How Do You Carry Your Bass?


This month we will talk a little about transporting your bass in your case of choice and what options you have.


There are many choices out there these days. Long gone are the days when your only option was the big black long rectangular hard case.



072613 rectangle case


We now have light weight plastic cases, ATA flight cases, Gig bags, Double cases, Double gig bags, guitar boats – a large case that’s fits several basses at once – and perhaps even other options that escape me at the moment.


It used to be when you bought a bass a case came with it.  Sometimes it was great and sometimes it was crap…but at least you got one.  These days, the case is not typically included with your instrument purchase…unless you’re buying a high-end bass, with high-end meaning expensive.  Unless you’re one of those lucky blokes, you’ll most likely have to shell out some bucks to purchase your case separately.


The up side to this is you get to choose the case that best fits your needs.


We now live in the future and we have endless options for cases and gig bags for our precious basses.  


I use several different bags and cases depending on the situation or gig.  Sometimes I’m just doing a small gig and only need to bring one bass, and I’m carrying it in myself. For this I use a simple one bass gig bag.


072613  gig bags


There are literally hundreds of companies who make these bags, and the quality varies…not only from company to company, but within a company’s line.  Often they’ll offer an “economy” on one end of their offerings, and an ultra-deluxe on the other. 


You will need to take several things into consideration when shopping for a gig bag.  First be sure to look at the outside material:  Is it durable?  Water proof?  Rip proof?


Next check the padding.  No sense in getting one that has the padding of a towel.  Look for something with some nice thick padding for maximum protection.


Check out the zippers.  I have a few bags that have become dog beds because the zippers broke or ripped clean off the bag itself.


Usually these cases will have one or more external pockets for storage of accessories. Make sure you have at least a place for your strap, cord, strings and some picks.  If you carry sheet music, you may want to check that the pocket is large enough to hold your notebook.


On other gigs I may need to use two basses.  And, several companies have anticipated this need by creating a gig bag that holds two basses.


072613 double bass gig bag


The same criteria applies when shopping for a double instrument gig bag as a single instrument one.  Padding, however, is held to an even higher standard as you’ll have two basses in there.


Now traveling on the road and touring is a totally different animal. For these situations I often use different cases as well.  If you are traveling with the band in a van or car you can probably get away with the lightweight plastic cases or the old trusty rectangle case.  Or, if you want to be extra safe, you could go with a ATA case.


 072613 hard shell


Unless you’re touring in a professional situation, chances are you’re loading that car, van, trailer or truck yourself.  If this is the case, you’re usually packing the bass last or at least have a nice safe spot selected where you know you’re not subjecting your case to any more strain than necessary.


Now if you’re touring around professionally and not just doing the weekend warrior thing you may want to upgrade to something a little heavier.  Often in these situations roadies may be carrying your gear, and they may or may not be treating it as gingerly as you would yourself.  For this scenario, you really want to go with one the companies that make ATA cases: often called road cases or flight cases.  I use Anvil cases when I tour and have several different options for this as well.


Sometimes it may just be several cases each hold a bass that gets loaded into the truck or trailer.


072613  anvil


Other times I might use a long drum trap case and put 3 basses in gig bags inside.


There are many options for case while touring. You just need to find the one that suits your needs, budget and space requirements.  Just make sure you are protected regardless of which option you choose: there is nothing worse than getting to the gig and discovering your bass is broken.


072613  pro options


072613  f1 bass fuse



Choose wise and choose careful. Test them all and make sure they work great and not just look good.


Till next time, Travel safe and travel smart.


– Scott Woodward



Originally posted 2013-07-26 18:34:34.