You bought your first guitar, if it came with a gig bag lucky you, as it will prove to be handy for a beginner guitarist. However, if you do not have one, just by doing a simple google search you’ll see that there are plenty of choices when it comes to guitar cases. With lots of sizes, different types, various prices and I know that it can get confusing when you have a lot of options. That’s where I come in and clear things up so you can make an easier and a better choice regarding the issue. In this guide, I will try to help you find the best guitar cases depending on your needs, size of your guitar, budget, and the pros of having a guitar case.
A Quick Look
Online, you will find a lot of options for guitar cases, after determining what type of case you want and the size of your guitar you can safely order a case online. Based on my experience and research I chose some excellent gig bags from different types and different budgets. Based on these you will have a good idea of what kind of a gig bag you should buy.
Table of Contents
The Top 8 Best Guitar Cases & Gig Bags
8. Gator Transit
Gator’s Transit gig bag for both acoustic and electric guitars has been in the market for a while now. I’ll review the acoustic guitar model here.
This guitar case is designed to provide you amazing protection while still being lightweight and carryable like a backpack. It is a very stylish looking gig bag available in Charcoal, Tan and Light Grey. The outer shell of this bag is made with weather-resistant fabric, meaning that you don’t need to worry about the rain or other elements while commuting.
On the exterior of the Gator Transit, you will find accessory storage that is located on the front. It is pretty large and it secures via a zip and a G-Hook Buckle and Seatbelt loops, due to this you can fill it to the brim and still have your accessories secure. It has a thick rubber padding on the bottom to reduce wears and tears.
The interior of this gig bag has a 20mm foam padding with Micro-Fleece lining, and it is adjustable and removable. The interior storage dimensions are as it follows: 44-inch total length, 23-inch neck length, 21-inch body length, lower bout width of 16.5-inches and upper bout width of 13-inches.
7. Mono M80
Mono M80 is not your regular gig bag, this one offers high protection for your electric guitar while having some features that no other gig bag manufacturers have. Despite having a premium price point, I think the Mono M80 provides excellent value for its price and it is worth every single dollar.
This case is built to military specs while using only the best materials for the best resistance to wear and against the elements. The outer Sharkskin shell is fully water-resistant so you don’t need to worry about the well-being of your instrument.
On the bottom, it has a custom-molded rubber outsole that is named ‘The Boot’ that protects your instrument fully against falls. It features top-loading, so you can quickly pull your guitar out of your case and start jamming. It has a specialized storage compartment to put your gear and also protect them against the elements just like your guitar.
It has integrated ABS panels to protect without sacrificing the weight. Essentially this makes the Mono M80 a hybrid case because of its ability to deflect hard impacts.
Its interior measurements are perfect for most modern guitars so you can accommodate your instruments.
6. Gator GC Dread
The Gator GC Dread is a great hardshell acoustic guitar case that will protect your instrument at all costs, and as we know Gator always delivers high-quality guitar cases with excellent value to their price.
This guitar is constructed from ABS plastic on the outer shell and weighs just 11-pounds. That is pretty light for a hardshell guitar it has reinforced chrome-plated latches and a sturdy handle for carrying.
The Gator GC Dread is an excellent case for carrying your guitar from gig to gig while touring or even in storage. It has an excellent seal so you don’t need to worry about temperature and humidity, and it can even accommodate a humidification system to keep the humidity in check.
It can fit most dreadnought guitars as its name implies, and you have a storage space just under the neck area to store different accessories such as picks, strings or straps. It looks pretty good for an ABS plastic guitar case and it is pretty easy to carry.
Gator cases are some of the most popular and sought-after hardshell cases out there. If you asked me what cases i would use for the rest of my life, I’d definitely say gator cases.
The durability of this case is excellent, while it is not as durable as a proper flight case, from my experience I saw that this case had no significant weak points.
5. Gator GTSA
Next up, I have another Gator guitar case here. But this time around we has a proper flight case with all the advantages that come with that body type. This hard case is designed like a tank and some users have used this case for years without a scratch to their guitars.
