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Best Drum Cases

The first time I thought about getting cases for my drums was before my first gig in high school and my rock band was booked to play a set at a local coffee shop. I had to bring my drum set to the venue, and that meant I needed some cases put my drums in while I drove them to the gig. Heading to the local drum shop, I was surprised at all the questions they had for me! Expecting the clerks to just to hand me a set of bags and a bill for $10, I actually had to go back home, measure my drums, determine what kind of bags/cases I needed, and finally borrow some money from my parents because my $10 budget just wasn’t going to cut it!

There are two main types of protection for drums to consider. Hard cases are often called “cases” and soft cases are generally referred to as “bags”. Hard Cases are made of a molded plastic material with most hard case manufacturers offering the option of lining the inside of the case with protective foam. While expensive, it’s highly recommended for individuals seeking the most protection. Hard shell cases with foam lining offer the most protection of any case option because those without the foam lining don’t offer protection against scratching.

Soft bags are made of a synthetic fabric or nylon material. They’re lined with padding and are typically a cheaper option than hard cases. Soft cases are also much lighter making them easy to move around. It’s important to choose cases that are appropriate and cost effective to the drums you are protecting. For example, I have hard shell cases with foam lining for my expensive drums and soft cases for my inexpensive drums.

The best drum cases can cost you about $50-100 per case, but in most situations the price of admission is worth the initial cost. I have several snare drums that are custom built and one of a kind. If they were damaged in any way, they could not be replaced. I have had some of my cases for 20 years, and they look brand new. I have quality cases for these drums. These cases have lasted countless plane rides and 2 cross country moves.

It is important to measure your drums properly before you purchase cases. It is also a good idea to talk to the company or venue about things like mounting hardware and snare strainers. Sometimes these items can determine the size of the case that is needed. The actual size and weight of a case is very important for the gigging drummer. Hard cases are going to be more bulky and heavy than soft bags.

We chose the following best drum cases for the superior level of protection they provide thanks to their durable construction whether hard or soft shell, their generous sizes which can comfortably accommodate most any setup. These picks are all the lightest options available which allows for easy transportation without compromising their level of protection.

SKB Hard Cases

SKB has been making cases for over thirty years for everything from drums to archery equipment. Their hard drum cases are very durable and offer the highest level of protection. While these cases are very sturdy all around, I find them particularly solid on the top and bottom. This is important because drums are usually stacked vertically on top of one another. When using my own SKB cases, I have no fear of their weight affecting the drums during vertical storage.

The hard cases are mostly indestructible and have a foam lining covered with fabric which effectively protects the foam from wear and tear. The cases have heavy-duty handles, well-made straps, and solid buckles. They also feature a molded design on top that keeps them secure when stacking them on top of other SKB cases. SKB cases are a bit more expensive than other cases, but they offer an unparalleled level of protection. Each case is also guaranteed with a lifetime manufacturer’s warranty, something which is pretty rare for the consumer to find these days.

Protection Racket Rigid Bass Drum Case

Protection Packet has a long time reputation for making high quality drum bags. While I’ve always been a big fan of their soft bags, they’ve improved on the soft bag concept with their AAA Rigid cases which are kind of a hybrid between a soft bag and a hard shell case. They offer the similar protective benefits of a hard case but are much lighter and easy to maneuver around. AAA Rigid cases eliminate a lot of the hassle of moving heavy hard cases from gig to gig but still provide a similar amount of protection. The cases handles, zippers, and interior padding are all of the highest quality and are very durable to provide years’ worth of solid protection. While the bags are guaranteed for a year, I would say it’s safe to trust them for much longer than that.

Gator GP Standard 100 Drum Cases

Gator’s Standard 5-piece bag set is perfect for the drummer on a budget. Quality bags for a small price tag, the Standard Set fits the usual sizes for a beginning drum set as well as offering a smaller “fusion” size. The bags are made of a durable nylon material and there’s a layer of protective padding inside to safeguard your drums. Even with the padding, the bags are collapsible when empty and can easily be tucked away somewhere out of the way during a gig.

The carry straps are fine for the smaller drums, but I recommend investing in rolling cart or dolly to wheel around the bass drum (something that I recommend doing for bass drums in general). One drawback is although the strap itself is quite durable, it can be awkward and uncomfortable to carry at times. Despite this issue, the Gator 5-piece set remains the best inexpensive set available because the it offers more padding and protection than other bags at this price point.

Rick Urban
Rick began playing drums at the age of 10. In 2003, He received Bachelor's Degrees in Percussion Performance and Music Composition from the DePaul University School of Music in Chicago. While at DePaul, Rick studied with Ted Atkatz (Principal Percussionist - Chicago Symphony Orchestra / Also founder of the band NYCO), Mike Green (Principal Percussionist - Lyric Opera of Chicago), Al Payson (Percussionist - Chicago Symphony Orchestra), Fred Selvaggio (Drumset and Marimba Artist) and Ed Harrison (Principal Timpani - Lyric Opera of Chicago) In 2005, Rick received a Master's Degree of Music from the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston where he studied with Will Hudgins (Percussionist - Boston Symphony Orchestra), and Fred Buda (Drummer - Boston Pops). While in graduate school, Rick performed with the Boston Philharmonic, including performances at Carnegie Hall and Symphony Hall in Boston.  

As a performer, Rick has performed with orchestras all over the world. He has also played drums for several groups in everything from rock bands to musical theater. He has worked with such world-renowned conductors as Bernard Haitink, Christoph Eschenbach, Valery Gergiev, and Michael Tilson Thomas. He has performed with the New World Symphony, the Grand Rapids Symphony, the National Reperatory Orchestra, and the Schlesvig Holstein Festival Orchestra in Germany. Rick is also the drummer for the band Standby Radio. In 2010 they recorded their first album entitled When Signals Cross, and they released Awake at Midnight in 2012.

In the summer of 2005, Rick moved to Chicago and became Music Director of the A.A. Stagg Percussion Ensemble. He also created and served as the resident conductor for the "Bad Vibes" new music ensemble. In the fall of 2005, rick became a percussionist with the West Michigan Symphony under the direction of Scott Speck. In 2009 He became the resident conductor of the Lincoln Park Percussion Ensemble. In 2011 they premiered his latest percussion ensemble work entitled Over 4. In the Fall of 2010, Rick enrolled in the "Music Composition for the Screen" program at Columbia College under the direction of Andy Hill and David McHugh. While studying with Mr. Hill and Mr. McHugh at Columbia, Rick also studied Film Composition with Gary Chang and Hummie Mann. He also studied conducting with Alan Tinkham.

In the Spring of 2012, Rick received his Master's of Music from Columbia College and moved to Los Angeles. Since moving to Southern California, Rick has played with the San Diego Symphony and the Santa Barbara Symphony. He is currently the Percussion Ensemble Director of the Open Academy of Los Angeles.
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