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Cases, cases...


WesG
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It's time for some new cases.  Or at least one.

My two main gigging DPs are the RD800 and the CP4.  Different boards for different gigs.  Currently using Gator GK-88 and GK-88-SLIM (or maybe GK-76? I forget).

Anyhow.  The RD800 weighs a ton (48 lbs) and it's hard to move...especially since the zipper doesn't open all the way and the wheels have broken off...that case is about 8 years old.  I've also had some van-damage to the RD800's volume knob and "oh no I dropped it wrong in -25C" damage to the CP4.  What can I say, I'm hard on stuff. I play bar gigs and occasionally provide keyboard backline.

So I'm thinking of something more durable, but I'm a little leery of increasing the weight.  Shopping for the RD800 first, as it's the most pressing need. The GK-88 (current case) comes in at 28 lbs.  The G-Tour road case is 54lbs, I can't handle that. (I have a similar case for my X32 and it's a real problem).

Gator recommends a moulded TSA case, GTSA-KEY88SLXL, 31 lbs.
SKB has a moulded TSA case - 1SKB-5820W - 35 lbs.

What happens if wheels fail or a handle breaks on moulded cases?  Case is finished?

Here's something I didn't expect to find -- Thon Case Roland RD-800 from Thomann.de, this is a 34 lbs road case made with 1/4" plywood.  1/4" ply isn't what I consider tour-grade road case, but it should be a real upgrade from a semi-rigid case. This looks pretty good from the load-out POV, I could maybe leave the piano in the case and only have to worry about stowing the lid at the venue. I could also replace the wheels and latches if they fail. The big question in my mind with that case is: will I miss having a suitcase-style handle?

Thoughts?

Hammond: L111, M100, M3, BC, CV, Franken CV, A100, D152, C3, B3

Leslie: 710, 760, 51C, 147, 145, 122, 22H, 31H

Yamaha: CP4, DGX-620, DX7II-FD-E!, PF85, DX9

Roland: VR-09, RD-800

 

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I don’t have that SKB case but I have the 61 and 73/76 versions.  I got them for travel gigs by air.   I can’t imagine a 50 lb keyboard in a gig bag, seems misproportined.  These cases are fantastic!  100% endorse.

 

I first loved the 61.  So when I got a 73 key (MODX7) I first bought a Gator TSA (ATA) case because the SKB 73 was out of production.  But I sent it back immediately.  Gator was bulkier, wouldn’t even stand on end because wheels protruded, and was not nearly as stiff or secure.  I find this line of SKB is much better., they have an alum metal lip on both top and bottom wheels for consistent closed seal and stability and have more / better molded in rib features to prevent torsional bending.  The 73 isn’t in production anymore, I don’t know why.  i found one still out there on amazon and grabbed it but that was 4+ yrs ago.  This is the 61 and 88 you mention.

SKB ATA 61

SKB ATA 88

 

The only hitch is the four plastic corner pieces inside for the keyboard are Velcro’d to the bottom and they don’t hold well in rough travel.  I went to a furniture upholstery shop and had them custom cut a single piece of thick foam to fit the case and cut out the place for the keys and its perfect.  I had to custom order black as they only stock that foam in the dingy tan/yellow furniture color.  I went to Upholstery Fabric Outlet here in San Diego.  If keys are not held down secure, get another thinner piece for the top shell.

The baiting I do is purely for entertainment value. Please feel free to ignore it.
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36 minutes ago, WesG said:

It's time for some new cases.  Or at least one.

My two main gigging DPs are the RD800 and the CP4.  Different boards for different gigs.  Currently using Gator GK-88 and GK-88-SLIM (or maybe GK-76? I forget).

Anyhow.  The RD800 weighs a ton (48 lbs) and it's hard to move...especially since the zipper doesn't open all the way and the wheels have broken off...that case is about 8 years old.  I've also had some van-damage to the RD800's volume knob and "oh no I dropped it wrong in -25C" damage to the CP4.  What can I say, I'm hard on stuff. I play bar gigs and occasionally provide keyboard backline.

So I'm thinking of something more durable, but I'm a little leery of increasing the weight.  Shopping for the RD800 first, as it's the most pressing need. The GK-88 (current case) comes in at 28 lbs.  The G-Tour road case is 54lbs, I can't handle that. (I have a similar case for my X32 and it's a real problem).

Gator recommends a moulded TSA case, GTSA-KEY88SLXL, 31 lbs.
SKB has a moulded TSA case - 1SKB-5820W - 35 lbs.

What happens if wheels fail or a handle breaks on moulded cases?  Case is finished?

