Encore A&S Case Co.
PROUDLY HAND CRAFTED IN LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA
If you've been in the market for a flight case to protect your critical equipment while you're traveling or on tour, then you've probably seen the gamut of cases available. If that's true, you've probably also seen that the prices range by a considerable margin. You might have asked yourself why the prices vary by so much - especially considering that the cases might look nearly identical to the untrained eye. We'll go into some of the pros and cons of different qualities of cases, as well as key indicators that you're looking at a case that's been imported from China or another mass-produced facility.
First, you should ask yourself what you'll be doing with your shiny new case. Will you be traveling? Will it be flown on a plane, shipped across the country, or used more than 1-2 times a month? If so, purchasing a cheap case purely based on the price would be like setting your hard-earned money ablaze.
If you're a weekend DJ/musician/photographer or someone that doesn't plan to store expensive gear in your new flight case, the imported cases are a viable option. The pricing is better than any quality case on the market, and it is a hard deal to pass on. Just keep in mind that any quality product isn't cheap, and the money you'll save now will result in diminished quality - potentially resulting in expensive repairs (which can't be done in some cases) or a new higher quality case in the long run.
Inexpensive cases are inexpensive for a reason. Every corner that can be cut, will be. That much is a guarantee. Nobody decides to sell their Porsche or their mansion in the hills for anything less than what it is worth. The same applies to manufactured goods. The manufacturing facilities are out to make money, and at the prices they're selling their cases for, they still need to make a profit. In an industry where margins are already small, it's almost frightening to think about how much money they're really spending to manufacture a case.
Here are a couple of ways to easily spot an imported case:
If you are a professional and use expensive equipment, there's really only one option, and that is a quality case. The peace of mind in knowing that your equipment will show up to the gig safely and securely is priceless - especially when you realize that Encore A&S cases are built to last a lifetime, and you probably won't need to do a thing other than a small repair or adjustment after years of use. You won't have to frantically look for another case to replace your broken one in the middle of your travels - you'll be able to focus on the task at hand and let your case do the job it was designed for.
If you have any questions regarding the differences between imported vs American cases, or if you would like to inquire about our products, please give us a call at 818.768.8803, send us an email at [email protected], or live chat with a Product Specialist on our website.
One of the challenges faced when traveling with equipment is how to properly protect it from various hazards. Possible threats to the integrity of expensive electronic hardware include physical shock from drops or bumps, electrostatic discharge and theft. However, one danger posed for your equipment that you may not have considered is overheating. However, it can be challenging to prevent overheating when equipment is constantly being unpacked, racked and packed again. Below are some ways that you can protect your gear from overheating while out on the road:
Use racks that are the right fit
One of the best things you can do for your equipment is to purchase racks that are appropriately-sized for the individual pieces of gear. Attempting to “shoehorn” gear into racks that aren’t the right fit can lead to heat buildup and shortened equipment lifespans. Keep in mind that the fit between a piece of equipment and its rack is more than just about the actual lengths and widths involved. It also includes factors such as orientation and depth, too.
For example, if you can’t fit an amplifier into a rack horizontally, but it can comfortably rest in a vertical orientation, you may feel fine with the solution. However, the truth is that most gear is designed to rest in one orientation in order to maximize the cooling of the unit. Locate ventilation holes on your equipment and make sure that your racks allow for equipment to be properly mounted in order to discharge excess heat.
Keep equipment clean
An oversight that is easy to commit is allowing traveling equipment to become dirty. Since road gear is rarely cleaned with any regularity, and it is also exposed to a lot of potentially dirty environments, it can become filthy and dusty. While the cosmetic considerations may matter little, the potential for overheating increases as the dirt load also rises.
Dust, dirt and other accumulated debris can block cooling vents, settle on fan blades and even serve as an insulating “blanket” on the exterior of equipment cabinets. All of these things lead to potentially-destructive overheating of equipment.
Fortunately, it’s not hard to prevent this problem by following a couple of sound practices:
Use fully-protective cases that enshroud equipment when not in use or in route to a destination. Don’t leave equipment exposed needlessly to the elements during periods of setup.
Bring along a small shop vacuum and dusting brush to use periodically during down times. The nozzle of the shop vacuum can be pressed against cabinet vents and will remove lots of accumulated dust and fine debris.
Make room for cooling fans
Another way to keep your gear cooler is by using fans placed in strategic spots inside racks or other confined spaces. The fans don’t need to be large, and you can cool down the ambient air with even small USB-powered fans that move hot air out of the case. In some circumstances, battery powered fans may be of use, but just be sure to keep fresh batteries available.
