A guitar gig bag - or any instrument bag/case - isn't just for travelling musicians. Even at home they come in handy, see the reasons why here...

Choosing the correct gig bag or case need not be difficult…

When buying a guitar for the first time, it might have escaped your attention that you’re probably going to need some way of transporting it. This realisation sometimes occurs at the point that you’re about to take it home. Whilst we’re always happy to provide a guitar box, if it isn’t already in one, for most players, this isn’t really a practical solution in the long term.

Even if you’ve been playing for a while, you may wonder which bag or case you need, and why. To help, we present this mini guide to the different varieties, for anyone who has ever asked which guitar gig bag or case do I need?

What is a Gig Bag?

A gig big is essentially a carry-case made of lightweight, soft textile or other material. For those who gig a lot, or without a car to transport their gear, they are often the best option. They are also the most affordable solution, too.

1. Economy Gig Bags

Which Guitar Gig Bag or Case Do I Need?

Economy gig bags are unpadded, lightweight gig bags. Typically, these will provide the most affordable way of getting your instrument from point ‘a’ to point ‘b’. Made from tough, hardwearing material, they have carry handles, and sometimes shoulder straps.

They may feature a front pocket for accessories, but more often than not, they don’t.

These make carrying a guitar far easier and will usually protect it from showers (but not torrential downpours). In terms of protection, they will stop scuffs, and very light knocks, but not collisions with any sort of weight or force, due to the lack of padding.

You should buy one if…

  • You only need it to get the guitar home, and it will be used infrequently afterwards.
  • Budget is very limited.
  • The guitar it is carrying is inexpensive, and you don’t mind risking an occasional knock.
  • You need something to keep the dust off in the home.

2. ‘Standard’ Gig Bags

Which Guitar Gig Bag or Case Do I Need?

When I refer to ‘Standard’ level gig bags, I mean those with a layer of light padding (around 10mm). Typically, the material used will be tougher and more water resistant, too. A good example would be the excellent Armourdillo Defender series.

As these are slightly more expensive than economy bags, you tend to get a few more features, like shoulder straps or storage pockets for music and accessories.

The advantage of this more robust construction is that it provides a bit protection against light knocks and bangs with hard objects, and also more resistance if you get caught out in the rain. As a result of this extra protection, ‘standard’ bags tend to cost a little bit more than economy models.

You should buy one if…

  • You will be transporting your guitar relatively frequently.
  • You may be in situations where the guitar can be knocked or banged (e.g. public transport).
  • There’s increased likelihood of being exposed to the elements.

3. Deluxe Gig Bags

Which Guitar Gig Bag or Case Do I Need?

The ‘deluxe’ or ‘premium’ gig bags in a range are those that offer the most padding, protection and features, whilst still being made of soft material, and lightweight. Once again, Armourdillo’s Deluxe Gig Bags are the way forward here.

The layer of padding is typically around 20mm, with, again, tougher outer materials which are more resistant to scuffs and the elements. The extra padding provides significantly more protection against impacts with hard objects.

In addition, you’ll typically find additionally protection features inside the case. For example, padded neck rests, heel cushions and internal straps to secure the guitar inside.

Padded shoulder straps, and plenty of pockets and storage are the norm here.

You should buy one if…

  • You’ll be gigging a lot, and need something lightweight, and only the maximum protection will do.
  • You have a guitar that you gig with, but you’d be mortified if it was ‘dinged’.
  • You need to transport your pride and joy to gigs, rehearsals, or college via public transport.

What is a Hard Case?

Which Guitar Gig Bag or Case Do I Need?

A hard case provides the maximum amount of protection for your guitar. As a result of being made of hard materials, they are heavier, and can be a bit more unwieldy to transport. But if you want to be absolutely sure your guitar will be safe…

There are various grades of hard case, ranging from ‘Styrofoam-type semi-hard cases (which have a structured, hard frame, but are made with soft materials), through to full-flight cases, made for transporting in an aeroplane hold.

The most popular models are somewhere in the middle of this, however.

You should buy one if…

  • You want the maximum possible protection.
  • You have transport to and from gigs and rehearsals, or don’t mind lugging some extra weight.
  • The thought of damage to your guitar terrifies you…

Wrapping up

You’ve spent money on getting the instrument of your dreams so it’s only right that you treat it with a bit of respect. Whether you’re at home resting your guitar against the wall (maybe you should think about a stand?), in the studio or on the move; bags and cases offer protection against dust, bumps/dings/knocks, and sunlight!

Get in touch

Head to the Dawsons website to check out our full range of guitar gig bags and cases. Alternatively, head to your local Dawsons Music Store, where our in-store specialists will be more than happy to help you out of steer your inspiration along the correct path. Take your instrument with you and find the perfect fit for your pride and joy.