“That’s a nice shiny case you have there……”

“That’s a nice shiny case you have there……”

Hopefully, a "fun thread".

Not infrequently, I’ve had such comments from musos and punters alike.
For my sins, I usually carry my main instruments in "hard cases" which is a sensible idea if you are visiting busy pubs full of drunks, travelling by public transport and so on. As a result, I personally don’t think they look particularly new and they do have quite a few scuffs and scrapes which is fair enough. Nor were they the most expensive either. More than the average case but not exactly "top of the range" either.

However, it always puzzles me why people comment on the " shininess" of an instrument case. It can feel a little unsettling and I sometimes wonder if there is a negative aspect in the comment.
e.g.
as an euphemism for one or more of the following

"You are a bit of a poseur"
"Stop trying to kid on you are a professional musician"
"That’s a new case. You must just be a beginner.."
"Fancy cases have no place in traditional music"

and so on.
Of course, there might just be a very slim possibility that they like the look of the case. Any thoughts?
:-)

Re: “That’s a nice shiny case you have there……”

‘Fancy cases have no place in traditional music’!! Haha! Excellent!

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Heh heh, a fun thread indeed. Takes me back immediately to something my late father used to say: "Never show up on the first day of a new job with new tools." And he meant it. Apparently, when we arrived in Australia in 1950 (I was just 2), we arrived with just one trunk of personal belongings. Dad scored a job as a carpenter, building government homes for low income-earners, but the trunk didn’t contain many tools, so he had to go out and buy some before starting. But, according to his dictum, they mustn’t look new, so they spent the rest of the day being kicked around the streets to dirty them up!

And we subsequently scored the first home on the estate. Things were looking up!

And the trunk did contain an accordion. Genetically predisposed to Irish Music. I didn’t stand a chance….

Re: “That’s a nice shiny case you have there……”

Any case, however shiny needs to have a collection of stickers including: Stuttgart ‘88 Survivor, Willie Week 2012, "Cryan’s or Broke", an assortment of SSSS stickers and a collection of Tradfest yokes from each of the four provinces. Sort that and you’ll be grand. Throw in a couple of continental and USA celtic festival stickers and you are legendary before you even get your instrument out of the case.

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It’s interesting how Hollywood etc will wrongly depict musicians, not only how they play instruments but also other things about them.

There was in interview with an actor who had been signed on to play a musician and he made what I thought was an insightful comment: he said to prepare for the role he studied musicians’ body language both when playing and not, and (what I thought was most interesting) how musicians hold their instruments when they’re NOT playing. Being a Highland piper, and also working around jazz musicians for 30 years, I’ve noticed that Hollywood always gets that wrong.

Another thing is cases! At Disneyland (where I work) there’s a train platform that has prop luggage. On one cart there are four instrument cases. It’s supposed to look like a jazz band is travelling somewhere.

But the cases look all wrong! All four cases look new, yet each case has stickers on it supposedly showing the band’s travels. The thing that really sticks out as false-looking is that each case has the same number of stickers, and they’re evenly distributed in the same manner on all four cases.

One day there was somebody from Decorating there, and I said "those cases don’t look right. They’d never be that way."

"Why?"

"Anybody who’s been around musicians knows that each case would be different. One guy would have a pristine case with no stickers on it, another guy would have an old beat-up case held together with Duct Tape, another guy would have his case totally covered with stickers."

Every musician has a different personality, and their case reflects it.

Personally, I buy used cases, scuffed but sturdy, and put stickers on them.

Re: “That’s a nice shiny case you have there……”

> how Hollywood etc will wrongly depict musicians

It’s the orange juice thing, isn’t it. No-one in the real world puts orange juice in a jug on the table at breakfast time, but it’s a standard visual cliché indicating that you’re watching a breakfast scene.