If you have a particularly hot piece of equipment, you may want to consider investing in a permanently-installed fan inside the interior of the case cabinet. It is wise to consult with a qualified technician regarding installation options and costs before attempting to perform such an installation yourself.
Allow for a cooling-off period after use
When the show is over, eager roadies may hurry to get gear back into cases and button-down portable racks, but such haste can lead to heat-related damage. Immediately turning off equipment and not allowing it to cool down can be a mistake, especially if gear contains integral cooling fans that are also shut down when the plug is pulled.
As such, always give your gear plenty of time to air out and cool down after use. Don’t pack the case while still hot and allow cooling fans to do their job. If necessary, use a portable infrared thermometer to monitor temperatures; these devices are inexpensive and can instantly tell you when gear has cooled down sufficiently.
For more information about rack cases and other equipment to help you protect your gear, contact a Contact an Encore Product Specialist today for customized case solutions to all of your rack case needs.
We’ve all heard the sad news that Prince has passed away, and like you, I remember exactly where I was when I first heard the heartbreaking report. The news media and supermarket tabloids continue to revel in every new wrinkle in the story of this member of rock royalty’s life and death. But we’re focusing on a photograph of a legendary musical instrument that was crafted exclusively for the “Purple Rain” artist: the last guitar Prince ever purchased.
It came from Schecter Guitar Research, http://www.schecterguitars.com a company that created several guitars for Prince, including the gold Symbol and white Cloud (which Schecter reproduced in limited numbers to be sold at Prince’s “Hit & Run” tour dates in 2014 and 2015). Schecter has been hand crafting guitars and basses for musicians from 150 companies since 1979, producing only 40 custom guitars a While Prince’s last guitar is a work of art, what’s most significant to us about the photo is that it also shows the case this beautiful guitar was delivered in: an Encore Case.
That says two things about Prince: he demands the best in his guitars, and in his cases. And Prince had one thing to say to us about this delivery:
“Thank you. You’ve exceeded my expectations again.”
This is what we here at Encore Cases strive for with every customer we build for, whether that’s a musical genius like Prince, or a garage band guitarist about to take his (or her) first honky-tonk tour. We know what touring with our cases does for whoever takes them on the road: it provides a sense of security, knowing that whatever goes into one of our cases will arrive on the other end in the same shape it was when it was packed. Having done that for customer after customer, since 1976, gives us a sense of pride that we think shows through in the quality of our craftsmanship.
What does it take to build guitars for Prince? Well, Schecter has built quite a few, but we also discovered another builder who’s had a pretty good track record with the singer who encouraged us all to party like it was 1999. Andy Beech is known to his clients and peers as a “master luthier” (meaning someone who makes stringed instruments), and he’s been crafting guitars in his own workshop in Bellingham, Washington, since the 1980’s. It doesn’t take long before such a top-notch talent comes to the attention of rock gods like Prince. Andy has had the honor of creating over 30 guitars for the master musician from Minneapolis. One of those guitars Andy built by hand is known as “The Cloud,” and it currently resides in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
We haven’t heard of a title like “master luthier” that applies to great case builders.
But if there was one, we know our craftspeople would qualify. They take the same pride and care in building the cases that protect some of the world’s most valuable musical instruments as the craftspeople who made the instruments themselves.
That’s why, if you want a case that’s fit for a Prince, you should ask for an Encore. Encore Cases offer the highest quality of materials and true world-class craftsmanship in every product we construct.
RIP, Prince. Thank you for the music.
How You Can Avoid Them
Several years ago, a well-known musician stopped by our facility to pick up a brand new case for his Fender amp. He brought the amp inside, and it fit perfectly in its made-to-measure case. After posing for a picture with me, the musician took his new amp case out to his hatchback and loaded it in the back.
Things were fine until he got on the freeway and accelerated to full speed. Then, the case suddenly slid backward and the metal reinforced corners shattered the rear window with a crash. But at least his amp was still in great shape!
That got us started thinking about all the dos and don’ts we’ve learned in our more than 30 years of working with our products. After all, you buy our cases to protect your prized possessions. And you want to get the most out of what’s protecting your stuff. Here’s how to do that.
Cushion your case with a shipping blanket if you’re loading it in a hatchback, van or station wagon. When you take off, the case may slide backwards and blow out your window.
Change out the foam lining in your cases every ten years or so. Soft foam is a petroleum-based product and it breaks down over time. After a while, the petroleum will melt into whatever is inside, either destroying the contents or making a mess that you’ll have to clean up with acetone.