Here's something I didn't expect to find -- Thon Case Roland RD-800 from Thomann.de, this is a 34 lbs road case made with 1/4" plywood.  1/4" ply isn't what I consider tour-grade road case, but it should be a real upgrade from a semi-rigid case. This looks pretty good from the load-out POV, I could maybe leave the piano in the case and only have to worry about stowing the lid at the venue. I could also replace the wheels and latches if they fail. The big question in my mind with that case is: will I miss having a suitcase-style handle?

Thoughts?

 

The molded cases are not durable.  I have seen one that was punctured, I shudder to think if any precious gear inside was damaged..  Plus if any handles or latches or wheels break, the case is done.

 

If you're considering a hard wood case, go with Calzone or Anvil.  We both gig Leslies - you won't find Anvil cases that bad.  I've been gigging since 1981 with cases.  Every time I try a different hard wood case, I come back to Anvil.  They are built like a tank and they protect the gear.  Specify recessed latches and handles.  Get a cart, pass on integrated wheels.  I now have 30+ Anvil cases over the years and not not on them has broken.  Twice I had my Memorymoog dropped in its Anvil case six feet to the ground, and it emerged unscathed.  Yes Anvil/Calzone are more $$$ but you get what you pay for.  Even if you find a used one with rotting foam inside, you can ship it to Anvil and they will re-foam them and it will be as good as new.  I've done that with several of my cases already.  Other companies use the "ATA" tag as a sales gimmick.  They don't use the key words ATA Compliant.  Anvil cases are ATA compliant.

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I just went through decision making on this for my new (used) Forte 7, which is a heavy keyboard.  Yesterday my choice was delivered, a Gator tsa 61 (which should fit the Forte 7 like a proverbial glove, I'm making sure today!).   I'm not flying with this, I only load it in my car, but as mentioned I can't see using a gig bag for a 41 pound keyboard.  I have been using my 88 length Gator rolling semi-rigid, which is somewhat lighter, but it's WAY too big for the Forte 7.   It also doesn't allow you to stack anything on it, which would be an issue depending on whether I use my cart and how I load it.

Thomann was much cheaper even with shipping--especially since I ordered a couple other things without it budging the shipping amount, which makes the savings more.  This thing just screams quality.  It's compact and while heavy it should be easy to navigate on its wheels and not bad to load/unload.  No idea if it would be actually good for flying, being molded, but my other choice was a Road Runner case that weighed much more.

The down side of someone in the US ordering from Thomann (besides the fact that you don't want to get over 800 bucks due to the import fees) is that I can only imagine that returns would be a *****.  

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Thanks for the feedback.  ImproKeys - I didn't know about the configurator...thanks...I dislike their stock CP4 case, but customizing one yields acceptable results. I might be in a position to get Thon cases for both boards.

Mike, I thought about an Anvil-style case...we have Clydesdale in Toronto, which are similar in experience and quality.  Problem is, great road cases weigh a ton...and unlike my organ rig, I don't keep my DPs in the van. They are in and out of the house and/or rehearsal hall a couple of times a week.  An RD800 in a proper road case would weigh over 100 lbs; this is definitely a problem going up and down basement stairs.

So now I'm contemplating the Thon roadcase-lite (7mm plywood) and the SKB molded case. The SKB seems like it would be slightly easier to move, but the Thon seems like it would last longer and offer between protection.  They're close enough in price that that's not really an issue.  I could get the SKB faster, and put it on my Long & McQuade account, which is a definite plus. Giving money to L&M every month is a fixed item in our household budget. :D

I'm also thinking about doing a Thon custom case with a 6" accessory box at the end.  Anybody ever used one of those?  Thinking it would be nice to have a set of pedals and cords for each board tucked away inside the case, rather than in a gym bag.  I'm always worried I'm going to forget something...although I guess it would be of limited utility since the bottom of the case is quite shallow. It goes together like a mixer case.

Two of you are recommending a cart rather than intergrated wheels...interesting...I used a cart for a while but it was such a pain I started bungy-ing my bench and stand to my GK-88 and pulling that, while carrying a powered speaker.  That was for a weekly rehearsal with a 150' walk from parking to playing. Glad I don't play there anymore...

Hammond: L111, M100, M3, BC, CV, Franken CV, A100, D152, C3, B3

Leslie: 710, 760, 51C, 147, 145, 122, 22H, 31H

Yamaha: CP4, DGX-620, DX7II-FD-E!, PF85, DX9

Roland: VR-09, RD-800

 

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I wanted  both a case with wheels AND a cart...we don't have many gigs these days with truly long load-ins but I have one coming up Friday at a resort.  I don't want to make multiple trips, and the fact that I want a 2nd keyboard there for this important gig means that I can't do it in one trip....well, maybe I could but it wouldn't be easy.

Normally though I don't bother with a cart, if I can park just by the place.  My cables and gear are currently riding in a Husky rolling tool cart, so far so good!  it's bulky but very protective, waterproof and of course it rolls.  

