Best Guitar Hard Cases

Get on the Case!

Hard cases are by far the best way of protecting your guitar in any scenario. They not only protect from knocks and scratches but also from humidity and temperature which can warp the wood (affecting shape, tone and tuning), as well as risk damaging internal electronics, single coil pickups or humbuckers. In particular if used in conjunction with a case humidifier. It is true that putting a guitar away in a case is less convenient than hanging it on your wall or in it a stand or rack, however what it lacks in immediate convenience it more than makes up for in protection and peace of mind.

For these reasons they provide the ultimate in guitar protection. Versus the cost of repairing or replacing your guitar there is no contest between that and a decent case.

Electric Guitar Hard Cases

Gator GC Universal Deluxe Molded Case for Electric Guitars

  • Usually around £74.99 - Prime eligible
  • 4.5 Stars from over 1,308 ratings on Amazon

Gator GC Deluxe Molded Case for GuitarsGLEAM Aframe Guitar Stand

Gator Electric Guitar Case Review

Gator Cases was founded in Florida in 2000 as a family company and now has 20 years experience in the case making industry. The company has since grown, relocated to Indiana and acquired various other companies along the way such as Protechtor Cases, Viking Cases and Levy’s Leathers, to add to its manufacturing expertise and product range. Gators cases are well respected in the industry and market leaders in guitar hard case production. They have won the Music and Sound Retailer ‘Best Bag/Case Award’ 11 times between 2006-2019

The Gator GC Deluxe is a universal product line wiht the electric model capable of holding most electric guitar designs in its molded interior. The GC Deluxe line also has cases that cater for acoustics, bass guitars and les Pauls as well as extra long instruments and 12 strings amongst others.

The rectangular design contains room for accessories with ‘pockets’ for cables, strings, straps capos and other extras you may need to take with you making it a very effective case for both storage and travelling to and from gigs or studios.

The outside shell is made from a robust impact resistant ABS plastic with aluminium rims to provide extra strength to the design while, strong handles ensure you can feel safe carrying your guitar from place to place. This design also includes lockable chrome plated latches keep it securely fastened shut. These features combine to make a strong and secure case while still being light weight at only 3.6kg (8 lbs).

Interior is made from EPS foam with a sleek black fur like lining to protect from scratches.

Aesthetically the design is sleek and attractive and comes in the classic black that is the industry standard. Also keep an eye out for the new LED edition which incorporates a bar of LED lights inside the case so you don't need to fumble around in the dark backstage trying to find your strings, cables or picks.

In summary this is a great case from a very well regarded and reputable company with lots of experience. It also represents good value for money at generally under £80. A great buy for your guitar that will keep it safe and secure.

Exterior Dimensions:- 40.75 x 15.25 x 5.25 inches Interior Dimensions:- 18.75 x 12.75 x 2.75 inches

Fender Classic Series Electric Guitar Wood Case - Strat/Tele - Black

  • Usually around £119.99 - Prime eligible
  • 4 Stars from over 70 ratings on Amazon

Fender Classic Series Guitar Wood Case - Strat/Tele - BlackFender Wood Guitar Hard Case

Fender Electric Guitar Case Review

Fender have been a major player on the scene since 1946 and are one of the most recognisable music brands the world over and have been used by a range of musicians including Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and Kurt Cobain. Two of their most famous creations the Telecaster and Stratocaster guitars have been around since the 1950s and are still two of the most recognisable and widely used instruments on the market today so it's no surprise that Fender have designed a case specifically to house these two iconic axes.

The design of the Fender Class Series Wood Case is in the standard black rectangular design made of 3-ply hardshell wood covered with textured vinyl with a steel core vinyl wrapped carry handle. The wood and vinyl exterior provides a strong protective case for your guitar and with the steel core handle means you can feel safe carrying it around from gig to gig or to the studio.

In addition to this the case is secured and steel key lockable latches so you can feel secure about it when not in your field of vision.

The interior is lined with a black crushed acrylic plush to protect the guitar from scratches and scraps.

At 5kg (11 lbs) this is slightly heavier than some plastic cases but should provide a little more protection.

Case dimensions 108.2 x 42.2 x 13.2 cm

Acoustic Guitar Hard Cases

Acoustic Guitar Size

There are numerous styles and sizes of acoustic guitar but for these reviews we have focused on the most common, the Dreadnought.

Dreadnought

Named after the early 20th century British Battleship HMS Dreadnought (which became a prominent class of battleship in its own right) the dreadnought acoustic is the most popular of acoustic guitar types. It is sometimes also identified by size, as at 41 inches long and with a larger body it is one of the largest acoustic guitar types (until you get into Jumbos) but so if you see a guitar case as for a 41 inch acoustic, it's for a dreadnought. As this is by far the most popular acoustic guitar type we have focused on these when discussing acoustic guitar hard cases.