Strap down your case in the back of a truck, even if it’s big and heavy. When traveling fast, wind can actually flow under the case, lifting it out of the truck bed. And you don’t want to be retrieving your case from the fast lane of the freeway.
Explain your shipping needs when ordering your cases. Knowing how you travel and how you handle your equipment is vital to the construction of your cases. Feel free to ask a lot of questions.
Include a solid one-piece caster board on the bottom of your case. If you have casters installed, this board will prevent the wheels from being torn off. You can always purchase removable caster plates as an option.
Make sure your case supplier is using a quality spray adhesive to glue your foam in place. “Peel and stick” foam is a cheaper product and won’t last as long.
Look for rivets placed every 2½ to 3 inches apart. This is one sign of a well-made case, and inferior case manufacturers will skimp on this.
Examine the material that will be used to cover your cases. Poor quality cases often use a cheap black vinyl that tears easily, exposing the wood to the elements.
Use your cases as a ladder or step. Our cases are built of heavy-duty materials and they can withstand the sheer weight. But their coverings (fiberglass, laminate, vinyl) can be slippery—especially when wet—and you could easily slip and fall.
Specify hard foam to line your case if you have delicate props and don’t want them to get scratched. Hard foam is actually abrasive and can scratch many surfaces. If you need hard foam for some reason, ask your case maker to line the foam with velvet or felt. It will only cost a little more. And it’s OK to request a mix of hard and soft foam. Remember, the case is being custom made for you.
Ever buy a case made of anything less than ¼” plywood. Imported, cheaper cases are frequently made of thinner material or inferior plywood. Your cases just won’t stand up to the wear and tear of shipping and moving, ultimately damaging the contents of the case.
Expect an inexpensive imported case to be made well. These cases may work fine for DJs who typically handle their own gear when performing at local gigs. But based on my experience, my advice is to never put a case like that on a plane or give it to a shipping company. It will come back in pieces.
Assume a low priced case will be equal in quality to a higher priced case. Most established, quality case companies operate within a ten to fifteen percent price range of one another. If a company’s prices are considerably less, there’s a reason why.
Be fooled by case makers advertising “birch plywood” cases on the Internet. Like so many other things you find on the Web, these products are knock-offs, sold as legitimate name brands. I’ve seen the material they use. It’s an imported product made of poor quality ply with a paper-thin exterior layer of birch that easily separates from the laminate. I’ve also seen cases made of this material do the same.
Presume all case companies are created equal. As in any industry, there are good and bad operators out there. Asking questions and doing a little research will help you make a decision about which company you should turn to and why.
Since 1976, Encore A&S Cases has been making all kinds of cases for all kinds of artists: musicians, acting companies, dance troupes, magicians, circuses, and dozens of other specialties. If you’re looking for world-class craftsmanship and the highest quality materials, turn to us. We’ve become one of the world’s preeminent case suppliers because our cases are built to take the rigors of the road and keep their contents good as new. Call us at 818-768-8803 or email [email protected]
Vintage Encore A&S Cases for Santana
You’ve purchased an Encore A&S Case for your instrument, and you’re ready to take your show on the road. There are a few things every musician needs to know before you step on that plane, so you can be sure your instrument gets the treatment it deserves.
1) I’ll Take That To Go, Please
Before you get to the airport, make sure your instrument is carefully and correctly packed. Don’t leave any loose pieces or parts in the case that might damage the instrument during all the handling it will receive throughout your travels. Loosen the strings on all stringed instruments.
If your airline offers it, pay extra for priority boarding. This gives you a better chance of finding storage space for your instrument, before the overhead bins or first class coat closet are filled with other passengers’ stuff.
Another tip before you go: If you’re going to be lugging your instrument from gig to gig once you get there, consider packing a light weight cloth bag to make that a little easier on your back.
2) Know The Rules
Don’t get to the top of the jetway and start arguing with the flight attendant about wanting your instrument to fly in the same cabin as you. With a little advance planning, there won’t have to be an argument.
It’s going to cost you extra to have your instrument in the cabin. Check your airline’s rules for oversize baggage to determine the price. There are size restrictions, too. Most US airlines specify a linear size for all carry-ons, meaning the total of length plus width plus height. If your instrument’s case is larger than this, you’ll run into extra fees. For larger instruments, you may even have to purchase a second seat. Check your airline’s policies here:
Your friendly flight attendant may not be aware of the rules about traveling with instruments, so it’s a good idea to go to the American Federation of Musicians site and print them out. The FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 mandated that:
1) Airlines must permit passengers “to carry a violin, guitar, or other musical instrument in the aircraft cabin, without charging the passenger a fee in addition to any standard fee that carrier may require for comparable carry-on baggage” if the instrument can be safely stowed in overhead bins and if there is room at the time the passenger boards.
