In my many years in the music industry I have moved and unloaded a mountain of road cases. My early days working as local support for national acts trained my eye to know the difference between a good road case and a great road case. A good road case will give you years of protection for your equipment. A great road case will last a lifetime.
Having recently purchased a Marshall Head I decided I needed to protect my investment. My first thought was a vinyl Marshall slip cover. To my surprise these plastic covers can cost half as much as a good road case. Adding to my concerns the slit in the top of the cover for the handle would give little protection in the rain or snow. Looking at my road weathered ‘72 Fender amp, it also dawned on me a plastic covers would not be successful in protecting the amp from bumps and bruises. There is a reason they call these amp protectors dust covers. Dust is about all they can protect your amp from. It was obvious to me I needed a great, not a good road case.
So, what makes a great road case. When working in and out of old road cases in my early days the first point of failure I would see is the hinges. Once the hinges go the case is pretty much useless. The second thing you should dial in on is the latches. Are they recessed? You want a flat profile around your case so hardware is not being slammed against doorways and other cases. You then want to look at the overall construction of the road case. Look at the size of the rivets used and the thickness of the trim they are holding down. The true test is the corner protectors. Do they look like they are sturdy enough to take a hit or are they simply there for ornamentation?
After searching the internet for road cases and researching many companies I decided to trust the protection of my beloved Marshall to Jan-Al cases in California. Jan-Al has made road cases for The Rolling Stones, KISS and Nine Inch Nails. They also build cases from many of the NFL and MLB teams. My thoughts are if a case can withstand 162 baseball games a year it is more than tough enough to suit my needs.
What I really like about Jan-Al is there was no scrolling through pages of amp models trying to find a prefab case that would fit my Marshall JCM 2000 DSL. It was a simple as measuring up my Marshall head and sending the dimensions to Jan-Al cases. Before I knew it there was a form fitting case on my doorstep worthy of touring with Mick, Keith and the boys.
Now that the Jan-Al case is in my hands I can share with you why I am so impressed with this company. Let’s take a look at some of the pictures below. As you can see Jan-AL is using heavy duty rivets and trim not only on the handles and hardware but all around the box. It is this attention to detail that lets you instantly know you are dealing with a quality product. You will also notice Jan-Al recessed handles and latches protecting the hardware from damage. Speaking of handles there are three of them giving you the option to pick up the amp by the sides or giving it a suitcase carry.
Looking at the back of the road case you will find heavy duty hinges running the length of the case. The only place they are absent is where rock solid recessed lid stays have been put in place to keep the case and hinges in top working order. I would also like to draw your attention to the corner protectors. They give the road case that final finish letting you know this Jan-Al case is built like a tank.
Take a look at the Jan-Al website I think you will be impressed. They make everything from briefcases, portfolios & tool kits to cases for exhibit material, electronics & displays. Of course they also make the finest musical instrument cases I have ever seen. This case gives me the confidence that I have unmatched protection for my Marshall head that will last a lifetime not just a few years on the road. As my Dad would say buy it right and buy it once. If you are not ready to purchase Jan-Al also does case rentals. Jan-Al can be located online at Twitter @JanAlCases, Facebook or at the contact information below.
Jan-Al Corporate Office
3339 Union Pacific Avenue
P.O. Box 23337
Los Angeles, CA 90023
Phone: 323 260-7212