I’m not a fan of hard-shell guitar cases. They serve their purpose of keeping the guitar fairly safe in serious rough-and-tumble situations, like loading and unloading out of tour buses or (*shudder*) letting the airlines load or unload it into a plane (which is optional and you should always try to pursue bringing the guitar on-board with you rather than putting it down below).
But they aren’t comfortable at all. Generally the handles are just plastic which eventually starts to dig in to your palm, or they’re “luxurious,” and like just about anything with that label, they’re heavier than they should be. There’s always compromise, too. Do you want a lightweight hard-shell case? You’re going to sacrifice durability and protection. Want durability and road-worthiness? You’re going to get a heavy case. Want an affordable case? You’ll end up with a cumbersome, uncomfortable case.
Honestly, it’s a bit ridiculous. The funny part is that everyone recommends them! Not only do they say “you have to have a hard-shell case,” but they’ll usually add “you have to keep your guitar in the case,” and, while this is great for keeping it in a temperature and humidity-controlled environment, they’re works of art that should be seen, touched, and played. Having issues with humidity in your house? Why spare JUST your guitar? Get a humidifier for your house. Your skin and general health will thank you. Have problems controlling the temperature in your domicile? If I had that problem, I would be a frustrated mess. We live in a marvelous, technological age! Time to embrace it!
Besides, times have changed since the guitar case first came out. Back in the day, they were glorified gig-bags. Thin pieces of wood if you were lucky, cardboard if you were normal with no foam or hugging contours. If there were gig bags available at the same time with the same proportional level of protection, they would have been actual backpacks made from burlap.
But we’ve come a long way since then and modern gig bags are awesome. My favorite to date (specifically this date) was the MONO gig bag because it is tough-as-nails and nothing short of awesome. Hands-down the best gig bag out there. But today, I found in my RSS reader a post from Jon here at Guitar Noize talking about the GigBlade from Gruv Gear. I was initially dubious since it looked a bit strange, but when you think about it, it makes total sense.
Modern gig bags are worn like backpacks and either ride so low that you’re banging the backs of your legs against the bag (which isn’t initially a problem, but after even a short walk becomes borderline infuriating) or they ride so high that you have to be careful of doors when you enter and leave buildings. Add to that the fact that most gig bags feature convenient storage that is also convenient for thieves to reach into and steal from – even when you’re walking – and you can see that gig bags weren’t perfect. The GigBlade seems to be inching us closer to perfection though.
For one thing, you wear it like a… well, like a purse, BUT it’s a gigantic MASCULINE purse of DOOM! You wear it on one shoulder and all of the storage is accessible to you (not nearly as much to thieves) and you have visual contact with almost every pocket with the one exception being a pocket on the front flap that you would STILL notice someone trying to sneak into as you’re out and about. It rides low to the ground, but not so low that you’ll have any issues with climbing or descending stairs or getting around normally, and since it’s on your side, you don’t need to worry about it hitting your legs.
You don’t even need to keep your hand on it 100% of the time, so if you need to reach into a pocket for your phone or keys, you’re free to do so.
The GigBlade hasn’t come out yet, but you can get yours from their Kickstarter (they’ve already raised the right amount of funds) for a little over a hundred bucks that includes shipping, OR you can wait and buy one for about $200.00. If you want to avoid paying out that much money, get in now.
*Photos courtesy of Gruv Gear.