This version here is designed to fit Fender Stratocaster and Telecaster models, but looking at its measurements I see that it can fit other models as well, but not a Gibson SG for that matter. The interior dimensions are as it follows: 39.5-inch total length, 19.25-body length, 12.75-inch lower bout width, and 12.75-inch upper bout width.
Its outer shell is made of roto-molded polyethylene that is ATA approved so you can check it in comfortably and it has TSA approved locks and has a set of two keys so you can lock it for security.
I was impressed with the attention to detail such as the ergo-grip injection molded carrying handle that was easy on the hands. On the inside, you have an EPS foam nest that has a thick plush lining with a neck cradle and two storage compartments for accessories.
4. Fender Deluxe Molded ABS
Who knows Teles and Strats better than anyone? Of course its Fender, their creator. Fender has issued a special case the Deluxe Molded ABS, that is flight-ready and it is rock solid and will protect your instrument for years, and I reckon this will be the last case you buy if you have one guitar that is.
The Fender Deluxe Molded ABS has a rectangular shape and weighs just 6.6-pounds that is amazing for a flight case as those tend to get pretty heavy. But this custom made Deluxe model is perfect.
It features military-grade ATA molded polyethylene outer shell that is simply indestructible, keeps your instrument safe, and it is even protective against elements such as humidity and temperature, plus it is water-resistant.
The inside of this guitar is built and designed for accommodating Stratocasters and Telecasters, and my Tele fits like a sleeve. The insides are made from EPS foam protective interior and that is covered with the highest quality polyester plush interior. It also has a neck cradle in there and a compartment to put your accessories in there. Hardshell cases are usually much better at protecting your gear, so i always prefer them over normal ones.
A near-perfect hardshell flight guitar case that will prove to be extremely worthy in the long-run. It definitely can be considered as one of the best hardshell cases out there.
3. SKB 62 Jaguar/Jazzmaster Hardshell Case
SKB is a well-known name in the guitar circles as they have produced excellent and well-made guitar cases through the years that buyers have sworn by them. Also, their gig bags are Fender approved, and you know how Fender is about quality.
If you have a Jaguar or a Jazzmaster, or a special edition guitar based on Kurt Cobain’s Jagmaster, this case is perfect for you. This case is military-grade as it will provide excellent protection to your guitar and it is flight ready, you Jaguar will thank you.
The outer shell of the SKB 62 Jaguar/Jazzmaster is made of a sturdy rubber-modified styrene material that is specially designed for the best durability rating. In addition to that, its edges are lined and reinforced for the best protection.
It is ATA approved, and it features TSA approved locks that are amazingly secure and allow the officers to access it for inspection without ruining your case. It is worth noting that the securing latches are made with fiberglass for extra protection and durability.
Even though this is a hard case, the insides are made with plush padded lining that will keep your Jazzmaster or Jaguar super safe so you don’t have to worry about that on your flight.
2. Levy’s Leathers LM18-BLK Deluxe
At number 2 of our best guitar cases list, we have the LM18-BLK by Levy’s. If you are anything like me, you care about style and looks, and that is not just your clothing and shoes and hair. This also includes your guitar case. For people like us, I have an excellent premium acoustic guitar case, Levy’s Leathers LM18-BLK Deluxe.
This may not be as strong as a hard case, however, nobody can deny the incredible looks of it. It has a premium price tag, but when I imagined myself pulling my Telecaster from this bag, I couldn’t resist it.
The exterior of this gig bag is made of genuine Texas tough leather and it comes in multiple colors such as Black, Brown, Burgundy, Dark Brown, and Tan. It provides excellent protection as well with leather shields protecting the headstock and the bridge. It can house all electric guitars that are 42-inches long and 17-inches wide at the lower bout and smaller than that.
It has shoulder straps so you can wear it as a backpack and they are extremely comfortable made from 100% cotton. It has a string pocket at the headstock rea to hold strings, picks or even your smartphone. Other than that it has a saddlebag pocket that is large enough to carry a laptop or a tablet comfortably.
1. Ibanez IAB541 Powerpad Acoustic
You know my affinity for Japanese guitar makers, as they always produce products with immense value. Ibanez also produces excellent guitar cases, one of those gig bags is the Ibanez IAB541 Powerpad made especially for acoustic guitars.
