Sunday, March 23, 2008

A Case Study, Part 3

This is the 3rd part of a three part series of posts about various 'ukulele cases I own. Let's get to the last two cases.


Protec Pro Pac:

I got a Protec Pro Pac tenor case with my Koa Works tenor a few months ago. It is a slightly older model but is pretty much the same as the current Protec model. The Protec case is huge. If you look at the pictures below, you'll see that the Koa Work tenor's headstock is pretty far away from the top edge of the case. Due to the large size, it should be able to accommodate just about any tenor 'ukulele out there. I know William King's long scale tenor, which has a bigger body and longer neck than most tenors, fits in this case. There's plenty of room in there to hold just about anything you would put into a 'ukulele case. In addition, there is a huge zippered pocket outside for even more stuff. The case is constructed with hard foam and a thin layer of hard material, wither wood or maybe some sort of plastic, just under the exterior canvas cover. It comes with a strap that can be used to carry the case over the shoulder. There aren't any "D" rings on the bottom to allow you to carry it on your back like the Lanikai and Guardian cases.

This is a very nice case. It is quite a bit more sturdy than the Lanikai type of foam case but still pretty light weight. Its size is probably both a plus and a minus. On one hand, just about any tenor could probably fit in it. On the other hand, if your tenor doesn't require that much size, the case is more cumbersome than it needs to be. Overall, this is a big step up from the Lanikai type foam case and is well suited to protect the more expensive 'ukuleles.

Exterior of the Protec case.


With Koa Works tenor inside. Note the room around the headstock area.


Inside compartment. It's really big.

It has "feet" on the side and bottom. D-rings for over the shoulder strap only.


Ameritage Case:

We finally make it to the Ameritage case. These cases are far and away the most expensive 'ukulele cases I have. At around $250-300 each, these are probably not for the faint of heart. I house my KoAloha Pineapple Sunday and the Koa Works tenor in these cases. My reasoning is that I don't want to skimp on the protection for my best ukes. These cases are truly excellent.

The Ameritage case is constructed with a hardwood shell with ultra durable Cordura exterior covering and soft interior fabric. This shows the construction of Ameritage cases in detail. There is a humidifier compartment where you can place your humidifiers. There are vents on the top and side of the compartment to aid the moisture circulating the case. It also comes with a hygrometer so you can see the temperature and humidity inside the case. These are great features for a cold weather state such as Minnesota. The hardware used on this case are of very high quality and should last a very very long time. Basically this is a case that uses the best and most durable materials and has a built-in humidifying solution.

The only real negative other than the high price (although not high for what you get) is the weight. The tenor case weighs about 10 lbs., which feels quite hefty. It's not really a problem to carry for short distances, but it could be an issue if you are traveling with it and need to carry it for long distances, such as while walking to your gate at an airport. There are no shoulder straps so it must be carried by the handle. It pays to be physically strong when having to carry one of these.

These can be ordered with custom colored trim at an up charge at Finecases.com. Here's an interactive preview tool for the custom color trims. I decided to get one with black trim and interior for the Koa Works tenor. It took a little over two month before it arrived to me. For me, it's well worth the investment to protect my best instruments such as the Koa Works tenor. These are great cases.

A standard color concert case and a custom black color tenor case standing next to each other.


Exterior of the case.


With Koa Works tenor inside.
The concert case with Pineapple Sunday.
The humidifier compartment. Notice the 4 vents for moisture from the humidifier.

Inside the humidifier compartment and accessories compartment.

Notice the "feet" at 2 of the sides.
It has "feet" on the bottom too, allowing it to be placed down 3 different ways.
So that's it for the "Case Study" series. I hope it has been somewhat entertaining for whoever that read it. I think cases are a pretty important part of 'ukulele ownership because you wouldn't think of not putting your nice ukes in a case. To me, a really nice uke deserves a really nice case. Most of the cases I have are pretty good, but the Ameritage case is truly several leagues above the rest.

5 comments:

Tonya said...

I really like the color/trim you chose for your two Ameritage cases--they look just right with their respective instruments.

Now I have a new case to add to my wish list.

Did Ameritage offer an option for a clip of some sort to hold a luggage-type strap? Hubby put one on my inexpensive Gator case and it has made the airport hauls much more convenient (now my "carrying" hand is free). Of course, it doesn't look as nifty as it would need to look if it were on an Ameritage case....
http://ukuleletonya.com/blog/?s=strap

GX9901 said...

Hi Tonya,

I thought Ameritage offered some sort of carrying strap option, but I did not find it at Finecases.com. These are really quite heavy (maybe the soprano case isn't too bad) so some sort of strap is probably a good idea for airport hauls with these.

If you ever go for one, perhaps you can call Finecases about a strap option to see if they are available.

JTY said...

The Ameritage case is something else. Now thats a case! but it is a bit on the heavy side. I have one that was made for my Pomahina Jazz Uke. Dennis Lake worked with Ameritage on the custom measurements.. only disadvantage I can see is the price.. Thanks for the case reviews, very helpful. JTY

Scott said...

This is what made me decide to buy the Ameritage. I'm very pleased. I have never seen an instrument case as sturdy as this one. I would trust it to be gate-checked if the flight crew absolutely wouldn't let in on the plane. I would still put up an argument first however.

Scott said...

By the way, they now have two options for straps. The less pricey is a matching shoulder strap with d-rings for about $27. More expensive is a case cover that allows you to wear the case like a backpack, $103. Further advantage to case cover is it protects case from dirt and abrasions.

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: