Are Drum Cases Necessary?

AndyP

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It depends on the situation or gig. Snares- yes always. Cymbals- always of course. But there are many gigs where I just can't be bothered with cases for bass drums and toms, keep them assembled as is in the back of the truck, back it up to the stage and straight up, one of the reasons I favour wrapped drums. Mostly all the stands will go inside the canister throne so that takes care of that.
Very small setup HH, snare, BD, ride, everything is carryable in one trip cases can make that easier, handles, back packs, etc.
 

JDA

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if you don't ever plan on travelin with them no
 
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kzac

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In the 1960s most drums were covered with a thick glued on coating of Mylar/Plastic, with very few drums having a natural lacquered finish. Therefore as you hauled them about it was difficult to tell the scratches and bumps and bangs through the coating, unless they experienced a good wack which left a divot in the covering. Today, most high end drums are finished in natural veneer with a lacquer finish. This type of finish will most certainly show ever bang, bump and scrape that occurs during their transportation.
The other damage caused during transportation occurs to the heads and chrome bits. You might be careful where you set your drums, but your buddies don't tend to think of what concrete or that sharp protrusion can do to your chrome bits and your heads.
The final issue is theft. its difficult to argue with the cop that the drum in question belongs to you when its a separate bit. If however its in a case with your ID attached to the interior or exterior then the thief is without excuse as to why he/she has your stuff. Cases also give you a place to store your stuff on stage....

If one is going to pay thousands of dollars for their drums, why not at least buy the heavy nylon cases to protect the finish, heads, and hardware from transportation damage. The cost is less than 150 in most cases, and on sale usually 99 bucks. You should do the same for your cymbals and traps, Then make sure to ID all of your cases on both the inside and outside.

That said, I'm not a fan of hard cases, unless your going on the road for an extended period of time and your kit will be handled by roadies and or stacked in a van or truck with other equipment. Then you will need to invest in those expensive hard cases or you kit will need to be tossed out into the trash 1/2 way through the tour. A bunch of drunk roadies don't tend to care about your stuff when they stack it under a few marshal cabinets, then bounce it down the expressway. And yes, music rivalry does occur on tour, and that includes the roadies. Its best to make sure you continually support the roadies by verbally and genuinely recognizing their hard work and rewarding them from time to time during the tour. Don't treat them as less of a human than yourself, unless of course you desire your equipment to be all wonky when you sit down to perform....
 

AgDrumma07

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For me, cases (which are bags in my situation) are a must. I don't spend the time and energy to build and maintain my kit just to have it ruined during loadout at 2AM. Sure, it's a hassle and adds a bunch of time, but even one scratch on a drum makes it all worth it.
 

kevmill70

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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.
I find that soft bags are good if you're carrying the drums in your car. Hard cases tend to scratch up the interior. On the other hand, if you use a cargo trailer, hard cases are a must.
 

CTDrums

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IMO if you move your drums out of your house or rehearsal space to gigs, recording sessions or clinics, you need cases.

I used to do 200 gigs per year so hard shell, padded cases became the norm for me. Hard shell cymbal safes and hard shell road cases with wheels for the hardware.

In 2004 I scored a sponsorship with GMS drums, a high end custom drum company. They custom made my kit to my exact specifications. When they called to let me know my kit was ready, I drove straight over to the local drum shop and purchase a complete set of hard shell, padded SKB cases.

That kit and those cases will be 17 years old this March. The kit still looks amazing and the cases, aside from normal cosmetic scratches, are in perfect working condition.

I recently got a brand new Black Beauty. I ordered the SKB case the same day.

Cases can be expensive, no doubt, but if you value your equipment, your INVESTMENT, as much as I value mine, it’s a no brainer.
 

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Monday317

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All musical instruments should have some kind of protection. What kind depends on several factors:
  • Acquisition/repair/replacement of the instrument(s).
  • Use of the instrument, i.e. personal, amateur or professional performance.
  • Travel the instrument will endure.
  • Storage conditions.
Many of you will think of others considerations, these are what I worry over myself. What do these mean for us drummers?

If you just play at home and/or rarely gig, any decent drum bag set will do. There are many for the budget-limited gang (like me) that beat just wrapping your kit in towels before they go in the back of the pickup truck. Worth a few bucks.

