Are Drum Cases Necessary?

Corbin L Douthitt

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I think cases are essential when gigging but i don’t use for the kits sitting at home in storage.
I have seversl snares displayed in my drum room. ALL of them have dome dust damage. Dust attracts moisture. Moisture makes rust and messes up paint and finishes. Not cased at home? Hope you dust more than I did.
 

Deafmoon

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The day you arrive for a gig in the rain and the Catering Hall Manager tells you ‘the help’ has to park and unload from across the parking lot, that’s the day you invest in cases!
 

Parcel

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Your gear is only as good as their cases. My gigging drums always went in soft padded cases inside padded hard cases. Nothing worse than busted gear making it to your gig. The rest of the band rode in a repurposed U-Haul beater that would die often. Had my own 1-ton van, moving dolly and platform cart. Those were some tough days. I wouldn't ever want to do that again. My own mics, cables, mixer, fan, ice-chest, drinks, snacks, lights and amps with monitor wedges too. All in Anvils. All cases were and still are 1/2 inch walled. Any case with casters have 3/4 inch bases. Heavy, but I had a lift-gate van and a roadie. My bandmates were jealous. My gear was always insured too. Saved on insurance premiums because they were well-cased. No one ever rode with me except my sister who was my roadie and made sure nothing ever went missing. We pretended to be husband and wife to keep the guys away from her. Put on the cheapo pawnshop rings kept in the van's ashtray. Even had photos of ourselves decked out as bride and groom in the van and in the drum cases to show because she was always being hit upon. I even had a case for her to sneak in when paying for a single bed hotel room. Saved some much needed cash. She also did most of the driving on tours and got half my pay too. Worth every penny too! She also sold a ton of our merch too. Thanks, Lucy! Never carried anybody's gear either. Didn't want that responsibility at all. Just mine. Anvil/Calzone or Viking are still my go-to for cases. Even my Dentist's stool that's still my throne had it's own Anvil case. Everything in a hard case. I know there are other quality makers out there, but those I mentioned are my favored. Most out there today are imported garbage. All my photographic gear is inside a Pelican case that's inside an Anvil/Calzone or Viking. Gear has come and gone, but my cases always remain to this day.
You couldnt make it up!
Could u?
 

phdamage

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to reiterate what seems to have been stated here a few times:

for touring, absolutely unless you don't care about your kit. for one offs where you're just hauling in your on vehicle - not critical
 

cruddola

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to reiterate what seems to have been stated here a few times:

for touring, absolutely unless you don't care about your kit. for one offs where you're just hauling in your on vehicle - not critical
One-offs no big deal unless it puts the drummer out of commission. Even if you don't care about your kit, arriving to a gig with busted gear, even cheap gear is the worst. It ain't working. I was in a band opening for a main act. That band's slob drummer had the dough to buy a kit in each city they performed. I've known him personally for decades. He didn't take care of his tools of the trade. Cardboard boxes and pillow cases didn't cut it. No matter how cheap the drums, they were outta commission. His bass drum and only snare was shattered while unloading to the gig. Comes to me asking to use my gear. Even offered to pay. Hell no! I told him the money he spent on booze and dope in a week would've set him up easily. Asking to use my mid-level and protected gear was like a priest asking to borrow someone's 8 year-old son. They couldn't play and had to return their deposit. We did our opening set and were offered to fill the main act's spot just before our last tune. We accepted only if we got paid what the main act was to get. Instead of earning 500 bucks per member as the opening act, we got 1500 each that night. All because someone didn't make an effort to protect cheap beat-up gear. Put his band in the hole. Case it, or lose it!
 

Biggsenator

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Just joined the forum but this is a thread close to my heart. I've been playing and transporting a drum set to gigs since I was in high school in 1974-77. I didn't have cases at that time; my kit was an off-brand cheapo set (since my father, who bought them, wasn't sure if I would stick with this drumming thing). But it didn't last long. That was transporting it in my car. (and trunk). When I got a better quality kit (Rogers 1978), I got a set of fiber cases for them, and they stayed in pretty good shape through college jazz band gigs. Later, I decided to protect them more adequately and got a set of SKB cases with foam. They have stayed in pristine shape, apart from the scuffs they acquired before I got the SKBs, and I consider this one of the best decisions I ever made. So now, I just bought my dream set: a Yamaha Absolute Hybrid Maple with lacquered walnut finish (no wraps), and I intend to gig with it. I bought a new set of SKBs for it and wouldn't think of transporting it (even in the back of my Subaru Outback) without its being in cases. As others have said here, when you make an investment in quality instruments, unless you're Bill Gates and can afford to throw away money, it's just foolish not to protect your investment. In my case (no pun intended), with no wraps the gorgeous finish on my drums is easily damaged: a slip into a wall here, a stumble and fall there, bouncing around in the back of a car, a buddy "helping" to move drums from car inside for a gig. That's how beautiful finishes on drums get scuffed. Over time (less than you might think) that adds up and makes quite a difference in appearance. Some people don't care, and that's fine. But if you care how your drums look (or about resale value), you need cases, and—I would argue—good...hard...cases. One man's opinion.
 

