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Thread: Danger of a Gig Bag

  1. #1

    Danger of a Gig Bag

    I'm very fond of carrying my horn in a gig bag, but I wonder if I should reconsider.

    Steven Mead uses a nicely-padded leather gig bag for his horn. On the way to a rehearsal in Battle Creek, things did not go well. Here is his story:

    terrible accident with my euphonium. So sad. Fell out the back of a car on arrival at hotel in Battle Creek. Unplayable. 4v stuck , trigger jammed. This is my voice, itís part of me. Deep shock.

    Thanks everyone for the very kind words. We have some solutions in place for the next days. My good friend and student Evagene K Wellman has kindly agreed to lend me her new Besson Prestige 2051 for the weekend. McQueens Musical Instruments in Manchester will fix up the bell and sort out the trigger and 4th valve on Monday afternoon. I fly to Spain on Wednesday for concerts, so the schedule is tight!

    It was a tragic accident, the very kind couple who took Misa and I from Detroit airport to our hotel in Battle Creek just flicked up the rear door of the car without realising my instrument was in a rather precarious position. It fell a couple of feet to the ground, enough to do this damage in a gig bag. Iím slowly getting over the shock and trying to be positive. Accidents do happen in the world, and itís how we deal with them that really counts. Thank you to all of you for your suggestions and very kind words, it means a lot xx
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams E3, Denis Wick 4AL (classic)
    Instructor of Euphonium and Tuba
    Twitter: davewerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    YouTube: dwerden
    Owner of TubaEuph.com, DWerden.com

  2. #2
    I had exactly the same incident with my Miraphone 5050 a month or so ago. It shifted in transit, and unthinking, I hit the buttons to open the rear hatch of of my SUV, and the horn tumbled to the pavement.

    Bell li was ok, but the 3rd valve slide brace caved in the outer branch, and the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th slides were immovable, and the trigger slide was compromised.

    Matt Walters worked his magic, and while not good as new, it was playable. The instrument has since been replaced, and sold to a friend in need at a very steep discount.

    Ive taken this as a very expensive lesson to not open the hatch without standing right there.


    Don Winston

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    West Palm Beach, FL
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    3,124
    Oh man! That’s very sad to hear. I know Steven Mead likes to use his leather gig bag because he USUALLY can put it in overhead storage when flying. Besides, a gig bag is more portable to carry. I use the blue Miraphone gig bag - which offers pretty good protection - but my horn would still get damaged if dropped 3’.

    The brass tech I take my horn to for scheduled cleanings says he calls people who use gig bags “repeat customers”. I should maybe rethink my choice of bags too.
    Last edited by RickF; 05-17-2018 at 08:58 AM.
    Rick Floyd
    Miraphone 5050 - Warburton Brandon Jones sig mpc
    YEP-641S (on long-term loan to grandson)
    Doug Elliott - 102 rim; I-cup; I-9 shank


    "Always play with a good tone, never louder than lovely, never softer than supported." - author unknown.
    Symphonic Band of the Palm Beaches
    When the Saints Go Marching In (arr. Mashima) at ACB Conference Ft. Lauderdale
    Cell phone video of : El Cumbanchero:

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Sturgis, South Dakota
    Posts
    935
    To me, the only thing really good about a gig bag, is that perhaps you have a gig to go to. Would love to have less weight, but do not trust gig bags whatsoever. Call me over protective.
    John Morgan
    The U.S. Army Band (Pershing's Own) 1971-1976
    Adams E3 Custom Series Euphonium, Wessex EP-100 Dolce Euphonium, 1956 B&H Imperial Euphonium
    Adams TB1 Tenor Trombone, Yamaha YBL-822G Bass Trombone
    Wessex TE-360 Bombino Eb Tuba
    Rapid City New Horizons & Municipal Bands (Euphonium)
    Black Hills Symphony Orchestra (Bass Trombone), Powder River Symphony, Gillette, WY (Tenor Trombone)
    Black Hills Brass Quintet (Tuba)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Central North Carolina
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    1,989
    Gig bags are pretty much a practical necessity for normal to large size tubas -- unless you have a very expensive lightweight, not overly bulky, and wheeled case; or unless you're willing to also cart around some sort of hand truck. But even then, they're really good only when you have total control of the instrument and are just putting it into and getting it out of your car.

    Eons ago when I had my Yamaha 321-S Eb tuba, I used the factory case for it since it wasn't overly bulky and could be carried without too much effort. With the Wessex (19" bell), this isn't feasible -- and a good hard case for it would likely cost more than the instrument. My Mack Brass euphonium came with one of those (now classically Chinese?) "semi-hard" cases which is wonderfully protective, but just a bit bulky to tolerate in situations where risk is low. So I use a Protec -- and am VERY careful. For my Wessex tuba, I use a Gard -- and am very careful. The case the Wessex originally came with is one of the semi-hard ones, but seems to occupy about twice the volume as the tuba itself.

    For the bass trombone, I just don't have a problem. The stock Schiller (Jin Bao?) case -- again, one of those semi-hard cases -- is well proportioned, well-fitted, and extremely protective -- as well as being light and having a good back strap arrangement. But of course, I have only about $700 into that horn -- even though it's now my primary (almost sole) instrument.

