US 3901384 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 11 1 Lee et al.
[ Aug. 26, 1975 MUSICAL INSTRUMENT CARRYING CASE  Inventors: Peter R. Lee, PO. Box 24121,
Oakland, Calif. 94612; Donald W. Burror, 3585 Liscome Way,
Concord, Calif. 94520  Filed: Oct. 26, 1973  Appl. No.: 410,254
Primary ExaminerGeorge T. Hall Attorney, Agent, or FirmHarris Zimmerman [5 7] ABSTRACT An improved case for carrying and storing a guitar musical instrument and the like. In addition to rigid constraints preventing lateral movements of the sounding-box body, neck and head of the instrument, there are also provided subjacent supporting elements affording resilient yet semi-rigid vertical support to the instrument neck and sounding-box body. These supporting elements, which respectively run the entire length of both said neck and said body, each comprise an upper sheet of formed rubber or analagous resilient material which is positioned immediately subjacent said neck and said body and immediately above a form-retaining base. On opposite transverse sides of each said resilient sheet are form-retaining constraints. Thus, when the instrument neck and body are forced downwardly from the random impacts of normal carrying of the case, said resilient sheets will be depressed slightly downwardly while lateral displacement of said neck will be prevented by said side constraints. Such action serves to prevent deleterious stressing of the particularly vulnerable heel juncture of said neck to said body. By varying the resiliency of said sheets with respect to each other, there may be achieved a case which supports different portions of said instrument with different degrees of resiliency and rigidity, so that delicate portions of said instrument may be afforded greater cushioning than less delicate portions.
10 Claims, 5 Drawing Figures l J l Aha MUSICAL INSTRUMENT CARRYING CASE BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates to an improvement in the design of carrying cases for musical instruments, specifically electric guitars, but the principles disclosed herein have application to a broad range of carrying, packaging and shipping containers for fragile items.
As is well known, musical instruments, particularly those of the stringed variety, are extremely fragile and susceptible to damage from random, low-magnitude inpacts even when protected by a carrying case. As a result, many attempts have been made to produce shock-insulated cases which effectively support the instrument in spaced relation to the inner surfaces of the case; see, for example, US. Pat. No. 3,326,359 issued to Katz on June 20, 1967.
However, a particular fragilty of stringed instruments results from the high string tension, usually inthe order of 125 pounds, between the lower string anchor on the sounding-box body and the screw pegs at the upper neck of the instrument. This tension places considerable compressive and bending-movement stresses upon the heel portion of the neck; i.e., upon that portion where the neck is joined to the sounding-box body. When these stresses are aggravated by the aforementioned low-magnitude impacts, considerable weakening of this heel joint occurs, necessitating periodic instrument repair.
It is, therefore, an object of the present invention to provide an instrument carrying case which will inhibit the weakening of said heel joint and increase the periods between instrument repairs.
It is a further object of the present invention to provide a carrying case which will support and restrain different portions of any article with differing degrees of resiliency and rigidity.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS The present invention is illustrated in one embodiment in the drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the carrying case of the instant invention;
FIG. 2 is a longitudinal front elevational sectional view of the carrying case of FIG. 1, taken along section line 22;
FIG. 3 is a transverse side sectional view of the carrying case of FIG. 1, taken along section line 33;
FIG. 4 is a transverse side sectional view of the carrying case of FIG. 1, taken along section line 44; and
FIG. 5 is a transverse side sectional view of the carrying case of FIG. 1, taken along section line 5-5.
DESCRIPTION OF THE ILLUSTRATIVE EMBODIMENT Referring to FIG. 1, it will be seen that the carrying case 2 of the instant invention, shown in an open orientation, is formed basically by a generally rectangular lower receptacle 4 and a generally complementary upper receptacle 6. These two receptacles are respectively provided with complementary downwardly and upwardly opening cavities l6 and 18 shaped to contain a conventional electric guitar therein. Lower recepta cle 4 is also provided with an upwardly opening cavity to hold appropriate accessories such as electricalpower conduits, picks, sheet music and the like. Cavity 20 may be provided with an appropriate cover member, now shown.
Upper receptacle 6 is pivotally hinged to lower re- 'ceptacle 4 by a plurality of 180 hinges, not shown, and is provided with a plurality of latches 8 which cooperate with corresponding latch parts 10 on lower receptacle 4 when carrying case 2 is in the closed orientation. Upper receptacle 6 is also provided with an aluminum facia lip 12 which extends about its perimeter and slightly overhangs the upper edge 14 of the lower receptacle in the closed orientation to provide an effective cosmetic closure. As is also conventional in the art, one of the receptacles will be provided with a carrying handle, not shown.
As is best seen in FIG. 2, the major structural portions of lower and upper receptacles 4 and 6 are formed of a composite consisting of an inner foamed polystyrene-plastic armature 22, which is generally rigid, form retaining, and only slightly compressible, and an outer surface shell 24 of fibreglass or highdensity polyethylene plastic which is completely rigid and substantially impervious to abrasion, scratching, and the like. In alternative embodiments, this outer shell 24 may be made of polyvinylchloride plastic buckskin, cloth, or analagous flexible, pliable covering material depending on cost considerations and individual taste.