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Re: “That’s a nice shiny case you have there……”

Having been a cheapskate for years, I have just invested in one of these for my fiddle https://www.thomann.de/gb/gewa_bio_violin_shaped_case_4_4_br.htm . Actually, it’s still very much at the cheap end of the market but a quality artefact - and a vast improvement on the slowly disintegrating styrofoam case I have been using up to now.

Re: “That’s a nice shiny case you have there……”

There’s the old joke about the best way of avoiding having your prized instrument stolen is to put it in a viola or banjo case.

And a friend bought a cheap instrument in a charity shop: told everyone it was a bassoon as it said Basson on the case. Turned out to be a trombone, much to everyone’s amusement.

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Oh No! Shakey Eggs and pristine cases! More things to worry about! I keep my case pristine and treat the surfaces with Armour-all on a regular basis. But I also iron my jeans.

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I use a nice case for my weapons. I just wanted something lightweight with backpack straps. It’s only a means of transport, although it is a handsome enough piece of luggage.

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>>>: "’Fancy cases have no place in traditional music’"

You should see my banjo case. The instrument was made in the 20’s, and judging by the appearance of the case, it’s probably that old too. You gotta have style with your case, just like mine is all tattered. New cases are fine though. This is actually true and NOT a banjo joke.

>>>: "Oh No! Shakey Eggs and pristine cases! More things to worry about!"

Have you heard about a banjo joke yet? I think that’s the number one thing that some prominent members of this community worry about (cough cough, Jeremy, cough cough)…

Re: “That’s a nice shiny case you have there……”

Mhh. I have a Harris tweed cover for my mandolin case. It was custom made. It covers up the holes, scrapes and stickers on the cardboard case.

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I have hard cases for each of my banjos, but I can’t remember the last time I took a hard case anywhere. When I’m traveling, the only time I have ever had an airline insist on putting the instrument in the hold was when it was in a hard case (it was fine, BTW). But I have probably flown 40-50 times with banjos in gig bags, and never once had them threaten to put it in the hold. The biggest worry with the soft cases and flying is to find space in the overheads, and making sure other people don’t shove oversize luggage in because they are too short to see the instrument case… And in sessions, it’s easy to just fold a gig bag up under your chair, instead of trying to find a place to stow a hard case.

So in my case, my gig bags show a lot of wear, dirt, grime, and probably some splashes of Guinness — perfect for blending in with the traditional music vibe! Every handful of years, I will replace the case, and then I can just feel the glares as I walk into a session… "Uh oh, here comes the newb…" ;-)

Re: “That’s a nice shiny case you have there……”

Naw, Rev, it’s "here comes the banjo……" :)

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Re: “That’s a nice shiny case you have there……”

Ha! true, dat! :-P

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Many years ago, I picked up an album by Matt Molloy and Sean Keane called Contentment Is Wealth (oddly, the tune of that name is not on the album). The cover photo showed the two of them with their instruments and cases. Matt’s flute case was fashioned from a briefcase, which I found extremely cool. So much so that I made one for my flute. I still have it, but my go-to flute these days rests happily in its original 1850s case, rehabilitated to a very fine look by yours truly.

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Re: “That’s a nice shiny case you have there……”

It isn’t just the shiny case that gets stares. Most trad fiddle players I know have gobs of rosin dust on their fiddle. A white dusty blanket of snow across the Kreisler Highway that suggests years of tunes and pints and musical debauchery. To see a pristine and clean fiddle in a session surely indicates either a newbie or some stray orchestral violinist looking for a cheap thrill does it not? (satire disclaimer)

Re: “That’s a nice shiny case you have there……”

Maybe it just means they like to be NEAT.

Re: “That’s a nice shiny case you have there……”

I bought a nice used 1997 Joe Foley mandolin from a member of a fairly well known band. The case was of the same age had a nice large piece of the covering missing along with the normal scuffs and scrapes and a dymo label saying "Dave - don’t leave the mandolin behind" (because he nearly did once). I enlarged the missing cover spot and filled it in with one of the stickers from the band. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Now I won’t use it because I don’t want to be confused with being a member of a band I lack the skill to play with.