2) For instruments that don’t fit in overhead bins (such as cellos), airlines must allow passengers to carry the instrument on board with the purchase of an extra ticket.
3) For larger instruments (still within applicable weight and size requirements), airlines must transport the instruments as checked baggage.
The TSA website adds, “TSA permits and encourages passengers to be present when their instruments are being screened. For this reason, please add at least 30 minutes to the airlines’ recommended arrival window when travelling with instruments.”
An extra tip: In addition to these FAA rules, carry a copy of the rules on size and weight from your airline’s website. They may come in handy when you’re dealing with a friendly, but uninformed, gate agent.
3) Avoid A Hunting Expedition
Your instrument probably requires certain things that break or wear out often (strings, sticks, picks, etc.). When you’re in a different city, or even a different country, you don’t want to be wasting your time searching everywhere for that special brand of strings you just “can’t live without.”
So make it easy on yourself and bring a supply of extras, so you won’t be spending your time off hitting every music store in a 50-mile radius.
One more tip: It’s not just strings and sticks and picks that can screw up your performance. If you’ve got room, bring your own cables, effects pedals and adaptors. They can also save a gig at the last minute.
4) Assume The Worst, Hope For The Best
You are the expert on your instrument. You certainly can’t count on the TSA people or airline employees to understand what a reed knife, capo or electronic tuner is. Things like these that could stir up suspicion should be packed in your checked baggage to avoid slowing down your boarding process.
Be calm and friendly with airport personnel. I know a musician who always travels with a nice box of chocolates for the attendants on his flights. He claims it frequently greases the wheels of progress, and he’s even gotten bumped up to first class on occasion!
Another helpful hint: carry a fabric measuring tape so you can prove to authorities at any moment that your instrument case is in compliance with regulations.
5) Houston, We Have A Problem
There may be situations when a musical instrument can’t travel in the cabin and must be checked. So what should you do if you arrive at your destination, open your instrument’s case and discover damage?
Airlines are responsible for damaged or lost instruments, if the owner can prove it was delivered to the airline in good condition. You don’t have to prove whether it was the airline or TSA (or someone else) who did the damage, only that the damage was done when the instrument was in the airline’s hands.
It’s a good idea to take photos of your instrument before turning it over to the airline or TSA. Then, if you open the case on arrival and discover damage, go directly to the baggage office and ask to file a claim. Carefully record the damage with your cell phone’s camera and don’t leave without completing a formal, written claim form.
Bonus tip: You may also want to file a claim with TSA if there’s a note inside your case that says they inspected it while it was traveling.
Since 1976, Encore A&S Cases has been protecting the valuable instruments of many of the top names in all branches of music. If you’re looking for world-class craftsmanship and the highest quality materials, turn to us. We’ve become one of the world’s preeminent case suppliers because our cases are built to take the rigors of the road and keep their contents good as new. Call us at 818-768-8803 or email [email protected]
Now that you have safely packed your delicate product in your Encore A&S Case, here are a few tips for ensuring successful boarding:
Remember to be polite and always keep your cool when dealing with airport staff, as they tend to feel more inclined to accommodate someone who's treating them with respect. A good TIP, bring a box of chocolate and give it to the flight attendants this nice gesture will reward you benefits possibly even upgrade to first class ;)
Since many gate agents and flight attendants may be unaware of the official policy regarding musical instruments, it's important that you have a copy of the official rules printed and ready.
It's advised that you pay extra for priority boarding so that you can make sure to find a space for your instrument before the overhead luggage racks fill up.
Some planes may have an additional closet on board for extra storage. This varies depending on the size of the aircraft, but there's certainly no harm in asking a flight attendant if your instrument can be stowed there for the duration of the flight.
The recent US Department of Transportation ruling is a huge step in making travel a lot easier for musicians. Supplementing these rules with a few extra precautions means that you can now confidently and comfortably take your music abroad without having to worry about the safety of your instrument.
On a slightly overcast April day in London back in 1963, Ringo Starr and the Beatles’ manager, Brian Epstein, visited Drum City Ltd, so Ringo could find a new drum kit. His previous set, a British-made Premier mahogany Duroplastic four-piece kit, was showing its age.
What happened next depends on who you ask, since many versions of the story have been shared through the years.
What Starr says is that he saw a Ludwig Oyster Black Pearl drum kit in the store’s window and immediately fell in love. He and Brian met with the store’s manager, Gerry Evans, to talk about what Drum City could offer. Other kits were discussed, but Ringo remained true to his first love: the American-made Ludwig Downbeat kit he’d seen in the window.