Gator GC-DREAD Deluxe Molded Case For Dreadnought Acoustic Guitars

  • Usually around £85.00 - Prime eligible
  • 4.5 Stars from over 1,300 ratings on Amazon

Gator GC-DREAD Deluxe Molded Case For Dreadnought Acoustic GuitarsGator GC Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar Hard Case

Gator Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar Case Review

As in Electric (and Bass below) the Gator GC range is hard to beat from our point of view and in the acoustic dreadnought category the GC is once again our pick of choice. Gator are a top range, family run company that has been running for over 20 years. The company has grown to include multiple brands and has won multiple awards winning the coveted Music and Sound Retailer ‘Best Bag/Case Award’ 11 times in the last 13 years. No small feat.

The Gator GC Dreadnought has a protective interior made of EPS foam with a plush lining encased in a highly durable ABS plastic hard shell outer casing. This durable and strong combo both protects the guitar from scratches on the inside and knocks from the outside making it a very secure way to store or transport your acoustic. The interior is also made on a moulded design meaning the guitar will fit snugly inside the case and so not move around inside while in transit adding extra protection.

Again like its electric and bass counterparts Gator have included extra space for storing accessories in the form of little pockets or ‘hideaways’ around and under the neck support for the guitar. These can be particularly handy if you are often on the go enabling you to keep capos, tuners, picks and other accessories close to hand when you need them.

Gator have gone for real quality in the design of the GC range which can be seen in a number of features that increase case strength and so guitar protection. This ranges from the extra secure handles (you don't want them breaking and so the case thudding to the ground), aluminium valances protect the edges of the case, and this hard case also boasts chrome plated lockable latches. All in all this is a great case and well worth the investment to protect your precious acoustic.

Case Dimensions: 117.5 x 19 x 48.3 cm

Stagg GCA-W BK Dreadnought Guitar Case - Black

  • Usually around £70.00 - Prime eligible
  • 4.5 Stars from over 100 ratings on Amazon

Stagg GCA-W BK Dreadnought Guitar Case - BlackStagg Dreadnought Guitar Case

Stagg Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar Case Review

Stagg Music, was originally a Japanese guitar manufacturer however were bought by Leonard Baldocci, chairman of EDM Music, in 1995 and are now headquartered in Brussels, Belgium. Stagg offers a range of guitars and guitar accessories including this case built for Dreadnought acoustics.

The exterior is made of wood with a vinyl wrapping providing a strong, solid exterior to protect your guitar. The handles are made of PVC and are sturdy enough. The case also comes with four latches, one of which has a keyed lock, making it quite secure for transit. All the hardware is chrome including the latches and feet to protect it when standing upright.

The Interior is molded and has a neck support to hold the guitar in place and stop bangs during transit. The interior also comes with a soft plush lining to protect from scratches while in the case. Additionally there is also an internal space for storing small accessories such as spare strings, picks, tuners, etc…. Which comes with a handy lid.

The design is the classic hourglass acoustic case shape in, like most cases, a sleek black. This case is a decent mid range case and one of the best you can get for the money. Not built to the same quality as a Gator case however ticks a lot of the same boxes.

Dimensions: 111 x 40 x 14 cm (43.7 x 15.7 x 5.4")

Bass Guitar Hard Cases

Gator GC-BASS Deluxe Molded Case - Black

  • Usually around £80.00 - Prime eligible
  • 4.5 Stars from over 1,300 ratings on Amazon

Gator GC-BASS Universal Bass Guitar Deluxe Molded Hard Case - BlackGator GC-BASS Guitar Hard Case

Gator Bass Guitar Case Review

Once again our top recommended case in the Bass guitar cases section is from the Gators GC range. A well known company Gator are an award winning brand who have been family run for over 20 years. Gator have won the Music and Sound Retailer ‘Best Bag/Case Award’ 11 times in the last 13 years.

This well designed case offers great protection for your bass. The exterior is made from strong and durable ABS plastic, providing 360 protection and a lighter weight than a wooden alternative. The exterior is also supported by an aluminium rim that runs around the edge of the case. This provides extra structural strength while protecting the edges and keeping the closures aligned. The handles are also good quality and durable. Chrome plating covers the four lockable latches and the protective feet.

Made from EPS foam, the interior of the case is molded to provide a snug fit for your bass cradling it both on the body and also with a stabilising neck support. Plush lining also provides additional safety from dents and bangs meaning your bass is quite safe inside your case once closed. Compartmentalised storage sections also allow you to carry multiple different accessories, such as pedals, tuners, cables, etc... without them banging against the bass itself.

