I canceled the order with the intent of buying a better quality used case at a lower price that I had a line on, but that unfortunately fell through. So I went in search again and found the same case at essentially the same price from Instrument Alley and expect delivery by Saturday at the earliest but most likely early next week. I plan to share a review once I receive the case.

    Mandroid, to answer your questions:

    -While I do stay in town for the most part, I do take a mando (sometimes both) to work with me every day. I am blessed to work a job (church facilities manager) with a private office to pick in on lunch breaks as well as a fair amount of down-time where it is not frowned upon for me to do a little mandolinin'... Also blessed with a number of very talented musicians as coworkers with whom I can jam on lunch every now and again.
    -While its not technically gigging, I do play with the church worship band semi-regularly.
    -I have been known to hit a festival from time to time.... I'd like to hit more, but I often miss them.

    All of the above seem good enough reasons to invest in a decent case to protect a hard won instrument that I hope will be an heirloom.
    aka: Spencer
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    Default Re: Midrange Cases; worth the expense?

    Another update: I can't say that I am very pleased with Instrument Alley. While their prices are more than reasonable, they are NOT very good at communication. I placed the order 2 days ago and have since only received a confirmation of the order. I was curious when it would ship out so I tried to inquire; ...I attempted their online chat feature multiple times with no one ever replying to me, I called the phone number on their site twice and got the machine both times and I emailed with no reply. Finally I tried the online chat again and it timed out, so someone replied to my question via email saying they were "a couple days behind but I should get tracking info early next week..." thats pretty crummy customer service IMHO.

    I hope the case is worth all the annoyance!
    aka: Spencer
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    Soliver Hand Crafted Mandolins and Mandolin Armrests
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    "You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage
    to lose sight of the shore, ...and also a boat with no holes in it. -anonymous

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