Re: “That’s a nice shiny case you have there……”

Honestly, I think that you should never judge a musician by the case he carries around. Even if the musician is a noob, that doesn’t mean that we should immediately shame them. I think that new musicians are a good think, so long as they tune and don’t noodle. In my area, ITM lives in the shadow of Bluegrass and Old-Time. It’s gotten to the point where there are 3 regular musicians (including me) who still go to the local session (the nearest other ITM session is over the mountain!).

If they noodle or bring a shaky egg, don’t hold back though!

Re: “That’s a nice shiny case you have there……”

My experience has generally been that the crappier the case, the more interesting the instrument (potentially - but not always true). A couple of years ago a session acquaintance brought in a banjo case completely covered in electrical tape. It looked like a dead alligator that had been left out in the sun to rot. My only thought was that someone had gotten into some bad acid and shoplifted a case of tape and then wondered "what can we do with this"? Inside was a 1925 Paramount Style-C in playable condition - for those of you who like cars, kind of like walking into a barn and finding a 1953 Corvette that is covered in dirt but still runs. I immediately made an offer. It took about four hours with a heat gun to remove the tape and about 10 hours to fix everything on the banjo, but it plays great and I’m still using the case. Looks more like a pawn-shop item than a dead gator and that’s a plus.

Re: “That’s a nice shiny case you have there……”

A couple things that haven’t been touched on

1) Orchestral violinists and flutists usually have a style of case I rarely see in Trad circles- the case itself is sleek and plain and often lacks a handle, because it’s designed to go inside of a canvas case cover.

2) Uilleann pipers often (mostly?) use cases not designed for their instrument.

For 20 years I carried my uilleann pipes in an old beat-up electric guitar case I got for $15. I took out the "guts" and put in wood dividers covered with carpet that sort of matched the case lining fabric, so the case had separate sections for the pipes, the bellows, and accessories and whistles. The pipes (a full 3-reg set with straight bass bar) would fit in the case without being disassembled other than disconnecting the bellows, so I could show up, pull out the pipes, and play. People always thought I was a guitarist till I opened that case.

Finally that case fell apart and I bought an elegant shiny aluminium gun case. It also holds a fully assembled set, you just take off the bellows. That’s the advantage of gun cases, they come in a variety of different lengths so you can get a perfect fit for your pipes.

I’ve seen pipers use shaped guitar cases and banjo cases, ordinary suitcases, and practically everything other than actual uilleann pipe cases.

With my Highland pipes I (and many pipers) use Pelican cases, so popular with photographers and people who travel with expensive delicate electronics. You can throw a Pelican case off a building, or run over it with a truck, and the case isn’t harmed. (There are YouTube videos showing these things.) The cases are heavy but they have wheels and a telescoping handle. When a band is travelling you can toss your case in the bottom of the bus storage compartment and not worry about how much other stuff is tossed on top.

But in general Highland pipers use dedicated Highland pipe cases. There are loads of them on the market: alloy, cloth-and-foam, leather-covered wood, moulded plastic, backpack style, cases with wheels, etc. I do know Highland pipers who use suitcases or guitar cases but they’re in the minority.

Re: “That’s a nice shiny case you have there……”

Sounds like a organized crime shakedown…

"That’s a nice shiny case you have there…"

"It’d be a shame if it got accidentally dropped off the roof…"

Re: “That’s a nice shiny case you have there……”

"That’s a nice shiny case you have there…"

"It’d be a shame if it got accidentally dropped off the roof…"

He says. Holding a violin case that doesn’t have a violin in it.

Re: “That’s a nice shiny case you have there……”

As for all those "show off where I’ve been" stickers, a lot of cases now don’t have the right surface for stickers to stick on to! My first guitar case did have and is covered with them, but it was the wrong shape for my next guitar, which has a sort of corrugated surface, so stickers don’t stick. And although my box came in a hard case, it is so much easier to carry round in a back-pack-type case - which is fabric on the outside, so… no stickers, Same for my bodhran case - also fabric. It is possible to stitch on fabric badges, and I have: thanks to that old curved surgical needle saved from my NHS days!

