Practicing or seasoned guitarists everyone aims to protect their precious instruments. It’s all about keeping the guitar safe, which brings us to the guitar case. There are also the hardest and sturdiest guitar cases for air travel and transit. The nylon-made gig bags are enough if you only carry the guitar around town. Apart from that, a few other guitar cases are available, depending on usage. Which one to buy?
So, before buying, we must look at various cases and determine which would fit the traveling lifestyle.
Basically, there are two types of guitar cases:
- Hard case
- Soft Case or Gig Bags
The outer shell of a hard case is made of a mixture of hard materials such as plastic, fiberglass, wood, and metal, or even expensive specialty materials such as carbon fiber. They’re padded, soft, and bordered with a plush fabric that won’t scratch the finish while protecting the guitar from hard impacts. It usually comes with a standard-sized interior compartment for small accessories. Some cases have an optional shoulder strap and a carrying handle; the premium ones often have luggage-style wheels for easy transportation.
These hard cases are again divided into four categories depending on build material and quality:
- Hardshell (Wooden) Guitar Cases
- Chipboard (cardboard) Guitar Cases
- Road Cases
- Molded Plastic Guitar Cases
Soft Cases (Gig Bags)
The exterior of a gig bag is typically made of nylon, polyester, leather, or a combination of those materials. They usually include at least one additional shoulder strap in addition to standard carrying handles. Many have backpack-style straps to comfortably wear the gig bag on the back, which frees up hands to do things like ride a bike. Most gig bags have at least one sizeable outer accessory pocket for cables, sheet music, straps, and other items. Rubberized reinforcements are included on the exterior surfaces of some high-end gig bags.
Gig Bag Vs Hard Case
What to buy, gig bag vs hard case, solely depends on your usage and type of player.
Gig bags are for gigs, they are lightweight and portable and usually less expensive, but they provide far less protection. Many soft cases include back straps, allowing the player to carry it on their back. On the other hand, gig bags do not provide adequate protection from moisture, impact, or temperature change. A guitar in a soft case is highly vulnerable to significant bumps and dings.
Although gig bags are usually lighter and thus easier to transport, those who want maximum protection for their instrument must choose a durable and protective hard guitar case. Hard cases can protect a guitar from hard impact, external scratches or dents, moisture, or temperature change by using wood exteriors, fiberglass, or injection molded synthetics. But then again, these hard cases are way more expensive and difficult to carry than big bags or soft cases.
Gig Bag vs Hard Case: Which case to choose
When flying with a guitar: Hard Case
While flying, the guitar may be tossed-around as airlines have made a bad reputation for handling guitars. And then, airline rules and regulations for carry-on bags are constantly changing. So now, if you are thinking of carrying a guitar on board, a lightweight gig bag will be better; you are wrong! Hard cases are a must-have while traveling by air. On top of it, getting a TSA-approved flight case is best for better protection and less hassle at airport check-ins. These cases are hard and sturdy and explicitly designed to handle the chaos of airports and aircraft.
Gig Performer: Gig Bag
Now, if there’s a gig in a nearby venue and it can be easily driven to the location. Then no need to gear up and carry the extra weight and inconvenience of the hard case. Instead, take the guitar in a soft case and drive to the place. Carrying a gig bag is best in such a situation.
For Traveling Musicians: Hard case
There is nothing to doubt for a traveler who will hit the road. The hard case is the best option. It will give as much protection as needed to move in and out of venues. And then, if clumsy mates stack their things above the guitar(!), only the hard case will keep the instrument safe.
Gig Bag vs Hard Case: Conclusion
First, figure out what type of guitar player you are and the usage of a guitar case. A hard case will serve your purpose for playing and storing at home, whereas a molded plastic case is a must-have for frequently traveling guitarists.
If you ask a seasoned musician, most of them will recommend a hard case since it protects your guitar better. Still, there are some users; for them, a gig bag is sufficient to protect and offer more convenience with better portability. As a user, you should decide which type will fit your cause.
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