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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi there. I have a new PRO PAC contoured case. I noticed that the interior is way more padded and "cushy" for the saxophone than one I used to have years ago, like a firm memory foam. In fact, the case is quite tight-fitting (maybe it will "break in") for my Selmer and the left hand ring finger G key is sort of stuck or resting on some of the cushioned frame inside.
It is a tank though.
Question: If I wasn't able to carry this on for flying, or if I needed to put it in the back or underside hull of a vehicle for transport, would it be good enough to protect the horn?
If there are ten million threads about this already, I apologize. I searched and didn't find exactly what I was looking for.
Experience is highly valued!
 

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I wouldn’t risk it. I once checked a tenor in a protec contoured case years ago and it suffered some damage. It’s possible the newer cases are a bit better but I would not bet on it. Personally I would avoid checking a horn at all costs unless it was in one of those flight cases with the really strong plastic exterior.
 

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They are not tanks. Their structure is made of thin plywood. It’s solid and light but also a bit flexible. Good for casual carrying around but I wouldn’t check them in either.
 

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Carry on the pro-tec to the flight. I've had zero issues for both alto and tenor. On a bus, keep it with you. Put it between your legs if you have to.
 

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I have had a friend checking in Protecs with hors that he bought in the US. They travelled well.

AS for the plywood being thing, it is BUT I all on my back with the horn and then I was even heavier and the shell didn’t crack.

Despite that I am not sure that you can trust the airports ( especially the most modern ones with ultra fast conveyers bets and kilometers to go) or the handlers of smaller airports throwing things about.


 
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Aside from how baggage is treated during transport, one thing about airports is that the bag has to be able to be opened should it be inspected. Scanners can't see inside the horn should someone be smuggling something inside of it. So packing it like postage is unrealistic, and who knows what happens after the case is opened. Especially when it is done when you are not present. You're better off mailing it to a shop near your destination and having them adjust it before you pick it up. Otherwise, keep it with you at all times regardless of what case you have.
 

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Here is what happens to your bag after it is checked. I would say nontoncuecking

 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Here is what happens to your bag after it is checked. I would say nontoncuecking

BEST POST OF THE DAY, POSSIBLY THE WEEK OR MONTH, OR YEAR. Thank-you!
 

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I've been on hundreds of flights with my horns. I would never check a pro tech case. It may be fine to take on a plane as carry on but they are not designed to be treated like luggage. Of course, experiences vary and some.people may swear by them. In my experience. the only thing, other than carry on of course, is a well built flight case for checked instruments.
 

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Are you talking alto or tenor here? Alto you should have no trouble carrying-on. For tenor, no matter how many times this topic comes up, the answer is still - it depends. There are so many different factors that there's no absolute standard or consistency in process for airports, airlines, or even how a specific flight crew will act based upon the space on a specific plane.

I've taken what I consider to be a calculated risk traveling with a tenor in a Protec contoured case a few times and been fortunate that I've been able to bring it in-cabin each time. Having watched baggage fly off fast moving luggage haulers, guys throwing things in and out of cargo holds, and bags falling off the side of conveyor belts loading planes; I'm convinced there are no guarantees with checked bagged no matter how expensive a case you have or good a packing job you do. I would not plan on transporting a horn as checked bagged in a Protec (or really any) case unless there were no other alternatives.
 

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I have been on small planes that require checking instruments at the plane - no issues. If you gate check an instrument (along with the strollers, etc.), be aware that your horn may be left unattended while everyone gets off the plane. I was a lil' horrified to once see my expensive guitar (Brazilian rosewood custom Gallagher in a bright blue Calton case) waiting unattended by itself after I was stuck in the back of the plane at an international airport. That could have been long gone by the time I got off the plane - I was lucky that day.

Those baggage conveyors are particularly harsh - not to mention the workers emptying them to transfer luggage from conveyor to cart to plane. I recall watching from the window of an airplane as my tenor was tossed to the worker loading the plane. He missed, and my horn cratered on the ground. When I bought a new tenor (Selmer BA), that one traveled the rest of its life in an Anvil case.

My preference these days is a tenor in a contour case, and the horn goes in the overhead or a coat closet.
 

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AS for the plywood being thing, it is BUT I fell on my back with the horn and then I was even heavier and the shell didn’t crack.
Sounds like you fell over the flat part of the case. That applies forces perpendicular to the case plywood walls where they are most strong. Try applying same forces from the side (like luggage in the cargo may do). I bet you’ll have a very different result.
 

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I have no intention of falling on my back again but should it ever happen, I will remember to fall on the side so to test the case ;) :)

you can crush almost anything but, for my horn, I’d rather have it in a Protec than many fiberglass counter cases with probably the sole exception of BAM ( very expensive) or the version for Selmer of their contour cases.

I do believe that Hiscoks are more rigid but the one I had was not as soft inside( the cushioning material) which may communicate a higher degree of shocks on impact to the payload .


