Congratulations on your brand new guitar! Or maybe you just have an old, broken case on your hands. Either way, you’re on the hunt for a new acoustic guitar case, and you don’t know where to start. And we don’t blame you! There are hundreds of options ranging from $10 to over $500, and when you’re relying on this case to protect your baby, of course you want to ensure you’re making the right choice.
In this guide, you’ll learn how to choose the right acoustic guitar case for you by figuring out how you’ll be using it. Then, if you find that you’re still a bit stuck, we’ve also got a list of our ten favorites to help you start your search. So what are you waiting for? Let’s rock and roll.
How to Choose an Acoustic Guitar Case – Buying Guide
Choosing a guitar case can be nervewracking. Here are a few tips to help you figure it out.
The Type of Case Depends on Your Transportation Needs
There are three main types of guitar cases ranging from barely protective to could-survive-a-nuclear-war (kidding). Which type you’ll want to choose will largely depend on how and how much you plan to move your guitar from place to place.
Gig Bag: Light and Easy to Carry in Your Hands
The least protective case is a gig bag. As its name suggests, it’s more of a bag than a case. Gig bags are soft and are best for transporting your guitar on foot or in a car where there’s no chance of it being crushed by heavy equipment.
But don’t think that gig bags aren’t protective. More modern, slightly higher-end gig bags can have neck cradles and impact panels just like hard cases. While your cheapest option will always be a gig bag, depending on the quality, prices can range from $10 to $100 or more.
Hard Case: Sturdy and Protective
If you know your guitar will be with other equipment in the trunk of a car or if others will be transporting it for you, then you’re going to need a little more protection. What you’re looking for is a hard case! These are your standard guitar cases.
Sturdy and with more padding than a gig bag, a hard case will keep your guitar safe from any accidental bumps or scratches.
Flight Case: For Use on, You Guessed It, Flights
Traveling by car is one thing, but traveling by plane is a whole different beast. If you’re flying, you’re going to want to have a flight case. These feature even sturdier shells that can withstand the throws, shoves, tosses, and tumbles that TSA is notorious for.
When choosing a flight case, look for TSA-approved locks, wheels, and gasket seals for an extra level of protection. But don’t just automatically get a flight case because it offers the most protection. They can be very heavy and pretty expensive, so if you aren’t going to be flying, a hard case is enough.
You Want Materials That Will Protect Your Guitar
You wouldn’t want a case made out of paper, would you? Of course not! What your case is made from is nearly as important as the kind of case you choose.
Cloth for Gig Bags: Focus on Synthetics
When it comes to gig bags, remember that the cloth outer plays a pretty important role in protecting your guitar. So, you’re going to want a material that’s durable.
Synthetic materials like nylon are not only stronger and more resilient than natural materials, but they are also more likely to be water-resistant.
Hard Shells: Wood for Hard Cases, Injection-Molded Plastic for Flight Cases
Traditionally, hard cases are made from wood, and for good reason! Wood cases aren’t too expensive while still offering great protection. Hard cases can also be made from other materials such as fiberglass or plastic, but these tend to be heavier and more expensive. Stay away from chipboard, which is basically thick cardboard. It’s flimsy–and in most cases, lacks padding.
For flight cases, however, you want to look for injection-molded plastic. This will offer you the thick-walled protection that a trip in the cargo hold requires.
Lining: Fluffy to Prevent Scratches or Spongey for Shock-Protection
Guitar case lining comes in two varieties–fluffy and spongey. Plush, fluffy lining is generally cheaper and offers the best protection for preventing scratches. Faux fur and, in some more luxurious cases, velvet are popular options. In any case, you’d be hard pressed to find any kinds of fabric or velvet that would harm or otherwise alter your guitar’s finish.
A spongey foam interior, on the other hand, will offer better shock-protection.
Ensure Your Guitar Fits Precisely
The most important thing to look out for in a case is how well your guitar fits in it. Generally speaking, your guitar should not move at all in the case. Movement means there’s potential for damage, particularly if the neck is loose.
To check if it fits, make sure guitar sits flat and there’s no pressure on any one part of it. But to give yourself the best chance at ordering the right size on your first try, you should always check the case’s measurements against the size of your own guitar before deciding to buy it.
Convenient Features: Padded Shoulder Straps and Extra Pockets
Most guitar cases aren’t just things to wrap your guitar in–they come along with other features too. Gig bags will normally have shoulder straps for easy carrying. If you bike or need to move around quickly, many also come with backpack-styled straps, which leave your hands completely free. In any case, ensure that any straps are padded so that it’s comfortable.
Gig bags often also have exterior pockets to hold straps, sheet music, and other accessories. Hard cases and flight cases also come with storage, though not normally as much as gig bags. If you need to keep your things all in one place, be sure to look for a case that can handle it all.
Top 10 Acoustic Guitar Cases to Buy Online
Now that you know what to look for when choosing an acoustic guitar case, here are some of our favorites to help you get started on your search!
10. SKB Injection Molded Acoustic Guitar Case
Flight Case that Does Everything It Possibly Can to Protect Your Guitar
This flight case is built to really protect your guitar. It is made from injection-molded resin and equipped with water- and dust-proof gaskets. That, along with its ambient pressure equalization valve and its built-in UV-, fungus-, and corrosion-resistance, this case is sure to keep your guitar safe.
However, all of that does come along with quite a hefty price tag. It also weighs over 25 pounds (though its weight is offset a little by its ergonomic handles and wheels). That being said, if you’re flying with your guitar and need peace of mind, this case will give it to you.
