Top 10 Best Electric Guitar Cases and Gig Bags

In the world of guitar gear, most of our focus is on the interesting, sexy stuff. Obviously, the first consideration is for getting a cool guitar. Even if you’re an absolute beginner, you’re still trying to pick the coolest of the guitars for beginners.

Pretty soon, you’re concerning yourself with a cool, gig-ready amp, or a pedalboard full of cool pedals. All the stuff that people will be looking at and which, after all, will be making the sound in the first place.

The truth is, though, there’s quite a lot of unsexy stuff that goes into being a guitarist. Everything from cables to power cords (not power chords, that’s different) to strings to picks. Most people won’t recognize your choice of these items just by looking at them, and unless you’re discussing with another guitarist, they won’t care, either.

They also won’t necessarily care how your instrument made it safely to the show. But you should, because the vessel in which you carry your guitar could mean the difference between enjoying your guitar until it becomes a vintage collectable and having to run to Guitar Center to pick up some random new axe because the neck snapped off of yours. (Or the headstock — looking at you, Les Paul lovers.)

This reveals sort of an odd fact about the guitar industry. If you opt for one of the beginner guitar kits, they’ll usually throw in a cheap but effective enough gig bag. If you go sufficiently up-market along the lines of a Les Paul Standard, they’ll usually provide a hardshell case suitable to house such a fine machine. For the rest of the market, especially when dealing with used, you may not get a case at all. I didn’t get one with my 1985 Strat, nor the new Fernandes Revolver I bought in the middle Aughts, nor the Squier Telecaster I got from a dude on Craigslist.

Even if your purchase does come with a case, chances are it won’t be particularly great. It’ll probably be a soft nylon gig bag with a single strap and a single pocket. Fine for running back and forth to lessons, but really nothing special. If you want upgraded protection, features, or just something more tailored to your needs, you’ll have to buy one separately.

Buying a guitar case is one of the few instances where it matters very much that you know what kind of guitar you have. To speak extremely generally, in the land of electric guitars, there are basically four categories when it comes to shapes of electric guitars:

  • Stratocaster/Telecaster: While these are technically different body shapes, for the purposes of guitar case buying, they tend to overlap. Unless you’re using a specifically molded case, the same types of cases will work for Strat and Tele type guitars. This includes all the Super Strat variants made by Charvel, Ibanez, Jackson, Yamaha, and so forth. Usually, SG style guitars will fit in these cases, too.
  • Les Paul: Shorter necks, thicker bodies, and angled headstocks mean that LP-style guitars generally require special cases. Gig bags are sometimes flexible enough to accommodate them, but for the most part, you’ll be looking to buy something made specifically for LPs.
  • Offset: This is a broader, less uniform category characterized by guitars with asymmetrical tops and bottoms. This includes Fender types like Jazzmasters and Jaguars, Gibson types like Firebirds, Explorers, and Flying Vs. BC Rich guitars also generally fit here. You’ll either be looking for something molded specifically for these or with a large enough space to accommodate them.
  • Semi- and hollowbody: This covers a very wide range of instruments from Epiphone styles like Sheraton, Dot, and Casino as well as Grestch Electromatic and more. These are often very large and require cases made especially for them, though again, a large enough gig bag could do the job.

Not everything fits into one of these, but most guitars do. In fact, most guitars are either Strat style or Les Paul style, since these are the most enduring and sought-after designs. Guitars from makers like Reverend, Eastwood, Godin, Ernie Ball, G&L, Dean, and Schecter are typically descended from the Strat and thus fit in Strat-style cases. ESP (and LTD), Gretsch (solid body), and PRS are usually loosely descended from Les Paul-style guitars. These are very broad generalizations, of course. You’ll want to measure your actual guitar, but this provides at starting point for deciding what case to buy.

I’m a proponent of having two cases. You’ll want one soft case for safer, usually local, transportation, just for convenience. Places you frequent that you know you can trust, in vehicles you know you can trust. Of course, anything can happen at any time, and the best protection comes from hardshell cases, so having one of those is a good idea, too. If you ever fly with your guitar, a hardshell case is absolutely required.

As an aside, some think that having a case emblazoned with the Gibson logo is an invitation for theft. That being said, almost all of us have owned a Fender-branded gig bag despite the presence of a Squier inside. I’ve heard that some people put their Gibsons in Epiphone cases, though the likelihood that this is deterring theft is probably pretty low.

Protect your precious electric guitar with one of our ten best guitar cases and gig bags.