In order to close the deal, Brian wanted to meet with the store’s owner, Ivan Arbiter. Epstein wanted the band’s name to appear on the front of the bass drum and Arbiter made a quick sketch of how he thought the band’s name should look, emphasizing the “Beat” in “Beatles.”
What few people know is the now-famous Beatles “Drop T” logo (that’s as recognizable as Coca-Cola’s or McDonalds’) wasn’t created by some high-powered advertising agency or record label. It came from the creative mind of a London music shop owner.
The Downbeat drum kit included a 12” tom tom, 14” floor tom and 20” bass drum. This new Ludwig kit was first used on May 12, 1963. Gerry Evans (of Drum City) personally delivered them to the studios of the British TV show, “Thank Your Lucky Stars,” where the Beatles were to appear later that evening.
This set of Ludwig drums was heard in over 160 songs on 28 BBC radio broadcasts. It went on to be seen in almost 20 TV appearances. It was also used extensively on the first and second British albums including “She Loves You” and “I Want To Hold Your Hand.” In 1963 and early 1964, the Ludwig set crisscrossed the UK, throughout England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, then on to Sweden and France.
A little more than fifty years since Ringo entered that London music store (April of 2014), we here at Encore A&S Cases got a call from Ringo Starr’s organization. His representatives wanted to know if we could build five sets of high-quality road cases for the now legendary drum kits Ringo performed with as a member of the Beatles.
Over a two-year period from 2013 to 2014, Gary Astridge (the Beatles’ drum historian), Jeff Chonis (Ringo’s long-time drum tech) and Scott Richie (personal assistant to Ringo and Barbara) had been organizing and documenting all the Beatles gear Ringo had in his possession. With Starr’s blessing, a plan was created to make all five Beatles era drum kits complete, with historically correct hardware and cymbals.
Musicians won’t be surprised to learn that the men found some hardware pieces from the kits had been misplaced, replaced or lost over the years. Ringo provided funds to purchase period correct hardware and cymbals (including original vintage Ludwig T-Rods and Claws) so that each kit would be complete and authentic, perfectly matching what Starr bought on that auspicious day in 1963.
Ringo and his staff agreed that each drum kit should be ready to exhibit, as well as ready to play, should Ringo ever desire to do so. Important to this plan’s success was that each kit would also be protected in its own custom Encore A&S road case. The cases would be used to store and ship these drum kits, many of them not seen or played since the Beatles era.
Some of the drums were to be sold by Julien’s, the famous auction house in Beverly Hills, California. They would then have to be shipped to the lucky highest bidder. Our road cases would assure the drum kit got to its new owner in pristine condition.
Our sales professional, Jim Turner, took the lead with the order and specified purple fiberglass over ½” birch plywood, with ½” dividers lined with an inch of hard foam. Each custom case had four heavy-duty casters, with recessed handles and latches.
Julien’s held its auction for Ringo’s historic first Ludwig kit on December 4, 2015. The owner of the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts, Jim Irsay, purchased it for 2.1 million dollars. This sale set a world record for the most money ever paid for a road case—and a set of drums. We always knew our cases were worth their weight in gold. And in this situation, we have proof!
When the time came for preserving pieces of music history, the professionals turned to us. Whether you’re looking to preserve your own history, or just want to take your Stratocaster on the road and keep it looking fine, turn to Encore A&S. In business since 1976, we’ve become one of the world’s preeminent case suppliers because our cases are built to take the rigors of the road and keep their contents good as new. Call us at 818-768-8803 or email [email protected]
The Stone Temple Pilots came to Gary Peterson when they were preparing for an upcoming tour. Gary and the team at Encore went above and beyond to make them exactly what they needed with a very short turnaround time, and the band was so impressed that they even mention Encore in their “Core” album liner notes. Thanks guys!
Green Day had Encore Cases make all custom green cases for their instruments and band gear. When coming in to pick up their new Encore cases, one member of the group fell in love with them so much that he had Encore construct him an entire bedroom furniture set made of the same green case material. Headboard, dresser, nightstand – the whole shebang – all made with the unmistakable quality and style of Encore. At Encore, if you can dream it, we can build it.
Before she had production companies to handle all of her equipment for her, Lady Gaga personally purchased her cases directly from Gary Peterson at Encore. While her taste in fashion may make some people scratch their heads, her choice of case manufacturers was right on target.
Even in her early days, Lady Gaga was a personality all her own, and Gary still remembers her telling him that she was also a stripper. Of course she was joking, but it sure caught Gary's attention!