Getting Bass Cases Repaired

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by EbEwan, Mar 1, 2011.

  1. EbEwan

    EbEwan Member

    I was just wondering if anybody on here had managed to get bass hard cases repaired and if so, how they went about finding the person who did it...
    ...basically the band can't really afford to fork out for new ones and I have been unable to find any music shops in the area who will do it...a cabinet maker perhaps?
  2. fatcontroler

    fatcontroler Member

    Bass cses are not over-engineered. Most people with good DIY skills will be able to fix a case to a good degree.

    I saw a bass case recently with new wheels riveted to the bottom, the extra clearance probably made it suitable for off road!

    give it a go if its broke!
  3. on_castors

    on_castors Member

    I think that exactly the PROBLEM not the solution. I have seen a LOT of cases which are wrecked, and very few with repairs that are up to much. The usual limit is a bit of gaffer tape!

    The cases are definitely not over-engineered, so not up to the job for long (rather like Besson lottery era instruments!) and most people either do not have the DIY ability themselves, or access to anyone with that ability. (Bands are full of Middle class white collar workers these days, not manual working engineering types!) and so the solutions are, end up lugging a ridiculously heavy instrument in a ridiculously heavy case as the wheels are bust, or use straps around as handles have come off, and there is little purchase left to fix on new ones to! Meanwhile the case gets more damaged, so does the covering of car boots or back seats making it all worse.

    If my case wheel are unusable, it's simple, I can't carry it far, so can't turn up!

    My own (band's) case is just at the beginning of needing some serious work soon, one wheel beginning to leave connection with the case and previous damage has me guessing at solutions - fibre glass? two part fillers?, a whole separate rig with new wheels? or whatever comes to mind? The instrument is still spot on and in need of no attention.
    In the past I was fairly "handy" but disability and as a result lack of practice with manual skills leaves me falling short now, and although I have a few ideas, something more professional isn't an option anyway, as no-one offers such a service :-(

    New cases are almost as insanely priced as second hand E flat tubas, and apart from a small area of damage, a case can be otherwise suitable for YEARS more use. A bit like needing a new car because the tyres need changing. The band has better things to spend money on than replacing cases for the sake of what should be a relatively minor job.
  4. fatcontroler

    fatcontroler Member

    Ok, fair enough. If a job better than what I have seen is wanted then lets look at getting it done professionally.

    Problems here are that the market is so small. To get a professional job done would require original parts etc. There just isnt the demand for manufacturing companies to provide these, or repairers to stock them.
  5. davethehorny

    davethehorny Member

    I am sure I have seen someone replacing the wheels on bass cases - Mr Tuba perhaps -

    You might also try buying a folding camping trolley from Argos - £19.99 and strapping the bass onto it. It would certainly be cheaper than buying a new case.

    You have also reminded me that I have to put some WD40 on the wheels on my bass case. The squeak is so bad members of the band are starting to complain!
  6. EbEwan

    EbEwan Member

    unfortunately, on my case, it isn't the wheels...but what I think is the result of a previous DIY repair (a new pull along handle was fitted but the polystyrene inside was never reattached to the outer of the case itself thus causing other problems)..admittedly with the other cases it might well be just a case of replacing the catches and the odd minor repair
  7. on_castors

    on_castors Member

    Yes, that's just it.
  8. on_castors

    on_castors Member

    Done this on and off with other instruments for years, I even carry an aluminium folding trolley in the car permanently (admittedly not now for the bass, but for other things generally!

    Even though a much more sophisticated than the Argos (>TROLLEY.htm) one, it's an extremely cumbersome and tedious solution with a Tuba on it though, and needs removing to get the instrument in the car, (or it wrecks the paintwork and surfaces of boot or seat even worse too!) when it is raining means you are soaked through.
    Pity something like this golf one (>TROLLEY.htm) couldn't easily be made to work -

    Some sort of mould to make a repair section of the case corner which has the wheel housing part of he case halves would be ideal, cut out the old raggy bits, join on, fill interior with dense expanding foam and wooden blocks to hold onto screws or bolts which then would take direct copies of the wheels, fixed into the foam and the wooden blocks, and so last at least as long as originals. The outer join would still look a little rough with fibreglass tape and resin being visible, but at least it would be strong, and could take a paint finish to match the original blacks and browns of most cases.

