April 09, 2015
Guitar Cases: A Complete Guide
While some guitars already come with a hard guitar case, there are plenty that don’t. If your child’s guitar is used, rented, or came with a broken or damaged case, the right hard guitar case can mean the difference between your child playing the next show or being stuck last-minute without a working instrument. From lugging the guitar to practices, recitals, and back home again, you’ll need a guitar case that will protect your child’s guitar from bumps, bangs, and the environment. From gig bags to hard cases, here are a few things you should look out for when purchasing a case for your guitar.
Hard vs. Soft
In most cases, there are three types of cases to choose from: hard, soft, and flight cases. Since your child likely won’t be traveling across the world with their guitar, you’ll have to choose between a hard or soft case, also referred to as a gig bag. While gig bags are perfectly acceptable for short trips across town, experts almost always recommend hard cases. Although hard guitar cases are a bit more expensive than their soft counterparts, they’ll do a better job protecting your guitar from damage. And, at the end of the day, purchasing a slightly more expensive case that does a better job of protecting your guitar is more cost-effective than repeatedly repairing a guitar that’s damaged by a soft gig bag. Although a hard case can be more difficult to handle, it’ll protect your guitar from high-impact accidents and rough handling. But, as always, you should choose a case that best matches the needs of your child. If your child only transports the guitar to and from lessons, a soft guitar case should suffice.
If you decided to purchase a soft guitar case, there are a few things to pay attention to. Typically made of a lightweight material, such as nylon, a soft guitar case should include plenty of padding for extra protection. One benefit of soft guitar cases, in addition to their lower cost, is the storage space. Many gig bags have zippered pockets to store things like picks, strings, and cleaning cloths. When shopping for a gig bag, look out for detachable shoulder straps, sturdy handles, soft interiors, and a hook for hanging. Avoid purchasing a soft guitar case that doesn’t have much padding and be sure to purchase one that fits your guitar snugly, as too much wiggle room can increase the probability of a damaged instrument.
Hard Guitar Cases
Since they offer the ultimate in protection from bumps, drops, and rapid changes in temperature and humidity, hard guitar cases are often favored by professionals and amateurs alike. While the storage may be limited, they’re the best choice for most guitar players- especially those who have spent a good amount on their guitar. The obvious advantages have already been listed, but there are a few not-so-obvious advantages to hard guitar cases, including travel and climate protection. Extremely dry or humid climates are your guitar’s worse enemy and, in most cases, a hard guitar case will offer protection. Note: if you live in an excessively dry climate, consider purchasing a guitar humidifier- it’ll offer further protection from cracks and damage. Other things to keep an eye out for include sturdy latches and hinges, storage compartments under the neck, soft interiors, and a comfortable handle.
Flight Bags & Hybrid Cases
While soft and hard cases are suitable for most modes of transportation, they are by no means appropriate for air travel. In fact, most airlines will refuse to check-in an instrument that’s not in an approved flight case. If your child plans on taking their guitar on airplanes, you should invest in a case that’s appropriate for air travel. These types of cases have heavy-duty internal padding and feature reinforced metal corners. Finally, a hybrid case is essentially a combination of a hard and soft case. It features the best parts of both cases, including durable exterior material and protective internal shells.
Find the Right Size
Once you’ve decided between a hard or soft case, the next thing to think about is size. Buyers need to make sure they’re purchasing the right size guitar case, as an ill-fitting case may cause unnecessary damage to the guitar. While measuring the guitar is the best way to determine its size, some manufacturers, like Fender and Gibsons, manufacture cases that are built specifically to match the dimensions of their guitars. Some case manufacturers’ dimensions vary from each other, so it’s always a good idea to contact the manufacturer directly about their measurements. If you’re purchasing a case in-store, take your guitar with you to make sure the guitar snugly fits into the case. It’s important to remember that electric and acoustic guitars are different sizes, so make sure to purchase a case that’s “made” for your type of guitar.
Benefits of a Guitar Case
Aside from protecting the guitar during transit, a guitar case can help keep your guitar clean and is a great place to store your guitar in both the short and long-term. Many musicians will carry their guitar to and from practices and performances, and keeping it in a guitar case during transit will ensure it won’t get scratched or damaged during the process. Another reason to keep a guitar in its case when it’s not being used is to prevent the accumulation of dust. While cleaning your guitar with a cleansing cloth will suffice, it’s best to avoid the accumulation of dust, if possible. Finally, guitar cases, especially hard ones, are the perfect place to store your guitar. Whether it’s in your closet for a few months or a storage unit for a year, a guitar case will keep mold and dust away, while protecting the guitar from damage. For extra protection, purchase a guitar case with a lock.
A guitar can be an expensive purchase, which is why finding an affordable and durable guitar case is so important. That’s why many parents turn to Music & Arts. With over 130 stores across 23 states and over 50,000 products on our website, you’ll find one of the largest selections of gear, accessories, and instruments on our website. If you aren’t sure about the size or type of guitar case you need, contact us and we’ll be happy to answer any of your questions. With one of the largest product offerings in the world, we offer educator-approved band instruments and accessories, including hard and soft guitar cases, from some of the most-trusted brands in the industry.
Need a guitar, too? Check out our Electric Guitar Buying Guide.