1. Guardian CG-220-E 220 Series DuraGuard Bag

electric guitar case, soft guitar case, gig bag, guitar bag

Guardian

This is the case I use when I’m not flying. I got my 1985 MIJ Fender Strat nearly ten years ago and this case has done most of the heavy lifting during that time. I bought it for the backpack straps, which have really come in handy when I’m also carrying my amp and pedalboard down the inevitably narrow stairway at the local watering hole. The inside is lined and offers 20 mm of padding, as well as a neck strap. There are rubber feet for security when resting against your amp. The handles are extra tough and comfortable for long hauls, making this an excellent upgrade to the standard gig bag. I have personally carried my Strat, a Schecter Omen-6, and a Les Paul in it over the years, but your larger hollowbody guitars are unlikely to fit.

Why you would choose this one: Cheap, decent protection for many years worth of local gigs.

Need more options? Browse more Guardian cases here.

Price: $46.55

Buy the Guardian CG-220-E 220 Series DuraGuard Bag here.


Specs:

  • Material: Nylon
  • Number of pockets: Three
  • Carrying style: Rubber handles and backpack straps
  • Total length: 40.5 inches
  • Body section length: 20 inches
  • Lower bout: 14 inches
  • Upper bout: 12 inches
  • Depth: 2.5 inches

Find more Guardian CG-220-E 220 Series DuraGuard Bag information and reviews here.



2. Mono M80 Vertigo Electric Guitar Case

electric guitar case, soft guitar case, gig bag, guitar bag

Mono

If the Guardian doesn’t provide enough protection but you still don’t want a hardshell case, this offering from Mono should fit the bill. Admittedly, it’s pretty pricey for being a soft style case, but this offers a number of improvements that might make it worth the cost for you. The outer covering is made of Sharkskin, which is an advanced outdoor sports material made to resist damage and water. Between that layer and the inner liner are panels of ABS plastic to protect against impacts, while a large rubber outsole provides significant protection on the bottom. For those of you with fragile headstocks, this case also has a device called a Headlock, which is a molded neck support system that maintains the distance between the case and the headstock to prevent breaking. Finally, the case hinges in the front so you can open it from the top while standing. Comes in this electric guitar size, as well as semi-hollow, bass, and dreadnaught styles.

Again, it’s a significant spend, but it’s also probably the best protection you can get in anything outside of a hardshell case. The company also makes the M80 Sleeve for $100 less with a lower level of protection.

Why you would choose this one: Offers the best possible protection for any case without a hard exterior.

Need more options? Browse more Mono products here.

Price: $249.99

Buy the Mono M80 Vertigo Electric Guitar Case here.


Specs:

  • Material: Sharkskin, rubber, ABS plastic
  • Number of pockets: Three
  • Carrying style: Fabric handle and backpack straps
  • Total length: 41.5 inches
  • Body section length: 21 inches
  • Lower bout: 14.5 inches
  • Upper bout: 11.5 inches
  • Depth: 3 inches

Find more Mono M80 Vertigo Electric Guitar Case information and reviews here.



3. Pro Tec CF234DBL Double Electric Guitar Gig Bag

electric guitar case, soft guitar case, gig bag, guitar bag

Pro Tec

If you’re headed to a gig, there’s a very good chance you’re bringing two guitars along with you. Even if you’re like me and you’ve never broken a string, it’s just kind of a silly gamble to take. (As an aside, the backup guitar to my Strat was usually a mid-2000s Gibson Les Paul Standard. To be fair, it wasn’t mine, which is why I didn’t use it all the time.) If you’re going to be toting two guitars, they might as well go in the same case, if possible. My band mate used one of these for years with great success. The 25 mm padding provided excellent protection both from the outside world and from the guitars smashing together. Like the Guardian, there are rubber feet to keep it in place when leaning against something. Having them both in the same case saved room in the car and made them far easier to carry. It does get awfully heavy, but that usually didn’t deter us. I also really liked the various exterior and interior pockets.

Why you would choose this one: You want your main guitar and your backup to travel together.

Need more options? Browse more Pro Tec products here.

Price: $91.44 (7 percent off MSRP)

Buy the Pro Tec CF234DBL Double Electric Guitar Gig Bag here.


Specs:

  • Material: Nylon
  • Number of pockets: Five
  • Carrying style: Fabric handle and backpack straps
  • Total length: 43 inches
  • Body section length: 19.5 inches
  • Lower bout: 17.5 inches
  • Upper bout: 14 inches
  • Depth: 2.5 inches

Find more Pro Tec CF234DBL Double Electric Guitar Gig Bag information and reviews here.