    I wonder if somewhere there isn't a median ground between the bulky "older" Chinese cases (like my ones from Mack and Wessex), and a "gig" bag. In the trombone (at least bass trombone) community, these cases like the Schiller (and there are others available as well) have a significant following because they're relatively inexpensive (from somewhere around $80 to somewhere under $150), very protective, light, easy to use, and surprisingly robust. I don't know what Wessex is providing nowadays, but it seems to me that just taking something like the Mack case and reducing the thickness of the foam (maybe by 30% or so) would yield a very viable product. Not fancy, attractive, and chic like leather; but just really effective.

    I guess what I'm thinking of is a kind of cost-reduced Marcus Bonna euphonium case (say, also without the fiberglass shell). I don't see the need for anything near a $1,000 cost (list price) to achieve a similar level of protection. But this does raise the question of what sort of gig bag Steven Mead was using. If it was a Marcus Bonna, that raises questions about that case. Looking at pictures of it (e.g., on the Horn Guys site), it does appear to me that it actually offers LESS protection than my Mack Brass case!
    Last edited by ghmerrill; 05-17-2018 at 08:32 AM.
    Gary Merrill
    Wessex EEb Bass tuba (Denis Wick 3XL)
    Mack Brass Compensating Euph (DE N106, Euph J, J9 euph)
    Amati Oval Euph (DE N106, Euph J, J6 euph)
    1924 Buescher 3-valve Eb tuba, modified Kelly 25
    Schiller American Heritage 7B clone bass trombone (DE LB K/K9/112 Lexan, Brass Ark MV50R)
    1947 Olds "Standard" trombone (Olds #3)

  6. #6
    Very unfortunate for Steven, but somewhere along the line with as much travel as he's done over the years, something like this is bound to happen.
    U.S. Army, Retired (built mid-Fifties)
    Adams E2 Euph (built 2017)
    Boosey & Co. Imperial Euph (built 1941)
    Edwards B454 Bass Trombone (built 2012)
    Boosey & Hawkes Imperial Eb tuba (built 1958)
    Kanstul 33-T lBBb tuba (built 2010)
    Shen 3/4 upright bass (who cares?)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Sturgis, South Dakota
    Posts
    935
    Quote Originally Posted by ghmerrill View Post
    Gig bags are pretty much a practical necessity for normal to large size tubas -- unless you have a very expensive lightweight, not overly bulky, and wheeled case; or unless you're willing to also cart around some sort of hand truck. But even then, they're really good only when you have total control of the instrument and are just putting it into and getting it out of your car....
    I see the point for gig bags, but will never use one for my Adams E3. I must confess, however, that I actually DO have a gig bag. I have my 1950's model B&H Imperial Euphonium in that. When I bought it, the horn was in great shape, the case was ancient, well-used, smelly and ugly. So, an Altieri gig bag for Christmas replaced the shabby case. I only use this horn locally when I don't want my Adams to get banged into or rained/snowed on (same for my Wessex euphonium as a stand in horn - it has the hugely, fluffy, way too big case - works good, just unwieldy). I don't want any bad stuff to happen to either the B&H or Wessex euphoniums, but I could deal with harm to them much better than having to deal with something awful happening to my Adams, which cost more than my first house (I'm old, I know, I really did buy a house in Albuquerque in 1970 for $10K).
    John Morgan
    The U.S. Army Band (Pershing's Own) 1971-1976
    Adams E3 Custom Series Euphonium, Wessex EP-100 Dolce Euphonium, 1956 B&H Imperial Euphonium
    Adams TB1 Tenor Trombone, Yamaha YBL-822G Bass Trombone
    Wessex TE-360 Bombino Eb Tuba
    Rapid City New Horizons & Municipal Bands (Euphonium)
    Black Hills Symphony Orchestra (Bass Trombone), Powder River Symphony, Gillette, WY (Tenor Trombone)
    Black Hills Brass Quintet (Tuba)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Hidden Valley, AZ
    Posts
    643
    Bag or case, it's linda' like underwear;

    You run what feels best and try not to ruin what's in them.

    DDG
    3 notes and the truth.

    1966 Besson 181 highly modified New Standard, early model Wick 4AL
    1918 Hawkes & Son euph 3&1 original
    1917 Conn C/D/Eb mellophone original
    1915 York Bb tenorhorn original, Bach 5GS

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    West Palm Beach, FL
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    3,124
    Quote Originally Posted by highpitch View Post
    Bag or case, it's kinda' like underwear;

    You run what feels best and try not to ruin what's in them.

    DDG
    Oh, too funny!
    Rick Floyd
    Miraphone 5050 - Warburton Brandon Jones sig mpc
    YEP-641S (on long-term loan to grandson)
    Doug Elliott - 102 rim; I-cup; I-9 shank


    "Always play with a good tone, never louder than lovely, never softer than supported." - author unknown.
    Symphonic Band of the Palm Beaches
    When the Saints Go Marching In (arr. Mashima) at ACB Conference Ft. Lauderdale
    Cell phone video of : El Cumbanchero:

  10. I have a lesson with Steven Mead tomorrow, and I’m friends with Evagene, who is the lady who is lending Steven her Besson during his stay in Battle Creek. Tomorrow’s conversation and session with Steven should be more interesting than usual!
    James Kircoff
    Genesee Wind Symphony - principal euphonium (Sterling Virtuoso 1065HS and Adams E1 Custom w/ Parker 4G Houser)
    Capital City Brass Band (2019 NABBA 2nd section champions) - 1st baritone (Besson BE956 w/ Denis Wick 6BY) and 10 piece ensemble (Getzen 1052FD w/ Bach 1G)

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