Since I built my kit, I am a little fussier and use Protection Racket bags for my drums. I gig out locally about one or twice a month, usually making 1/2 my travel costs, or at least a beer. It’s about all my drumming is worth but I enjoy playing at Open Mike Nights a lot of the dives have around here. The PR bags are a great bang for the buck and serve me well. Humes & Berg and DSW also have similar bags at the same price/quality point.

As to hard cases, IMHO those are great if you are a pro, semi-pro, or loaded. That said, I have a great set of Bosporus cymbals I do keep in a Humes & Berg Enduro Pro case. They are expensive and my ride is 24”, so a bag worried me some. I also use an H & B medium-large case for my stands. Pedal, throne, sticks and accessories are in their manufacturer’s bags.

Some of you may travel a lot on things like USO tours or maybe other pro circuits. If you are flying a lot you’ll need some kind of ATA cases. They are expensive, but also can be a DYI project if you are careful.

Them’s my two cent’s worth.
 

WesChilton

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I would never not have cases. I have multiple sets, snare drums and cymbals and so much of that gear has to be in some kind of storage. That means cases for everything.

I dont like storing them bare on racks in my garage, as humidity and temperature fluctuations will corrode hardware, warp wraps and uv light will fade and crack finishes. I have had to repair and refresh several drums over the last 35+ years because of that. Cases, cases, cases!

Even with cases, drums are not impervious to damage, especially water damage--as I unfortunately found out many years ago. But the cases did save the drums from being a total loss and I was able to repair them.

What cases I need depends on what I am doing. Back in the 90s when I was touring I had heavy aluminum road cases for my kit, which took a serious beating... but the drums were perfect at the end of the tour. Gigging around town and doing session work, I have a mix. Tuxedo bags for the toms, soft, divided cymbal bags, and foam-lined Enduro cases for the snares and kicks (due to the weight). Hardware is always in a wheeled hard case.

I also have standard vulcanized fiber cases for my older Yamaha RC kit. But since 90% of my playing these days is in a studio setting, I just use the bags. I've also found that bags keep the drums much cleaner than the hard cases... somehow dust always finds its way in to those H&B hard cases.

I remember when I first went to Berklee in 1986, I saw guys moving their expensive kits around the school, uncased, stacked up on top of rolling trap cases. It made me cringe!
I saw quite a few take a tumble and get knocked badly... in one case an entire Recording Custom kit took a dive down a flight of stairs, gouging toms, cracking the bass drum and folding hoops. I only had soft bags at the time, so I went right over to Jack's Drum shop and bought H&B hard foam-lined cases that day. I still have those cases too, although the foam has long ago crumbled. They are lined with closed cell foam behind soft fabric now. Full credit to my clever wife for helping me fix them up!
 

cruddola

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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.
In almost six decades of drumming, a lotta drums have come and gone, Hundreds. But not a single of my cymbals have left my possession since my first purchase back in 1962. They too are kept in multiple rolling Anvil, Calzone and Viking cases. Your gear is only as good as the cases they're in. Absolutely nothing worse than showing up to a gig with busted gear.
 

cruddola

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I would never not have cases. I have multiple sets, snare drums and cymbals and so much of that gear has to be in some kind of storage. That means cases for everything.

I dont like storing them bare on racks in my garage, as humidity and temperature fluctuations will corrode hardware, warp wraps and uv light will fade and crack finishes. I have had to repair and refresh several drums over the last 35+ years because of that. Cases, cases, cases!

Even with cases, drums are not impervious to damage, especially water damage--as I unfortunately found out many years ago. But the cases did save the drums from being a total loss and I was able to repair them.

What cases I need depends on what I am doing. Back in the 90s when I was touring I had heavy aluminum road cases for my kit, which took a serious beating... but the drums were perfect at the end of the tour. Gigging around town and doing session work, I have a mix. Tuxedo bags for the toms, soft, divided cymbal bags, and foam-lined Enduro cases for the snares and kicks (due to the weight). Hardware is always in a wheeled hard case.

I also have standard vulcanized fiber cases for my older Yamaha RC kit. But since 90% of my playing these days is in a studio setting, I just use the bags. I've also found that bags keep the drums much cleaner than the hard cases... somehow dust always finds its way in to those H&B hard cases.

