Fusion F1 Soprano/Concert Ukulele Limited Edition 2011 Full Review

10

December 13, 2011 by Tim


In the nature of full disclosure, I purchased this case and bag for a really good price. The idea is that how would I review it then send it back. They would never be able to sell a used bag as new and they don’t do seconds. Who would want a second on a case?

This case is the final piece of a long journey I have been on this summer in getting my Custom Boat Paddle 12 fret. I felt that I could not just put it in a plain Jane, vanilla case. It is way to cool for that. So why not the most obnoxiously colored thing I could find? Right?

Every year Fusion Bags chooses a different instrument to do a limited case for with all the bells and whistles. This year it was the ukulele!! Lucky us.

I saw prototype last year at NAMM and have been trying to get one for review all year, and it finally happened. I was really excited about the extra backpack thingy, I did not realize at the time that you can attach another whole case to it also. long story short, I got a little over a week ago and they really wanted the review quickly so they could possibly reference it, that is if they like the review.

We shall see. Read on to see my thoughts……and concerns.

Specs:
Color:  Navy Blue & Lime Green
Padding: 30mm high density foam padding for all round protection
Outer material: Jacquard hard wearing, water resistant polyester, rip stop material, fashionable piping with no visible webbing. Commuter friendly reflective panels, segment piping and print
Inner material: Soft non scratch, non fibrous quality foam backed velvet and linen interior
Inner protection: Adjustable velvet padded headstock pillow with security strap and adjustable 5mm padded strip that can be molded to shape of instrument
Pockets:  2 x A4 zipped pockets to front of bag, bottom front pocket with organizer pockets and organizer compartments
Zips:  Rubber zip pulls to prevent scratching of instrument, inverted zips for slick appearance
Carry system: Ergonomic adjustable backpack straps that can be stored in the rear zipped cushioned compartment.  Integrated MP3 player/mobile phone pocket in backpack strap. Padded adjustable waist belt
Handles: 2 x Chunky riveted carry handles
Fuse-on: Fuse-on system on front of bag that can attach the Limited Edition Concert Ukulele case or Limited Edition 2011 Medium Backpack
Base: Hardwearing rubber base with floor studs
Branding: Limited Edition uniquely numbered metal badge with a Union Jack rubber badge at rear of bag. Rubber logos and screen printed Fusion branding

Dimensions: (Converted for us silly Americans)
External length: 31.5″ including top handle
External width: (at widest point) 14.2″
Internal length: 28.4″
Internal width upper bout: 9″
Internal width lower bout:10.2″
Weight: 4.4 lb
Full Specs:
http://www.fusion-bags.com/products-in-ukulele-gig-bags/f1-soprano-concert-ukulele-limited-edition-2011-69774

First look: (4) If they wanted to have something go gang busters in Japan, then they did it right. The bright green and flowers are a little much for me. When I carry a ukulele around I tend to not get noticed much, with this monster, big, blue and green bag on I will noticed for blocks. Will they know It is a ukulele? I doubt it since it is pretty large and does not really have the shape of a “normal” ukulele case.

on first glance I would have to say this thing looks huge and cumbersome with the huge straps, especially so with the additional bag on it, it looks insanely big. once you get closer to the bag you can tell that it is not your usual instrument case, I could mistake  it for some kind of hiking bag with the waste straps and all the pockets.

Fit and Finish: (5) This is an expensive case, no way around that, and you really do get what you pay for in so many ways. Some will only see these cases online and not be able to see all the thought that went into it. Every zipper (all 9 of them on just the case) is super nice and hardcore. Almost everything zips out or off when it comes to the inside of the case. The straps that hold the neck down are attached, but the neck rest has Velcro on it to keep it down but it has a zipper to get to the padding if you want to mod it, also all the harder plastic type foam that makes the case somewhat rigid is also assessable by way of zippers. not sure how useful that is, but still nice that you can configure it beyond the normal case. One drawback might be when I travel to NAMM with this case and the TSA see all the crazy zippers and hiding places. should be fun.

With all the zippers, the stitching and construction is perfect. you will be hard pressed to find anything wrong with it. This thing was built to last. Also any zippers that could come in contact with the instrument are kept under a piece of stretch cotton so that it will not harm anything. It is the little things like that that show the craftsmanship in the case

One neat feature is the movable neck rest and also the movable padding. I found it great for my custom Boat Paddle, since it is such a weird shape I was able to make sure it does not move, keep stuff with it, and a humidifier next to it without it touching the wood itself.

