"I got a pan for Christmas a
couple of years ago and I’ve used it mostly at home until recently when I’ve
started to take it to school and entered a couple of music festivals as a
soloist. I’ve noticed thatit goes out
of tune quite quickly now even though I protect it with blankets when
travelling. Will a case help? If so what sort?" - TR, Northumberland
In a word, yes. A case is
definitely essential protection, especially for a tenor where the belly is so
vulnerable. As to which sort, it’s partly a matter of choice, cost, and weight.
The more common type of case until a few years ago was the fibreboard type made
by companies such as LeBlond. They are still available at around £50-60 new for
tenors, up to £120 for larger sizes. They will do the job but the pan can still
be damaged by rough handling (see Tuning Tips elsewhere in this newsletter).
Recently the UK company Hardcase,
which will be familiar to most kit drummers, has been supplying cases for pans.
These are a much more sturdy proposition with a lifetime guarantee. They are
made of 3mm moulded plastic and are extremely robust. They are a little heavier
than the fibre type, but Hardcase have now built in wheels on all their cases
making moving them around just like using a wheeled suitcase; many children in
school enjoy using them, and even primary children can easily cope with large
pans such as guitars in Hardcases, with other types of case even tenors is definitely
a job for the teacher. A new Hardcase costs around £90 and can be easily
sourced by any music shop or drum centre. All sizes of pan Hardcases are the
same price but make sure that you put plenty of protection inside for tenor
The vinyl type with hardboard
lining often used in Trinidad is even more expensive and usually only available
from overseas making carriage expensive. The handles on these mean that you
have to be quite tall to carry them any distance comfortably, so not very
suitable for schools. The soft covers can be easily damaged too.
There is also the full flight case
style favoured by professional musicians and steelbands who travel
internationally. Made from plywood with metal corners and hardware they are
very strong, secure, heavy and expensive. You can see flight cases made to take
several tenors/2nds with dividers. Flight cases need large castors to move
them, and preferably a roadie or two.
All styles of case can be obtained
on the second hand market with obvious cost advantages, but if you go down that
route make sure that the case is in good enough condition to do it’s main job
of protection properly – this can be difficult at online auction sites.
Sounds like you definitely need a
case now, pay your money and take your choice.