The plastic exterior can handle common moderate bumps and bangs without damage, and the interior foam and plush lining cushion the instrument against impact. The four sturdy aluminum latches provide additional protection, and the easy-grip handle helps prevent drops. These protective features don't weigh down the user too much, as the case is an impressively light 11.8 pounds. Interior light makes it easy to locate picks and other accessories.
Users may struggle to fit guitars with unusually long necks in this case.
We love the tweed color and sleek design. It's thin with rounded corners, making it easy to carry while avoiding bumping into obstacles. At 10 pounds, it's the lightest of any case we considered. It fits all normal guitars snugly and latches securely, keeping the instrument safe during transport and carrying.
The thin design might limit the amount or size of accessories like straps that will fit in the case.
While it's a little large for constant travel, that extra room also allows for fitting guitars of unusual sizes, while normal-size guitars are held snugly in the molded interior. The gold latches close easily and stay reliably locked when case is carried. Durable plastic exterior can withstand common bangs and scrapes with no effect to instrument.
While it's excellent for auto travel, the interior isn't as plush as some models. Users might prefer thicker padding for air travel.
The form-fitting interior keeps the instrument securely in place, and the hard-shell case can withstand any moderate dings during transport. Comes in sizes intended for ESP's F-style and B-style bass guitars, with size options available for each. Interior is roomy enough to carry multiple accessories when traveling.
Case is a little heavier than some models, which provides good support for air travel but could cause issues for some users when carrying.
Nice features for the traveling musician are the secure molded latches and TSA lock, for peace of mind when carrying an instrument on flights. Interior is unusually plush. The light 11.6 pounds and molded handle make this model portable and easy to carry. Wide array of size options.
Accessory compartment on this thin case is smaller than many, which could mean musicians packing for travel must use separate bag for accessories.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
You've worked hard, saved your gig money, and you can finally afford your dream bass. You don't want to pull that Rickenbacker out of the drummer's van to discover it has a broken neck. Your investment needs protection from the rigors of the road. You need a quality case that will help you keep your instrument in optimum condition.
The best bass guitar case for you is the one that best meets your needs. A sturdy, hard-shell design might sound like it's ideal for every situation, but it's not. For instance, if you're headed downtown to your music lesson at rush hour, you might have trouble fitting that flight case on the train.
This article will guide you through everything you need to know about purchasing a bass guitar case. Additionally, it will offer travel tips and answer some of your most frequently asked questions. However, if you already have an idea of what you're looking for, consider one of the highly recommended options we've spotlighted in this article.
The type of bass guitar case you need is dependent upon the type of musician you are. If you're a student, you will need something different than if you often travel for gigs. If you leave the ground (fly) or have others loading your gear, you will want something more durable than if you pack your own vehicle and your instrument never leaves your care. If you just play for the sheer enjoyment that music provides and your bass doesn't venture outside of your home, you will still need protection.
We've grouped bass guitar cases into four broad categories: soft cases, hard cases, hybrid cases, and flight cases.
Soft cases, or gig bags, offer the least protection. However, they are the better option in a number of situations. Whether you're walking through the city, traveling down the street to band practice, heading out in your own vehicle to a local gig, or schlepping your instrument through the halls at school, you'll want something that is lightweight and easy to carry. A gig bag can be strapped to your back for easy transport, and it contains compartments for your bass playing essentials. It is what you want for the situations listed above. It's also the most affordable option if budget is a concern.
These cases are a bit heavier. They are rectangular in shape, so they take up more room. However, if you want more protection, a hard case is the way to go. It offers peace of mind when others are handling your gear. If you are on the road, a soft case will likely not be enough.
Somewhere in between the soft case and the hard case is the hybrid case. It offers the best of both options. A hybrid case is slightly more durable than a soft case, but it's not as heavy as a hard case. The inside is molded to keep your instrument more secure during travel. The only downside is that most quality hybrid cases cost about the same as a quality hard case, so you'll have to decide if protection or lighter weight is more important.
These are the toughest cases, built to withstand the rigors of touring. The flight case is designed to handle more abuse than the other types of bass guitar cases, and it can often feature little bonuses, like TSA-approved locks and transport wheels to help make your tour go a bit more smoothly.
In addition to the main types of bass guitar cases, there are a few other features you will want to consider before making a purchase.
Custom case vs. universal case
The people who know what is best for your instrument are the manufacturers. There's no doubt about that. If you want to purchase a brand name case specifically designed for your instrument, you have that option. And that might be your best option if you only have one bass and the manufacturer's design meets your travel needs. If you have more than one bass, have multiple travel needs, or need a case that is more durable than what the manufacturer is offering, your best option is to get a universal case.
