Are Drum Cases Necessary?

studrum

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A few years ago I moved interstate, so cases were/are worthwhile to me.

I much prefer hard shell cases over bags. I find it easier to put drums into them, take them out of them, move them around, they're far more durable, provide greater protection, and the extra space they take up is negligible. The only negative is their weight disadvantage compared to bags.
This is absolutely true. I will take a stand for the H and B - style vulcanized fibre hard shell cases over the plastic ones, which I admit are stronger yet and potentially last even like longer. Advantages of fibreboard over plastic: they are definitely lighter. I ordered a fibreboard H&B a few years ago for my 1939 WFL 28" (count 'em!) BD. It is reasonable in weight, but I shudder to think how much a plastic version would weigh.
I own a set of fibreboard cases that I ordered with the 1976 Premier Resonators I ordered new and still have. I still have the drums AND the cases, but the cases have endured thousands of gigs/set-ups, tear-downs and road travel, primarily in service with other drum sets I own. Still good. Yes, I replaced the handle once, and all of the straps. They are well worth it - older than some Forum members!

In the pic, the bottom case is the "new" 28, with the 1976 22, then 16, then 13. Still truckin'!
 

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Tom Holder

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Another good reason to have cases is to just ogle them....just like snare drums or cymbals.
I have a beautiful set of vintage Gon Bop cases that I bought with a Ludwig Rock Duo kit in 1971. Still have those cases and drums....
Heck I've even overdubbed a track with brushes on a nice old 6 1/2 x14 Toad case.....
We have all heard of "suitcase" drums so why not a set of drum case drums? If you are on a budget or have volume issues, just buy a set of cases (with no drums)....set 'em up and plomp away.
bt
I read somewhere that the drum track on "Wild Thing" by The Troggs was played on a case of some kind... a guitar case, maybe. Possibly a drum case, anybody know? Part of rock n roll folklore, eh? I played a gig once on a newspaper with brushes. No cases necessary!
 

studrum

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the best reason for cases is they make it so much easier to carry the drums.

perhaps someone could make a lot of money by making straps with handles that quickly go around drums at 1/4 the price of cases.

but the second best reason for case is emotional love.

for many of us these drums are not our “tools” - but instead are our “babies”.

and of course we want our babies nestled in something soft and protective during travel.

Cuz we are good Parents.
I'd say our drums are three things that warrant case protection: tools, babies, and (lest we forget) musical instruments.
 

studrum

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IMHO...

Carrying in your own vehicle, gig bags are fine. In a van with the rest of the band's gear, padded hard cases. Touring in a box truck or semi (or flying), Anvils or equivalent heavy-duty ATA road cases.
This is a reasonable gradation to consider, say I.
 

Tom Holder

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My first respectable drum set was a 13-16-22 Slingerland kit made in 1962 (I bought 'em well-used in 1975) and a late 60's Supraphonic. The Supra came with one of those "tombstone" plastic cases that had a small compartment for a stand and sticks, but I couldn't afford cases for the Slingerlands. Back in the '70's, lots of guys took the front head off their bass drums and put a pillow in there. I used to put everything except the floor tom and snare case in the bass drum and schlep 90% of my kit in the bass drum that way. Like carrying a big washtub. Gawd, that was a back-breaking load to tote, lemme tell you. One time, I moved my gear that way into a wedding reception at a classy country club and boy, I felt like a third-rate creep. "Excuse me... pardon me" through a well-dressed crowd of sophistos. I felt so terrible about that, that I used my wedding gig money to buy a set of cheap "CB700" naugahyde bags for the Slingerlands and an equally cheap-o big-box trap case for stands, pedals and cymbals. I have not been without cases ever since. I use Tuxedo bags for vintage Ludwig bass & toms now, and my Craviotto snare goes into a Ludwig naugahyde bag AND a H&B fiber case. A couple of years ago, I learned the wisdom of a roller bag trap case, and ditched that big heavy box. Cases, baby... unless you don't mind looking like a third-rate creep. I even have a cut-down Tuxedo bag for my 8x20 Rhythm Traveler bass drum that I use for "phone booth" gigs.
 

