8 Essential Things You Need in a Guitar Hard Case

If you are looking to find the perfect case for your guitar here are 8 essential tips.

1. TSA Approved Latches

If you do any air travel then buying TSA latches and locks are 100% essential.  If you have a case without these latches then you run the risk of having the latches and locks broken off by TSA.

I had one of my premium Tweed G&G cases latches destroyed by TSA so make sure you get the right type of case if you plan on traveling via airlines.  Replacing the latches on these cases was a total pain so avoid these type of cases at all costs if you are traveling by air anywhere.

Guitar Case Guide - TSA Approved Latches / Locks

Guitar Case Guide – TSA Approved Latches / Locks.  If you are flying make certain you have a case like this. (My Fender Case)


2. Light Weight

There’s no denying it the heavier a guitar case is, the less likely you are to use it. I have a few hard cases in my collection that I never take out because they are too big or too heavy.

Most of the time heavier cases aren’t actually any more protective than their lighter counterparts.  If you do a lot of travel or walking with your instrument then you’ll probably already know that lighter is better.

Guitar Case Guide - Lightweight Case

The Lightweight Hard Case from Fender. I am picking it up with one finger.. just! I have my Fender MiM Stratocaster in there.


3. Tough

While you also want a light guitar case you also need it to be tough.  There are are some sort of materials and cases that tick a lot of boxes in terms of how robust they are.

A good hard case should be tough on the edges but also on the long side of the case.  Imagine you are flying or loading your guitars into a car and someone throws their instrument or amp on top of the case, (heaven forbids!) then you want to make sure the case can fully product your guitar.

Guitar Case Guide - Tough Cases

Tough Cases: Make sure they can withstand some weight on both sides


4. Snug fit of the instrument

Another essential feature of a quality hard case is making sure there’s little to no movement of the instrument inside of the case.  Ideally, the instrument should not slide back and forth in any direction.  Usually, if there is more slide than 2cm/1″ then I would avoid it.

Guitar Case Guide - Snug Fit - One Finger Space

Notice the Snug Fit. One Finger Space or less is ideal for guitar safety.


5. Plush Interior

The plush interior is perhaps the most overlooked aspect of case buying for most people.  Anytime I purchase a new hard case I like to know how soft the interior is, but I also want there to be material under the fur section that feels responsive to the touch.

This means when you push the guitar in the case and take it back out the foam or material under the plush interior should have memory and not get saggy over time.

Guitar Case Guide - Plush Interior

Guitar Case Guide – Gibson Case: Plush Interior


6. A Comfortable Handle

Not all handles are created equal.  Some of my most expensive guitar cases have some of the worst handles.  Just because the handle is covered in leather doesn’t make it comfortable to hold for long periods of time. The worst example of this is my Fender G&G hard case. I love how it looks but there’s a seam that runs down the middle of the handle which to my hand feels terrible.  Over the years, this handle has suffered a lot of wear and tear too.  Coupled with the fact the case is very heavy, it doesn’t see a lot of action at gigs anymore.

Guitar Case Guide - Quality & Comfortable Handle

Guitar Case Guide – Quality & Comfortable Handle


7. Water Resistant

Depending on which part of the world you live in will depend on if this is something you need to think about.  I live in an area that rains about 50 days a year so it’s not a huge deal for me.  If you live in Florida or somewhere tropical where it can rain 5 times a day, then this would be an essential consideration.

Guitar Case Guide - Water Resistant

Guitar Case Guide – The outer shell is water resistant as is the silver join section once it closes


8. Internal Compartments

Another feature you want on a good guitar hard case is internal compartments.  These are found in a number of areas usually found either under the neck rest area or on the sides of the neck.

It doesn’t always matter if the compartment has a door either.  Having some storage areas for cables, picks, capos, and other gear is usually a benefit.  This will save you always have to bring a second bag with the rest of your equipment.

Guitar Case Guide - Internal Compartment

Guitar Case Guide – Internal Compartment for pedals or cables


Free or Cheap Third-Party Cases

Many electric guitars and acoustic guitars come with their own brand of a guitar case.  Usually, brands that supply their own hard case are usually providing a good quality unit.  Some of the electric brands that get this right are:

  • Paul Reed Smith (PRS)
  • Gibson
  • Fender
  • G&L
  • Music Man

Sometimes though, music shops throw in some generic one that “will get the job done”.  If you are offered a third party case make sure it fits the instrument properly.  Make sure the guitar does not slide around on the inside and also make sure there’s no room for the instrument to move up and down within the case horizontally.  This means, with the guitar laying flat with the lid closed you need to make sure if you pick the guitar up it won’t physically move towards the lid.  I see this issue a lot with Acoustic guitars and these are the sort of cases you need to make sure you avoid.

Upgrade to a Better Case in Store

If you are buying the guitar in the store then you should really spend a little extra and make sure your guitar is secured.  There are so many generic acoustic guitar and electric guitar cases out on the market and many of them are not of any long-term quality.  This website will help you sort out the good from the nasty.

When traveling on a  flight interstate or overseas then you need to read this article for the best practices that will ensure you have what you need so the guitar and case do not get damaged.