Not many guitar players will think much about having a good case for their instrument, but it is more essential than you may initially realize.
After playing guitar for more than a decade, there are a number of things I had to learn during the experience – and one of the most vital lessons was to shield my instrument in a proper casing.
I made a mistake in the beginning of my career when I had to replace my first guitar within a span of 2 years, all because the neck accidentally snapped off in the middle of a performance, and I immediately knew why – I didn’t really bother with buying a proper guitar case when I was starting out.
My long experience taught me that guitar cases are not all equal either.
When you are traveling with your instrument, you will want a soft casing that offers convenience – especially if you are moving locally.
Other than that, a hardshell case also helps massively to protect the guitar, just in case anything happens while you are moving around with it or going for long-distance travel like flying to another country.
However, a good case does not just shield the guitar from exterior damage – there are other hazards it prevents.
These include temperature changes as well as humidity (quite the major issue because it leads to wood warping and the guitar consequently falling out of tune).
The best guitar cases – Comparison table
Body dimensions (inches)
Overall length (inches)
MONO M80 Vertigo Electric guitar case
21 x 14.5
Gator Cases Polyfoam guitar case
18.5 x 12.6
ChromaCast Acoustic guitar gig bag
14 x 12
SKB Injection Molded case
17 x 7
Faswin dual adjustable guitar bag
16.8 x 12.7
The best guitar cases – Top Picks of 2021
It is not surprising to find a Mono case on this list, as they are considered some of the best guitar carriers in the world today and have a strong reputation of quality products.
- Hybrid-style case with body impact panels and ABS head
- Reinforced handle comprised of steel rivet and shoulder straps
- Includes a chest harness and tuck/clip strap system
- Waterproof and damage-resistant Sharkskin shell with piping and industrial rubber sole
- Lower and upper gear pockets with cable management system
While this may be among the most expensive soft guitar cases in the market, it does offer some improvements over its predecessors. First, Sharkskin (an advanced outdoor material) comprises much of the exterior, making it resistant to both water and any external damage. Second, the ABS plastic that lines the interior adds protection against impacts, and a large rubber outsole safeguards the bottom.
If you happen to own a fragile headstock, you will like this case because of its addition of a headlock device – this is a neck support system that prevents breaking by maintaining the distance between the headstock and case. It supports storage of electric, dreadnaught, bass and semi-hollow guitar sizes.
- Excellent levels of protection, even though it is not a hardshell case
- Resistant to external damage and water
- Headlock neck support system
- Does not lock as securely at times
- Somewhat too large for certain guitars
It may be pricey, but it offers value for your money through its design improvements and great technology in its interior.
Gator is not an old company, but they have done well to establish a firm place in the industry right from their beginnings in 2000. They specialize in both fabric and hard guitar cases, and offer plenty of extras you will find useful such as effects pedals, picks, pedal boards, stands, and other gear.
- Case is in a hybrid-style design to fit most electric guitars
- Carry handle comprised of heavy-duty nylon, detachable shoulder strap
- Rugged exterior with plush lining and dense EPS foam core
- Interior compartment for storing accessories
This case is the ultimate standard for hybrid casing, because it provides the protection you need from a hardshell while remaining as versatile as a gig bag. The exterior is quite strong due to the nylon, which also gives it a professional-looking design, while the interior emphasizes protection due to the dense foam lining.
The most impressive part though is the variety of styles you can get with this case that will suit a variety of guitar types, including SG specialist models, general electric guitars, bass guitars, and Les Pauls. The storage areas are also numerous, which gives it a distinct advantage over typical hardshell cases. It also includes a detachable strong shoulder strap, although the lack of back straps may be a minor disappointment.
- Very good durable construction
- Offers a good combination of hardshell and gig bag benefits
- Protects all inner components
- Ample storage space
- May be too small to fit certain guitars
This is a very good case if you own an electric guitar, offers plenty of space to store other items, and comes at a reasonable price.