LA Vintage

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Back in the 60s when I was starting out, I don't remember any of the drummers in my small orbit having cases for their drums. Even my teacher, a weekend warrior, didn't have cases. We all just hauled our drums au naturel, and I don't remember anyone having a drum damaged in transit. Car backseats are padded, after all.

As fate had it, I soon chanced across a set of used cases cheap and bought them. They were really lousy cases, just cloth coverings, a few with holes in them and one with a broken zipper. But for the price I figured they were worth it. I proceeded to use those cases for many years and never had a damaged drum, but I have no idea whether or not the cases helped.

Now I once again don't have cases--and don't think I need them. It's not as if I'm hauling my drums anywhere, and I only paid $530 for my drums to begin with. Who cares if one gets damaged? I also have a sneaking suspicion that you don't get your money out of cases on resale. If cases are thrown into a sale, great, but I doubt that buyers pay much more for drums with cases than they pay for drums without them. And selling cases separately is surely tough, since everybody's size requirements are different and nobody wants to pay a lot.

Today though I saw an ad from a local seller offering a set of 5 cases exactly the sizes of my drums for $150 total. The cases don't look bad. There aren't any holes, the zippers all work, and they're even padded. Also, because I don't live in the US or another big market country, buying cases from sites like Amazon, Reverb, and Sweetwater is very expensive as a result of international shipping charges and import taxes. $150 looks cheap for a set of cases.

If I even want cases. Do any of you go without cases? My sense is that nowadays almost everyone has cases for their drums, but I'm not sure they're necessary. Are they? Or are they an unnecessary add-on sale that we've been duped into buying?
Hi, I have been playing since the 70s. I had Slingerlands back then, along with Rogers and Ludwig kits now. I always had fiber cases which I lacquered to make them waterproof and never had to worry about friends helping me load out into my van. The drums never suffered any damage.
I have soft bags for my Rogers kit now and they work fine for local gigs. If you have drums of any value I highly recommend cases or bags. If you consider your drums a practice or “beater” kit, then I wouldn’t bother with them. You should have a cymbal bag, though.
 

tubelugs

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I think your message answers your own question. But I’ll get to that in a minute.

The way I see it, the question really isn’t “are cases worth it” but rather “WHEN are cases worth it”...for you. To look at both ends of the spectrum, a well-known pro on tour using a large custom set or a high-end set provided by their sponsor needs to know that everything will not only arrive in good condition, but that they will set up the same way every night. For someone in that position, cases for all gear including stands isn’t about protecting the gear for its own sake, it’s about guaranteeing that they can perform - thus get paid - at every single show. On the other end, someone throwing a trashed MIJ set into their trunk next to their toolbox and using cymbals with no brand on them has no reason to pay for extra protection.

If that makes sense to you, then I propose that what we are looking for are sensible guidelines for when cases makes sense and when they don’t. For example, I propose that cases are unnecessary for players who:
  • don’t transport their set
  • Value their set less than the cost of cases
  • ...?

On the other hand, perhaps cases are needed for players who:
  • make their living on the road or going from studio to studio
  • Use a high-end or rare set; think of Ringo Starr‘s “star inlay” set, Buddy Rich’s set du jour, or the huge copper-shell that Carl Palmer used with ELP
  • Use antique or irreplaceable drums - for instance, I have several civil-war era field snares, and would not consider traveling with them unless they were in ATA-class cases
  • ...?

So maybe those guidelines start to define the upper and lower boundaries, and every player puts themselves wherever they feel they belong within those boundaries. That could produce some mixed results: I know some studio players who only bring their cymbals and a few snares and those are all in cases. Some only bring one or two “magic” snares and those are in very good cases. You get the idea.

Using those guidelines, since you don’t transport your set, cases would bring you no value. Unless you don’t play them often and there’s something INSIDE your house that they need to be protected from.

