In his latest MI Pro advice column, Nik from Pedal Rockstar runs down the key attributes of the perfect guitar case…
What are the differences between a good and bad guitar case? Well, the surface level answer would be: “One that keeps your guitar well protected instead of failing to do so.”
But whether you’re buying a new guitar case, reviewing your current one, planning to manufacturer your own, or looking for a new guitar case range to stock, you might want to delve deeper into the essential characteristics of a good guitar case.
Lucky for you, you have come to the right place.
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1. One hell of a shell
The shell of a guitar case is going to be the first line of defence for any guitar. This will be the first thing you look for when purchasing a hard guitar case. How sturdy is it when pressing down on the closed case? This may not be too important if the user is only planning to going on occasional road trips, but for guitarists constantly on-the-go, and/or travelling by plane, this can become extremely important.
Bonus tip: try looking for an arch-top surface instead of a flat one, this increases shell toughness dramatically.
2. Being supportive
Don't be mistaken, protection doesn't only happen on the outside. The inside of a good guitar case should be able to keep a guitar safe as well.
The neck, which is a very fragile part of any guitar, should be very well supported. It isn't necessary for the neck to be supported over the entire length, but it has to be fixated at one or two spots.
When the neck isn't supported at all, vibrations could cause it to break during transport.
Not every guitar will perfectly fit in any guitar case, especially you'll find this to be true with acoustic guitars.
Just like the neck of a guitar, the body should also have no room to move around in the case. A tight fit with no wiggle room is ideal.
Since there is a wide variation in guitar shapes and not so much in guitar cases, it might be very difficult to find the perfect match (check out my in depth guide to hard cases for more info on that), in which case guitarists can always add some padding with foam or towels to create the ideal cushioning for their particular instrument.
Of course, one reason why a hard guitar case is sought after is to keep the instrument safe from the elements. So it might surprise you that a guitar case isn't always waterproof.
The expansion and contraction of wood can occur due to moisture changes. So fast changes in climate could cause the wood to crack, resulting in a broken guitar. Try looking for guitar cases with a rubber seal in the lid.
Bonus tip: A humidifier can be placed in a guitar case to further help to control the climate around the instrument.
5. TSA-approved locks
The Transportation Security Agency (TSA) needs to be able to access baggage whenever they feel it's necessary. The TSA will always try to avoid breaking locks, but will do so as a last resort if they need to open baggage.
Having a TSA-approved lock is very crucial when flying around with a guitar and having it board as checked luggage.
6. Quality latches
Last up, the latches. This is a part of the guitar case that many people tend to forget to look at, but is still a very crucial characteristic of a good guitar case.
When looking at the latches of a guitar case, we want to look for ones that are tough and do not open easily for anything but a pair of hands. Bad quality latches could open or break off when the guitar case is being bumped around during transport.
Let me tell you, the last thing you want to happen is your guitar falling out of its case during transport…
Nik is the Content Manager at Pedal Rockstar.