If you own a small acoustic guitar, finding a good bag for it may be a challenge at times – but the ChromaCast case takes care of that need.
- Includes a pick sampler, guitar strap, and padded gig bag
- Six large pockets
- Two adjustable padded shoulder straps
- A Velcro strap around the neck of the guitar to keep it in place
- 10mm thickness in the padding to keep all internal components safe
The gig bag has six pockets that are large enough to store all you require, such as cords and extra guitar gear. The top pocket, for instance, is long enough to keep your folding guitar stands, and the front pocket is large enough to store almost anything from cables to a laptop. The case is not heavy even when carrying your instrument and all the extra items though, because there are two shoulder straps that are easy to adjust and have sufficient padding to stay comfortable.
Additionally, the multiple handles make the case easy to pick up when you are in a hurry. You will not need to worry about damage while carrying it either, as your guitar is kept securely in place by its Velcro neck strap, while thick padding and rubber bumpers provide additional protection from any accidents.
- Very durable quality, as it is comprised of high quality nylon
- Easy to move around because of the strong and adjustable shoulder straps
- Pockets have strong zippers
- Big enough to store guitar gear like cords
- Zippers can be stiff at times
- It offers small wiggle room for the instrument (avoid it if you have a large guitar)
This bag combines durability and a lightweight design that comes at a budget-friendly price. It will give you plenty of space to carry your gear and instrument, and will last for a long time.
The prospect of flying to another country or state is mostly fine, but it can be anxiety-inducing when you need to take your guitar with you because you do not know what can happen. Fortunately, the SKB Injection molded case is there to help you out and give you some peace.
- The design fits many electric guitars
- TSA latches
- Very good quality exterior
The casing is injection-molded and has a military-grade waterproof rating, so you are always aware that it will keep your instrument safe. The entire case is made up of a dust and water-tight gasket sealing and polypropylene copolymer resin of very high quality – so even though you will fork out some money for it, you are always aware that it is worth the price.
It comes in a variety of sizes as well, so you can always find one that works for you. Some standard features it includes are resistance to impact, fungus, solvents, corrosion, and UV, an automated ambient pressure equalization valve, a release trigger latch system, a molded-in hinge, and comfortable rubber snap-down cushion-grip handles for additional comfort when moving with it.
When traveling with a guitar case, locks or latches are essential – and it has them. The system it uses is unique to the manufacturer and has a TSA approval rating.
- Great fit for most guitars
- The handles and locks are TSA approved
- Very tough and durable build
- High-quality injection molding
- Maximum levels of impact protection
- Super bulky
The brand behind this product is well-known for their attention to detail in all their offerings, and this follows the same philosophy. Even though it is pricey, you are definitely getting your money’s worth and it will serve you for many years.
If sales were a factor of quality, then this would easily stand among the top picks. It is highly popular, mainly due to its compact size that provides plenty of protection to your classical guitar.
- Compact size to offer great protection
- Large gusseted storage pocket
- Back-pack style of transport
- Non-abrasive interior lining, zippered exterior pocket, and puncture-resistant bridge patches and headstock
The design of the case shows that it is meant to handle the hassle of carrying your guitar to and from a variety of destinations. To help in ease of transport, it includes dual shoulder straps that are easy to adjust when you need to. The combination of the outer layer and inside padding helps to protect against scratches and shock.
The storage pockets have triple gusset lining, and add some vital storage space for extra items like a pen, score sheets, and notebooks. Aside from the side pockets that have strong zippers, the case includes a smaller compartment on the neck that you can use to store your picks. To add convenience on your end, the back has some solid padding that keeps it ergonomic enough to carry like a backpack without it digging into your skin – so this is a great option if you are on a budget.
- Includes a large pocket to store your tuner and sheet music, and a smaller pocket for picks
- Very affordable
- Includes back straps and carrying handle
- Very good construction
- Its zippers are not high-quality, so you need to close it carefully
If you are on a tight budget and are looking for a soft casing, the Faswin bag will sort you out. It is most suitable for acoustic guitars.
