Equipment in Review: Thompson Edition Cases

As I was looking over the stats for this blog, I noticed that one of the search phrases which led a reader here was “Reviews of Thompson Edition Horn Cases.”  At the time this made me curious because I don’t have any posts related to Thompson Edition cases, or horn cases in general.  However, as a longtime satisfied customer of Thompson Edition and the owner of two different models of horn case produced by them, a review of their products did seem like an excellent idea for a blog topic.  So I owe a thank you to whomever generated that search.  Anyway, on with the review.

I purchased my first Thompson Edition case in 2005 for my Yamaha 667v fixed bell horn, the Case for fixed-bell horn, black, pictured below. [Images obtained from Thompson Edition’s website, http://www.thompsonedition.com]

I wanted something similar to a Marcus Bonna MB2, but without the hefty price tag.  At less than $250.00, the Thompson Edition case fit the bill.  I still have the case, which I use every day for my main instrument.  The quality is excellent, and the case is light and strong.  The included pocket will hold plenty of music, as well as a small tool kit with extra string, screwdrivers, etc.  My only complaint with this case is that the small plastic bumpers on the bottom of the case gradually came loose and fell off.  However, the case will still sit up just fine without them.  As for portability, the case is a little larger than the MB2, but will still fit comfortably in most spaces.  As for flying, you won’t be putting this case, or any other fixed bell case for that matter, in an overhead compartment on any airplane. [Ok, so I definitely overreacted on that statement!  See the update in the comments section below.]  However, I have been successful in fitting it far enough under the seat in front of me to satisfy flight attendants. I’ve also gate checked the case several times, and my horn has thus far not been damaged in any way.  If you have the money the MB2 is worth it I’m sure, but if you are on a budget the Thompson case is also a very good way to go.

I also own one of Thompson Edition’s new detachable bell cases, the Ultra-flat case for detachable-bell horn, black (see below).

I purchased this case last year for my wife’s horn.  She had been using a Protec detachable bell case, but it was a bit unwieldy. As with the fixed bell case, this one is very well made, only with a much smaller profile. On airplanes this case will fit in all but the smallest overhead compartments, and will also fit completely under the seat in front of you as long as the passenger beside you allows you to put the case under both seats.  I think my case was supposed to be supplied with backpack straps, but for some reason they were not included.  Rather than contact Thompson Edition I just used the straps from an old MB1 case. I’m sure Thompson Edition would have supplied the straps had I contacted them about the problem.  This brings me to my next point. I have occasionally seen complaints about Thompson Edition voiced in various places, but speaking from my own experiences with the company they have always been easy to deal with and provided excellent service. I don’t disbelieve the complaints I’ve heard, but that has not been my experience with this particular company.  My advice would be to give Thompson Edition a try and see what you think.  If you aren’t satisfied there are plenty of other retailers out there.

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18 Comments

“As for flying, you won’t be putting this case, or any other fixed bell case for that matter, in an overhead compartment on any airplane.”

Not quite true. I have a Walt Johnson fixed-bell case that fits fine in overhead compartments on larger planes–generally the kind that fly cross-country or internationally. However it won’t fit in compartments of some mid-sized jets, especially if they’re older planes that that don’t have updated interiors, and certainly not on commuter flights.

I’ve also flown twice with a fixed bell horn (my single B-flat) inside of a black fiberglass/plastic (maybe one of the cases by Winter) in the overhead. I guess it just depends on the plane. Granted, this was an international flight on Delta… so there was probably more room.

Good point Daren! I’d forgotten about Walt Johnson’s cases. Do you know if he’s still making them? As I recall they were about the smallest fixed bell cases out there, but still very well made.

I’m not sure if Walt Johnson still makes horn cases. I see he no longer has them listed on his website but maybe he’d make them on special order.

I flew to Australia with a group of students last month. A few of them have pretty bulky cases (think Conn 8D fixed bell case) and they all fit into the overhead bins–although some just barely. The plane we flew on was an Airbus A340. Boeing 777 also has generous overhead bins. The Boeing 757–an older plane widely used by U.S. carriers for medium-distance flights–does not. My Johnson case will fit in the center bins of a 747 but not in the bins over the widows. It just depends on the plane.

