Posted by Tom B. on July 30, 2002 at 18:17:47:
In Reply to: Hard Case dilema posted by Thomas Peacock on July 30, 2002 at 13:26:31:
I was in a similar situation about a year ago.
When I purchased my current horn an aluminum flight case was part of the deal. However, the included case wasn't designed for the type of horn that I had purchased nor would the horn fit inside of the case while in the gig bag. So, I sold that case and spent the following several months researching various offerings.
Since my needs call for a hard case only when traveling by air, I set out looking for the ideal flight case...one that would protect the horn while in it's gig bag. I found that for the type of tuba I purchased, few cases were readily available or the appropriate size. My desire to have a case that would house the tuba in the gig bag made things much more complex. Of all the different cases, only 3 companies made the type of case I was looking for: Anvil, Walt Johnson, & Meinl Weston.
My first try was Meinl Weston. I had seen their cases several times and know several people that have successfully traveled with them a number of time. The only problem I had with Meinl Weston was getting the case sized to fit my horn in the gig bag. They told me that it could be done, but that I would have to send my horn to them in Germany for measurements.
My second try was Walt Johnson. Just like with the Meinl Weston cases, I know several people that have had great success with these. I had two issues with the Walt Johnson cases...first, they are dependant upon measurements that you provide in order to build the case...I just never felt totally comfortable doing that. My second issue with Walt Johnson was with the physical construction of the case. I speaking with them about having a case built for my tuba in the gig bag, they were hesitant to say they could do it. They told me that most of the cases they build are used without gig bags and that doing the measurements for a tuba-in-the-gig-bag type case was very difficult.
My last resort turned out to be just what I was looking for: Calzone (Anvil) Cases. As with the other two brands, I know several people that swear by these. Anvil was the only company that old me that if I owned it, they could build a case for it. Obtaining an Anvil case was also logistically the easiest...one of their factories is located in my area. My close proximity to one of their factories allowed me to take my horn in with the gig bag for measurements and test fitting. I had exactly what I had spec'd. in about a week.
Price is also a major issue. For me the decision to get a flight case was easy...I compared the price of "regular" hard cases to flight cases and realized there was a relatively small price difference for one that could withstand airline transport. My built-to-order Anvil case turned out to cost about $300 less than the Walt Johnson equivalent and about $150 less than the stock (no custom interior) Meinl Weston flight case.
The only downside I can see to my Anvil case is that it is big and it is bulky. You should also expect to pay oversize and overweight fees if you fly with it.
Side note: Anvil allows you to pick what thickness you want the internal wooden shell. Going to 1/4" from 1/2" shaves off about 20lbs.