A Guide to Guitar Cases
Choosing the Right Guitar Case for You
Whether you have just spent a hundred or several thousand dollars on a guitar, there are few better investments you can make than a guitar case. Even if you are not a traveling musician, a case will protect your guitar against the elements and minimize damage to your instrument. Of course, if you ARE a gigging musician, a guitar case is a must. Most new guitars come with a case as part of the package. This case may be perfect for your needs, and you won’t have to look any further. But there are several types of cases, and you may decide that a different type will better suit your needs. Here is a brief review.
The Gig Bag
Most guitars sold today include a gig bag. These are durable nylon cases that are light and easy to use. They generally have handles and/or a strap that allow you to carry your axe on your back. Depending on the brand and model, they include a certain amount of padding for your comfort and the protection of your guitar. They also have compartments for picks, extra strings and other accessories. If you need a case, gig bags are very inexpensive and widely available. While these are comfortable and make it easy to transport your guitar, they cannot protect your guitar against severe damage. Gig bags are best for in-home use and light travel.
If you are looking for a slightly higher level of protection against damage to your instrument, consider getting a chipboard guitar case. It is a harder case in the shape of your guitar, generally made of heavy cardboard with a leatherette finish. Like gig bags, they are relatively inexpensive. They are also lighter than hard shell cases. The drawback to these cases is that they are not as rugged and durable as they may appear to be. It is good for light local gigging where your guitar is not likely to be tossed around or stacked with other equipment.
Hard Shell Cases
For the ultimate in protection and beauty, a hard shell case is unbeatable. These are often included with higher-end guitars, particularly ones with custom shapes. These are made from laminate wood or polypropylene and have rugged outer housings which stand up to abuse. These are both considerably heavier than the chipboard used in cheaper hard cases, and they are also infinitely more durable. This is the case to use if you tour frequently or if you are the kind of person who tends to bang your guitar around a lot. (No shame there, you’re not alone.) They are, of course, perfectly suitable for home storage as well. Not only are they extra durable, most of them are quite attractive and in some cases can even be customized to order.
As with the other types of guitar cases, there is a flip side to the benefits. With the added durability is a proportionate increase in weight. Another thing to consider: because of the type and quality of materials used in the manufacture of these cases, they are also considerably more expensive than their lighter counterparts. When looking for a guitar case, consider your needs and check with your local guitar dealer to find the perfect case.