Biggsenator

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One-offs no big deal unless it puts the drummer out of commission. Even if you don't care about your kit, arriving to a gig with busted gear, even cheap gear is the worst. It ain't working. I was in a band opening for a main act. That band's slob drummer had the dough to buy a kit in each city they performed. I've known him personally for decades. He didn't take care of his tools of the trade. Cardboard boxes and pillow cases didn't cut it. No matter how cheap the drums, they were outta commission. His bass drum and only snare was shattered while unloading to the gig. Comes to me asking to use my gear. Even offered to pay. Hell no! I told him the money he spent on booze and dope in a week would've set him up easily. Asking to use my mid-level and protected gear was like a priest asking to borrow someone's 8 year-old son. They couldn't play and had to return their deposit. We did our opening set and were offered to fill the main act's spot just before our last tune. We accepted only if we got paid what the main act was to get. Instead of earning 500 bucks per member as the opening act, we got 1500 each that night. All because someone didn't make an effort to protect cheap beat-up gear. Put his band in the hole. Case it, or lose it!
What a GREAT story. Thanks. I never had that problem because I always protected my drums. Even for one-offs. But that's just me.
 

Biggsenator

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it's for not only, the 'nick and or scratch issue that 'you bag'... In the rare occasion (never happens to me ) a t- screw or rod or a something loosens and detaches from the drum..you with me? in transport....it remains in the bag...not on the lawn driveway street or hallway
GREAT point.
 

cruddola

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Just joined the forum but this is a thread close to my heart. I've been playing and transporting a drum set to gigs since I was in high school in 1974-77. I didn't have cases at that time; my kit was an off-brand cheapo set (since my father, who bought them, wasn't sure if I would stick with this drumming thing). But it didn't last long. That was transporting it in my car. (and trunk). When I got a better quality kit (Rogers 1978), I got a set of fiber cases for them, and they stayed in pretty good shape through college jazz band gigs. Later, I decided to protect them more adequately and got a set of SKB cases with foam. They have stayed in pristine shape, apart from the scuffs they acquired before I got the SKBs, and I consider this one of the best decisions I ever made. So now, I just bought my dream set: a Yamaha Absolute Hybrid Maple with lacquered walnut finish (no wraps), and I intend to gig with it. I bought a new set of SKBs for it and wouldn't think of transporting it (even in the back of my Subaru Outback) without its being in cases. As others have said here, when you make an investment in quality instruments, unless you're Bill Gates and can afford to throw away money, it's just foolish not to protect your investment. In my case (no pun intended), with no wraps the gorgeous finish on my drums is easily damaged: a slip into a wall here, a stumble and fall there, bouncing around in the back of a car, a buddy "helping" to move drums from car inside for a gig. That's how beautiful finishes on drums get scuffed. Over time (less than you might think) that adds up and makes quite a difference in appearance. Some people don't care, and that's fine. But if you care how your drums look (or about resale value), you need cases, and—I would argue—good...hard...cases. One man's opinion.
And your opinion is the greatest one. I've gone through over 30 touring and gig kits in my 57 years of drumming. I've never been a slave to any particular brand of drums or cymbals. I've always found something to love with Ayotte to Yamahas. They all have their sweet-spots. When I traded or sold them off they were in mint condition because I've always cased them up in Anvil, Calzone or Viking road cases on tour or gigs. Had my own van and sister roadie. Likewise with all my photographic gear. My sister was my roadie and, God love her, took care of them dearly when setting them up and striking the set. She got half my pay and was worth every penny! She knew all the charts and would coach lagging players. I always got top dollar on their sale because they were well protected. We did a ton private parties of the local business elite. Five families rotated their black-tie parties. Every week for decades. Some still do. They had their own venues seating at least 300 guests. Their own custom sound and lighting systems. The two Mexican families across the border had their own permanent dance halls and huge stages both in and out doors. They could seat a thousand easily. They paid the best and were the most meticulous on appearance of your gear too. You were making 500 bucks a night back in 1968! Two-hour set, 1 hour intermission with just a 5-member combo going then followed by a one-hour closing set. Construction guys were lucky to make 300 in a week. 27-member Latin Big Band! Most of those families had killer musicians among them and would join the band. Half the band was from Mexico. Do the math. God help you if you showed up not wearing a great tux and beat-up gear or a black-eye from a fight during the week! My sister got a piece of your pay with her make-up skills. Drunk, hungover or doped, fired on the spot before boarding the buses. Owning a white and a black tux was mandatory including white and black drumkits, bongos, timbales and congas. My cased drums along with most members' instruments stayed in the well-guarded buses parked inside the police station lot. Three of our band members worked there, two were cops. We had spares at home and spares at the band's rehearsal and recording studios. Rehearsal was four hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6-10pm. Miss one, you didn't get to play two dates. Do the math. Holiday parties falling on weekdays we were getting paid 750 bucks a night. Mexicans paid a grand! Gotta remember you got cash as you boarded the buses back across the line. That's unheard of even today! So protecting my gear was a top priority, my income relied on the care of the tools of my trade. You not only had to play good, you and your gear had to look good. You're spot-on on your opinion.
 