When I first saw its price I assumed that it was some budget model that underperforms, but this beautiful gig bag delivers big time. It provides amazing value for its price thanks to its looks, padding, and storage ability.
The Ibanez IAB541 Powerpad Acoustic is before everything extremely good looking, it has those retro-hipster vibes that many guitarists, including me, love and appreciate. It is available in multiple colors you can choose from including Beige, Wine Red, and Moss Green with brown detailing, Black with tan detailing, and Navy Blue with black detailing, all look excellent and you can’t go wrong.
It features a light but very durable shell and sports 15mm of padding at the bottom and around the sides of the case. It has four convenient storage pockets, that feature quality zippers and you can store whatever you like. It accommodates all acoustic guitars that are up to 43-inches in length.
Definitely one of the best guitar cases out there.
Types Of Guitar Cases
The first question you should ask yourself is, why do you need the case, if it will be for gigs, does it needs to be very protective, or you are just carrying it around town for short distances. Guitar cases generally come in three types you can choose from, soft, hard and flight cases. If you are not a touring musician that goes on concerts abroad than you most likely won’t need a flight bag, that leaves you with two options hard or soft.
Soft cases or most widely known as gig bags, as their name implies have soft cases that don’t offer much protection to your guitar but are pretty lightweight. They are most likely made from light materials like nylon, and generally, have little to no padding. Some of the most expensive gig bags offer about 20mm of padding and nothing more. These cases are good for storing your guitar if you are traveling on foot to gigs around town, or going to a friends house. They are good for traveling to classes and such, but if you want a case that will protect your guitar in case of accidents, you might want to look at other options. If you choose to buy a soft case or a gig bag check to see if they have backpack straps and if they are padded so you get the maximum comfort.
Hard cases are generally the number one choice for most experienced musicians and beginners alike. These are made from some sort of combination of hard materials such as wood, fiberglass, plastic or metal. Hardshell cases provide the best protection against drops and occasional bumps and even changes in temperature and humidity levels which are known to damage a guitar. I think this is the best choice for those that are a little more serious with their instruments and want them to be protected at all costs. Yes, a hard case may not be as light as a gig bag, but the pros certainly outweigh the cons. When buying a hard case be sure to check for softer and padded interiors, the weight of the case, latches and hinges, and handles.
As its name would suggest flight cases most of the times are used by professional musicians that travel abroad with their gears and have to change planes. They have been many reports that airline companies refuse to check-in instruments if they are not in an approved flight case. The main features of these cases are that these offer the best protection against bumps, drops, humidity, temperature and the general abuse other types of cases may not endure through a flight. Apart from that they feature Transport Security Agency Lock and are Air Transport Association of America certified. These cases are the best bet for musicians with expensive and delicate instruments because the cases are pricy as well.
Keep in mind that all cases and gig bags provide some kind of protection to the electric guitars & acoustic guitars, and the only difference between all cases and gig bags is usually the weight, the shape and durability.
What To Look For in A Guitar Case
After you have decided what kind of case you need and want to buy, then you have to determine the size of it. You should measure your acoustic guitar precisely and determine whether or not the case you want to buy is appropriate for your acoustic guitar. You maybe need to take more precise and other measurements if you are buying a molded case, however, for most cases, you should check the overall length, the size of the lower bout, and the size of the neck and headstock. It is really important to know the size of your acoustic guitar especially if you are ordering from the internet.
There are tons of benefits of carrying your guitar in a case, both short-term and long-term. Even a simple gig bag will be beneficial and will provide some protection against elements, or just from simple scratches or damages that may occur during transportation. I prefer to store my guitars in a case around the house or studio, to eliminate dust accumulation that can get pretty hard to clean after a while. But then again, for maximum protection, while going to a gig, concert, to a studio, it is better to choose a hard guitar case to decrease the chances of an accident.
That’s it, folks! I hope that I have done a great job of providing you a general idea as to how to choose and buy a case for your needs. Remember to determine the purpose of your case and the size of your guitar before buying.
Until next time!