Re: “That’s a nice shiny case you have there……”

You know, trish, all these years ive been lamenting an inability to stick stickers to my fabric wrapped case. Never thought about the stitch on fabric ones! Ah good idea indeed. Every case needs one or two anyway

Re: “That’s a nice shiny case you have there……”

My fiberglass mandolin case is festooned with stickers to distract from the obvious expense of the thing, but pity us flute players (doubling on mandolin) who can’t decorate whatever we use for flute transport.

I have a nice custom "French" style case for my Irish flute, but it’s very small as instrument cases go, no room for stickers, and carried inside a backpack or shoulder bag. Not much opportunity for personal expression or street cred there. I guess I could try beating up the leather covering on the case a bit. Maybe bury it in the yard for a few days.

Re: “That’s a nice shiny case you have there……”

My case was old and looked really cool. The faux alligator skin paper coating was weathered in a way that very was pleasing in color, but left brown dust on everything it touched. So I coated it with wood hardener that I got from the hardware store. This stopped the brown dust problem but turned the paper into a shiny, brittle coating and took away all the pleasing appearance that it had. Now it chips off little by little. Oh well. Who cares about the case? I would get a nice new shiny case but man, violin cases cost a fortune. What is up with that?

Re: “That’s a nice shiny case you have there……”

Finding good flute cases is quite hard. The best are usually repurposed Boehm flute cases or custom made (and therefore expensive). Many use plastic pistol cases - practical, but ugly.

So, in flute circles, admiration of the case may well be genuine…

("Here’s one I made earlier…"
https://photos.app.goo.gl/qnDaBoitojf6VpTK9
I have since lined it with red velvet and padding instead of the dishtowel. The hardest part was sourcing the little clasps, which I still haven’t fitted. And the signature. The flute is an F.)

Re: “That’s a nice shiny case you have there……”

Ive never had an issue with stickers not sticking to my fabric coated fiddle case. It is a hard case though, so i wonder if the lack of bending and flexing helps keep the stickers on

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Re: “That’s a nice shiny case you have there……”

I guess if someone walks in with one of those fold-over egg boxes, you know what’s in there (or worse, there could be a half dozen of the things)!

Re: “That’s a nice shiny case you have there……”

Shaky Eggs Half Set
This magnificent collection of fully diatonic, professional-quality shaky eggs includes all the common keys played in top sessions. Cross-keying puts most modes within easy reach.

https://tinyurl.com/y6fbm3ez

Re: “That’s a nice shiny case you have there……”

@joe fidkid that’s wonderful! I must go out right now and not buy them!

Re: “That’s a nice shiny case you have there……”

Crackpot: luckily the flute I played for years came with its original case. The flute was a c1830 Rudall & Rose, and flute and case were both in good shape.

When I switched to a c1860 Pratten-style flute (by Koehler, London) I bought an inexpensive Boehm case, very sturdy plastic, with fabric-covered foam lining. It was easy to crush the lining to fit the shape of the old 8-key flute.

Trish: Wherever I travel I’m on the lookout for the small embroidered badges that people sew on their rucksacks. These get sewn onto my cloth GHB gig-bag, which is now covered with the things.

Re: “That’s a nice shiny case you have there……”

>>>Sounds like a organized crime shakedown…

"That’s a nice shiny case you have there…"

"It’d be a shame if it got accidentally dropped off the roof…"

Says this while holding a banjo case with a fiddle inside of it!

