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View Full Version : Hoffee Case - seven months in use so far.



Clef
Nov-10-2013, 7:26pm
I’m constantly traveling around town with my Gibson mandolin. With my music lessons and jam sessions, I have to bring my mandolin to work a few times each week.

I don’t like the stock Gibson case. The Gibson case is too bulky and doesn’t offer the protection I want. After researching online for a better case, I ended up ordered my case directly from Jeff Hoffee with the Thinsulate lining.

I’ve been using my Hoffee Case for seven months now. I figured I would post a review for the Cafe.

My Gibson mandolin fits incredibly well inside this case. The entire mandolin is supported by the interior padding of the case. There is no movement at all. The carbon fiber is lightweight and the case just feels solid all around. The latches close securely and the rubber feet work well on the ground. There is plenty of storage inside the little compartment. It holds everything I need.

There is plenty of room at the headstock scroll so the scroll won't get broken if the case ever gets dropped. The neck and headstock have whiplash prevention. The neck and headstock get sandwiched between the top foam and the bottom foam inside the case. You can see in one of the photos how the headstock gets sandwiched between the foam. My mandolin even stays in tune as well while traveling. I can put it in the car, bring it to work, then back into the car, drive to my jam session and it’s still in tune.

The Thinsulate lining works as well. All summer long it was hot in Albuquerque so there were temperature extremes every time I went outside. One day I had to leave my mandolin inside my car for about 20 minutes or so while it was close to 100f degrees outside. When I opened the car door, it was hot as can be inside my car. I had a brief panic attack about how hot it was inside my car with my mandolin. When I opened the case, my mandolin was still cold to the touch. Very cool. I don’t recommend pushing the limits of the thinsulate lining, but for typical use and an occasional hot car, there is no concern at all for temperature extremes.

There is a great spot for a humidifier inside the case at the base of the neck. I use a small zip lock bag, with holes in it and a damp sponge. I use a business card to push the top of the bag between the foam and it stay put.

I’ve been outside with my Hoffee case when it was pouring down rain as well. When it rains in NM, it comes down hard. The Hoffee case definitely passed the rain test. I was completely soaked, but the inside the case stayed completely dry.

So far I only traveled on an airplane one time with my mandolin. It was no issue bringing my case as carryon luggage. I was on Southwest Airlines. The size of the case is small enough that that no one even questioned it at the airport. It fit really well in the overhead compartment.

I know there are other high end cases out there as well, Calton, Pegasus, etc. I never used them, so I don’t have a comparison to offer with other cases. I’ve just been very happy with my Hoffee case.

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eadg145
Nov-10-2013, 7:55pm
Are there attachment points for shoulder straps? If so, how does it balance? And what does it weigh?

Thanks for this review! I've been waiting for a review like this one. I don't put much thought into the "I just got my <thing> yesterday, and it's great!" type of reviews. Thank you!

Clef
Nov-10-2013, 8:46pm
The case has two "D" rings and a strap comes with the case.

I never used the strap yet. I tried it tonight and it works well. The clips are solid and there is plenty of grip on the shoulder rest. The case is balanced when using the strap.

I weighed the case using a bathroom scale tonight. I first weighed myself, then me plus the case. The Hoffee case, Gibson mandolin and all my accessories in the compartment weighed a total of 11.2 lbs.

I don't know how this weight is in comparison to other cases, but it's not bad at all carrying around. The Thinsulate lining upgrade adds some weight to the case. Without the lining the case will be a little lighter.

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Mike Bunting
Nov-11-2013, 2:13am
Your description pretty much mirrors my Pegasus. The advantage to my Peg is that the loops to attach the strap are aligned so that the cases hangs vertically as opposed to the horizontal position of my Calton and, judging from the picture, the Hoffee. This is a distinct advantage when navigating through airport lineups and the like.

Steve Sorensen
Nov-11-2013, 2:26am
Got to chime in on the Hoffee praises -- I got a custom Hoffee case made for the prototype SXS mandolin. Everything about the case is top notch: craftsmanship, design, protection for the instrument, internal layout.

Come to think of it, if I'm ever trapped in the midst of a battle between super-villains and super-heroes . . . I hope I have a Hoffee case in hand to shield both me and my mandolin from the melee.

And based on the behavior of the airline gate attendant towards carry-on instrument cases on the way home from IBMA in Raleigh, the super-villain risk was barely avoided!

Steve

Ivan Kelsall
Nov-11-2013, 5:05am
Clef - Your Hoffee case does indeed seem to take your beautiful mandolin very well indeed - however !. Unless the bottom foam is much closer to the underside of the headstock that it appears in the pic.,i'd be inclined to put a piece of covered foam under it, so that it does touch the back of the headstock & 'sandwich' it against the top foam. The other thing that's 'ok',are the strap rings. The strap rings on one of my cases are that wide apart & the strap tends to slide back & forth over my shoulder at times. I find it's better to clip the strap to the handle 'D' rings,that way the weight hangs straight down, holding the case very steady.
My remark re.the foam padding under the headstock isn't any criticism of the Hoffee case,just what i'd do to ensure that the headstock is well protected. In fact it is what i do in my own cases, using a rolled up yellow duster in each placed under the headstock. You've got a gorgeous combo.there - the greenish hue of my face should fade shortly !!,:grin:
Ivan;)

Clef
Nov-11-2013, 9:58am
Unless the bottom foam is much closer to the underside of the headstock that it appears in the pic.,i'd be inclined to put a piece of covered foam under it, so that it does touch the back of the headstock & 'sandwich' it against the top foam.