Also the fact that the case has no space to carry anything else inside (or outside) would make me prefer something else, then again this is the reason there are so many cases.

to each his/her case, in any case.

By the way I did place, once, the case vertically under the counter of a bar and it fell. Not a great fall, but on he side, I didn’t expect it to break but more importantly the horn wasn’t even out of regulation.

All in all 2 small incidents in many years, I can’t complain too much.
 

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I do believe that Hiscoks are more rigid but the one I had was not as soft inside( the cushioning material) which may communicate a higher degree of shocks on impact to the payload .

Also the fact that the case has no space to carry anything else inside (or outside) would make me prefer something else, then again this is the reason there are so many cases.

to each his/her case, in any case.
The Hiscox sax cases have a huge pocket for accessories. That said, I had a Hiscox Artist for my Super 20, and didn't care for the contour of the case. It was very uncomfortable to carry by hand because of the way it rubbed/bounced against my leg, and its shape wasn't great for carrying on the shoulder either. The interior required additional padding at the bow to get a decent fit - it seems to be a one-size-fits-none. I don't know what horn it fits well.

I prefer the BAM SoftPack, although I don't know whether it could cushion both me and the horn in a fall.
 

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yes, mine bounced against my leg to and that receptacle inside is less that I expect from a case, but mileage obviously varies, I sold mine too
 

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yes, mine bounced against my leg to and that receptacle inside is less that I expect from a case, but mileage obviously varies, I sold mine too
If you didn't like the space inside a Hiscox, don't consider a BAM Cabine - those hardly hold a pack of gum in the shallow crater 'neath the horn. The SoftPac also has much less storage than a Hiscox, but it will accommodate my reeds, ligature, and neck strap (the neck and mouthpiece are in a Kiwi sleeve that goes in the bell).
 

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The issue I found with the hiscox is that its internal partitions are made of mostly straight and hard material (maybe some hard foam or wood lined with velvet, don't know). As a result they only touch the horn on a few points. For some sax models, on not enough points to hold it steady in the case. They do have a few additional pillows cushioning the bow, etc that help with support but those are very soft. When the horn fits snuggly, it is probably the most protective case out there. Many sax models will not fit snuggly though. Unless you add further cushion to tighten them up in the case, they will be damaged in transport or at least go out of regulation often due to the banging around inside the case.

This is the type of construction Manning does as well (he uses hard foam walls) but he builds the case grounds up fully custom to provide the right support to your specific horn, making sure it doesn't move at all in the case. I have his case on my soprano and the sax doesn't move even a millimeter. The fiberglass exterior is heavy but on the soprano size you barely feel it. Problem with them is they are hard to resell. Unless the buyer happens to have a sax with the exact same shape as the original one it was made for, he'd have to reconfigure its interior to some extend to fit another sax.

I feel BAM got a great formula with their semi-rigid foam that conforms to most horns and holds them snuggly in the case. Issue with BAM is that they typically have little space for accessories or even the neck in their countered cases. Not an issue for me but many people do want more storage.
 

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If you didn't like the space inside a Hiscox, don't consider a BAM Cabine - those hardly hold a pack of gum in the shallow crater 'neath the horn. The SoftPac also has much less storage than a Hiscox, but it will accommodate my reeds, ligature, and neck strap (the neck and mouthpiece are in a Kiwi sleeve that goes in the bell).
In fact this is the reason I stayed for so many years with the Protecs, this must be my 4th., I ve upgraded several times to their newest model.
In between I tried many things.

I know Bam Cabine (and the semirigid one which I had for a Keilwerth and a Selmer bass clarinet).

I like the Bam-Selmer but yes there is no space other than neck and mouthpiece
 

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Everyone's needs are different. For me, the Cabine has the perfect amount of internal space. I carry:

1. mouthpiece+ligature in a protec pouch inside the case mouthpiece slot under the sax neckstrap hook region.
2. neck in the BAM pouch inside the sax bell.

In the compartment under the sax I carry:

3. just joe's neckstrap
4. 4-reeds case plus extra individual reeds
5. mouthpiece cleaning swap
6. cork grease
7. reedgeek in a small leather pouch
8. mechanic pencil
9. silverstein-style mouthpiece cap
10. silk body swab

What else can one ask for? 🥴

Honestly the only thing I'd change on it would be to add a dedicated neck slot around where the neck shows on this picture so it wouldn't need to go in the bell. Something like the SKB cases have.

104579


104580
 

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A bus was mentioned as well as a plane. I wouldn't put an obvious instrument case in a bus luggage compartment, even though there is less bag-throwing, because too many people typically have access to it. If there is no other option, put it inside a duffel bag.

I used to sometimes carry-on an expensive piece of scientific equipment on international flights in one of those small aluminum "steal me" hard cases. I kept it inside a cheap-looking nylon gym bag and the only times it came out were if security wanted to inspect it.
 
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