Re: “That’s a nice shiny case you have there……”

When you’ve sunk hundreds to thousands of dollers/pounds into an instrument, a good case is a must, especially if it’s a working instrument. Cases wear out. They get beat up, hinges, latches and handles break. Most of the mid level cases are made ftom pressed wood. Moisten it enough with a spilled pint or two (alcohol abuse I know), and their integrity begins to deteriorate. Fibreglass and Polymer cases wear out as well, but usually at a slower rate than the cheapos. My guitars, being high end instruments, are all kept in higher end cases. Some came with the instruments, and some were aftermarket purchases. I recently replaced the case on my wife’s main violin, as the last of 3 latches finally broke and you shouldn’t depend on a bit of twine to keep the thing together. Generally, latches, hinges and handles can be replaced, but when the material you’re riveting the new latch too isn’t 100%, you’re just risking too much.
BTW, my wife hates the new case, because it lacks "character."
My advice is to put some bumper stickers or event/showbill stickers on the new case. People are less likely to make inane and gratuitous comments on the shinyness of it.

Re: “That’s a nice shiny case you have there……”

Pub Security: "Is that a bomb in your case" "yes" "Thank goodness I thought it might be a Bodhran "

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Bomb?
While I realise this is accepted as a joke on this site I do not think it is funny for all members.

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Re: “That’s a nice shiny case you have there……”

Bad taste I grant you although it is not an ….ist or an …..isum But then not a lot different from "whats in that violin case" ho ho The absurdity of the joke is It’s humor I am sorry if I offended any Bodhran players But then they do have a thick skin

Re: “That’s a nice shiny case you have there……”

Well….. I thought it was funny. :) :)

Re: “That’s a nice shiny case you have there……”

I did imply members regularly post gallows humour. It is embedded in the site.
The point is some will not laugh about… ‘a < :-) :-) > in your case?’
Ben

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Re: “That’s a nice shiny case you have there……”

As they say, just think about it for even 5 seconds………just back from a wonderful trip round N Ireland: now there are, thankfully, plenty of sculptures, bridges, walls, European Union funded projects commemorating peace, but also many reminders still of how things were 50 years ago - and before and after.
As for that being a bodhran joke, it’s tired, old, should be put back in its shiny fabric case.
(And yes, I DO have a sense of humour, tho’ it has been sorely tried by the above.)

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Not funny.
Atrocious and dangerously ignorant.

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Now that strikes me as something of an over-reaction.

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50 years ago 100 years ago 200 years ago Have you listened to some of the lyrics of Irish TM " A couple off sticks of gell-ig a nite and an old alarm clock". (Atrocious and dangerously ignorant.)For!@@#$$ sake don’t hold your self’s up as paragons of virtue. Maybe we should have a session on some of those lyrics. Written with hate not humour
GAL

Re: “That’s a nice shiny case you have there……”

Sorry to see the turn that my "fun thread" has taken.

On a lighter note, I visited a an open air stage at the weekend when a certain forum member announced from the stage "That’s a nice shiny case"…..

Very funny but I wasn’t sure where to look.
:-)
I think only the two of us got the joke.

Re: “That’s a nice shiny case you have there……”

Like rev with his banjo, I carry my mandolin around in a gig bag because of :
weight
and
flights.

Every airline, including budgets, except Ryanair , has accepted my gig bag for cabin baggage but putting it in a hard case would seriously reduce my odds of getting it in the cabin with me.

I was thinking of going to the sailmaker up the road to see if he could make a sturdy combo mandolin/laptop bag with space for socks and undies that would fit in the airlines’ luggage frame, even if diagonally.

John, I was thinking they’re having an oblique shot at your instrument by complimenting the case.
Some compliments are so backhanded I have trouble thinking through the double-bluff with reverse psychology twist.
Best to just take them at face value.

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Re: “That’s a nice shiny case you have there……”

I rarely use hard cases due to weight and size considerations preferring to guard my instruments avidly in their soft cases !!

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Johnny Jay, Melody Player…… I am saddened that this fun thread turned a bit sour.No matter how many slings and arrows are directed at me I will still not change my mind about Bohdrans
I hereby rest my case