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dcrigger

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In my experience - obviously for touring or any situation where others will be transporting your drums - absolutely! But....

... for gigs that you're the one hauling, packing, loading, setting up, etc.... necessary? Not really at all. I did it for decades.

Sure, the drums with get a bit more scuffed up over time - but I carted my black wrapped Blaemire kit around in my car for the bulk of the 70's, 80's and 90's before I felt any need to refinish them - and this was doing everything from weddings to jazz clips, to sessions to TV shows (on camera) in LA.

So that extra wear and tear was the cost - what was the advantage?

Time - mainly.

Folks will "poo poo" this and say 'well it takes no time at all" - but the fact putting in and out toms and bass drums in bags or cases, then finding a place to stash them, then retrieve them later takes time. Certainly more than rolling in and out with a trap case, a cymbal bag and a few drums....

Not much more time granted - but multiplied by two to three load-ins a day - 6 or 7 days a week for year after year.... and it adds up to a boatload of time. :)

So is going sans cases the best choice for everyone - certainly not. I'm not pitching that at all.

But necessary??? If you're hauling your own stuff - you might find them easier (you can bang things around more), but they aren't necessary.
 

multijd

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I have one set that doesn’t have cases/ bags. They’re an old set of Kent. Quick set up,BDP doesn’t care about snow or rain. Hardware snare and cymbals have bags or cases.

Mainly I’m a fan of bags. My gigging kits all have their own bags. Snares all have hard shell cases and the hardware and cymbals have bags. I don’t find that the time putting them in or taking them off is significant. It’s part of playing the instrument!

Here’s another way to think of it. The fourth grader goes home with his student quality trumpet after the first day of band lessons. Is he carrying it in a case? Of course. Every beginner has their instrument in a case. It’s about respect. If you want the student to respect the music, and themselves, they have to respect the instrument. We’re musicians!! Act like one!!
 

10 Lug

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Humes and Berg. I have two.
Thank you for the reply. I did a search and still could not find an 18x12. Plenty of 14s but the 12 does not seem to be there. I should mention bags not cases as well. Would you have a link?
Thanks again.
 

multijd

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Thank you for the reply. I did a search and still could not find an 18x12. Plenty of 14s but the 12 does not seem to be there. I should mention bags not cases as well. Would you have a link?
Thanks again.
I purchased one from my local drum shop that recently closed. He ordered it from HB. Maybe you can contact them direct or go through a retailer like DCP or Memphis Drum etc. anyone who has a dealership with HB should be able to order it.
 

sternerp

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I have seversl snares displayed in my drum room. ALL of them have dome dust damage. Dust attracts moisture. Moisture makes rust and messes up paint and finishes. Not cased at home? Hope you dust more than I did.
Thanks for the tip. I never thought about how dust can contribute to drum damage.
 

sternerp

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My dad was a machinist and taught me to take care of my tools and they'll last a lifetime. Dad's gone, but the tools he left me are 80 years old and still in great shape. I treat my drums and all of my music equipment the same way.
 


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