Ukulele cases. Often something that players will skimp on, but something I always recommend. Sure, if your uke cost you $30 you may feel happy with a cloth gig bag, but I look at it this way. If the uke is something that would hurt you in the pocket if you damaged it, then GET A CASE! Thinking of cases reminded me of one I had bought, intended to review, but never got around to it. The TGI Brand ABS case.
I've got a whole range of cases and many ukuleles exist quite happily in the zippered pod cases that have become so popular. They are fine, but I don't find the zips last. Still, they still work as storage protection at home as despite what anyone tells you, the safest place to keep your instrument is in a hard (ish) case. The TGI though cost a bit more and came with recommendations as being a 'good one'. I was on the lookout for such a case for my higher end instruments and pulled the trigger on the tenor version (they come in other sizes too) for a shade over £50. Thats not super high end for a ukulele case but more than I suspect many people spend.
Firstly the TGI is made of ABS which I much prefer to plywood as many hard cases are. An ABS plastic case should first deform before it splits so in other words, where a plywood case will split and become useless, theoretically this should be more robust.
The whole case is finished in a kind of carbon fibre look (its not carbon fibre) but a look over it shows it is extremely well put together. In use this fits a variety of my tenors snugly but securely and they slide in to the deep plush lining with confidence.
In terms of protection, I would not stand on this - but then this is not what I expected - you really should only be doing that with very high end cases from the likes of Calton (and spending many times this price) but it is supremly durable. I can say that as I have been using this case on gigs and the like for well over a year now and all is in order despite being dropped and thrown in and out of car trunks on more occasions than I can remember. There is some 'give' in the outer shell which did concern me a little but it doesnt seem to translate through to the uke inside. In short - this is a case for knocks and drops, but not one for crushing or being run over. Remember that!
The other plus with this case above others I have used, tested or seen fall apart are the number of an quality of the catches. In my experience, these are one of the first things to go with cheaper models, but these are seriously constructed and still hold tightly and firmly.
The handle has also stood up well which surprises me because the rivets holding them on look far from solid compared to the catches. Still, they havent failed in a year of use so maybe I am being over worried. Also riveted to the outside are a couple of eyelets for attaching a strap which is a nice touch though I have not used them.
Inside as I say is a plush affair that holds the instrument far snugger than any pod case I have used. The neck support is superb, and that is also added to with an extra padded strip down the inside of the lid which presses onto the neck and instrument strings. It really does cosset the uke!
With hard cases like this you do of course sacrifice the outer pockets for songbooks and the like, but this does have a small inner hatch which happily takes batteries and a strap as mine does. The upside of course is hard cases take stickers far better, and I love stickers!
Finally, it is, of course lockable. Probably not the most secure lock in the world and I suspect I could pick it, but its better than many I've seen on plywood models.
In short I would recommend this highly as a good intermediate case for higher end instruments. I suspect if my tenor uke cost $3000 or more I may well be investing in something more substantial to protect my investment, but for the more normal 'high end' instruments, this is quite a step up from the pod and plywood cases and worth your time. This one has been well road tested and has not failed in any way yet.
The TGI Abs cases are available from a range of uke stores including Southern Ukulele Store (where this came from).