I have owned a lot of top quality guitar cases, Calton, Ameritage, Paxton and numerous cases made of ABS and fibreglass (Hiscox and Cavia). For my Kostal Modified Dreadnought I was looking for something lightweight, yet robust; a friend kept his Somogyi in a BAM, which led me to believe its diminutive size and structure would be strong enough to protect a world-class instrument.
I gig with my guitar and need to transport it in a small car, the original case, an Ameritage, is far too bulky and heavy. The BAM is svelte-like and strong enough to deter any normal knocks and bashes. The interior padding seems to absorb vibrations well.
On first impressions, I'm not sure though that I would entrust aircraft luggage handlers with it - the Ameritage is indestructible and I know it would survive a flight, even if dropped. The BAM, if stood on, does show signs of movement, not so much on the top side as this is convex, but the underside is flat and therefore does not seem as strong. But, is the very handsome carbon fibre lookalike finish as strong as the real thing? It is in fact a triple-ply structure made of high performance rigid cellular materials (1. ABS, 2. Airex foam or PVC foam, 3. another type of ABS), very lightweight and BAM states it is almost indestructible offering high isothermic and mechanical characteristics. The keys are actually attached to a small section of the material as a key ring, so the structure is clear to the owner: the carbon-fibre-look ABS is very thin (c. 2mm), then the Airex foam, which is light, but solid (c.10mm), then a less rigid ABS coated in the fabric which lines the case - BAM has very clearly spent a lot of time with scientists creating a rigid structure which is also very light. I have been told that a decent case has to have a bit of flexibility so that if it is ever knocked it does not damage the guitar by excerpting this force to the structure of the guitar (therefore cracking the wood), instead it forms a cushioning shape around the guitar, this actually makes sense to me.
BAM also sells an over-case made of fabric, to cover the solid case for flights, this suggests to me that they believe their solid case on its own is not durable enough for those journeys - as yet I don't know if this is true as I haven't flown with it.
The interior seems quite utilitarian in comparison with the high-class finish of the exterior. Not a plush velvet, but the lining is soft, covering the foam cushions on which, BAM states, the guitar is suspended. There was meant to be another set of cushions provided which apparently are simple to install in the lid for that perfect fit - I could not find these, but my guitar is pretty snug already.
The handle is solid and feels great to the touch - made of plastic and covered in black neoprene. It is attached with two rivets, beneath a black plastic cover which sadly came away in my hand - the handle itself is very strong. It would have been nice to have a leather handle, or a leather cover (instead of a neoprene one), a touch of class on a high-end case (my Calton has one, as even does my cheaper Cavia).
The pocket inside is actually a zipped bag which fits snugly beneath the head of the guitar, made from the same material as the case lining. I have stored a capo, strings, peg winder, nut and saddle blanks and a hygrometer... with plenty of room for more.
The straps are the best straps I have ever experienced - the clasps are actually metal carabiners which, at the top end, fit snugly into the strap so the metal doesn't rub and clink. The straps are solid. The guitar fits like a glove when carried on the back. I have no fear that the clasps will not break whilst the guitar is carried, which is always a risk with other straps with plastic clasps.
The latches are a thing of genius - similar to objects designed by Ferdinand Porsche. Simple, unobtrusive and function with the flick of a finger. The plastic could have been made from a superior material (seem be be plastic coated in a black rubbery material), but they seem to do the job well and are clearly lightweight. I always fear the metal latches on my other cases scratching my guitars. Also, the very stiff latches of my other cases can easily damage nails if you're not careful, these are not issues with the BAM. There are only three latches, which seem to be enough, makes a change from the five or six of my other cases. The latches, when tightened, pull the top and the body of the case tightly together, very importantly stopping water entering or sudden changes in temperature effecting the guitar inside.
Which brings me on to the greatest asset of the case, it weighs virtually nothing - hard to believe that there is a guitar inside when carried. In comparison with my Calton and Ameritage, it defies belief that a structure so lightly made can protect a guitar well. Given the high-tech and scientific approach of BAM, and given their reputation in the cello case making world, I'm starting to believe them when they say it will protect a guitar well.
The quality of workmanship is second to none, it really is very well made. No corners cut and little that suggests poor quality control (apart from the plastic handle rivet cover coming away, probably not glued properly).
The main reason I bought the case was to fit in my small car and for ease of transport to gigs, I think it will reward on many more levels and it is an object of beauty. Only time will tell if it is fit for purpose and protects my guitar well.
Pros: Lightweight. Beautiful. Solid structure. Not cumbersome. Cons: At present, none.
I would recommend this case to anybody who owns a luthier-made guitar and needs something lightweight for normal carriage - it is fit for the purpose I bought it for.
As usual Thomann has provided a top quality product at a good price. I have been waiting for the case to be available on Thomann for some months now and as soon as I saw that it was soon to be available, I ordered it, within a day it was despatched and possible for me to track it in transit. It arrived three business days later. Thank you Thomann.
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