2. Basic Questions
In order to save time and maybe even avoid wasting planning efforts, you should consider a few things in advance:
What do I want to transport?
What matters here is whether or not your instrument or device can be packed into one of the existing standard racks or cases. If you are the proud owner of a rare or even unique piece which does not fit into a stantard case, you will have to have one made. Don't worry, this will turn out less expensive than you may think!
How will I transport it?
Do you have a roomy van or is your transport of choice an estate with permanently mounted infant seats and bits and pieces rolling about the trunk? No question, if you want to save space this affects your choice of rack or case. By putting equipment into a rack you can save quite a bit of individual packing. Of course you need enough space for the rack. What good is the huge 20-unit rack (1 unit = 44.5cm) if it takes more than 2 people to drag it around? In this case it would probably make more sense to distribute the contents into two or more separate racks.
How often am I on the road?
If you only take your gear on the road once or twice a year, you can probably do without special equipment. But if you tour regularly and frequently (say, 30 or more gigs annually), you will be glad to have some extra-sturdy luggage with you! You will find more information on this in the equipment chapter.
Who handles my case?
Have you ever watched grumpy roadies at work at 2 o'clock in the morning? No? Pity, if you had you probably would never let them load or unload your equipment again!
So: If you don't carry your valuables yourself, you are well advised to spend a little extra on your rack or case material and equipment. Otherwise you run the risk of making a bad investment. After all, it's not as though your case was just like any old piece of luggage; rather, it is the ideal way to protect your equipment and to ensure that you enjoy its use for as long as possible.
Talking of lugage:
I, too, used to negligently put my bass amp in all kinds of mortal danger. Then one day I was lucky enough to get my hands on a really excellent used Gallien-Krüger bass headpiece. With that purchase, I got the ideal transport solution for free: an original 1950s leather travel case with special padding (made from pub stool cushions) – an ideal case if ever there was any. Expected lifetime: until the handle finally wears out ;-(
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