The entire headstock has contact with the foam, both sides, front and back. This is why I mentioned whiplash prevention with this design. The entire neck and headstock get sandwiched between the foam.

The foam inside the case follows the shape of the mandolin. The top slopes at the angle of the headstock. The body of the case even has a slight bowl shape for the shape of the carved back of an F5.

Bill Baldridge
Nov-11-2013, 10:10am
I have a white Hoffee waiting for my new Daley. I ordered mine after seeing a friend's Hoffee banjo case. I had the case shipped to Sim Daley rather than here, so I have not had a chance to check it out in person. I also went with the Thinsulate lining. Glad to hear your report.

DougC
Nov-11-2013, 10:21am
I suggest the best case humidifier I could find. Oasis. $20
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http://www.musiciansfriend.com/accessories/oasis-oh-6-case-humidifier

Ivan Kelsall
Nov-12-2013, 4:51am
Clef - Thanks for the additional info.re.the headstock support,it isn't that obvious from the pics.,
Ivan;)

Larry S Sherman
Nov-15-2013, 2:09pm
Hoffee has become my favorite case.

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Steve Sorensen
Nov-15-2013, 2:29pm
The angled padded supports above and below the headstock are fantastic! Hadn't really thought about what a wise touch that was until re-perusing this Forum string.

Steve

Ivan Kelsall
Nov-16-2013, 4:45am
The headtock support pad is more easily seen in Larry's pic. A good move by Hoffee,although for safety's sake,i'd still prefer a bit more room around the headstock - nevertheless,a nice case,
Ivan

G. Fisher
Nov-18-2013, 12:29pm
although for safety's sake,i'd still prefer a bit more room around the headstock - nevertheless,a nice case,
Ivan

I also have a Hoffee case and IMO there is no need for more room for the headstock.

The neck cradle and body fit allows zero movement of my mandolin. The design of the case with the headstock being secured with the padding on both sides adds to securing the mandolin from any movement. Also, the mandolin is lined up straight down the middle of the case unlike many of the Caltons I've seen that tend to tilt the headstock towards the edge of the case.

AlanN
Nov-18-2013, 1:18pm
Gonna go the other way. There is not enough room there. It's simply too close, regardless of whether the instrument moves or not when seated. What about putting the mandolin in there? Seems to me you'd have to be very precise in its placement to avoid an inadvertant knock. And this photo is of one F-5 made by one builder. What about another builder's F-5, which may have a slightly different profile up there. That particular case dimension doesn't have any wiggle room. Why there can't be, at a minimum, *the same* clearance on the east side and north side as is on the west side is perplexing, to say the least. More clearance all around would be the better scenario.

IMO.

G. Fisher
Nov-18-2013, 2:05pm
Hoffee has become my favorite case.

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If you're talking about this picture. The actual edge of the case is at least another 1/2 to 3/4 inch from the headstock all the way around. That is the padding that is closer to the headstock and in my experience I've had no issues with having to be careful placing my mandolins in the case.

I would guess the best thing for people to do is see if the case fits their mandolin to thier liking. So far I'm happy with the fit for all my mandolins in the Hoffee.

Ivan Kelsall
Nov-19-2013, 5:17am
With many folk, & in many things 'first impressions count'. I have no doubt whatsoever that the Hoffee case is excellent in all general apects. But,for many of us,there doesn't 'appear to be' enough room around the headstock to give us piece of mind - that's what counts to us. An extra inch on each side would allay any fears of a drop or hard knock,causing any scroll damage. That's all that we'd ask for,so why the problem when building a new case design from scratch ?. Even the 'cheapo' (but very effective) Travelite cases have far more room around the headstock that either the Hofee or the Calton. It's only in this one aspect of it's design,an aspect which for many of us is very important,that the Hoffeee isn't as we'd like it - with added headstock room. Other than that,we see a totally superb case,
Ivan

almeriastrings
Nov-19-2013, 6:10am
That's why I like the Pegasus design.

Lots of room
Great neck support
Support at the rear of headstock
Support (pad) on top too

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The Hoffee is clearly a very fine case, however.

Clef
Nov-19-2013, 9:36pm
I didn't realize posting my happy review of the Hoffee case would turn into a debate about cases.

Check out this "terror test" video of the Hoffee guitar case. Maybe Jeff would be willing to make another terror test video with the mandolin case. He he did, maybe then it would end the concern and debate about headstock room. As a Hoffee mandolin case owner, there is no headstock room concern from me. With potential buyers there seems to be by reading this thread.

There are a lot of nice cases out there to choose from, but I don't know if any other case would survive a beating like the Hoffee case in this video. Watch the video and see for yourself.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yc2fspfvz1g

Susan H.
Apr-16-2014, 8:30pm
Here are a couple of pictures of my new Hoffee case. Green with green interior. Beautiful!

