It amazes me that people will spend hundreds – sometimes even thousands of dollars on a guitar – new or used -and not be more concerned about what they use to tote it around and protect it in. The least expensive type of carrying device generally supplied with lower end instruments is the nefarious ‘gig bag’; A shaped and zippered cloth carrying sack that does little but keep the dust off of your guitar and give you a handle to carry it with and/or straps to carry it on your back. Next up the totem pole of enclosed protective cases are those made of shaped and pressed plywood, then covered with some variety of synthetic – usually Tolex. These cases, euphemistically referred to in advertising as being ‘hard shell’ are really not that at all. They are simply better than a gig bag, but easily damaged and supplied with many new guitars by manufacturers simply because they are inexpensive to produce. Buyers of new guitars expect some kind of case with their purchase, though especially at the lower end, it can not be presumed. Used or older guitars, likewise, will benefit from a more substantial protective case – both in terms of humidity control as well as with regard to protection against being damaged by dropping, bumping into something, etc. The most reliable and most recommended type of case to have for any instrument you really care about protecting – is a REAL hardshell case – one made, ordinarily, of ABS or ATA plastic, well cushioned, sized to fit a range of styles and outfitted with reliable and durable hardware (hinges and locks.) In a world where the general principal of “you get what you pay for” tends to hold up more often than not, I am delighted to report on a significant exception to that rule: the Gator GC Dreadnought Hardshell guitar case.
This case, available from many on line musical supply and instrument vendors can be had, delivered, for as little as $75. This is in striking contrast to other brands which are no better manufactured and offer no more real protection but can cost 2-6 times as much! Perhaps to some people a particular brand is sometimes worth paying more for – out of either brand ‘loyalty’ or out of a belief that a particular brand is really better. Either presumption would not hold up well in this particular situation.
Gator’s molded cases are made of tough and durable ABS plastic – the industry standard for real protection no matter what the cost or brand, and their cases – this one especially – boasts an ultra-strong extruded aluminum valance to assure that the case holds it’s shape and keeps your guitar safe in potentially damaging circumstances. Unique, I believe, to Gator is a ‘through bolted’ system that attaches the exterior plastic to the interior foam, making the case substantially more rugged than many other brands. The foam (EPS), of course, is the filling between the outer ABS molded shell and the inner casing that is covered, on the inner most surface (that upon which your guitar actually rests), with some extraordinarily plush bedding. The interior storage case is over sized and has ample room for spare strings, tuners, picks, cleaning cloth, etc.
The hardware is also worthy of special mention. The locking latches are triple plated chrome and are riveted onto the molded case with metal backing plates to further assure long-term durability.
In my opinion, there is not a better or more affordable way to protect your instrument. The only criticism I have heard made about Gators is the prominent placing of their logo – a Gator, of course, on the top end of the top lid. I do not consider this to be a meaningful fault. That gator’s kind of cute and distinctive! The case is conveniently sized (Body Length: 21.5″, Body Height: 5″, Lower Bout; 16″, Middle Bout, 12.5″‘ Upper Bout, 13″ and has a Total Length of 41.5″.) These dimensions are important because they mean that this case is fully usable with not only standard Dreadnought size guitars, but with GA (Grand Auditorium) sizes as well. In fact, if you check the measurements of your guitar, you may find that, even if it is not a Dreadnought or a GA style, this GC Dread case may fit it perfectly! (It worked ideally for a Walden 570G… a GA guitar and measures out to be an apparently fine fit for a broader range of slightly smaller and slightly larger sizes and styles than this particular case model it is marketed toward!) Gator has the reputation of having been the first company to integrate the OEM manufacturing of sewn, molded, wood reinforced and wheeled options direct from the factory. They have been at it a long time and, unlike the guitar manufacturers themselves, the cases are not a ‘sideline.’ They are what they do! The brand of your guitar is of no consequence to the right case. Their experience in making products to protect other, more fragile products shows in the workmanship and reliability of each and every case I have seen that came from their factory.
Save yourself the heartache of having your stringed friend inadvertently dinged or damaged while saving yourself a nice piece of change. Be sure to check out the Gator GC Dreadnought Hardshell Guitar Case!