Well as you may know, often when I find an artist, or a product that is quite unique I like to pay it forward by doing an informal review, and spreading the word so that others can benefit like I do.
With this in mind I have prepared a written and video review both of which you can check out below.
This is the case (no pun intended) with http://mycasebuilder.com . MyCaseBuilder is a unique company that will make custom cases for just about anything that you may have that needs protection for storage or travel.
As it happens I’m a musician and have a nice collection of Ukuleles. Most of them are standard sizes and I have plenty of cases for them. However, recently I was fortunate to have a custom made non-standard small ukulele called a Nano Ukulele by Andy Miles in the UK. Well this little ukulele is a wonderful work of art and craftsmanship, but alas, it came with no case.
Well I thought of this company MyCaseBuilder.com which I had read about and seen samples of some interesting cases. Up to now I did not have a need for their services but now it seemed like something worth looking into. I quickly realized that yes they made interesting cases, but for all practical reasons, it was not worth for me to spend an additional $50 to have a small foam padded case for this tiny 11″ ukulele.
However in browsing their website, I quickly came up with a much more practical idea. Aside from requiring protection, another issue when traveling is having separate cases for more than one ukulele.
I decided that it might be more practical and economical if I made a bigger case that could hold a couple of odd sized ukulele as well as a standard soprano size.
As it turns out MyCaseBuilder.com makes the creative process of coming up with an infinite number of designs quite easy. Within 5-10 minutes of login I figured out how the process works.
Note: You need to login from a PC or MAC as the application to design your own case online requires Flashplayer.
Anyway, within 15-20 minutes I had followed their easy instructions online. I took a photo of 3 ukuleles that I thought would be the perfect candidates for this project. I followed the online prompts and uploaded the photos. Based on the dimensions of an initial layout I had in mind as I arranged the 3 ukuleles on the bed, I chose a particular PVC Case 25″ by 17″ by 8″. Once the case size was determined, the online system guided me through tracing each of the ukuleles and arranging them on a diagram which represented how they would be cut and placed within the case.
Keep in mind the recommendation to add finger notches for each piece. I can now see how they are needed easily secure, place and remove the ukuleles in their respective cutouts.
After the system prompted me for some basic measurements of the ukuleles (items) being stored, I was able to arrange all the pieces and the system validated that they were not too close to the edges etc.
Well the order was placed, and I followed up with a call where I spoke to Hani Sandler and we verified the order, dimensions etc. She also offered that Eric a co-worker at the company, being a musician himself, would check my layout to insure it would have the proper curves etc.
We also discussed a Fail Safe $8.00 insurance for which MyCaseBuilder will re-cut and replace the foam should the cutout not be as expected due to any miscalculations on my part. I decided that it was worth it as it also covered the shipping of any replacement foam etc.
As it turned out the Case which can hold a Standard Sized Soprano as well as standard sized Piccolo\Pocket, and the quite unique custom made Nano Ukuele. Seeing as how there was some spare room I also added a couple of oval cutouts to hold things like a Tuner, extra strings, a harmonica etc.
I received the case within a week, and it was even better than I had expected. The cutouts were perfectly sized, and the foam very form yet flexible enough for the ukuleles to “fit like a glove”. The Piccolo sized cutout was a bit too deep but I realized I had sent them the wrong measurement. After speaking with Hani Sandler about my overall satisfaction she suggested that they could just sent a “plug” of that particular cutout to make it a bit shallower. Well that is where the Fail Safe insurance came in. Thanks to that Not only did I receive the “plug” without additional cost, but it was shipped via Fedex and I had it within 48 hours.
Since then I have been very pleased with this case and excited to share this excellent service with the Ukulele Community as I know there are many enthusiasts that have often desired a custom case for non-standard sized Ukes.
There are two minor concerns that came to mind…
The particular case that I purchased did not have D Rings for a shoulder strap. I don’t remember seeing any cases with D Rings during the design process. Well I realized that since they are made out of light but durable PVC, I could easily attach a couple of D Rings. I got a couple from Home Depot and was able to make this enhancement within 10 minutes. This is something I hope MyCaseBuilder adds to their services\options as I find the need for a Shoulder strap an absolute requirement.
The other concern was raised be fellow Ukers from the forums at Ukulele Underground. Some were concerned that the finish could get affected by the composition of the Foam used, over long term storage.
Well in my particular case, I hang most of my ukes and use these cases only for transport. However I found that it was easy enough to simply put an appropriate sized piece of fabric under each Ukulele and then it can be wrapped snugly and still fit into the custom cutouts without any issues.
Well that’s about it. MyCaseBuilder offers a unique and reasonably priced service. In my case it allows me to transport and protect a standard Soprano as well as two additional Non-standard Ukuleles. Others have expressed interest in building cases for the odd shaped but prized Koaloha Sceptre or Pineapple Sunday Ukuleles.
If you are interested in the possibilities and have a few minutes to spare, I invite you to visit http://www.mycasebuilder.com and play with the online design system… you will find that it’s not only fun to try out but easy…
Ivan M. Olarte