    Discussing this last night with a fellow Tuba player, he mentioned he had seen a home repair with a sort of trolley block fixed on the corner which looked very substantial, but it made it big and cumbersome - it's hard enough to get into the car as it is, for both him and me it would be no solution!

    There is clear shortage of E flat and BB flat tuba players in bands all over the place, as discussed in other threads, no-one is going to rush back into playing faced with lugging these things around, and it's hardly a surprise that Bass players NEED to be younger these days - older players need as much help as they can get to stick with bands until they really can't play, not just because they need new wheels!
  9. jennyt125

    jennyt125 Member

    Hi Ewan,
    It might be a bit of a journey for you but try Jim Pagington near Glastonbury. Jim's son also runs First Brass in Nothampton so may be able to arrange collection or a drop off point.
    He repaired two BBb bass cases for our band a couple of years ago. I remember it involved new wheels, handles and latches, certainly cheaper than a new case and they're still going strong.
    Regards, Jenny
  10. on_castors

    on_castors Member

    Certainly worth knowing.

    What we could do with is some sort of central directory or database of names and people who can do particular things, repairs, suppliers etc. on a national and regional basis.
  11. Aussie Tuba

    Aussie Tuba Member

    WD 40 will cause the wheels to break down and crumble. use spray silicone to lubricate the wheels that will not cause Damage to the plastic.
  12. Despot

    Despot Member


    They sell wheel and handles. I recently replaced the wheels on a besson case. About 10-12 pounds. They just pop out and you can install the new ones easily enough. 10 minute job.
  13. JDH

    JDH Member

    People just don't like lugging around basses in heavy cases, so I think you would be best going out and buying new gig bags for the tubas. Much cheaper, much lighter and more convenient to carry and I am sure your players will appreciate.

    If handled by adults with some care, my experience is gig bags provide quite enough protection. I have been carrying around my tuba for the last 5 years in one and it has received no dents while in the bag.
  14. on_castors

    on_castors Member

    Oh I knew that, it would be about as complex as putting in a new mouthpiece if only that was the problem! Most cases I see are in a state you can't "pop" anything, because they have long ago popped already! Simply swapping components isn't often an option on the cases you see being manhandled about, it's having something solid and intact to fit it to!

    Even if the case body is relatively intact, the wheel housing is often damaged or loose (probably as they are not very well held in to start with) and is fitted by a wide headed rivet of some sort at each end, so they will require drilling out, and I don't know how much room for manoeuvre there is for refitting with a slim headed screw with a wider shank and thread profile fatter than the original rivet. The body is not particularly thick ply at that point, so at best it will require filling and drilling perhaps with something like an epoxy filler to allow a screw to get a decent hold. The Woodwork around the housing is so often damaged at this point too, after all, this is what gets most of the "hammering" in use such as when it is pulled over a kerb, and it drops onto the wheel and housing.
  15. Aussie Tuba

    Aussie Tuba Member

    In my experience most tuba's in gig bags have not been handled with care. I coundn't see much on them that wasn't dented severly.
  16. on_castors

    on_castors Member


    For me, a gig bag is worse than useless, it's simply to heavy to carry all the time, I need the wheels to lug it around, I have enough problem lifting it where I need to, even an E flat tuba carried on my back is simply beyond what I can practically balance for more than moments at best.

    When playing cornet, I creased the bell of two instruments using gig bags - they are great to carry smaller instruments about, but however reinforced, unless in the form of a full hard case they offer minimal protection.

Share This Page