When it comes to the truly unique thing about this case, the Fuse-On system, I find it a mixed bag. I love the fact that you can buy multiple cases and attach them together. The backpack parts of the case hideaway nicely so that it can be attached to another case. I am always carrying more than one uke (3-9 depending on the event) and having a nice package I can just put on my back is sweet. I was only sent one case and the additional backpack to test, but I may have to get another case so I can have 2 with me.

One of the parts I do not like is the backpack thing that you can also buy that attaches to these cases. It is weirdly designed and awkward to use. The way it attaches is very secure and that is what I base my assumption that another case would be awesome. The bag has 2 main compartments that are not all that deep and one, the deepest, is not accessible unless it is unattached from the case completely. Also the straps don’t seem to have as nice hiding place as the case does for its backpack straps. Don’t get me wrong, it is awesome that there is a bag that attaches to the case, and it is comfortable to wear and seems to not weigh the pack down when wearing both as a set. I filled it with a ton of books, binders, sheet music, capo, tuners, stickers, and case tags. It was very full and it was really nice having it attached to the case and just throwing the whole deal on my back. There is a bigger pack and it may be better. I have not seen one.

The other thing I am not a huge fan of is how much Velcro is on the sides. I wish they would have just used clips for the Fuse-on stuff. It leaves this weird, long, stabby Velcro thing on the edges and I think it looks weird, and I also trust clips more than I would the way that they attach the bag. It seemed really secure, but I am not fan.

One last note about the case and the additional pack. even without a full frame (Like a hiking pack) this is super comfortable and configured to be worn for a long haul.

Smell: (New Shoes) Weird I know, but it reminds me a little of new shoes like the ones at target or Wal-Mart. Not overpowering,

Final Thoughts

people go gaga over the Reunion Blues cases since they are soft sided and all that jazz, and they are $115, spend a little more and you get a lot more, in my opinion. Over all this case seems like it is a bit over kill and crazy big, but if you love your ukulele and want to protect it, but not have some heavier case, then this thing plain rocks. Sure it is a little over the top, but it is a limited edition case, it is meant to be special and not like the others. I thought at first it was a waste of money, but I get it now. Sure I look like a weirdo with a reflective/lime green/navy case with a backpack attached to it (I play ukulele, I am use to it), but it is really nice and worth the money. Just know that these are not a permanent thing in the catalog for Fusion. they choose a new instrument to do this to every year. They will only be available for a limited time before they move on, and that is it. I am happy to say that it is permanent home for my Boat Paddle.

Please know that this is not the end of the review. After NAMM I will edit this with how it did, and if it is one carry-on or two.

All Rating on a scale of 1-5
Click here for an explanation of reviews

First Look 4
Fit and Finish 5
Smell New Shoes

Places to buy on the web:

Elderly $135 for the case
Elderly $80 for the bigger pack

Gallery:

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10 thoughts on “Fusion F1 Soprano/Concert Ukulele Limited Edition 2011 Full Review

  1. I’m interested based on your review, but I think my 1976 custom “ukelute” (lute-ukulele) is probably too large for even this huge case. It’s a tad over 11″ at its widest and 25″ in total length: looks a bit like an A-style mandolin from a distance. Still, I’ll check out the specs carefully. Many thanx for the comprehensive review.

  2. Patrick Boyer says:

    It looks wonderful, however I’ve never thought about going hiking with my ukulele. I’ll stick with the hardshells and leave this one for the outdoorsmen.

  3. Great advice, it really made me think. Thanks!

  4. Anne Tan says:

    I just bought this bag and I love it. The concept is great and I intend to use it for my upcoming Boat Paddle uke. However, for travelling purpose I prefer Mono because Mono is less bulky and is waterproof and I believe is safe for nitrocellulose finishes (Jerry from Boat Paddle used to recommend it and he uses nitro finishes). Fusion on the other hand is only water-resistant and not waterproof. You have to buy a separate rain cover to protect it from heavy rains. They also could not provide a firm confirmation on whether the interior is safe for nitro finishes. All they could state was that so far, no one complained about their bags ruining the finishes.

  5. […] while back I did a review of the Fusion F-1 case, the direct competitor of the Reunion Blues cases, at least in my opinion they […]

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  9. dennis wells says:

    have a fusion concert bag and really love it – looking for the tenor but can only find one place in all the NA continent that will get them in – the best uke case I have ever owned

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