The perfect trombone case should be like a coconut. Safe on the inside but tough and protective on the outside.
A trombone isn’t exactly a small musical instrument. So, keeping such a bulky instrument safe could be quite the arduous task, so it’s essential to invest in a quality carrying case.
See, when you have a strong case, you don’t have to always worry about any dings and drops that could damage your horn.
Fortunately, giving such a level of protection for your horn is actually easier than you might think.
What makes a sturdy trombone case? Well, here’s everything you need to know.
Best Trombone Cases In 2020 Reviewed
Do You Really Need A Trombone Case?
Of course, you do!
A trombone is a precious and often costly musical instrument, so why wouldn’t you want to do all that you possibly can to keep it in pristine condition?
Here are the advantages of getting a trombone case:
I’ll just start with the most apparent advantage and get it out of the way.
With a case, your trombone is protected from the elements, dirt, dust, etc. Protection is increased when using a hard case because then; you know your trombone remains undamaged even if you happen to knock the case or accidentally drop it.
When your instrument is exposed, the slightest bump against it can cause a slide to get out of alignment or the valve mechanism to get bent.
With a case, the instrument is safely nestled within a padded interior while the hard exterior takes all the blows.
Additionally, some cases come with a weather-proof coating on the exterior, which is a bonus.
Another way to look at it is if your instrument is kept in a case, then it is protected from scratches. This helps protect the finish on your instrument.
Have you ever wondered how some trombones still look new and shiny even after years of use? The secret could be having a trombone case.
First off, some cases are lockable, which is one aspect in which the case keeps your instrument safe.
If you are traveling by plane with a trombone, then you will feel more at ease checking it in as luggage if the case is lockable. Better yet, many built-in locks on trombone cases are even TSA approved!
“Well, I can just put it in the overhead compartment, no?”. Yes, you can, but this isn’t always a guarantee. See, your case might not fit in the overhead compartment, and even if it can, there might not be sufficient room for it in the overhead.
The other option might be buying a seat for your trombone. This would be the more expensive thing to do, but if you can afford it, hey, why not?
All in all, a lockable case offers an elevated level of safety for your horn.
How do people carry a trombone without a case? While going from place to place with your instrument, isn’t it much easier to do so with a case?
A case comes with an ergonomic handle that makes the trombone east to carry. At the same time, there are backpackable options that you can carry on your back, thereby keeping your hands free.
Moreover, other cases conveniently have wheels, which will allow you to drag the instrument around, saving you the energy for your gig.
Fashion and design appear to have made their way into the trombone case market. This means that a case isn’t just a functional accessory. It’s an aesthetic one too – a fashion statement of sorts.
You can choose a case that makes the statement you would like to convey to the world. Would you like to look professional? Funky?
Moreover, you can add stickers on the case which reflect who you are as a musician and bring out your uniqueness.
Being an excellent trombonist isn’t all that there is to music. You need to have an appeal as well.
Types of Trombone Cases
Hard cases offer reliable protection for impact, rough handling, and external loads, thereby doing a tremendous job protecting your instrument from damage.
At the same time, these cases have the advantage of holding the instrument securely in place to prevent internal movement that can shift the trombone’s components.
Typically, hard cases have a very protective interior. This may consist of fabric- or felt-covered EPS foam, with form-fitting molded shapes specifically designed for a particular trombone to fit into.
This holds the instrument in place, preventing movement inside the case. It also provides vital shock absorption from drops and bangs, and it gives a lot more protection against being crushed.
The disadvantage is that hard cases can be bulky and awkward to carry.
Also, the costliness of hard cases in comparison to soft cases is one thing that can discourage many buyers. This is often a misguided concern, though, because the repair to your trombone because of buying a cheap case will cost more than the expensive case did!
Hard cases are available in two main shape styles: the traditional rectangular “Coffin” shape; and the classic, space-saving “French” shape design.
Soft Cases / Gig Bags
Soft cases are made from lightweight materials, and so, they cost significantly less than hard cases. These cases are easier to carry, especially for younger children, and they come with plenty of storage spaces for accessories.
Another advantage is that with soft cases, the buyer had a wide variety of colors and styles to choose from.
The average soft case offers very little protection on the inside.
The biggest downside is that soft cases don’t have a rigid outer shell and so, the trombone can get damaged if other items are piled on top of the gig bag.
Things to Consider When Buying A Trombone Case
Buying a trombone case is a highly subjective matter. What one person likes about a case might be what another person detests.
Therefore, there cannot be a hard and fast rule as to what makes an excellent trombone case suitable for your instrument and lifestyle.
Here are a couple of questions to ask yourself to help to make the selection process easier for you:
- Do you move around with the trombone a lot, or do you usually just play at home, hardly every traveling with it?
- Do you move around by car, or do you rely on public transport, thereby needing to travel light?
- Will you need to keep your hands free for other things? (Subway users, carrying other gear, motorcycle riders, etc.).
- How clumsy or careful are you in general?