9. CAHAYA Acoustic Guitar Bag
Budget-Friendly Protection for Beginners
This gig bag may seem cheap, but it’s sure to surprise you with how well it’s built. It’s made from a waterproof oxford cloth and features two adjustable back straps as well as two handles. This case also has two outer pockets with enough space for sheet music, straps, tuners, etc.
Some reviewers have noted that it isn’t suited for guitars of all sizes, so be sure to doublecheck your dimensions before purchasing. Also, its foam protective layer is also not very thick, and you might not want to use this case for a particularly expensive guitar. However, to transport a beginner-level guitar to and from lessons, this case should be more than enough.
8. ChromaCast Acoustic Hard-Shell Guitar Case
Solid Value Case if You aren’t Particularly Rough with Your Guitars
This hard case is tougher than it seems. Made from wood with a 3/4″ thick plush interior and fortified edges, it’s a solid case with great value. It has four latches, including one that locks and also has enough interior space to store all of your guitar’s accessories. For those who appreciate a little extra, this case also comes with a four-pick sampler.
That being said, the locks on the case are a little flimsy, which isn’t an issue if you don’t need to lock it. The wood exterior does have a little bit of give, but if you’re not especially rough with your guitar, then this case will be more than enough, and its price is hard to beat.
7. Ibanez Acoustic Guitar Bag
A Good-Looking Back with a Strap for the Neck and Ample Storage
For those looking for a gig bag with some wow-factor, this might just be the one for you. This bag has a fully synthetic outer and 15 mm of protection around the base and sides. It has four pockets for ample storage and can even hold a 13″ laptop. On the inside, there’s a strap to hold your guitar’s neck in place to prevent any damage from movement.
Some reviewers have noted that one side of the bag has less padding than the rest, but other than that, this bag is made with quality workmanship and will last a long time. For those concerned with aesthetics, this bag also comes in a variety of other colors including beige, red, and green.
6. Topeakmart Acoustic Guitar Hardshell Case
Great Quality for a Fair Price (Extra Padding and Studs for Protection!)
This hard case is a top-notch blend of quality and value. It’s solidly built with a synthetic leather outer and a plush flannelette interior with extra padding around the body as well as other key areas. It has four polished silver latches and is lockable for extra protection.
To prevent any unnecessary scratches, this case has studs on the back surface, bottom, and side so that you can lay it down without worry. Its handle is padded and ergonomically shaped for easy carrying, and inside the case you’ll find plenty of space for your guitar’s accessories.
5. CAHAYA Premium Guitar Gig Bag
Sponge-Padded Bag with Ample Storage
This gig bag is built to protect your guitar from any accidents. It’s made from a water-resistant synthetic outer and features a thicker-than-average .31″ foam padded lining. It is also extra long and can accommodate larger guitars than most soft cases.
This bag also includes a couple of nice details. Its zippers are made from high-quality metal, it has shock-absorbant pads on the bottom of the case, and its two pouches offer an almost obscene amount of storage. One reviewer noted that she was even able to fit a small folding stand in it.
4. Yamaha Acoustic Guitar Hard Case
For the Environmentally Conscious Musician
This hard case from Yamaha is made from vinyl and has a thick plush interior. Unlike other hard cases at this price point, it is solidly built with reinforced edges and sturdy gold-colored latches. It has an interior compartment for strings and other guitar accessories.
For those who are environmentally conscious, this case is also considered green compliant and has been made in accordance with several international green certifications. Although it was made with Yamaha guitars in mind, it does fit other dreadnoughts comfortably as well.
3. Gator Cases Transit Series Acoustic Guitar Gig Bag
A Gig Bag Sturdy as a Hard Case
This gig bag will give nearly any hard case a run for its money. With .8 inches of foam padding, a micro-fleece lining, and extra padding to protect the head, neck, and bottom of the guitar, this case provides ample protection for most transit situations. The exterior is water-resistant and includes rubber treads on the bottom.
This case features a number of buckles, straps, and loops for different configurations. However, some reviewers have noted that the ease of customizability may be a flaw as the straps might too easily come undone. For those who like options, this bag comes in three different colors.
2. Gator Cases Molded Flight Case
A Flight Case You Can Use Every Day
This flight case is light enough to use on a day-to-day basis but strong enough to withstand airplane travel. It’s made from molded polyethylene with a thick EPS foam nest interior. It has two easy-open latches, including one with a TSA-approved lock. Inside the case, there is storage space under the supportive neck cradle.
It is well designed for movement. This case weighs only twelve pounds, and its handle is made from a softer material to make for comfortable handling. However, it does not have wheels, but that also means that it’s impossible for its wheels to break off in transit.
1. Gator Cases Hard-Shell Wood Case
Withstands any Kind of Non-Air Transportation and Holds Many Kinds of Guitars
This case is built to withstand almost any sort of movement. It features a rounded wood base covered in a durable PVC. On the bottom, the back, and the side opposite the handle, there are metal studs to keep the case well off the ground and prevent accidental scratches. The interior is plush-lined and has a storage compartment.
This case works for either a six- or 12-string guitar and fits most brands comfortably. It is a very solidly built case. The sides have very little give, and the buckles are high-quality and made to last. If you do have issues, though, Gator Cases’ customer service is also incredibly helpful.
There you have it! Whether you’re rough- or gentle-handed, whether you’re dashing through the rain to your next gig or flying overseas for a concert, you should now be able to tell what will make a good acoustic guitar case for you. And hopefully, our recommendations have set you off on the right foot.
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