Friday, March 21, 2008

A Case Study, Part 2

Continuing on from Part 1 of the "Case Study", we have:

Stagg Soprano Tweed Case:
I got this case on ebay for about $55. It's not chump change but it is a pretty good deal when you consider its twin, the Bushman tweed case costs $90 before shipping. It is certainly a very classy looking case. The tweed exterior looks and feels like quality material, and the brown trim and gold hardware compliments the tween very nicely. The interior is lined with black lining and looks fine. This is a soprano-only case, as my Kanile'a super soprano does not fit inside this case.

It is solidly constructed and holds a soprano uke firmly inside. Since it does not have a "waist", which differs from the Bushman version, it also can accommodate a pineapple uke. I'm not a big fan of the buckles on this case. It works fine but unlike other buckle type cases, the buckles on this uke is a one piece stamping and the edges on the backside feels sharp. Even the buckles on the cheap no name ebay case feels like a step up from this one. There is no problem with functionality here, however, so this complaint is probably one of personal preference. The interior space is also pretty limited. I did manage to squeeze in a Herco humidifier, a cleaning cloth, and a hygrometer in it, so I guess it's sufficient.

I like this case quite a bit. It looks great and I think it compliments the Martin Style 1 pretty well. And the price is certainly right. Now on to some pictures.

Exterior. Note the buckle design.

With Martin style 1 inside.

Not a lot of storage space inside, but probably sufficient for most people.

It has one set of "feet" on the side.

Ko'olau case:
The Ko'olau case comes with a purchase of Ko'olau or Pono 'ukuleles. Mine came with the Pono cedar top tenor. It is a very nice quality case. The exterior covering feels very durable and the red stitching compliments the look nicely. The hardware are of very high quality and work great. It is pretty light so even at the tenor size it's easy to carry around. The interior offer plenty of storage space. This is a high quality case and I can't find much fault with it other than the fact that they are pretty much custom sized for Ko'olau and Pono ukes, so they don't quite fit many other brands. Ko'olau will soon offer an "Oahu" line of cases that is supposed to fit most other brands. I assume they will be of the same quality as the Ko'olau cases, which would make them a top pick if you want a mid to high end case for your new 'ukulele.

Exterior. I think it looks great.

Housing the Pono cedar top tenor. It's a perfect fit by design.

Plenty of space for humidifiers and hygrometers and other stuff.

It has "feet" on the side and bottom.

Oscar Schmidt Bell Uke Case:

The Oscar Schmidt Bell Uke was an impulse buy on my part. I was intrigued by the bell shape and found a great deal on one so I pulled the trigger. It comes with a custom bell shaped case that is really nice. The construction of the case is actually very similar to the Ko'olau case, with what feels like the same type of material on the outside and very good quality hardware used throughout. It even has what I feel is a better handle than the Ko'olau case. It's a very thickly padded handle that's kind of similar to an Ameritage case handle. Obviously the only uke that can fit inside this case is the Oscar Schmidt Bell uke, so it's pretty useless without that uke. But that shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. I did find that I had somehow tore off a small chunk of the exterior covering so maybe the exterior isn't as durable as I think.

This case is easily worth $50-60, so it's a very nice bonus to have it included with the bell uke itself. Here are some pictures:
Exterior of the case. Notice the thickly padded handle.

Interior is on par with the Ko'olau case.

Decent amount of storage space. The Herco humidifier fits under the base of the neck.
Like the Ko'olau case, it has "feet" at the side and bottom.
This concludes part 2 of the "Case Study". Be sure to tune in to the 3rd and final part, where it will feature the Ameritage case.


Paz said...

I have a very similar Oscar Schmidt case, although it's not the bell shape. Actually it's the same shape as the Ko'olau, it looks like.

I'm a big fan of the protective interior and the fat leather handle. It feels sturdy but light.

And what's all the talk of humidifiers?

GX9901 said...

Well, I'm in Minnesota, and in the winter it gets very dry indoors with the heater bringing the ambient relative humidity to about 25%. Without having humidifiers inside the cases to try and keep the humidity close to 40%, I suspect that I would be staring at a bunch of cracked ukuleles when spring rolls around.

Paz said...

holy crap, I have no idea what my ambient relative humidity is!

I'm in MA, and I've only had the uke since january (winter months)... is there no problem as long as I'm taking it out every day?

GX9901 said...

If the humidity is low (below 35%), it's probably not recommended to leave your uke out for an extended period of time, say 4-5 hours. Some people never have any problems with their instruments in low humidity environments without humidifying, but I've also read several stories about ukes cracking when not humidified. Just to be on the safe side I try to keep the humidity up for all my ukes. Most of my ukes have been fine but the Koa Works tenor still experienced a finish crack and lifted bridge despite having 3 humidifiers in the case!

Mike B said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mike B said...

Have been enjoying your blog. I'm pretty new to ukuleles, and curious how to keep my ukulele nicely humidified. I have a Herco humidifier. Do I put it in the small accessory compartment, by the headstock, or by the body? I don't want it to move around and do damage, but want it to be effective. Hah only I can take something as simple as a humidifier and make it into a complicated process.

Which uke should I bring on my next trip to Oahu???

What's the maximum you'd spend on a ukulele case for your best uke?

If you could steal one of my ukes, which one would it be???

How curly do you like your koa? (preferably on a uke)

What's the maximum number of ukes a perfectly sane person should have???

Poll: How often do you play the ukulele???

Poll: Which guitar company's approach to ukes do you prefer???

Poll: What's your favorite type of headstock???

Poll: The new basic Collings concert uke (UC-1) sells for about $1k, your reaction is: