10 Best Guitar Cases & Gig Bags: Check It Before You Wreck It
By Mason Hoberg
So you’ve finally got the axe of your dreams. You did your research (maybe you even used some of our guides, and if you didn’t you should from now on!), pined after it for a few months, then finally pulled the trigger. Now you need to know how to keep the guitar of your dreams safe. If you’re unsure how to choose the best guitar case you’ve come to right place! This article will give you all the information that you need to make an informed purchase, as will as give you great options to protect your guitar that you’ll be sure to love.
- Guitar Case 101
- What Should I Look For In A Guitar Case or Gig Bag
- How Much Should I Spend?
- How Did We Select Our Guitar Case Recommendations?
- Top 5 Hardshell Guitar Cases
- Top 5 Gig Bags
Guitar Case 101
Just in case you are not already aware, a guitar case is a hard case with foam inserts on the inside that helps keep your guitar safe from both drops/blows as well as changes in temperature or humidity.
Most guitar players start off with a gig bag. A gig bag is typically made out of foam and a durable fabric like ballistic nylon. It’ll keep your guitar from getting scratched as your carrying it to and from different locations and is typically lighter than a hardshell case and can sometimes carry more given that the pockets have more given than a molded case.
Always walk with your case so that the lid or zipper is facing in towards your body. This way, if the case opens unexpectedly, you're less likely to drop the guitar since the lid will hit your body rather than just fly open. The latches on your guitar case are probably never going to pop open, but it does happen once in a blue moon. It’s such an easy habit to get into that there’s really no reason not to do it. And who knows, it might just happen to you.
What Should I Look For In A Guitar Case or Gig Bag?
First off, a good guitar case should be heavy. There’s not really an exact weight requirement, but you should feel a bit of heft when you pick one up. Ideally your case should feel like it’s made of solid wood, even though it’s probably going to be made of a laminate. If it feels flimsy or overly light odds are it’s not going to be able to stand up to the strain of being used regularly by a touring musician.
It’s also a good idea to spring for a case with a rubber seal. While this is generally done to prevent water from entering the case, it also helps insulate your guitar from changes in temperature and/or humidity.
Quick and drastic changes in temperature or humidity can have an incredibly destructive effect on any instrument, though it’s generally more common for acoustics. Changes in temperature or humidity can cause structural damage like cracks or warping. They can also wreak havoc on your setup, throwing your action (how far your strings are from the neck) or intonation (how in tune fretted notes are on your instrument) out of whack.
How Much Should I Spend?
If you’re just dragging your guitar to and from the occasional gig or practice you’re going to be fine if you spending less on an option that is less durable and more portable. So long as you’re generally staying around your home town, and you don’t travel by plane, you don’t really have to get a top of the line case.
However, if you have a $3,000 guitar that you’re gigging with you might as well invest in a good case; even if you don’t strictly have to. Accidents do happen. A clumsy (or slight intoxicated) band mate might drop something on your case, a guitar might end up tumbling out of a poorly packed van, and it’s not unheard of for a guitar case’s latches to pop open at a bad time if they weren’t installed well at the factory.
None of these things are a guaranteed to happen, but they might. In our opinion it’s definitely worth it to get a high quality case if you happen to have a guitar that’s worth more than the average mortgage payment.
How Did We Select Our Guitar Case Recommendations?
As always, our recommendations are aimed at providing everyone reading this with a viable option. While we recognize that a an expensive TSA approved guitar case is going to be miles better than just about anything else on the market, we also know that everyone has a different set of circumstances and budgets. If someone can’t afford a $400 guitar case it doesn’t matter how much better it is. So keep in mind that the best option for you may not be the best option for your neighbors, and vice versa. Here, we present different options for every price point that are respected and well regarded to protect your guitar.
The Top Five Hardshell Guitar Cases
ChromaCast CC-EHC Electric Guitar Hard Case
A great case to check out if you’re on the hunt for a great bargain is the ChromaCast CC-EHC Electric Guitar Hard Case. The most notable feature of this case is the interior pocket for accessories. While this is a relatively common feature, until you’ve used a case without an interior pocket you can’t imagine how important of an inclusion this is. It allows you to keep emergency supplies at the ready while you’re gigging, keep all of your picks and tuner(s) together, and give you another spot to stash extra 9volt batteries. It really is a godsend, and if you plan on playing literally anywhere but you’re room you should make sure that whatever case you decide to purchase includes this feature.
Though the interior storage space is one of the most important inclusions, there are a host of other great features included in this case. The chrome latches are inarguably sturdy, and because they’re chrome they definitely add an amount of visual appeal to the case. There’s also a molded handle, which is going to save you a lot of strain should you need to carry your guitar for any significant distance. There plush interior comes with extra bridge and neck padding, which is a definite plus for more delicate instruments and/or those that will be transported in less than ideal situations (like in the back of a van loaded with amps and other instruments). Just as importantly, the case has bumpers on the bottoms and sides in order to reduce the amount of strain that your instrument will be subjected to should it happen to be dropped or knocked against a hard surface.
Lastly, the dimensions of the case are as follows: the length of the case is 41.5”, the upper and lower bouts are 14”, and the case is 3” deep. Note: these are the interior dimensions, so should your instrument measure below all of the lengths given above it will most likely fit. One aspect to highlight of this case is how well most Strat and Telecaster style guitars fit. This is an important thing to note, as some budget cases don’t quite nail the dimensions required for the more popular body styles so the guitar have a tendency to either not fit snugly or be much too tight.
Considering the price of the case you really can’t go wrong with this product unless you’re going to be gigging constantly and/or going on an extensive tour. Though the ChromaCast CC-EHC Electric Guitar Hard Case may be a budget option, it is suitable for the needs of most musicians and a great value. So long as you take an appropriate amount of care this case will both protect your instrument and hold up to consistent travel.
TKL 7825 LP Style Electric Guitar Case
TKL Product Corporation (generally known as just TKL) was founded in 1984 by Tom and Donna Dougherty. The company was founded with the intent of providing domestic and international retailers with a high-quality yet affordable option for soft gig bags and hardshell instrument cases.
The company actually started in a 640 sq ft. section of a building in Farmindale, New York. Though the company had relatively humble roots it’s gone on to grow, becoming one of the most pervasive manufacturers of instrument cases in the world. The company has also maintained a dedication to flexibility in all parts of its manufacturing process, which has helped make it flexible enough to meet the needs of a diverse body of musicians.
The first thing to note about this case is that every feature in it is designed by TKL. While this is neither a good nor bad thing (derivative cases tend to be over priced considering the lack of innovation, and proprietary designs can make quick fixes difficult) it does mean that there may be a few differences between this case and other models. So be sure to check the dimensions below to ensure a good fit.
TKL utilizes Durahyde as opposed to tolex in this case, which shouldn’t make much of a difference all things considered. Both materials are durable and resistant to changes in temperature and humidity (within reason of course), so there’s no problem here.
The case also features a molded handle and providence forge steel-plated hardware. The designation steel plated likely means that the hardware is made of a cheaper metal and then coated with more durable (and attractive steel). However, so long as you’re using the case reasonably you shouldn’t experience any issues (this is also reflected in the majority of user reviews across different platforms).
The case bills itself as having a contoured, thickly padded soft plush interior, though without further specifications it’s hard to comment on this aspect. Though because it’s not a highlighted issue in reviews we would assume that it’s appropriate for a case of this price. TKL also included a traditional neck support system, which is a great inclusion considering this case is meant for LP style guitars, which are fragile around the neck.
Lastly, the dimensions. The case is 41.000” long with a 9.500” upper bout. The lower bout is 13.000” while the waist (the space between the two bouts) is 8.500”. The depth is 3.250”.
The company also states that they have a limited lifetime warranty, though we could not find the relevant terms listed on the website. The warranty likely states that the case is guaranteed to be free from manufacturer error, though as with any warranty user modification or damage resulting from improper use likely isn’t covered.
The TKL 7825 LP Style Electric Guitar Case is a case that combines quality with affordability. Though it may be lacking the features found in high-end cases (such as gasket seals or fiberglass construction) it will protect your guitar to a degree suitable for non-air travel.
SKB FS6 Molded Electric Guitar Case
The SKB Corporation was founded in 1977 by co-founders Dave Sanderson and Steve Kottman. The company got its start by producing guitar cases in their small garage in Anaheim, California. Their dedication and initiative paid off in spades, as the company has gone on to become one of the most prolific producers of molded polymer transport cases in the world.
Though the company did get their start focusing exclusively on cases for musical instruments they’ve actually developed cases for a wide variety of industries. Some of the most notable examples include: the aforementioned musical instrument cases, military applications (a wide variety of different devices and pieces of equipment), pro-audio equipment, industrial and medical applications, sports equipment, and electronics.
The company owes their success to their uncompromising commitment to quality and an unsurpassed level of durability, and the SKB FS6 Molded Electric Guitar Case is no exception.
SKB isn’t entirely clear about the materials utilized in their cases, which is fair enough all things considered. However, what details they do give (and the widespread use of the company’s products) point towards the materials being appropriate for their needs. The company states that the outer shell of their cases are made from a polymer, which is a substance that has a molecular structure made of a large number of interlocking molecules. Think of polymers like a brick wall. The chemical structure of most of these materials give them an enhanced level of durability because of the interlocking structure, which bolsters the strength of the material. Polymers are used in a wide variety of everyday applications, such as in plastics and resins.
The SKB FS6 also complies with TSA standards through use of the TSA recognized and accepted locking center latch. Even better, structurally the features of this case help to reduce the chances of your instrument during travel. The heavy duty polymer construction helps to reduce shock to your instrument in the event that it should be dropped or thrown around during transit, and the rigid EPS foam interior helps to keep the finish of your instrument from being marred during travel.
The case also features full length neck support, which is a huge asset for vintage instruments. The neck is arguably the most delicate part of your guitar because it’s under so much tension relative to its strength and thickness. So by having a high (when compared to similar products) level of padding along the neck it helps to reduce the amount of strain on your neck.
Though it’s not going to do much for your guitar itself, the inclusion of a trigger release latching system was also a nice touch. It helps to make opening and closing your case a bit easier, which will definitely come in handy should you need to quickly remove your instrument from its case.
The case has an interior length of 39.25”, with an interior depth of 2.75” (this is including the foam). The interior lower bout is 12.75” while the upper bout is 11.25”. So long as your guitar is roughly this size you should get a good fit. This model is aimed at Fender style Stratocaster and Telecasters, so if you don’t play either of these two models (or one of their derivatives), be sure to double check the dimensions of your guitar.
Every SKB case is guaranteed to be free from manufacturer defects for the life of the case. So should your case or any of its components break SKB will send you either a full replacement or replacement parts at no cost. However, this does not include user modification.
The SKB FS6 Molded Electric Guitar Case provides an impressive amount of durability for its price point. While there are similar options available there’s nothing lacking in this case whatsoever. It’s also very reasonably priced considering its features.
Gator ATA Guitar Case
Founded in 2000 by Jerry Freed and his daughter Crystal Morris in Tampa, Florida, Gator Cases is an excellent example of a grass roots success. Originally the company only offered a very limited selection of molded plastic guitar cases, and in the following years they’ve gone on to produce more than 1000 different products. The materials in use by the company are also incredibly diverse, included but not limited to: vacuum-formed plastics, rotational-molded plastics, wood, and EVA materials. The company also believes in supporting the its country’s economy and in 2008 founded the Protechtor line of cases. This division of the company focuses on on-shore manufacturing, which helps to bolster employment in the plant’s native town of Ft. Wayne, Indiana.
Not content with simply offering cases, the company has also dipped it’s toes into a variety of different services. Two of the most notable examples are Gator’s move to producing a variety of stands and cases for live sound purposes and acquiring Viking Cases. Viking Cases was among the first companies to produce a case suitable for air-travel, and after acquiring the company Gator went on to produce their own line of innovative and incredibly durable guitar cases.
Considering the company’s history, and its massive footprint on the industry, it’s no surprise that the Gator ATA Guitar Case provides an excellent value for the musician on the hunt for a case worthy of protecting their instrument.
The first thing you need to know about this case is that it’s intended to fit Fender-style solid-body instruments, such as the Stratocaster or Telecaster. Derivatives of these two designs will also most likely fit into the case, though be sure to double check the dimensions of the case before you pull the trigger.
The material utilized in the case is also rather interesting. Rather than your standard combination of tolex and laminated wood, the ATA case actually utilizes a molded military grade polyethylene outer-shell. The main benefit of this material is that it’s incredibly durable and shock resistant, though it does raise the overall price of the case.
Another important thing to note is that this case is meant to meet all of the standards of the ATA (as designated by the name). Essentially, this means that the case is intended to be easy to travel with on a plane. For example, the case has a TSA approved locking center latch. It also meets length, width, and depth requirements. While this isn’t going to benefit the majority of musicians, it is a nice inclusion.
The handle is billed as an ergo-grip injection molded handle, which is a fancy way of saying that it’s made of a synthetic material made to easily fit into your hand. The grip is also textured, which helps to ensure that it won’t slip from your grasp. While some cases are praised for having leather handles, synthetic options are generally more affordable and more durable over time. However, personal preferences are going to vary on this aspect.
The various online storefronts for the case don’tt state that it has increased padding in the neck and bridge areas, though they do say that there is a molded interior cradle. This is likely meant to imply the same thing, as it’s hard to imagine that Gator would go to all the trouble of producing a ATA approved case and then skimp on properly padding the case.
There are elements of the Gator design that can be controversial to some buyers. For one, the case isn’t literally fit all. If you have a non-traditional tremolo arm (such as a Bigsby or a Floyd Rose) your guitar may not fit into the case perfectly. However, this issue also can easily be avoided if you check the dimensions of the case against your instrument.
The Gator ATA Guitar Case provides a durable product at a very affordable price relative to its features, just be sure to check the dimensions of your instrument against those of the case.
Anvil Solidbody Electric Guitar Case
If you play an expensive instrument, it makes sense that you’d want to protect it with the best case that you can afford. Aside from being a hefty investment, instruments are more than tools. We spend so much time with our instruments that they become almost like an extension of ourselves. Rather than just being chunks of wood and metal, they become something greater. That’s why guitars are passed through families like precious heirlooms. They’re as close to a person as any inanimate object can be, so it’s worth it to make sure they stay in good condition.
While spending more than $400 on a case may seem a bit excessive, if you’re consistently traveling it’s a worthwhile expense. High-tier cases offer an unparalleled amount of protection, which you’re going to want if you’re a touring musician or you’re consistently flying with your guitar.
Thankfully for musicians everywhere, Anvil caters to the market exclusively. Every case they make is manufactured in the United States, and they all feature a wide variety of components that work to make some of the most durable and protective instrument cases in the world.
Another distinctive feature of these cases is that Anvil uses environmentally minded production techniques. Every case is 100% recyclable, which is a nice addition to the product if you’re worried about climate change or landfill overuse (we’re not establishing or dismissing anyone’s views, we’re just saying that it’s a feature that some of you may appreciate).
The case is made from an ABS/Laminate, which while not quite as durable as fiberglass or carbon fiber well still be more than up to the task of protecting your instrument. The ABS is also measures ¼” thick, which strengthens the case without making it so heavy it becomes difficult to use. The case is available in a variety of colors (the exterior and plush are both available in different colors) though every case in this line is made from plywood.
The case also features a molded interior to fit different styles of solidbody electric guitars, which helps to prevent your instrument from sliding around in the case during transport. There’s also additional padding on the neck, headstock, and bridge areas. This helps to reduce strain on the most vulnerable parts of your instrument. There are different models available for every notable guitar shape, so whether you’re rocking a Fender or a Steinberger you’re still going to find a case that will work for your needs. The maximum interior dimensions are 38.5” length, 12.75” width, and 3.5” depth. If you happen to have an instrument with a longer than average scale length you may need to find a different case. Should you need to purchase a specialty case Anvil does have custom models available, but you will most likely have to call them to discuss your options.
Anvil cases are intended for musicians with very expensive instruments, so their built to a level of quality that is unparalleled by the vast majority of instrument case manufacturers. Their cases actually exceed the mandatory minimums of the Air Transportation Association, which makes traveling with the case a breeze.
The case also features tongue in groove valances, tapered aluminum edging, and steel reinforced leather grip handles. This case is built like a bank vault, so you’re never going to have to worry about your guitar being damage when you use it. It’s made from some of the strongest materials commercially available, and Anvil has a great track record (the company has been around since 1952) for providing incredibly high-quality cases.
Anvil cases do require a high initial investment, but at the end of the day if you’re playing an irreplaceable (or very expensive) instrument the peace of mind that you’re going to get from owning this case is going to outweigh its cost.
The Top Five Gig Bags
Reunion Blues Continental Gig Bag
Founded in 1976, Reunion Blues has arguably become one of the premier manufacturers of gig bags in the world. The company offers an incredibly extensive selection of products, spanning more than 90 different models of instrument cases. The company produces cases for fretted, brass, woodwind, stringed, and percussion instruments. Reunion Blues also offers gig bags and a variety of instrument stands.
Reunion Blues also have an exceptional dedication to quality. Every Reunion Blues case is crafted utilizing high-quality materials, high-performance fabrics, cases and bags that utilize full-grain leathers (which is just as expensive as it is durable), as well as industrial strength hardware.
Reunion Blues cases and gig bags have been heavily utilized by Buddy Guy, one of the most venerated blues musicians ever. Guy influenced Jimmy Hendrix, Eric Clapton, and Jeff Beck. Duff McKagan’s guitarist Mike Squires has is another notable user of the company’s products.
The Reunion Blues Continental Gig Bag is a worthy addition to the company’s products, and it offers a host of innovative products that any musician will surely appreciate.
The first thing to note about this case is that there are five variants available. These include: an elect bass guitar case, a semi-hollow guitar case, an acoustic guitar case, a classical guitar case, and an electric guitar case. All of these variations have the same features, it’s just the overall dimensions that change from model to model.
Stability is the most emphasize feature of this case. The gig bag features a neck brace suspension system, which utilizes a locking security strap to keep your instrument from shifting during transport. The case also has interior protector pads at both the headstock and endpin, which works to reduce strain on these vulnerable areas in the event that your case experiences any shock.
The case includes a EVA-reinforced laptop compatible multi-pocket, which is more than large enough to store the majority of your accessories. We wouldn’t recommend putting pedals in it of course, but things like a laptop, a binder full of sheet music, a tuner, and spare strings or picks would fit in there with plenty of room to spare. There’s also a rubberized headstock pocket.
The exterior of the case is made from a material called Quadraweave, which is a proprietary fabric utilized in the cases. The rigid portion of the case is made from high-density foam and EVA impact panels (this combination is denoted as a Flexoskeleton protection system). Reportedly the combination of these two materials were able to protect a guitar during a 40 feet drop, which is a pretty substantial amount of stress. The interior of the case is made from velvet, which prevents your guitar from being scuffed while it’s in the case. The case also features an innovative handle, which uses a foam core and a knurled abrasion grid to help distribute the weight of your instrument while allowing you to maintain a firm grip.
This case weighs in at 9 pounds, which while that’s a bit hefty for a gig bag it is still light enough to easily carry in the vast majority of situations.
The general opinion of this bag is that it combines the best features of a hardshell case and a gig bag. The case is definitely rigid, but it’s still light and very maneuverable. This is great if you travel via plane consistently, or you find yourself traveling in cramped vehicles on your way to and from gigs and/or band practice.
Another important thing to note is that though the case is relatively heavy for a product that calls itself a gig bag it is ergonomically weighted, which makes it feel much lighter than cases of a similar weight.
The Reunion Blues Continental Gig Bag may be more expensive than other products available, but it’s arguably the best in the business at fulfilling its purpose.
Levy's Leathers LM20 Deluxe Guitar Bag
Founded in the early 70s in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Levy’s Leathers has and always will be a company dedicated to pursuing a passion. Like many other instrument and/or instrument accessory manufacturers (Drum Workshop springs to mind as a notable example) Levy’s Leathers was founded as a labor of love rather than being established purely for profit.
When Levy first began selling handcrafters leather goods (belts, watchbands, gun slings, and guitar straps) he was just a young man. It wasn’t until he met his wife (Cheryl Clarke) that he decided to invest his life savings into his ambition. This was the true start of the Levy’s Leathers that we know today, as after the investment the company was able to produce products on a previously unimaginable scale.
The company evolved again when Harvey Levy joined its ranks in 1979. Harvey was a lifelong guitar player, and with his expertise the company was able to start producing the guitar straps that would go on to secure their place as one of the most notable manufacturers of guitar straps in North America. They’ve also gone on to experience success on a world wide scale as well, with the straps being sold in more than 80 countries in the world (this also includes major markets, like Europe and China).
And though the company may have made their name on their handcrafted guitar straps, they’ve actually produce a relatively wide range of guitar related products over the years. A notable example of this is the Levy’s Leathers LM20 Deluxe Guitar Bag.
So first off; is this bag necessary? Definitely not. Is it awesome? Yes. This gig bag fills a really specific niche, because most players would rather use a hardshell case as opposed to an expensive (yet equally durable) gig bag.
The main appeal of this gig bag is that it’s smaller than a hardshell case so you’re more likely to be able to fit it into an overhead compartment on an airplane. The case offers just as much protection as your standard hardshell case (though obviously not as much as those made from fiberglass, or those that feature a rubber gasket) so it really does offer a good option for this situation.
The inside dimensions of the bag are 45 inches long, 18 inches wide at the lower bout, and 5 ½ inches deep. Some users say that this case doesn’t fit smaller bodied guitars (the listed examples is a Martin 000-28, the next size down from your standard dreadnought) so if you play a smaller instrument be sure to double check the dimensions of your instrument against the dimensions above.
The bag features 1 inch of foam padding, which is covered by a plush lining. The lining also features bridge and string protectors, which help to absorb shock that your guitar may experience while traveling. The guitar also features a saddle style pocket as well as twin shoulder straps. Lastly, the case is available in a black finish, a tan finish, as well as a dark brown finish.
This product does not have a good score on Amazon as of writing, though none of the reviews call the quality of the product into doubt. One reviewer gave the bag a three star review because it didn’t open flat, and another gave it a two star review because he/she did not take the time to measure their guitar against the mentioned dimensions. These both fall under operator error as far as we’re concerned, because all relevant information concerning the case is clearly listed on every online retailer that carries the case.
This is a well-made leather product (likely top-grain leather, as opposed to full-grain leather which is generally cost prohibitive and difficult to work with) so it is expensive. However, relative to the price you do receive an adequate level of quality. It’s going to be a gig bag that’s going to last as long as you choose to use it, and because of its slimmer size it offers a lot of utility to musicians who often find themselves traveling in cramped quarters.
The Levy’s Leathers LM20 Deluxe Guitar Bag offers a great value to the musician who is able to afford one, though for many situations there would be cheaper options available.
ChromaCast 6-Pocket Padded Gig Bag
There are some companies that are ubiquitous. They produce such a wide variety of products that just about every musician owns something that the company had a hand in (or at the very least they know someone who owns a product from the company). Generally, these companies focus their efforts on budget minded alternatives so they get a lot of derision from the community.
When you actually take the time to think about this phenomenon you realize how unfair it really is. The majority of musicians can’t afford top quality gear when they’re first starting out, so if these budget options weren’t available odds are there wouldn’t be nearly as many guitar players around.
A notable example of this is ChromaCast, who has produced one of the most diverse range of music accessories the world has ever seen. They’ve made everything from picks to hardshell cases, and for the price they truly can’t be beat. The ChromaCast 6-Pocket Padded Gig Bag is no exception to this trend, and offers an exceptional value to musicians on a budget.
The first thing that you should know about this gig bag is that there are currently seven different models available, all of which have different dimensions. The easiest thing to do here is to go to the Amazon storefront for the page and select the case closest to your instrument. The cases available are as follows: 3/4th size acoustic, standard acoustic guitar (modeled after a dreadnought shape), acoustic jumbo, acoustic mini jumbo, bass guitar, electric guitar, and the “extreme” shape (this is a long isosceles triangle shape, which is able to hold uniquely shaped instruments).
Another thing to note about this case is that it doesn’t have six distinct pockets. Rather, the three main pockets have three smaller pockets inside them (both of which zip up). This is actually a more useful option as players have a wide variety of differently shaped pockets available, none of which cause the gig bag to become unwieldly or uncomfortable to carry.
There are a few features of this gig bag which are consistent between the different models. Each model does come with six pockets of course, but they all also come with two shoulder straps (this is going to save you more strain than you could ever imagine if you’re consistently traveling), two handles, 10mm padding, and a rubber base bumper. All of these features are impressive inclusions for the price point, which is likely why this case has become one of the most popular options in its price tier.
Currently this product has been reviewed more than 1,000 times on Amazon, and it’s still managed to maintain a 4.1 out of 5-star rating. For products which have become this widely dispersed this is incredibly impressive, because as a general rule when people are protected by the anonymity of the internet they have a tendency to be a tad bit cruel in regards to a product’s flaws. For a relevant example, see literally any forum ever. If you’re still not convinced, check out YouTube’s comment section.
Regardless, more than half of the gig bags reviews were a 5-star rating. This is really good for a cheaper product, because most budget minded musical accessories will receive a majority of 4-star reviews. The glowing reception of this case proves that for its price it’s one of the best options you can find (provided on where you buy it of course, some retailers may charge more than Amazon).
A word of warning to those of you reading this is that while the affordability of a gig bag can be attractive when you’re short on cash, it well not protect an instrument as well as a hardshell case. This is especially true with acoustic instruments, which are considerably more fragile than their electric counterparts. So if you find yourself gigging or traveling back and forth from practice sessions a gig bag may not be the best choice for your situation.
The ChromaCast 6-Pocket Padded Gig Bag presents a great value to the musician on a budget, and while it may not be the best option for consistent travel it will hold up to occasional band practices or trips to a music teacher.
Gator GBE-DREAD Acoustic Guitar Bag
Gator has had a longstanding reputation as one of the most dependable companies around when it comes to guitar cases. The cases are a mid-tier yet affordable option, and the designs utilized by the company feature a host of unique innovations. The company was actually one of the first to abandon a pure Tolex design instead of the plainer (but less prone to tearing) hard plastic surface their hardshell cases have become known for.
The company also caters to a wide variety of different needs. They have cases specially designed to travel onboard an airplane (and pass rigorous TSA examination as well, without damaging or putting your instrument at risk), water proof guitar and bass cases, pedal boards and stands, deluxe wood cases (these are more like your standard cases, but with the durability that Gator has been so widely praised for), and a wide variety of specialty cases for world and folk instruments.
Given the company’s preeminence in the marketplace, it comes as no surprise that the Gator GBE-Dread Acoustic Guitar Bag is one of the highest praised gig bags you can buy today.
The definitive feature of this gig bag is that it features a specialty design that reinforces the most vulnerable areas of your instrument; the bridge and the headstock. Stressing either (or both) of these areas can easily lead to the destruction of an instrument because they’re under the most strain when compared to the rest of the body. The reinforced design in use here allows the case to sustain more shock before it your instrument is damaged, which is definitely a plus if you consistently travel with your instrument.
The case is also made from nylon, which while that is that standard for a gig bag in this price range it is a very durable (and surprisingly versatile) material in its own right. Some gig bags utilize a more durable material, but in all reality diminishing returns set in pretty fast. It’s not that there aren’t better options than nylon, you just spend a larger amount for a pretty miniscule increase in quality.
The case features 10mm of internal padding (with extra stiffness being introduced around the headstock and the bridge, as previously stated), which is enough to protect it from moderate bumps. It’s a good option for taking a cheaper instrument to an open mic or band rehearsals, but we wouldn’t recommend it for consistent travel if you’re able to afford a hardshell case.
As with most gig bags, the Gator GBE-DREAD features an exterior front pocket for storage of music accessories. The pocket is able to fit just about anything you could expect to need with an acoustic guitar, like sheet music, music instruction books, picks, a capo, and a tuner. The pockets on gig bags are deceptively large, and if you store things in them carefully you can fit a surprising amount of stuff in them.
The Gator GBA-DREAD is intended to be used with a dreadnought guitar (as denoted by the DREAD model name). The dimensions of the case are as follows: 22-inch body length, 5.5-inch body depth, 16-inch lower bout width, and an upper bout width of 12-inches. If you have a different sized instrument there are other cases available, just make sure to check the dimensions of your instrument before you make a final decision. Believe it or not if a guitar is made by a big company odds are there’s a gig bag that’s going to fit it perfectly, the hard part is just finding it.
