Last week I talked about gig bags. This week, I'll show you a couple of polyfoam hybrid cases. When it comes to cases, I don't really need a road dog. I just need something that will keep a guitar in the closet and get it across town (or maybe across the country) without too much trouble. I prefer smaller and lighter. So, if I'm not using a gig bag, a polyfoam case will generally do.
Now, before I show you mine, I'll briefly describe some differences for you. A gig bag, is a bag, It might have some good padding, but it won't generally stand up on it's on (even on its side), and it would never be mistaken for a case. Some of them are even kind of floppy. After all, they're generally just foam padding inside a tough exterior. A case is generally molded or wooden. It's got some padding of some sort inside it to keep the instrument off the hard exterior. If you need a road dog, a case is usually the way to go. The polyfoam hybrid cases are a good in-between. They look like a case. They act like a case. But they're just the polyfoam that is often found inside a hard case, but without the case. Instead, it's put inside a tough canvas-ish cover. The exterior is pretty similar to what you would find on a backpack. Not the lightweight nylor backpacks, but rather one of those kind of old-school canvas packs. So it has the rigidity and stiff protection that a gig bag lacks, but, although it's rigid, it doesn't have the super tough exterior of a case. But that also means it's not nearly as heavy as a case. It's a nice in-between. I've got several of these cases. They work really well for acoustic guitars. Price-wise, I've found that they run around $100. That's about the price of a low-end hard case, but half the price of most premium gig bags.
Travelite Polyfoam Case. I just realized I didn't get a pic of this one, and it's far enough back in the closet I'm not digging cases back out again, so it's going to have to be pictureless. It's a beast of a case. Out of all the polyfoam cases I've got, this one is easily the most well made. It has my flamenco guitar in it. The flamenco guitar originally was in the case the dobro is in. When I got the dobro, I bought this case, and moved the flamenco over. So the guitars that go inside are the same size, but the difference in the case size is noticeable. This one is bigger all the way around. On the exterior, it has that same weird strap-handle system as the no-name case above. Like the Gator cases, it has a little cover for the zipper or to keep the case from falling open if you pick it up thinking it's close. This one is different, though, because it's an actual latch and not just a strip of velcro. It also has the same detachable backpack straps on it. Inside, it has that usual neck pocket, but this one you could park a Buick in. This is a behemoth of a case. It's huge! A classical/flamenco sized guitar is a small guitar in the overall scheme of acoustics, but this case is big enough it borders on being awkward. I would hate to see a dreadnought sized case like this one. That said, I absolutely love this case! I would trust this case in most any situation short of putting the guitar on a plane.
I'll just get this out up front. I really like gig bags. Truth is, unless there is a compelling reason to use a case, I'll grab a gig bag every time. Here are some of the ones that I've got along with a synopsis of each of them. I'll tell you which ones I use and which ones are only used as the closet keepers.
Fender Stock Gig Bags. I don't have a pic of one of these bags down below. It's the one that you used to get with some of the MIM instruments. I'm not sure they include them anymore. I'll tell you up front that, I guess you could use these as a real gig bag. They'll get your guitar to and from where you're playing so long as you're not banging it around. They offer some protection, but not a whole ton of it. There's a pocket on the front where you can stick a cable and book or something too. Clip-on back pack straps. I have (and use) several of these bags. They keep some of my Strats and Teles in the closet. If one of the guitars that I have stored in them decides to get played out, I move it to a better bag before I head out with it. From a price perspective, I'm pretty sure you could get one of these all day long for under $50.
Parker Stock Gig Bag. No pic of this one either. It's a bit more padded than the Fender stock bag. Outside of that, it's got an extra pocket on the outside that the Fender doesn't have, but feature-wise, they're pretty much the same. It keeps my Parker (P-44) in the closet, but I have also used it when I've traveled with that guitar. I trust it more than I would the Fender bags. Back when Parker was in business, they included this with all of their non-MIA guitars, and, if I remember correctly, you could buy one for around $80. Since Parker isn't making guitars anymore, I have no idea what they would cost if you went looking for one.
Snarf is a wannabe musician who currently resides in the great state of Texas. His wife is his favorite. He believes chocolate milk made from milk that is anything less than whole milk is basically water and deserves to be dumped down the sink so nobody has to suffer through it. He hates having to shop for clothes. But he has a thing for really cool bags, and, consequently, has more gig bags than guitars and a closet full of messenger bags and backpacks. He still misses his dog who was taken by cancer 5 years ago. Check out his Reverb shop and see if he has any gear he's trying to get rid of.