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Location: Shop Index Ukuleles & Accessories Ukulele Cases & Bags Choosing a Ukulele case

Choosing a Ukulele case


Firstly, letís look at what is currently available as protection for your ukulele and what sort of protection the different types of ukulele case give and the uses they are put to.

The Ukulele Bag

The Ukulele bag

Sometimes referred to as a gig bag, carry bag or cover. These range in quality from just a thin unpadded nylon or rayon cover with zip and handles to a bag with thick padding, lots of accessory pockets and shoulder straps. These are a cost effective way of protecting your ukulele (as long as they are used appropriately) but they do have limitations for example they do not give much (if any) crush protection.

One of the big advantages of the bag or gig bag is that it is not too sensitive to the size and shape of your ukulele- at least not in the way any hard case would be. It's still wise to check measurements especially things like the overall length, but because the bag is flexible it will conform to most shapes as long as there is enough room overall.

The thin bag type is often given away with a ukulele purchase to encourage a sale, and will keep a bit of the weather off your ukulele as well as having handles to carry it with. Many ukulele players will want something that has a bit more protection and convenience though. So, if you are thinking about a padded bag, as well as things like quality of zips, accessory pockets, and whether or not it has shoulder straps, the thickness of the padding is another important factor. This is often stated in millimetres. Generally you will pay more for the thicker padding and of course receive better protection for your ukulele. The weight of even a heavily padded bag is hardly noticeable for most people and ranges from 600grams to 900grams.When shopping for a ukulele gig bag, check the padding size is appropriate for your use and of course check the price for that particular padding size as more padding is usually more money

The Pod Case

This is a semi hard case which gives a degree of rigidity and some crush protection. Itís usually made from expanded foam, of which varies in quality from the type of white expanded foam used in packing (even this can be fairly good) to an expanded rubber type foam.

The Pod Case (photo)

The advantage of these cases is that they are very light weight for the protection they give although they can be a fraction more bulky than a standard ukulele hard case. (They are usually a little thicker) They also absorb some of the impact if the case is dropped or nocked. They often have a black canvas type covering. Most include carry straps that are either sewn into the canvas cover or have the ability to be unclipped.

The Traditional Hard Case

These are made from either thin ply, hard card or a combination of these. They are designed to give very good protection both from knocks and bumps as well as crush protection- (the ability of the case to resist pressure without transferring it to the ukulele)

The Traditional Ukulele Hard Case (photo)

The inside is usually foam padded and lined with velvet or similar. Some incorporate metal rings on the outside of the case to attach back or shoulder straps to- if this is important to you check first because many donít. Many different outer finishes or coverings are available for those that also want something with a bit of style.

For example, colours of the standard leatherette can usually be found in shades of black, brown or burgundy, there are also cases with a tweed woven fabric covering as well as one with a green crocodile skin effect.

The Traditional Hard Case 3

One of the advantages of a hard case is that it protects the ukulele from being crushed, which means you can stack other stuff on it. This may be useful when you need to store the ukulele with other things, or transport it where itís outside of your personal protection for example in the hold of a plane or in the back of a van with lots of other gear. One of the disadvantages of these cases is that they are relatively heavy -- from around 1.6kg for the Soprano case to around 2.3kg for the tenor.

ABS Plastic, Fibreglass and Carbon Fibre Ukulele Cases

ABS plastic is quite tough (itís the type of plastic used on a lot of car switchgear)and the ukulele case can be moulded to look more streamlined than a traditional ukulele hard case but this often has the disadvantage that you canít stack on it. The price is usually similar to the traditional hard case.

Fibreglass and carbon fibre cases have excellent strength to weight ratios, but come at a price premium which most of the time excludes the average enthusiast.

Considerations of use

Most times, each ukulele player will have a slightly different and specific requirement for a case or bag. The first consideration is precisely how you will be using the case or bag. For example, a gigging musician may have it in the back of a van with lots of other gear. Itís all too easy for an odd shaped item like a drum or cymbal stand to do some damage even if itís in a well padded cover. A proper hard case is what is needed here. Or you might just need minimal protection and something light and convenient to carry to your lesson or ukulele club.

You may also want to consider:

Any ukulele left in reach of Children and/or animals need careful consideration for its protection.

The ability to lock the case can be useful in certain circumstances- for example when you want to stop children getting their hands on your ukulele, but in most cases does not help much with security as anyone intent on stealing your ukulele will just take the case as well.

If you have to walk a fair distance with it regularly, weight and itís ability to repel water may also be an issue. Some soft cases can be sprayed with a water repellent to assist in keeping the ukulele dry. Or if you think you might be caught out in a heavy shower, take a large plastic bag to put over the ukulele case or cover. Many ukulele cases and covers are water resistant but not many are waterproof- water tends to find its way in through zips, lid joins etc.

How you prefer to carry the case is also important, you can choose from a handle, shoulder strap or wearing it backpack style.

Do you need to stack the case? If so, a traditional hard case is often best.

Is your ukulele a standard size and shape? If it's not, a bag might be the only choice or at least an easier choice. If you need or prefer a hard case, just make sure that the case you are ordering will fit. Don't assume that this just means ordering between a soprano, concert, tenor or baritone ukulele case. You can do this either by checking measurments or by taking the ukulele into the shop and trying it. You will find useful internal measurments of cases in the section 'Ukulele cases and Bags' on the Courtney and Walker site. (there's a link to this at the bottom of the page).

What other bits and pieces do you carry with your ukulele- do you need to get these in the bag or case? Or perhaps you are happy to take these separately.

Courtney and Walker supply a huge range of choice for all types of ukulele.
Click here to go to the Courtney & Walker section on Ukulele Cases & Bags

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