$.02,
TubeLugs
 

tubelugs

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I bought my first set of hard cases (Humes & Berg Enduro) in 1996 or 1997. I had a set of 1975 Blakrome Slingerlands as my only kit at the time. I had bought the drums a couple of years before. The drum set had a couple of scuffs and scrapes on them when I bought them, but were in good shape overall. I had just helped to put together a band that I expected to be busy, and I didn't want my drums to get ruined in transit. The band WAS busy. We averaged at least a hundred gigs a year over the following ten years. I still own that kit and it is in exactly the same condition that it was in the late 1990s. Today I have that Slingerland kit setup where we rehearse, this is a recent photo. In my opinion the kit still looks great. Good cases do their job.

View attachment 471750

In 2008 I bought my very first set of brand new drums, DW Collector's Series. I bought the drums and ordered a full set of Humes & Berg Enduro cases for them the same day. It was a no brainer to me. The DW kit was my workhorse for the next eleven years, big rooms, small rooms, indoor, outdoor, I played that kit everywhere. Other than very minimal pedal rash on the bass drum hoop, my DWs are in showroom condition.

Here is a gig photo from 2019.

View attachment 471752

I have to inject a story regarding this kit before I move on. In 2010 my wife and I moved from Washington DC (Chevy Chase MD to be specific) to Pittsburgh. We had professional movers move the bulk of our goods. I drove a twenty-six foot U-Haul truck. In it was our bed, a table and chairs for the kitchen, tools, and music gear. The truck was loaded to the ceiling front to back. (I have a lot of tools and music gear.) ;)

Upon arrival in "the Burgh" my guitarist brother and three friends who all happen to be drummers helped me unload. Everything was stacked, blocked, and securely tied in for the move. While unloading, a drum case fell, bounced and rolled out of the truck. It took a bounce off of the truck bumper and hit the pavement. Four drummers and a guitarist scrambled to catch that case, none of us did. We were all horrified.

The H & B case contained the 13" tom for my then two year old DW Collector's Series kit. It was 100% perfect, totally unharmed. At this point I was already a fan of Humes & Berg Enduro cases, since that episode I've been yelling it from the roof tops.

In 2019 I ordered a brand new set of Gretsch USA Custom drums. In 2020 I've added three more bass drums, a couple of toms, and matching snares to expand the kit into a shell bank. I ordered Humes & Berg Enduro Pro cases for this entire shell bank.

View attachment 471757

I also own a lot of snares, these days around forty?! (I have not counted in a while.) I do not own cases for every snare drum, but I'm working on it. (I had one arrive yesterday.)

I did a quick count, currently I have fifty-seven Humes & Berg cases. Most of these are Enduro, the rest are Enduro Pro. (Did I mention how much that I love their cases?)

View attachment 471860

I definitely see cases as an investment. Accidents happen. If you gig, at the very least buy bags. Hard cases are something that I firmly believe in.
Money well spent!
 

ThomFloor

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Transporting on your own to weekend gigs. No.
I use a case only for the snare and cymbals.
 

Old Drummer

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Thomann sells an entire set of decently padded bags for $68.31 US. Seriously, how cheap can you be?
This is the most helpful information yet!

I went to the site and was unsurprisingly quickly confused. I only get prices GBPs or Euros. However, if all works out, it looks like I may be able to buy a set of cheap bags (with one bag too big) for around $90 delivered, after which I suppose I'd have to pay around $35 import taxes. If true, $125 or thereabouts seems worth it. But the challenge is to work out the details, including the currency exchange. It's too late tonight for me to fool with it, but this looks like it could be a good option.
 

Old Drummer

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If you have drums of any value I highly recommend cases or bags. If you consider your drums a practice or “beater” kit, then I wouldn’t bother with them. You should have a cymbal bag, though.
For me, cymbal protection is a no-brainer, and I've been on the prowl for a hard shell cymbal case for a long time. (I ran across one used recently for $45, tried to buy it, but the seller sold it to someone else before I could.) Per square inch, I just see cymbals as more valuable than drums--as well as more easily damaged. I also haul cymbals more often than I do drums. I have a cymbal bag, but as said would like to upgrade to a case.