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yankees1
Apr-16-2014, 8:37pm
My new Heiden will be shipped to me in a Hoffee !

Bob Clark
Apr-16-2014, 9:07pm
[QUOTE=Susan H.;1279980]Here are a couple of pictures of my new Hoffee case. Green with green interior. Beautiful!

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Great looking case. Nice looking cat, too!:grin:

Bill Baldridge
Apr-16-2014, 9:23pm
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Buy whatever trips your trigger. I am delighted with my Hoffee. Sim Daley said that I didn't have in insure my mandolin if I shipped it in the Hoffee. I told him that they could still loose it.

jmagill
Apr-17-2014, 6:00am
One important feature has yet to be mentioned Ė weight. Can you give us the case's weight, both empty and with a mandolin in it?
Thanks.

Susan H.
Apr-17-2014, 11:51am
My case weighs in at 8.8 pounds empty and 11.6 pounds with my mandolin in it. Hope this helps.

And my case is Merlin approved..he's our cat that's in my pictures. When I opened it, he just had to come over and check it out.

Austin Bob
May-19-2014, 1:24pm
Iím constantly traveling around town with my Gibson mandolin. With my music lessons and jam sessions, I have to bring my mandolin to work a few times each week.

I donít like the stock Gibson case. The Gibson case is too bulky and doesnít offer the protection I want. After researching online for a better case, I ended up ordered my case directly from Jeff Hoffee with the Thinsulate lining.

Iíve been using my Hoffee Case for seven months now. I figured I would post a review for the Cafe.

My Gibson mandolin fits incredibly well inside this case. The entire mandolin is supported by the interior padding of the case. There is no movement at all. The carbon fiber is lightweight and the case just feels solid all around. The latches close securely and the rubber feet work well on the ground. There is plenty of storage inside the little compartment. It holds everything I need.

There is plenty of room at the headstock scroll so the scroll won't get broken if the case ever gets dropped. The neck and headstock have whiplash prevention. The neck and headstock get sandwiched between the top foam and the bottom foam inside the case. You can see in one of the photos how the headstock gets sandwiched between the foam. My mandolin even stays in tune as well while traveling. I can put it in the car, bring it to work, then back into the car, drive to my jam session and itís still in tune.

The Thinsulate lining works as well. All summer long it was hot in Albuquerque so there were temperature extremes every time I went outside. One day I had to leave my mandolin inside my car for about 20 minutes or so while it was close to 100f degrees outside. When I opened the car door, it was hot as can be inside my car. I had a brief panic attack about how hot it was inside my car with my mandolin. When I opened the case, my mandolin was still cold to the touch. Very cool. I donít recommend pushing the limits of the thinsulate lining, but for typical use and an occasional hot car, there is no concern at all for temperature extremes.

There is a great spot for a humidifier inside the case at the base of the neck. I use a small zip lock bag, with holes in it and a damp sponge. I use a business card to push the top of the bag between the foam and it stay put.

Iíve been outside with my Hoffee case when it was pouring down rain as well. When it rains in NM, it comes down hard. The Hoffee case definitely passed the rain test. I was completely soaked, but the inside the case stayed completely dry.

So far I only traveled on an airplane one time with my mandolin. It was no issue bringing my case as carryon luggage. I was on Southwest Airlines. The size of the case is small enough that that no one even questioned it at the airport. It fit really well in the overhead compartment.

I know there are other high end cases out there as well, Calton, Pegasus, etc. I never used them, so I donít have a comparison to offer with other cases. Iíve just been very happy with my Hoffee case.

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Well, after a bunch of research, I finally decided on getting the exact same case as this. Same color, same lining, and I added Thinsulate as well. Thanks for the great write up and pics.

I was quoted a two week build time, can't wait to get it.

If we ever go to the same jam, I hope we don't get them mixed up, LOL.

trevor
May-20-2014, 2:42am
I've noticed with the guitar cases that they can scratch easily. Have you had the same issue?

Austin Bob
May-20-2014, 3:47pm
I've noticed with the guitar cases that they can scratch easily. Have you had the same issue?

I wondered if the case might show scratches, but my experience is that all cases show wear if you haul them around enough. I guess I could buy a cover, but I really don't care if the case gets scratched, I'm only concerned with how well it protects the instrument.

Clef
May-26-2014, 2:05am
Well, after a bunch of research, I finally decided on getting the exact same case as this. Same color, same lining, and I added Thinsulate as well. Thanks for the great write up and pics.

I was quoted a two week build time, can't wait to get it.

If we ever go to the same jam, I hope we don't get them mixed up, LOL.

Nice choice! Jeff had patience with me because I changed color combos a few times before he started making my case.

As for scratches, this case will get scratches if you check it as airline baggage. It's small enough to carry on a flight so never check it as baggage if you travel. My case still looks like new, but if you inspect it really close, you will see a few tiny blemishes from me banging it into things on accident. My case travels around a lot and I never have to worry about the safety of my mandolin while it's in the case.