Durability is not the difference between a soft case and a hard case. Rather, it's the quality of construction. Are the hinges going to hold up on your hard case? Will the latches pop open? Is there reinforced stitching around the handle of that gig bag? You face enough hazards on the road; you don't want the handle of your travel case breaking off when the baggage handler tries to load your guitar into the cargo hold of the plane.
If you want protection from the elements, look for a bass guitar case that is designated as waterproof.
It can be detrimental to the well-being of your bass guitar to randomly toss pedals and batteries inside your case. You should only transport additional gear in a case that has compartments or pockets that have been specifically designed to safely and securely hold your bass player accessories.
Would you like a little extra visibility backstage? Some hard cases come with built-in LED lights. If this is desirable to you, look for a model with that feature.
Last on the list, but still a consideration, is the design of the bass guitar case. Most often, your bass guitar case will be black. However, there are a number of models that sport a different style. If you'd like a little additional flair, look for a bass guitar case that strikes your fancy.
With all the options available, at least the pricing for bass guitar cases is pretty straightforward. It can easily be broken down into three broad categories.
From $25 to $50, you will find entry-level gig bags that provide the lightest-duty protection but are the most easily portable.
In the $50 to $100 range, the gig bags are of higher quality, but you will also start to see some entry-level hard-shell cases.
Once you are in the $100 to $200 zone, you can find durable molded travel cases or flight cases that are suitable for heavy-duty use. Some of these cases are even lighted for backstage convenience.
It is possible to find even more expensive cases, but for typical usage, most touring bass players can find what they need in the $100 to $160 range.
When traveling by air, there is no question that you'll need the finest flight case that fits your budget. However, there are a few other tips that might help your bass get to its destination in mint condition.
Pack it tight. You want to minimize any and all possible movement within the case. Packing soft items like t-shirts around the more fragile areas, such as the neck and headstock, can help ensure your bass will arrive in one piece. The additional cushioning will also help protect your instrument in the event of any mild mishandling.
Secure your case with a TSA-approved lock. This is an option, but know that the TSA has the right to cut off any non-approved lock if the organization deems a search is necessary.
Do not pack any sharp or questionable objects in your bass guitar case. You want your bass to remain undisturbed during travel, if possible.
Loosen your strings. Flying involves high altitudes, pressure changes, and temperature changes. To give your bass the best chance of survival, loosen all strings to avoid any unnecessary additional pressure.
Invest in an inexpensive humidifier. Although this is more highly recommended for acoustic instruments, dry air can damage any type of wood. A guitar case humidifier is affordable, and, depending on where you live, you might want to use it at home during those ultra-low humidity months.
If budget is your primary concern and you're looking for the most affordable bass guitar case, OnStage's Electric Bass Guitar Gig Bag is a choice worth considering. If you'd prefer a gig bag that is one of the highest-rated in its price range, for a few more dollars, you can purchase ChromaCast's Electric Bass Guitar Padded Gig Bag. For a hybrid option, something that is a cross between a case and a gig bag, Gator has a Lightweight Polyfoam Guitar Case that is designed with the local working musician in mind. The case is lightweight, but it incorporates a number of innovative features, offering a highly versatile bass guitar case.
Q. Why would I risk putting my bass in a soft case?
A. A gig bag is the perfect choice for times when you will be traveling on foot or you have limited space for transportation. If you are a student who is studying music at school, for instance, it would be rather awkward (and unnecessarily heavy) to carry a flight case through the halls of your college. If you have a local gig and will be driving to the city in your own vehicle, securely packing your gig bag in your car would be a better option than trying to fit a larger, more cumbersome flight case in your backseat. And, in the unlikely event you can't unload at the venue, you'll appreciate not needing to maneuver a flight case through the crowded city streets.
Q. I've heard that using a gig bag on a flight will make the baggage handlers treat your instrument with greater respect and be more careful with it. Is this true?
A. It might work for the instant your bass is in the baggage handler's hands. He or she might gently place it down as if it were a Fabergé egg, but that won't stop the next guy from tossing a bowling ball on top. It's a fast-paced job, and it is your responsibility to make sure an item that is so valuable to you is protected as best as it can be.
Q. I play local gigs, and our band rehearsals are five minutes away. But later this year, I will be leaving the country for a few shows. Which case should I get?
A. Why settle for one or the other? When you eat a meal, you don't try to enjoy soup with a fork. If you are faced with two different situations, the best solution is to get two different cases. In the long run, you will be much happier traveling light to local gigs and having the extra protection when flying.