There are two rules-of-thumb that I’ve found hold true most of the time. If the overhead bins have doors that flip up when opened, my horn case probably won’t fit, like on this 757: http://bit.ly/ckaIUK

However, if the bins drop out of the ceiling when open, there will probably be ample room, like on this 777: http://bit.ly/94OhSY

I’ve found a few exceptions to these though. For example, the A340’s bins have flip-up doors but the bins are just large enough for a fixed-bell case. http://bit.ly/9lxswt

Thanks for the info Daren. It’s been a while since I took an international flight – those planes look very roomy! I get so tired of cramming myself and my horn into puddle jumpers on commuter flights.

I had just ordered a fixed bell case from Thompson Edition. I am really looking forward to its arrival. I am just curious about the similarities between the thompson case and BAGs of Spain. Which is the better case? I am putting my stake on Thompson

Thanks for the question Stuart. I’ve never used any BAGs cases, but they are probably similar in quality to the Thompson Edition cases. Thompson Edition cases are manufactured in Europe, I believe, and possibly even in Spain.

The Bags cases and Thompson Edition cases are the same thing, just different logo. Musical-Bags is the manufacturer.

I have owned several horn cases over the years (MB, Johnson, Leather Specialties). The Johnson fitted bell was my favorite, but could not fine one for sale when I needed a replacement case. So after doing my homework contacted Thompson Editions. David Thompson was very helpful with answering my questions about the different cases his company carry’s. I selected the Ultra-flat case for detachable-bell horn and have been very satisfied. The Ultra fits all my cut-bell horns (Lawson Fourier, Rauch, Holton H200) without any problem. The case has protected my horns from ruff handling so far.

As a side note, I have purchased several products from Thompson Editions over the years with no hassle. I have found David to stand behind the products he sells and has always corrected any problem I have brought to his attention in a timely manner.

Hi Kenneth,

Yes, I’ve had the same positive experience with Thompson Edition. I’ve also heard lots of great things about Walt Johnson’s cases – it’s too bad they aren’t making them anymore!

I have had my Thompson Edition for barely 5 years, and while it looks like it is in good condition, I am very unhappy with it. Within the first year of having it the straps that hold the bell broke, and I had to re-sew them in. Then a few days ago I discovered two holes in first valve slide of my Conn 8D, only to find that the pins that hold the foam to the fabric of the case had punctured my horn. Upon hearing about my horn, someone else with the same case inspected theirs and found pins sticking out, although not yet scraping against their horn. Until this problem, I was totally satisfied with the product, but now, I would not recommend it to anyone. Getting the holes patched will likely be more expansive than the case was, next time I will fork over the money for a Marcus Bonna.

I’m sorry to hear that Kendra. Have you tried contacting Thompson Edition directly about this malfunction? At the very least they might refund the cost of your case. I’ve owned both Thompson Edition and Marcus Bonna cases and been very happy with them.

I am on the verge of ordering the ultra flat case from Thompson. I noticed that you had sold the case. Any special reason for the sale? How is the quality compared to the protec ipac?

Hi Stuart,
Thanks for your question. In general I was very pleased with the TE ultra flat case. Good price, well-made, and very protective. However, the size of the case was just a bit too large to fit comfortably under a seat or in the overhead compartment of the very small regional aircraft which fly into and out of my area. Rather than being forced to gate check my horn, I decided to buy a smaller case that would fit under the seat or in the overhead compartment. The case I ended up with was the Marcus Bonna ultralight case, which Ken Pope, Dennis Houghton, and a few other retailers carry. The MB case has less protection than the TE, but is smaller. Aside from the size, though, I have no complaints about the TE case. I haven’t used the Protec iPac case, so I can’t really comment on it.

Hope this helps!

James

Thank you James for the prompt reply. At that price point, it seems very challenging to not buy the ultra flat for its protection. I will give it another thought before i order it. I frequent extremely crowded public transport and does little flying with the horn, protection would be more key than size for me for my kruspe wrap horn..thanks.

I ordered my case a while ago and paid for it and it hasn’t been delivered yet not the status page updated from “we are preparing your order”. I have sent emails and I have tried calling but with no answer. I left a voicemail. Any advice on how to get in contact with the company? They don’t seem to be answering my inquiries.

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