4. Reunion Blues RBCE1 RB Continental Voyager Electric Guitar Case

electric guitar case, soft guitar case, gig bag, guitar bag

Reunion Blues

As an alternative to the Mono, you might consider this Reunion Blues model that sports many similar features. The internal neck brace is present, though this one uses a strip of fabric to hold it in place. This case offers one inch thick padding, except at the bottom, where there’s additional, adjustable padding to protect against drops. There are backpack straps as with the options above, but these can be hidden behind a zippered compartment when not in use. The whole case is water resistant, while the top and bottom are covered in a knurled abrasion grid to resist wear. Like the Mono, there are internal impact panels to move this a touch closer to a hardshell option. Still pricey, but one of the most popular options for professional-level protection. This one is available in electric, bass, semi-hollow, dreadnought, and small body acoustic sizes.

Why you would choose this one: The Mono case is a bit too expensive for you, but you still want many of the same innovations in a soft case.

Need more options? Browse more Reunion Blues products here.

Price: $189.95

Buy the Reunion Blues RBCE1 RB Continental Voyager Electric Guitar Case here.


Specs:

  • Material: Ballistic Quadraweave™
  • Number of pockets: Two
  • Carrying style: Fabric handle and backpack straps
  • Total length: 40 inches
  • Body section length: Unknown
  • Lower bout: 14 inches
  • Upper bout: 13 inches
  • Depth: 3 inches

Find more Reunion Blues RBCE1 RB Continental Voyager Electric Guitar Case information and reviews here.



5. SKB Shaped Electric Hardshell

electric guitar case, soft guitar case, gig bag, guitar bag

SKB

Naturally, the best protection comes from hardshell cases. The molded plastic exteriors are waterproof and generally far more capable of dealing with a variety of road traumas. This SKB option is pretty close to the model I use as my flight case. This is the newer version, which uses TSA-approved trigger release locking latches. These are heavy duty latches that will make your flight check-ins easier without sacrificing security. The interior of this case is molded with EPS foam to fit the style of guitar pretty closely — this one (FS-6) is meant for Strats, while the SKB-56 works for Les Pauls and the SKB-63 fits Explorers and Firebirds. The neck support runs from the molded body compartment to the headstock, keeping your guitar safely in place. Additional carrying capability is limited to one interior compartment and there are no shoulder straps, but when you compare the price to the Mono and the Reunion Blues, that could be a trade-off worth making.

Why you would choose this one: You need a hardshell case with the basic accommodations.

Need more options? Browse more SKB products here.

Price: $115.40

Buy the SKB Shaped Electric Hardshell here.


Specs:

  • Material: Plastic, nylon, EPS foam, polyester, aluminum
  • Number of pockets: One
  • Carrying style: Rubber handle
  • Total length: 39.25 inches
  • Body section length: 16.5 inches
  • Lower bout: 12.75 inches
  • Upper bout: 11.25 inches
  • Depth: 2.75 inches

Find more SKB Shaped Electric Hardshell information and reviews here.



6. Gator Cases GTSA Series Electric Guitar Cases

electric guitar case, soft guitar case, gig bag, guitar bag

Gator Cases

A small upgrade to the SKB is this similarly TSA-approved offering from Gator. While the SKB shapes the exterior of the case to the instrument a bit, some find that a rectangular case is better for loading purposes. This way, the case doesn’t sit at an angle when put on its side. The latches on this are the same as the SKB, using the locking center trigger latch. The handle is a bit nicer on this one, though the storage is open, as opposed to the under-neck compartment of the SKB. Choose between the standard electric shape for Strat and Tele styles, as well as Les Paul, SG, Dreadnought, Semi-Hollow, and Classical versions.

They also offer the Deluxe case, which is cheaper, using the old-style latches and a regular plastic handle.

Why you would choose this one: You like the SKB, but want something just a bit better in rectangular form.

Need more options? Browse more Gator Cases products here.

Price: $149.99

Buy the Gator Cases GTSA Series Electric Guitar Cases here.


Specs:

  • Material: Polyethylene, rubber, polyester, aluminum
  • Number of pockets: Two
  • Carrying style: Rubber handle
  • Total length: 39.5 inches
  • Body section length: 19.25 inches
  • Lower bout: 12.5 inches
  • Upper bout: 12.5 inches
  • Depth: 3.25 inches

Find more Gator Cases GTSA Series Electric Guitar Cases information and reviews here.



7. Gator Electric Guitar Lightweight Polyfoam Case

electric guitar case, soft guitar case, gig bag, guitar bag

Gator Cases

Taking the same general shape as the hardshell above, this Gator variant combines the protection of rigid cases with the light weight of soft cases. I had one of these for years before moving on to the Guardian and it served nobly. The inside of these aren’t as tightly molded as some of the others, so this is more likely to fit your guitar unless you have a large hollowbody. Just the same, they make versions for Les Paul, SG, and bass players, in addition to this one for Strats and Teles. The neck is still supported for almost the whole length, though being made of nylon, it won’t keep water out to the same degree.

