Whether you're planning to go on the road or simply need a safe place to store your prized musical instrument around the house, finding a superb bass guitar case is crucial. The right case can help you protect and transport your bass.
What to Look For in a Bass Guitar Case
The most essential question you need to ask yourself when shopping for bass cases is what are your needs.
- Are you most concerned about cost?
- Do you need something heavy duty that can take plenty of on-the-road punishment?
- What style would you like to convey when you walk into a room carrying your bass?
Bass cases can vary tremendously, and that variation is certainly reflected in the price. You don't want to get more case than you need at the expense of your bank account.
If you just need something inexpensive to keep the dust off your bass, you could get by with a soft-shell case. While these aren't the most secure or sturdy cases, they will provide minimal protection and are definitely better than having no case at all. They are typically the cheapest option available, and they are a good solution in many situations. If your bass is not that expensive to begin with, an inexpensive soft-shell case might be just what you need.
The Mono M80 soft-shell case was awarded the best overall bass case designation by BassistHQ.com, and it is the top customer-rated bass case on Musician's Friend with an average rating of five out of five stars out of dozens of reviews. It costs about $230.
This case is praised for its:
- Thick padding and durability
- Waterproof material
- Pockets, which have a built-in cable pocket and plenty of room for other accessories
- Backpack-style straps that make it easy to tow on your back if necessary
- Hip look
Reunion Blues Continental Voyager
The Reunion Blues Continental Voyager case was highlighted as one of the top soft-shell bass cases on PremierGuitar.com. It is also rated as the number one soft-shell bass case by EquipBoard.com. It costs about $190, and its features include:
- Shock absorbing, impact-resistant Flexoskeleton
- Zero G palm-contoured handle
- Weight-distributing foam core
- Reinforced neck brace system that locks instrument neck in place
- EVA reinforced laptop/tablet compatible multi-pocket
The most popular type of bass guitar case is the hard-shell variety. Sturdily built, hard-shell cases are constructed of the following:
- The main construction is hard plastic or plywood.
- The plywood cases are either covered with a heavy vinyl material or a durable tweed fabric.
- The plastic is on the outside of plastic guitar cases, and the inside skeleton is usually constructed of polystyrene to keep the case as lightweight as possible.
- All but the cheapest hard-shell cases come with latches that lock so you can keep prying hands and eyes away from your instrument.
- They have a soft, plush interior that safely cradles your bass in a loving embrace.
- The insides of these cases usually have a small compartment that can hold your strap, extra strings, picks, and any other accessories that you need to have with you.
- Hard-shell cases have the most potential for self-expression as well. There are the traditional, low-profile jet black cases that look great covered in stickers, and the vintage yellow tweed cases that tell people you're from the old school. There are even some cases that come with designs like skulls and lightening bolts, and some that are shaped like coffins.
SKB bass cases are one of the most famous brands of cases in the industry. Dozens of professional musicians and touring bands, many of them household names, have used SKB. Their ATA Bass Case is the number one customer-ranked hardshell bass case on Musician's Friend, Sweetwater, and Sam Ash. It costs about $280, it's made to fit Precision or jazz-styled bass shapes. Its features include:
- Patented TSA locking latch system that has a trigger release
- Ultra high-strength polypropylene copolymer resin UV
- Solvent, corrosion, and fungus resistant
- Completely watertight gasket seal
- Automatic ambient pressure equalization
- Rubber over-molded cushion grip carrying handle
- Pull handle
- Convenient "quiet-glide" wheels
Gator GL Lightweight
If you'd like a cheaper hard-shell case that's lightweight, the Gator GL is the perfect choice at only about $90. It is also one of the top two customer rated hard-shell bass cases on both Musician's Friend and Guitar Center. It features a tough 600-denier ballistic material and a trigger release TSA lock similar to SKB.
Flight cases should be labeled serious inquiry only. This is because flight cases are the most solid, sturdy, high-tech, and expensive bass cases you can buy. They are designed for the touring professional and can withstand all the rigors of life on the road.
- Flight cases get their name because they were originally designed to go in the cargo holds of airplanes, where the cold temperatures and changes in air pressure can reek havoc on instruments that are stored in traditional hard-shell cases.
- Flight cases have an airtight construction, extremely secure locking latches and are built to absorb extreme amounts of abuse.
If you are going on the road and have a bass you value above all your other possessions, you definitely need to invest in a flight case because nothing else will ensure the safe return of your instrument. Of course, if you are the casual musician, a flight case might be a bit of overkill, and you could likely get by just fine with one of the other less expensive options described above.
Road Cases USA
Road Cases USA is one of the most iconic features of any concert you attend. When you arrive before the show starts and see the familiar shape of large black cases with silver metal plating and locks with the band's name stamped on them, you're most likely looking at Road Cases USA. That brand has been used by artists such as KISS, Paul Simon, Billy Joel, Fleet Foxes, and countless others.
Their Bass ATA Cases cost about $250 with uncut foam so you can customize it to the shape of your bass.
Anvil/Calzone Flight Cases
Premier Guitar rated Anvil/Calzone as of one of the very best flight case brands. Anvil/Calzone also makes cases for highly sensitive military transport, as well as the medical and aerospace industries. They know how to make your bass secure, in other words. The company says the cases are 30 percent lighter than other cases, and a bass case costs about $500.
Where to Buy a Bass Guitar Case
Once you've decided which kind of case you need, you're ready to start shopping. Besides the major online retailers, the following sites carry cases:
- Guitar Fetish has all three styles above (soft-shell, hard-shell, flight case) at very low prices.
- CaseXtreme specializes in flight case styles and brands. So if you want to expand your search for flight case, add this site to your list.
- American Musical Supply's bass guitar case section is ample, and they carry bass cases in all categories and price ranges.
A Fortress for Your Bass
If you're going to the trouble of reading a detailed article about bass cases, you obviously care a great deal about your bass guitar. Once you find the perfect fortress of solitude for your instrument, you can have the peace of mind knowing it will go on every bus ride, roadtrip and airline flight and remain in excellent condition.