If you plan on taking your guitar anywhere, investing in a proper case is not a choice but a necessity. A guitar is a big investment, and spending a little extra to help keep it in prime condition is money well spent. Generally speaking, there are three types of recommended acoustic guitar cases: gig bags, padded gig bags and hard cases. Take into consideration the protection and functionality you are looking for, along with your guitar’s specific shape and size. Hard cases will provide the best support, but soft cases are much easier to carry.

Types of Acoustic Guitar Cases

Soft Cases – Soft cases, also known as gig bags, are ideal for those who will mostly be keeping their guitars at home. They protect your instrument from natural elements like moisture, heat and sunlight, as well as minor bumps and scrapes. But if something were to bump your guitar hard enough, or if you dropped it, it would not be protected as well as it would in a more durable case. The benefit of a gig bags that it is much lighter than a hard case, which comes in handy if you are just starting out and the most traveling you’ll be doing with your instrument is to a friend’s house or to lessons. Gig bags have durable handles and shoulder straps that allow you to carry your guitar like a backpack. They also have a variety of pockets for storing sheet music, straps, strings and other accessories.

Padded gig bags provide a level of protection somewhere in between regular gig bags and hard cases. They are lightweight and have all the features of a soft case, plus added padding to reduce the chances of dents and chips in the event you bump into something. Padded gig bags are usually made with a rugged, weather resistant, nylon exterior, and a foam interior for increased protection. These cases are cheaper than hard cases and more durable than the standard gig bag. The Guitar Research 116-102W Acoustic Guitar Gig Bag provides good protection for many styles of starter acoustic guitars and is light-weight and easy to carry.

Hard Shell Cases – Hard shell cases are typically made from a composite plastic or metal and offer sturdy and durable construction. Because of their rugged build, hard cases are generally a lot heavier than gig bags. These cases are ideal for those who plan to travel frequently with their guitar. Hard cases also have accessory pockets inside the case to hold things like straps, picks, tuners and other accessories you need. These cases are usually more expensive than gig bags, but the cost is worth it if you want to provide maximum protection for your starter acoustic guitar. Keep in mind, hard shell cases are form-fitted for specific models of guitars. The Ibanez AC100C Hard Case is a great option for certain models in the Ibanez line, but it is not made to fit all types of guitars.