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23 hours ago, WesG said:

Thanks for the feedback.  ImproKeys - I didn't know about the configurator...thanks...I dislike their stock CP4 case, but customizing one yields acceptable results. I might be in a position to get Thon cases for both boards.

Mike, I thought about an Anvil-style case...we have Clydesdale in Toronto, which are similar in experience and quality.  Problem is, great road cases weigh a ton...and unlike my organ rig, I don't keep my DPs in the van. They are in and out of the house and/or rehearsal hall a couple of times a week.  An RD800 in a proper road case would weigh over 100 lbs; this is definitely a problem going up and down basement stairs.

So now I'm contemplating the Thon roadcase-lite (7mm plywood) and the SKB molded case. The SKB seems like it would be slightly easier to move, but the Thon seems like it would last longer and offer between protection.  They're close enough in price that that's not really an issue.  I could get the SKB faster, and put it on my Long & McQuade account, which is a definite plus. Giving money to L&M every month is a fixed item in our household budget. :D

I'm also thinking about doing a Thon custom case with a 6" accessory box at the end.  Anybody ever used one of those?  Thinking it would be nice to have a set of pedals and cords for each board tucked away inside the case, rather than in a gym bag.  I'm always worried I'm going to forget something...although I guess it would be of limited utility since the bottom of the case is quite shallow. It goes together like a mixer case.

Two of you are recommending a cart rather than intergrated wheels...interesting...I used a cart for a while but it was such a pain I started bungy-ing my bench and stand to my GK-88 and pulling that, while carrying a powered speaker.  That was for a weekly rehearsal with a 150' walk from parking to playing. Glad I don't play there anymore...

 

A couple of thoughts on this thread - I have historically tried to have an Anvil type flight case for every keyboard. I have a local case builder that builds to the same specs as Anvil and does some cool custom things for me in terms of multiple handles, wheels, etc. Those are HEAVY cases, though with my history of sometimes needing to load gear under a bus or into a trailer, I cannot feel comfortable without this protection even if it's 10% of my gigs.

 

I was not aware of Thon cases and I'm fascinated with a lighter type hard case. I need to do my research, though curious if folks in the US have these and have any reviews to share?

 

To the point in the quote above about "adding a compartment" to hold extra stuff - I have done this in the past and regretted it. Unless I have roadies. I haven't had the luxury of roadies since the '90s. If you have a halfway heavy keyboard going into a heavy case, adding square footage to that case to hold even more weight will make the case oversized and even more heavy. Things like pedals and cables seem lightweight, but put them into a flight case and suddenly you've taken a 60-75 lb box to 80-100 lbs and longer dimensions as well. My guidance is to have a couple of briefcases that are part of your permanent rig in which you keep those things.

 

I once thought it was a good idea to put a rack drawer in my rack for a lot of cables and that weight was non-trivial. I ultimately retired the drawer.

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For small cases I go looking at drum fiberboard cases or Trap cases.    For cables tom-tom cases come in lots of sizes and being round hold rolled up cables really well.    As a guitarist I used a fiberboard bongo case,  real nice size for pedals, toolkit, strings, etc.    Then have seen others use drummer trap cases for misc stuff.   Typically a large area the snare would go in, then a removable container on top for sticks and etc.   Check drummers cases they have all sorts of shapes and sizes. 

 

Funny when playing bass we used to use hard shell keyboard cases when flying out basses.     We'd have good shoulder bag perfect for carrying bass and stuff in the pockets to gigs, but wasn't good for flying.   So we'd get keyboard cases and the bass in the shoulder bag would fit inside the keyboard case with room for other things.   That way to fly we used the keyboard case with it's wheels. then take that to the hotel and pull out the bass in it bag to use during the gig so lighter and easier to move.  

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I currently use two of these - for 61 key keyboards not 88.

 

Gator TSA case

 

They are in and out of aircraft cargo holds and vans on a very regular basis.  Had mine for about 18 months now and have so far proven rock solid.  They don’t look as pretty as they used to but no sign of mechanical failure.  
 

Importantly, zero damage to my keyboards in transit too.

 

I note most of the backline companies we deal with use them for their 88s.

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13 hours ago, CowboyNQ said:

I currently use two of these - for 61 key keyboards not 88.

 

Gator TSA case

 

They are in and out of aircraft cargo holds and vans on a very regular basis.  Had mine for about 18 months now and have so far proven rock solid.  They don’t look as pretty as they used to but no sign of mechanical failure.  
 

Importantly, zero damage to my keyboards in transit too.

 

I note most of the backline companies we deal with use them for their 88s.

Yup. These are great. Bought a few maybe 7 years back. Got my Kronos and Nord Middle East to the UK and back a good few times.
They can certainly stand up to cargo handlers and flying.

Thomann's own Thon stuff is also pretty good. Flown with a Yammy CP33 a few times with one.

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