I remember when I first went to Berklee in 1986, I saw guys moving their expensive kits around the school, uncased, stacked up on top of rolling trap cases. It made me cringe!
I saw quite a few take a tumble and get knocked badly... in one case an entire Recording Custom kit took a dive down a flight of stairs, gouging toms, cracking the bass drum and folding hoops. I only had soft bags at the time, so I went right over to Jack's Drum shop and bought H&B hard foam-lined cases that day. I still have those cases too, although the foam has long ago crumbled. They are lined with closed cell foam behind soft fabric now. Full credit to my clever wife for helping me fix them up!
I've always gone with padded bags inside 3-inch padded Anvil, Calzone or Viking cases. All were 1/2 inch plywood. Nothing less! Those with casters had 3/4 inch bases. recessed handles on every side surface. Not a single handle was on top. This guaranteed a more secure two-handed grip when moving them. Weight was no issue, I had my own 1-ton van with a lift gate and rolling platform carts with no less than 6-inch wheels. My roadie was my sister. My band mates were mighty jealous. On tour I'd pay for a single-bed room and sneak in my sister after emptying out the hardware coffin and putting her inside. Saved much needed cash that way. She always got the bed and I the floor. She earned it and along with half my pay. Worth every cent!
"nowadays drum sets only get moved to vacuum under"
"... nicked my matching wood bass drum hoop moving that cymbal stand!"
drum sets harshest enemy these days
Not if you have a rack system!
 

Old Drummer

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As of today, I'm the proud owner of five new custom-made drum bags. A local guy, actually the third of three I contacted, made them for me in the sizes I needed. My total cost was $123.76, including the tip I gave him for being kind enough to deliver.

I have no idea about the quality the bags, but they look good. They have a little padding, strap/handles, and heavy-duty zippers. Since my former bags in years gone by were the old Slingerland cloth bags, complete with holes and broken zippers, I've clearly upgraded.

My reasoning was ultimately that bags are cheaper than a car. I'm still not convinced that bags or cases are necessary for anyone who only transports intermediate-level drums once in awhile in their own cars. But since I'm car-free, I figured that the bags would keep Uber drivers happy, and maybe even protect my drums.

OK, now I need to find a band . . . At the moment, I'm all dressed up with nowhere to go.

Thanks for all the comments.
 

moonbabie

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I think cases are essential when gigging but i don’t use for the kits sitting at home in storage.
 

hsosdrum

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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. RIGHT. HERE. ^^^^ Listen to the man.
 

RIDDIM

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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'!
They are lighter, cheaper - and if you polyurethane them a few times they'll be waterproof and more rigid.
 

David M Scott

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I’m way old and done a lot og gigs and never experienced that until a year ago. I used a folding cart to move drums in and out of a venue. As I was stacking the cart, and I have a system, this Dude grabbed my snare bag and headed for the door when I was loading. My car was right outside the door and he just dropped the thing on the cement sidewalk said bye and walked off. It was my classic 1969 10 lug Pearl chrome snare and if it hadn’t been for the padded bag .. There’s unfortunately, no cure for stupidity !
I had exactly the same thing happen with same drum. Thank heavens for the case as well.
There seems to be no cure for stupidity !
 

cruddola

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I've always gone with padded bags inside 3-inch padded Anvil, Calzone or Viking cases. All were 1/2 inch plywood. Nothing less! Those with casters had 3/4 inch bases. recessed handles on every side surface. Not a single handle was on top. This guaranteed a more secure two-handed grip when moving them. Weight was no issue, I had my own 1-ton van with a lift gate and rolling platform carts with no less than 6-inch wheels. My roadie was my sister. My band mates were mighty jealous. On tour I'd pay for a single-bed room and sneak in my sister after emptying out the hardware coffin and putting her inside. Saved much needed cash that way. She always got the bed and I the floor. She earned it and along with half my pay. Worth every cent!

Not if you have a rack system!
Rid yourself of the rack if'n you ain't got your own roadie or two! If you can't hack it in a 4-piece, learn to.
 

cruddola

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They are lighter, cheaper - and if you polyurethane them a few times they'll be waterproof and more rigid.
Bottom line, your gear is only as good as their cases. Nothing worse than showing up to a performance with busted gear! Case it, or lose it!
 


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