What to consider when buying guitar cases
There are plenty of choices you can make when selecting a guitar case, ranging from the humble gig bag to a classic hardshell case – it all depends on your frequency of playing the instrument.
For instance, you will need a good quality hard case if you regularly play at jamming sessions or band practices, while a gig bag will be enough for you if you are only playing your guitar at home.
Here are some factors to keep in mind when choosing a guitar case and it is good to note that these can also apply to other instrument cases.
Know the kind of bag you need
As mentioned before, there are numerous types of guitar cases – these include flight cases, hybrid (combine both soft and hard features), hardshells, and soft bags/gig bags. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages.
For gig bags, these are the most affordable cases and they are lightweight, as well as including pockets that come in handy when storing accessories. The problem though is their lack of protection against bangs and bumps.
They are also the most convenient cases to carry, because they include a variety of straps for comfort, unlike hard cases that only have side handles.
The main features to look for in them are their zippers (the stronger they are the better), detachable shoulder straps, neck support, padding, thick durable material, and back straps.
They also tend to be good for a beginner guitarist, as many of them offer you pockets, weatherproofing, and padding to keep your items safe.
These cases will prove most useful when:
- You are planning to carry the guitar with you at all times or most of the time while traveling. If you have control over the bag itself, the lack of extensive safety features will not matter much.
- If the climate you live in is not extremely hot or cold
- If you are on a budget
- When you need convenience more than other safety features
Hard cases on the other hand, are expensive and bulky. However, they offer greater protection from bangs and bumps, as well as the environment.
They come in 2 varieties:
These are the heavier and the more affordable version of hard cases. Compared to the gig cases, they have greater protection and are fitter for long transportation where you have little to no control over the case itself. However, they do not offer extra storage, because their priority is safeguarding the instrument.
Fiberglass/carbon fiber/molded plastic cases
Among all materials making up guitar cases, these are the most durable – you will find them even in cases you use when flying. They are lighter than plywood, but more expensive.
- Among the three, molded plastic (also known as ABS) is the most affordable. It is lightweight and resistant to shocks and heat.
- Fiberglass is the second most common choice, and has the same properties as ABS though with greater resistance.
- Carbon fiber is the toughest of the three and is the most expensive because of its inclusion of additional features like hygrometers that measure the humidity within the casing.
When buying them, look for aspects such as built-in wheels, strong and comfortable straps and handles, soft padding in the interior, strong hinges and latches, and storage compartments.
Flight cases are a hardier version of the hard case, making them suitable when you are traveling for long hours, like flights or long road trips. They must have all the features of a hard case, in addition to reinforcement in the corners, customized-fit foam padding, and a very strong and comfortable handle.
You will know them because of their ATA (Air Transport Association of America) certification and TSA (Transport Security Agency) locks, as airlines will only allow you to carry a guitar case that has these safety features.
Your guitar measurements
When you are shopping for a guitar case, always take your guitar along if you are going to a local store. If shopping online, then take the exact make of your guitar and a picture of it. Measure its dimensions – these are:
- The lower bout (widest part of the body below its waist)
- Overall length
- Waist width (narrowest part of the body)
- Length of the neck to end of headstock
- Body depth
- Upper bout width (widest part of the body above the waist)
The main trick here is finding a case that offers a snug fit without being too small or large to reduce the chances of damage.
Buying a guitar case does not need to be a stressful process, especially when you know what to look for. Hopefully, this guide helps you to search for and purchase a good guitar bag that fits your needs and protects your instrument.
Do all guitar cases fit all guitars?
Even though there is no actual ‘standard’ guitar size, most manufacturers ensure their guitars can fit several standard cases.
Can I wash my case in the washing machine?
In most cases when handling gig bags, yes this is possible.
How snug should the case be?
For the case to be spacious enough, you should lift the lid using one hand and place the guitar inside the case using your other hand without struggling to fit it in.