The design of the case is in the industry standard sleek black and based on its durability and secure design seems well road tested. The case also comes with a built in ID plate which can help identify your case from a bunch of others if on tour or in a studio. Gator also do a GC-BASS-LED version of the guitar which has an LED light in the case lid to help you find your pedals and other accessories easily even if in a poorly lit studio or backstage area. The LED version is not available at the time of writing this but keep an eye out for it as it's well worth the extra spend if you can get one.

All in all a great case for your bass and definitely worth investing in.

Case Dimensions: 40.6 x 14.6 x 125.7 cm

Fender 996166306 Classic Series Bass Wood Case - Jazz Bass/Precision Bass - Black

  • Usually around £125.00 - Prime eligible
  • 4 Stars from over 70 ratings on Amazon

Fender 996166306 Classic Series Bass Wood Case - Jazz Bass/Precision Bass - BlackFender Bass Guitar Hard Case

Fender Bass Guitar Case Review

Since 1946 Fender has been one of the big names in music brands. Over that time they have produced many great bass guitars with two of their classics regularly making it into lists of the best basses on the planet. Here they have made a case to fit two of their most well known creations, the Jazz Bass and the Precision Bass along with their various incarnations.

The case's hardshell exterior is made of 3-ply wood wrapped vinyl with a thickness of 8mm on the sides and 5mm on top and bottom to protect the bass from knocks from any angle. The case is secured shut with three steel draw latches, one of which locks with the accompanying key set. The carrying hand is very sturdy and is made of a vinyl wrapped steel core. All the hardware on the case is triple chrome plated including edging that runs along the end sections where the case is most likely to be dropped.

The interior is molded with a secure neck support to hold the guitar in place and protect against bangs. Soft crushed acrylic plush lining also helps keep the bass scratch free. There is also a convenient and large storage compartment, which comes with a handy lid, for storing cables and other accessories.

The design of the case is in the classic rectangular style with a vintage feel. Unlike many other cases on the market the fender 996166306 is available in tweed with a brown handle and luxurious crimson lining, as well as the classic sleek black.

At 11lbs (5 kgs) this is not the lightest case, due to the 3 ply wooden hardshell exterior however what it lacks in lightness it makes up for in sturdiness and I'm sure most would agree this is an attractive looking case as well as secure. Overall a very good case for the money and a decent buy to protect your bass.

Dimensions (exterior) - Length: 50”, Width: 17.2”, Depth: 5.1”

Guitar Flight Cases

SKB 3i-4214-66 Tele/Strat Guitar Flight Case

  • Usually around £225.00 - Prime eligible
  • 4.5 Stars from over 20 ratings on Amazon

SKB 3i-4214-66 Tele/Strat Flight CaseSKB 3i-4214-66 Tele/Strat Guitar Flight Hard Case

SKB iSeries Guitar Flight Case Review

Since 1946 Fender has been one of the big names in music brands. Over that time they have produced many great bass guitars with two of their classics regularly making it into lists of the best basses on the planet. Here they have made a case to fit two of their most well known creations, the Jazz Bass and the Precision Bass along with their various incarnations.

The case's hardshell exterior is made of 3-ply wood wrapped vinyl with a thickness of 8mm on the sides and 5mm on top and bottom to protect the bass from knocks from any angle. The case is secured shut with three steel draw latches, one of which locks with the accompanying key set. The carrying hand is very sturdy and is made of a vinyl wrapped steel core. All the hardware on the case is triple chrome plated including edging that runs along the end sections where the case is most likely to be dropped.

The interior is molded with a secure neck support to hold the guitar in place and protect against bangs. Soft crushed acrylic plush lining also helps keep the bass scratch free. There is also a convenient and large storage compartment, which comes with a handy lid, for storing cables and other accessories.

The design of the case is in the classic rectangular style with a vintage feel. Unlike many other cases on the market the fender 996166306 is available in tweed with a brown handle, as well as the classic sleek black.

At 11lbs (5 kgs) this is not the lightest case, due to the 3 ply wooden hardshell exterior however what it lacks in lightness it makes up for in sturdiness and I'm sure most would agree this is an attractive looking case as well as secure. Overall a very good case for the money and a decent buy to protect your bass.