Referring to FIGS. 2 through 5, it may besen that when an electric guitar 26 is placed into carrying case 2 and said case is placed in the closed orientation, said guitar is substantially contained within complementary cavities 16 and 18 of upper and lower receptacles 6 and 4 respectively. I
The lower receptacle 4 is custom fashioned to accommodate a particular guitar model, and provides generally planar-surfaced guitar-support pads at three plateau levels. The first of these pads, body pad 28, is generally subjacent the guitar sound-box body 30. The second of these pads, neck pad 32, is generally subjacent the guitar neck 34, and longitudinally spaced from body pad 28. The third of these pads, head pad 35, is generally subjacent the guitar head 36, and longitudinally spaced from said neck pad and said body pad. The top planar surface of body pad 28 is covered by a, sheet 38 of thin foamed rubber which, as is best seen in FIG. 4, is constrained against lateral movement by generallyvertical walls 40 and 42 of body pad 28. The top planar surface of neck pad 32 is similarly covered by a sheet 44 of thin foamed rubber which, as is best seen in FIG. 4, is constrained against lateral movement by generallyvertical walls 46 and 48 of neck pad 32. Since the major length of head 36 is vertically spaced from head pad 35 with contact only at the distal extremity of said head, and since the major weight of the guitar is supported by body and neck pads 28 and 32, no foamed rubber sheet is provided to head pad 35, though same could be provided if desired.
Although not illustrated in the drawings, it may be appreciated that the exposed surfaces of the foamed rubber sheets 38 and 44, the exposed surfaces of downwardly-opening cavity 16 and upwardly opening cavity 18, and the remaining exposed surfaces of the case interior may be sprayed with a cushioning and cosmetic flocking, or lined with a thin covering of velvet, velour or similar velutinous material.
It may be seen in FIG. 2 that, in conventional guitar construction, a plurality of guitar strings 50 extend be- "stru'rnerit may mediate said pegs and said anchor. Since these strings are maintained at a tensile tension between said pegs and said anchor in the order of 125 pounds for proper tonal quality, it may be seen that the heel portion 60 of neck 34, whereat said neck is joined to said body in cantilever fashion, is subjected to considerable compressive and bending-moment stresses. This heel portion is a particularly troublesome structural element of any stringed instrument construction in that it requires constant attention and repair because the neck tends to rock and be forced loose from the body by the repeated low-magnitude impacts which accompany normal carrying of the case and which aggravate the aforementioned compressive and bending-moment stresses at said heel area. These deleterious effects are noted whether mechanic or adhesive fastening means, or
' both, are employed to secure said heel to said body.
To overcome this deleterious effect, the instant invention so positions body pad 28 and neck pad 32, and their respective foamed-rubber sheets 38 and 44, in such relative vertical relation that, when the lower surface 62 of sound-box body 30 is resting in contact with and-is supported by upper surface 64 of rubber sheet 38, the lower surface 66 of neck 34 .will be simultaneously in contact'with and supported by upper surface 68 of rubber sheet 44. It may be seen, then, that this simultaneous support of the entire effective lengths and widths of both the instrument body and neck will serve to preclude the aforementioned aggravation of stresses at the heel area in two manners. First, the rigid support of the neck and body pads 32 and 28 will tend to restrain any relative vertical movement between said neck and said body. And, second, the resilient foamedrubber neck and body sheets 44 and 38 will tend to themselves absorb and dissipate any vertical force component, acting upon said neck and said body.
Thus, it may be seen that both rigid and resilient supports are provided to both the instrument neck and body. And, in accordance with the aforediscussed principles, it may be seen that different portions of said inbe provided with different degrees of rigidity and resiliency of the various foamed-rubber sheets and support pads with respect to each other. In this manner delicate portions of the instrument may be afforded greater cushioning than less delicate portions.
1. A carrying case for a fragile instrument comprising an upper resilient sheet member, a rigid lower support member subjacent and supporting said sheet member, rigid side members adjacent transverse sides of said sheet member intermediate said side member, complementary upper and lower receptacles respectively having complementary downwardly and upwardly opening cavities therein, said support member and said side members extending generally vertically upwardly from said lower receptacle and comprising walls of said upwardly opening cavity, said support member and said sheet member extending adjacently and in tangential contact with said instrument portion between the distal extremities of said instrument portion, a second upper resilient sheet member, a second rigid lower support member subjacent and supporting said second sheet member, and second rigid side members adjacent transverse sides of said second sheet member, each said second sheet member, support member and side member being longitudinally spaced from their respective first sheet member, support member and side member, a second portion of said instrument resting on said second sheet member intermediate said second side members.
2. The carrying case of claim 1 wherein said first and second sheet members are generally coplanar.
3. The carrying case of claim 1 wherein said first and second sheet members repose in different planes.
4. The carrying case of claim 1 wherein said second sheet member extends adjacently and in tangential contact with said instrument second portion between the distal extremities of said instrument second portion.
5. The carrying case of claim 1 wherein at least one of said first and second sheet members is covered with a velutinous covering means.
6. The carrying case of claim 1 wherein at least one of said first and second sheet members is covered with a flocked covering means.
7. The carrying case of claim 1 wherein at least one of said upper and lower receptacles is covered with a rigid, abrasion resistant covering means.
8. The carrying case of claim 1 wherein at least one said upper and lower receptacles is covered with a pliable covering means.
9. The carrying case of claim 1 wherein said first and second sheet members have differing resiliencies.
10. The carrying case of claim 1 wherein said first and second support members have differing rigidities. l