Guitar Case Buyer's Guide
Most new guitars come with a guitar case. If yours didn't... if you bought used... or if you need to replace the case you have now, this page will help.
Buying the Right Size
You need to know the type and/or size of your guitar when purchasing a case.
Acoustics and standard size electrics are relatively easy to purchase a case for. Even though there are no true "standard" sizes for guitars, and most manufacturers change sizes and shapes to produce unique tone, most guitars will fit into one of several standard sized cases. Best of all, most manufacturers make cases available for purchase.
If shopping in a local music store... simply take your instrument with you. If you feel weird about that, write down the make, model, and dimensions. If it's an odd shape, you might want to take a picture of it or trace the body on a sheet of paper.
If shopping on the Internet, start with the search terms:
"YOUR-MAKE guitar case"
Replace YOUR-MAKE with the name of the manufacturer of your instrument.
For example, you might search for "Taylor guitar case" or "Martin guitar case".
Chances are you will get more results than you know what to do with. If not, search for "guitar case". You will get thousands of sites that sell, resell, or make cases. From there you need to find one that matches your make, style, size, and shape.
How to Measure Your Guitar
With your guitar in a stand, or in it's case, measure the overall length (very top to very bottom) the length from the top of the headstock to the top of the body, the depth of the body, the lower-bout, the waist, and the upper-bout (see the diagram below).
Hard or Soft Guitar Case?
I recommend that any guitar case you purchase is a hard one. But you might have good reason for purchasing a soft sided case. Here are the pro's and con's of each, plus a few buying tips:
Soft Sided Advantages: You get pockets for things like music, strings, picks, etc. The cost is typically lower than for a comparable hard case (most are $20-50).
Soft Sided Disadvantages: Most of the force from a hard bump is transmitted to your instrument. Sharp objects can poke through most of them. A sharp enough object, with sufficient force, will poke through every one of them. They offer little, if any, support for the neck of your instrument.
What to Look For: A detachable shoulder strap... a sturdy handle... thick, durable stitching, zipper, and material (ballistic nylon, rip-stop nylon, or some other tough non lint producing material)... close-able pockets... soft interior... a hook for hanging. Don't get one that is too big or your instrument will slide around, increasing the chance of damage.
Hard Sided Advantages: Protection from bumps, drops, and rapid changes in temperature and humidity. Good support for the guitar neck.
Hard Sided Disadvantages: Storage is limited. Costs are higher than for a soft-sided case (but well worth it, in my opinion). Most after-market hard sided cases are $75-100.
What to Look For: Sturdy latches and hinges that are easy to open/close... convenient storage compartment under the neck (big enough for picks, strings, tuner, capo, cleaning cloth)... a soft interior, with no hard points to mar or damage your instrument... sturdy/comfortable handle. You may also want to look for a case with locks, however, unless you purchase a more expensive case, these will offer minimal protection.
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