Why you would choose this one: You don’t need the hard exterior, but you still want a rigid frame.

Need more options? Browse more Gator Cases products here.

Price: $79.99 to $99.99

Buy the Gator Electric Guitar Lightweight Polyfoam Case here.


Specs:

  • Material: Nylon, EPS foam, polyester
  • Number of pockets: Two
  • Carrying style: Fabric handle and shoulder strap
  • Total length: 39.5 inches
  • Body section length: 19 inches
  • Lower bout: 12.75 inches
  • Upper bout: 12.75 inches
  • Depth: 3.38 inches

Find more Gator Electric Guitar Lightweight Polyfoam Case information and reviews here.



8. Fender Urban Mini Strat Gig Bag

electric guitar case, soft guitar case, gig bag, guitar bag

Fender

If you opted for the Squier Mini Strat that we featured on our guitars for beginners post, this is the case to get. It’s lightweight and easy to tote around, which is perfect for beginners and kids. True, the 11 millimeters of padding won’t offer much protection, but it will resist bumps and water. Most people start with one of these Fender-branded bags, which will work for just about any Strat-ish 3/4 size guitar. The full-size version of the Urban Gig Back can be found here.

Why you would choose this one: You have a 3/4 size guitar you’re not overly precious about.

Need more options? Browse more Fender guitar cases here.

Price: $29.99 (40 percent off MSRP)

Buy the Fender Urban Mini Strat Gig Bag here.


Specs:

  • Material: Nylon, polyester, foam
  • Number of pockets: Two
  • Carrying style: Fabric handle and backpack straps
  • Total length: 36 inches
  • Body section length: N/A
  • Lower bout: 12.5 inches
  • Upper bout: 5 inches
  • Depth: 2.5 inches

Find more Fender Urban Mini Strat Gig Bag information and reviews here.



9. Hoffee Custom Guitar Cases

electric guitar case, soft guitar case, gig bag, guitar bag

Hoffee

Truth be told, this list wouldn’t be complete with at least one custom-made option. While most players will find what they need in the other items on this list, hardcore traveling musicians require hardcore cases. Hoffee makes custom-fitted carbon fiber cases meant to be abused, even by the TSA and luggage handlers. They’re about as water resistant as it gets, using a tight-fitting seal. In addition to having it custom-fit to your guitar, you can choose from your choice of exterior colors (gray, red, blue, green, purple, and white) and interior colors (black, green, red, blue, and gold). You can also purchase add-ons like straps, Thinsulate insulation, and different latching mechanisms. Sure, the price is extreme, but so is the protection.

Why you would choose this one: You need the best, made by hand just for you.

Price: $1,200 and up

Buy the Hoffee Custom Guitar Cases here.


Specs:

  • Material: Carbon fiber, leather, Thinsulate, nylon
  • Number of pockets: One
  • Carrying style: Leather handle, optional shoulder or backpack straps
  • Total length: Custom
  • Body section length: Custom
  • Lower bout: Custom
  • Upper bout: Custom
  • Depth: Custom

Find more Hoffee Custom Guitar Cases information and reviews here.



10. ChromaCast Electric Guitar Six-Pocket Padded Gig Bag

electric guitar case, soft guitar case, gig bag, guitar bag

ChromaCast

The polar opposite of a high-end, custom-made case would be this ultra-cheap gig bag. To be fair, it’s quite an improvement over the very thin, basically useless gig bags you sometimes see out there. There are six convenient pockets nestled atop the 10 millimeters of padding. It’s also dirt cheap, so you could even consider buying this to sweeten the deal on a guitar you’re trying to unload on Craigslist or Reverb. It comes with picks and a guitar strap, which also makes it great for beginners. Your LP and offset style guitars are unlikely to fit in this, but just about any other solid body electric should work out fine.

Why you would choose this one: It’s better than nothing, after all.

Need more options? Browse more ChromaCast products here.

Price: $19.67 (18 percent off MSRP)

Buy the ChromaCast Electric Guitar Six-Pocket Padded Gig Bag here.


Specs:

  • Material: Nylon, plastic
  • Number of pockets: Six
  • Carrying style: Plastic handles or backpack straps
  • Total length: 40 inches
  • Body section length: N/A
  • Lower bout: 14.5 inches
  • Upper bout: 12 inches
  • Depth: 3 inches

Find more ChromaCast Electric Guitar Six-Pocket Padded Gig Bag information and reviews here.


Shopping for more guitar gear? Check out our Guitars category for more posts on items to complete your arsenal.


Heavy, Inc. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to Amazon. Our product recommendations are guided solely by our editors. We have no relationship with manufacturers.
No Comments

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Discuss on Facebook