As more general commentary, one thing I've noticed on this forum as well as others is how much some drummers care about drums. I suppose this makes sense. Drummers in general probably care about drums. However, maybe the reason I notice this is that I can't personally muster much enthusiasm for drums. I don't dislike them or anything, but as long as they're round with decent heads and I have a tuning key, I can't get excited about drums. If I was given a $5000 set of drums, I'd surely just sell them. But cymbals are a different story. They're each is so different and hard to shop for that I'd hate to damage a cymbal. If a drum gets damaged (highly unlikely) you can just buy another one. That's not always true for cymbals, so those suckers I look out for.
 

Scottie15

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I can’t without my Protection Racket AAA cases.

If you want to take care for your kit/snares/cymbals/hardware. Get cases. At least semi-hard or like the AAA a combination of soft and hardcase in one.
I wanted these cases but they are extremely limited in sizing, unfortunately. Couldn't find the right sizes, nor could I find anyone who actually had them in stock. It was a bummer. So I settled for the Ahead Armor cases which I already had a set of for my Mapex kit and they've been phenomenal.
 

musiqman

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I wanted these cases but they are extremely limited in sizing, unfortunately. Couldn't find the right sizes, nor could I find anyone who actually had them in stock. It was a bummer. So I settled for the Ahead Armor cases which I already had a set of for my Mapex kit and they've been phenomenal.
What sizes do you need?

They are forgiving too with some extra space.

I ordered them through several shops, which had them either in stock or got them quick because Yamaha is the supplier in Europe.
 

Scottie15

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What sizes do you need?

They are forgiving too with some extra space.

I ordered them through several shops, which had them either in stock or got them quick because Yamaha is the supplier in Europe.

22x16, 10x7, 12x8, 16x16. Went with the Ahead Armor cases for a fraction of the price and much higher build quality compared to the original Protection Rackets (not AAA)
 

musiqman

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You can have those sizes in the AAA line.

with the exception of the 7” depth on the 10”.

But I use my 10x7 and 12x7 in the 10x8 and 12x8 case without any problem.

1764C1D6-9288-4A52-A789-E760733E6BC9.jpeg

Since this picture was taken more cases cam, and a 10x9 went.

I did found the Ahead’s to be fine, but certainly not better than the regular Protection Racket’s, which I used over 10 years.

But I went with these for mostly everything because it was a small upcharge over regular ones (at least in Europe) and offer ten times more protection becaase of their rigid build inner build (like Hardcase for instance) which warrants that upcharge.
 

studrum

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You can have those sizes in the AAA line.

with the exception of the 7” depth on the 10”.

But I use my 10x7 and 12x7 in the 10x8 and 12x8 case without any problem.

View attachment 472232
Since this picture was taken more cases cam, and a 10x9 went.

I did found the Ahead’s to be fine, but certainly not better than the regular Protection Racket’s, which I used over 10 years.

But I went with these for mostly everything because it was a small upcharge over regular ones (at least in Europe) and offer ten times more protection becaase of their rigid build inner build (like Hardcase for instance) which warrants that upcharge.
These look really good, really tough (and I am more of a fibreboard man, as I said in earlier posts). Do these PR's have that hard sheet of plastic inside, or something like that?
 

musiqman

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These look really good, really tough (and I am more of a fibreboard man, as I said in earlier posts). Do these PR's have that hard sheet of plastic inside, or something like that?
Yes. The outer liner is waterproof denier (or whats the name), the inner liner is made of wool and between those is foam sandwitched and between the foam is a plastic sheet itself sandwitched on all sides.

1606553205030.jpeg
 

tubelugs

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Wow, a Pelican inside an Anvil/Calzone. You could transport fresh eggs in that and never clean up a yoke.
 


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