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Friday, 11 May 2012

Hiscox Instrument Hard Cases Review


Overview
  • Available for Electric Guitars and Basses
  • Available for Alto and Tenor Saxophones
  • Available as Standard and Pro II cases
  • Strong Impact Resistance
  • Lockable
  • Inner padding (on Pro II)
  • Lightweight

Construction
Hiscox cases are constructed of ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) which basically is a very tough plastic, particularly noted for its impact resistance. So much so it's used for constructing Bumper Bars, Protective Headgear, Golf Club heads, Whitewater Canoes etc. So yes , it's strong! Ideal for instrument cases because of its impact resistance and shock absorbing abilities, it is also lightweight making it perfect in another aspect. Hiscox bond the ABS to the inner cellular foam moulding giving added rigidity and strength. The case then has an aluminium edging which again adds to rigidity and helps keep the shape. The bonus with the aluminium is that it extends below the ABS and the fittings are riveted to it, giving a much stronger finish. The catches are the typical metal lift up, sprung loaded catch which engage snugly with the lid and pull it down firmly. The finish inside is of a crushed velvet type material which is soft against the instrument inside.

The Hiscox case for guitars and saxes come in 2 main grades (although there is a third, extra plush, version for guitars not reviewed here). The difference (apart from price) in these two variants is that the Standard case is basically constructed of a slightly thinner ABS, with little or no padding inside, whereas the Pro II has the thicker, more impact resistant ABS, with padding in strategic places inside offering a better protection.

Usability
The Hiscox Standard and Pro II cases are both great, strong cases and offer an excellent way to protect your instrument. However, I have found that the Standard cases' lack of internal padding to be irritating! The instrument tends to rattle about inside and although the movement is tiny, and not enough in ordinary usage to cause a problem, I still find it somewhat disconcerting. The Pro II does not suffer with this slight looseness at all. Realistically, both offer excellent protection I'm a bit twitchy when it comes to protecting my instruments. The Standard case is advertised as withstanding 5 grown adults standing on it, which frankly is enough protection for most applications!! I would have said the clue is in the name with the Pro II offering protection for more expensive instruments or a more rigorous life, perhaps associated with a professional musicians lifestyle. These cases are nice and light so do not add substantially to the weight of the instrument, unlike some of the plywood box cases which seem to weigh as much as the instrument itself making it a major expedition carting it around and frankly unrealistic for little musicians! The balance is excellent when being carried and the sax cases benefit from a strong shoulder strap freeing your hands for other cases etc. The handle (this may sound trivial, but believe me it's not!) is very comfortable.

Due to the inherent strength of ABS, the cases take the knocks with ease and maintain there good looks for years. My tenor sax case is about 17 now. Still looks great and is in pretty much perfect condition having travelled abroad and, even worse, been used in many schools!!

Value for Money
In my opinion, Hiscox cases offer excellent value for money, being competitively priced and frankly, head and shoulders above much of the competition.

Conclusion
Personally I would not recommend any other hard shell case. These cases are tough, good looking and last for years. They are used by many pro players, which speaks volumes. Should it be Standard or Pro II however??? Well I use the Pro II cases, but then my instruments are in constant use and I want to give them the ultimate protection. However, they are slightly more expensive cases, and if the case is going to be used for less rigorous usage, going to and from instrumental lessons for example, then I'd save the cash and go Standard. However, both are fantastic cases and will last and protect for years to come.




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