The Gator GBE-DREAD case is intended to be an affordable option for musicians that don’t quite yet have the means and/or desire to move up to a hardshell case. It’s intended to be an intermediary step rather than a final one; just something to get beginning musicians by until their able to upgrade to a better version of the same product.
However, with that in mind the gig bag really isn’t lacking in any way. It’s light, easy to manage, and according to literally hundreds of reviews there’s no widely reported quality concerns with the bag. In fact, it’s actually sitting at a 4.4 out of 5-star rating on Amazon, which considering that it’s been reviewed almost 500 times is pretty impressive.
The Gator GBE-DREAD Acoustic Guitar Bag is an affordable option for a beginning musician who isn’t ready to invest into a hardshell case. It does what it’s supposed to, and it’s definitely not going to break the bank.
Hola! Deluxe Padded Acoustic and Classical Guitar Gig Bag
Guitar gig bags are easily one of the most common instrument accessories in the world. Every musician has likely started with a gig bag, and while some musicians eventually go on to prefer a hardshell case a gig bag does still have a lot of utility for most musicians. It makes transporting a guitar in a low risk environment (such as the backseat of a car, or across a college campus) a much easier affair. Gig bags are significantly lighter than hardshell cases, and they’re also much easier to manipulate.
The only bad thing about gig bags is that there’s an insane variety available, which can make it hard to make a final decision. Thankfully, though the Hola! Deluxe Padded Acoustic and Classical Guitar Gig Bag is an option that will work perfectly for musicians in certain situations.
The most important thing to note about this gig bag is that it is intended for smaller bodied instruments, like a ¾ size acoustic and/or a classical guitar. If you have a standard dreadnought (or anything bigger than a parlor guitar, and even a parlor may be a stretch for this gig bag) do not buy this case. Always be sure to check dimensions before you pull the trigger on buying any case or gig bag, because while they’re all generally pretty similar they do have a few distinctive features.
This guitar is also padded on the surface of the instrument, as opposed to other cases which focus more on protecting the bridge and headstock of an instrument. This isn’t a con, it’s just a different approach. This guitar is intended to protect more against cosmetic damage, because if you’re buying this type of case it’s assumed that you’re buying a cheaper instrument. Cheaper instruments are commonly overbuilt, so they’re not as sensitive to shock and/or rapid changes in temperature and humidity. That’s not to say that your instrument’s neck will go completely unprotected, as the gig bag does feature a neck support pillow which helps to reduce strain on your instrument.
The case is made with a nylon material on the outer surface, which is both water repellent and incredibly durable. Nylon is a great material for gig bags because it has an unparalleled amount of strength for its price point, which results in a gig bag that is both very affordable and incredibly durable.
The Hola! Deluxe Padded Gig Bag has 12mm worth of padding around the entire inner surface of the gig bag. This is actually a bit thicker than the industry standard of 10mm, though it’s debatable how much of an effect it’s going to have at the end of the day. There’s also a hardy rubber bottom, which helps to reduce shock on the butt end of your instrument. Lastly, the case also features two pockets for picks, spare strings, and other accessories as well as dual adjustable shoulder straps.
The general consensus for this gig bag is that it’s an incredibly durable addition to any musician’s arsenal of equipment. The majority of the reviews are for the 41” variant of the bag, though there’s no difference between the two products except for their size (the subject of this review is 36” long).
The bag is also praised for its storage capabilities. A lot of gig bags tend to have a lot of pockets, but they don’t have any that are large enough for larger accessories. While it’s not a huge deal to have to carry a binder of sheet music or a set list separately, it is much easier to simply place all of your relevant accessories and materials in your gig bag.
Lastly, for the price this bag isn’t a bad bargain. There’s more padding than lower priced cases, which while that does mean it will require a higher investment it does result in an instrument that offers a higher level of quality.
The Hola! Deluxe Padded Acoustic and Classical Guitar Bag may be a bit more expensive than other gig bags, but it does come with enough features to justify its price.