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September 1, 2010 | New Stonewood mandolin case from Protec Music

We're always interested in reporting new and cost-effective ways to protect and mobilize mandolins, especially when a case is versatile to fit many different body styles. The new Stonewood SW-208 hardshell case from Protec Music with a street price under $80 (MSR $99) is worthy of attention for quite a cross section of mandolin body shapes.

Click pictures for close-up

The interior open-endedness is its second most appealing feature. (See "first" at the end of the review...) Finding a good fit to multiple body styles, A, F, 2-point is a daunting chore for most builders (and some players) in an adequate, protective shell, and this one-size-fits-most solution cuts down on potential inventory. You'll notice the additional insert to assist in forming a protection for shorter body styles. (We found it necessary on the A bodies we tried, and so will you.)


Thumbnail image for SW208_insert2.jpg The pleasant surprise for us was the way it fit a Brazilian made bandolim. Our wider bodied JP-Charles ten-string fits like a glove inside. The insert also helps snug the base, and it's generous interior allows the deeper body of the instrument to rest nicely inside when we doubled up this padding.

This depth is a tad more problematic with a standard size 2-point or A body. Some kind of cushion or inch-thick padding under the body would really suit the market better. The other design modification we'd suggest is a slightly shallower neck compartment. Taking its interior accessory compartment lid about an inch lower into the nest would stabilize the neck better for most instruments, especially standard thickness mandolins.


SW208_Full.jpg SW208_body.jpg

Love the look of the hardware. The antiqued brass is a classy aesthetic you associate with higher end cases, and the case lid is both secure and snug, great for humidity control. In addition, we like the comfort of the thickly padded handle; the weight spreads ergonomically in the grip of your hands for long distance hauls. The black tolex covering also provides good scratch resistant protection from marking and marring when stacked next to hard surfaces or other objects.


The most appealing feature has to be its unique clear plexi window. If you are a certified victim of MAS (Mandolin Acquisition Syndrome) and have multiple instruments in similar cases, you may have found yourself at a performance or practice with the wrong ax. The ability to see the headstock while the case is closed is not only novel, but quite practical for the chronic mandolin junkie/collector.


We couldn't help but register an inescapable but surely unintended tribute to "2001 a Space Odyssey." We're reasonably sure your mandolin will fare better than Dr. Kimball and the ill-fated occupants of the spaceship Discovery...


The manufacturer lists the dimensions as 11.50(W) x 28.00(H) x 4.00(D).
We measured the interior at 11 x 27 x 3. Again, our only reservation is the depth of the body compartment, easily remedied by another pad or insert.

Builder website: Protec Music
Website specs: SW-208 Stonewood mandolin case

Posted by Ted at September 1, 2010 5:10 AM

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