- Will the weight of the case be a cause for concern?
- How expensive is your trombone?
- How much are you willing to spend on a trombone case? Are you on a tight budget?
- How big is your trombone? Would you prefer a wheelie bag?
- How many accessories do you usually carry with you?
- Do you need a lockable case?
Your answer to each question above will give you a better idea of your specific needs, therefore helping you choose the best care for your trombone.
Features to Look for In A Quality Trombone Case
While the exterior material of a trombone case needs to be durable, and offer hard-wearing protection, the interior material should be plush, soft, and non-abrasive.
A superior quality hard case should be very rigid such that there is no flex on any part of the case.
Popular materials used for the exterior include Fiberglass, Leather, Nylon, Plastic, Wood, Rok Tex, Foam, Cloth, etc.
The particular material used will depend on whether the case is a hard case or a soft bag and the level of protection the case will offer to the instrument.
The trombone case you go for should be a perfect snug fit for your instrument. Do not go for a case designed to accommodate a 10.62” bell, and yet you own a small-bore trombone with an 8” bell.
Still, on size, you need to establish how much room there is for accessories, compared to how many accessories you often have with you while on the go.
A waterproof exterior means that the case will keep your instrument nice and dry even when you’re walking in the pouring rain.
This adds an extra level of protection for your expensive instrument, ensuring you can whip it out and play a tune anywhere, any time.
Waterproofing isn’t achieved simply by using a waterproof exterior material. It also involves sealing any gaps in the seams and under the zipper as well.
Both hard cases and gig bags have padding on the interior to help cushion your instrument from any impact.
The only difference is that hard cases often feature more padding, guaranteeing shock-resistance even if the instrument happens to fall from a height.
Don’t be surprised if you happen to come across a gig bag with a thicker layer of foam than some hard cases. Those do exist as well.
Besides adequate padding, be on the lookout also for a mid-bag suspension system.
The latest cases will often incorporate this technology, which involves having the trombone ‘float’ on a layer of foam so that it isn’t in contact with any of the exterior panels.
For your comfort, all straps on the case should be thick, padded, and constructed from high-quality material that will not snap easily.
The more the carrying options provided, the better. So, a case with backpack straps and a shoulder strap while still having a handle is the ideal scenario.
Better yet, removable straps give you more flexibility, rather than having straps flapping about when not in use.
If the latches and locks on your case aren’t sturdy, your instrument could end up tumbling out during transportation or storage.
That is not at all what you would want to happen, now is it?
Regardless of whether you are looking into getting a soft case or a hard case, any hardware on the case should be heavy duty. These include drawstrings, zippers, buckles, locks, latches, etc.
FAQs About The Best Trombone Cases
Used Vs. New Trombone Case: Which Is Better?
The best case for your trombone is that which offers the best protection for your instrument and convenient portability for you.
There is nothing wrong with getting a used trombone case, as long as it doesn’t show signs of wear that might compromise the level of protection offered.
As in the case of buying a used car, it is always a good policy when buying a used case, to question why the owner wishes to part with it.
Just as well, perform your due diligence to assess the condition of the case.
Are there any dents? Is the hardware sturdy and firmly attached?
You may find a used trombone case that’s in a far better condition than a new trombone case, so there really is no telling unless you assess each case individually.
How Long Is A Trombone Case?
A typical trombone case is about 38” long, give or take.
Keep in mind, though, that the length of a trombone case will depend on the type of trombone the bag is designed for.
For instance, a marching trombone is much shorter than a tenor or bass trombone, so expect their cases to reflect this.
At the same time, the length of the case will depend on whether the bag is meant to accommodate the mute or if it shall be detached and stored separately.
A contrabass trombone bag could be as long as 48”, while a case for a small jazz trombone may be as short as 35”.
How Much Does A Trombone Case Weigh?
A lightweight trombone case weighs about 7 lbs (3.2kg), while a heavy trombone case can weigh as much as about 14 lbs (6.4kg).
The weight widely varies depending on the size of the case, the material it is made out of, the interior padding, etc.
Do Trombone Cases Need Special Care or Maintenance?
Not particularly, no.
Cleaning a trombone case is a rather straightforward process. First, you start by removing the instrument and all accessories from the case.
The next step involves vacuum cleaning (hard case); or using an air compressor (soft case) to remove dirt and dust off the case.
You can follow up by cleaning a hard case with furniture polish or a multi-surface cleaner. Often, this may be all you need to refresh the appearance of the case.
Cleaning spills, unknown spots, and stubborn areas may require you to use some liquid dish soap, a cloth rag, and a soft nail brush if needed.
Follow up by rinsing well with warm water, mopping up the rinse water with a dry towel as you go. Leave the case out and open in direct sunlight to allow it to dry completely before use.
Take the time to really find out what features you would like in a trombone case. Then go out there searching for the case having the features you desire.
Just like with choosing a trombone, picking out the ideal case is a highly personalized decision that only you can make correctly.
Have fun with it, and I truly hope you find what you are looking for!