Dimensions (exterior) - Length: 50”, Width: 17.2”, Depth: 5.1”

When to buy a hard case and when to get a gig bag

Hard cases

Hard guitar cases are ideal if you will be travelling more frequently or longer distances (outside your city or local area) especially if you will be going on train, bus or van where your guitar could slide around and get knocked or have things fall on it. If you're travelling on a plane and the guitar will go in the cargo hold I would recommend getting a flight specific case which can survive having other, potentially heavy, luggage stored on it while also help insulating against the extreme temperature differences associated with flight cargo holds.

Soft Cases and Gig Bags

Soft cases and gig bags don't offer the same protection as a hard case however if you are only occasionally travelling with it a decent gig bag should be fine in terms of protection, and easier ergonomically to carry. This is especially true if you will be walking with your guitar or carrying other equipment (like an amp) as some come with straps that enable you to carry it on your back.

How much you invest in either a hard case or soft case/gig bag it is worth it getting a decent one as it will definitely be cheaper than the cost of repairing or replacing your guitar.

What to look for when buying a Guitar Hard Case

When buying a guitar case one of the most important considerations is to make sure you get a case that will fit the guitar you have. A better fitting case will help stop the guitar moving around inside the case and protect it from bangs and scratches.

This means not just getting one specific for your guitar type e.g. acoustic, bass, electric, but also where appropriate for the model.

  • For example if you have an acoustic is it a full size, or ¾? Is it a 12 string? In which case you may need extra room for the larger head.
  • If it's an electric guitar is it a telecaster, stratocaster, les paul, flying v, does it have a reverse or slanted head? Some cases are are universal but others are more specific. Most cases are made for the standard tele/strat shape and are built with the most common producers, fender, gibson and epiphone in mind so in most cases you should be fine. However it is worth considering these elements before you buy. We have tried in most cases to state if the case is built for a specific design or if it is more universal. Particularly unique shaped guitars it is worth making sure the case will fit your guitar before you buy.

Another consideration alongside the fit is the padding. A decent quality case should come with decent padding, but if you are looking at a cheaper model it is worth paying particular attention to this as this can be an area where cheaper models and brands cut costs. I would recommend a minimum padding of 10-15mm.

The type of padding can also be important as you want to make sure the lining is soft enough to leave the guitar finish in pristine condition. A fake fur or velvety lining is ideal.

Another thing we look at when assessing a quality case is what it is made of. Most are made of plastic, wood or light metal. Of some combination of them. Often with a plastic or vinyl finish, which has the added bonus of being water resistant as well. But you should also pay attention to what the the handles made of. You want them to be of equally sturdy material, as the case and that they are securely attached. You don't want to it to break on transit. In addition to this you want to ensure the fastenings of a decent quality. Even worse than the handle breaking is the case opening by itself while you are carrying it and banging on the floor.

Ultimately the main advice would be don't get a super cheap one. In particular if your guitar has some value. Cheap cases often don't fit the guitar well, provide poor padding, plus handles and fastenings can break or be poor quality build (which can break under pressure). The main point of a hard case is to protect your guitar and so it is worth getting one that will properly do that. You don't have to break the bank, £60-100 should normally be adequate and there are plenty decent ones in the price range.

Other Cool Uses for Guitar Cases

So we’ve all seen the hollywood movies where 1920 & 30s gangsters mow each other down with sprays of bullets from the tommy guns they would hide in their violin or guitar cases (not condoning these actions). Well it turns out that you can actually do this, there are even videos on youtube about how to do this very thing. As in how to store a tommy gun in a violin case, not how to mow people down (please don't do this!). Problem is that in real life then the case was rarely used for this purpose. Real life mobsters would prefer to use the large broadsheet newspapers of the day as it was easier to fire quickly (don't need to stop and open the case) and bullets fire easier though paper than a wooden case meaning you can keep the gun concealed while shooting (again not condoning this).

This idea was taken to the next level in the Robert Rodriguez’s Mexico Trilogy (El Mariachi, Desperado and Once Upon A Time In Mexico) starring Antonio Banderas as El Mariachi in which he, and his fellow Mariachi musicians, store their guns in their guitar cases.

But surely there are other things you could do with a guitar case? So this got us thinking, you’ve heard of people carrying a briefcase full of money, usually with the obligatory set of handcuffs securing it to the carrier. Amatuers! Think how much cash you could fit in a guitar case! Plus no one will suspect money in there because they will also expect it to be filled with guns (or in some unlikely events maybe even a guitar). Pro tip, get a case with a lock. Cases are all about safety after all.

Alternatively, for the creatives out there (which we assume many of you are as musicians) did you know you can also use an old guitar case to make some funky shelves for your house? Neither did we but there are some great examples on pinterest of people doing just this. Using them to store CDs, ornaments or even wine and glasses. Probably a better choice than the other options above let's be honest.